Running an online shop can often become overwhelming and it is very easy to forget about the basic needs of your customers. Users are easily discouraged by a lack of basic information, such as product descriptions or multiple product images, and will go elsewhere to purchase from a merchant that appears more knowledgeable.
17p in every £1 is spent online in the UK. This is larger than all high street retail sales for clothing and footwear and roughly half of all supermarket sales.
Clear category pages
Clear layout and design with a balanced combination of images and text has a huge impact on how a user interacts with the pages. Lack of order and illogical product categorisation impede on the users decision to pursue the item they are after. A user will value assistance in the buying process, such as filtering of items or product comparisons.
Informative product pages
When shopping online users like to see exactly what they are buying. Large product images with the ability to zoom, view from different angles and compare different colours will all encourage the user to buy. Product pages must also contain a full description, list product features, available options and the price. Additional support, such as user reviews, expert opinions, product recommendations or rating schemes all add credibility and promote trust. And of course, the buy button must be clearly visible on the page.
Before they commit to a purchase, the customer wants to know exactly how much the delivery will cost and when their items will arrive. They also want to be reassured that they can return the goods if they are unsuitable. Offering various delivery prices, different carrier options and order tracking are also highly appreciated. Checkout security should be highlighted during the ordering process and contact information should be made available.
Registration on the site to help customers log-in quicker on their next visit may seem like a great idea, but only if it is an optional feature and doesn't create a barrier for one-off customers. People are wary about leaving their personal details online, particularly on a site they have never purchased from before and registration can sometimes have negative connotations. The registration process should be transparent so that the customer feels safe.
The customer should be informed immediately when their order is complete. The confirmation page should load fast and it should be followed by a confirmation email to provide the user with confidence that the order has been received. A lack of instant feedback can weaken the customer’s loyalty and may even make the user click the back button to process the order again. This can have a negative impact on your website's performance and sales by increasing returns and order cancelations.