The Online Store Usability Enhancement

There is an intense competition in the E-commerce market and the reality is that competitive companies are just one click away. Moreover, the situation is changing so fast that weak online stores may become more powerful in the short run, so if a merchant wants their store to survive they must always “keep an eye on the ball”. One faultless way to keep the market share and not to lose customers is to carefully monitor usability of the online store and make it as comfortable for purchasing online as possible. In this article we will take a closer look at a few tips that can be easily implemented for improving the situation.

Even if you are able to provide a wide range of quality products and your prices are very competitive, there is still no guarantee that visitors will make purchases in your online store. The matter of usability is very topical for e-commerce, because in most cases visitors are left to their own devices during the purchase process, which means that it is impossible to influence their behavior. Let’s take a closer look.

“Join us” / “Register” /”Sign Up”/ “Log in” Button

Registered visitors are very valuable for any online store, because they leave some information about themselves so it is possible to communicate with them and build a loyalty program. So, the first strict rule is that ‘Register’ button has to be easy to find. The way you name the button is also important. “Join us” is more associated with a club or a community. You join an organization. “Register” button is used when a user needs to enter some data to the system for future access. For example, you need to register in order to place comments. “Sign up” button means that a visitor agrees to be a participant of something, it is like “sign up for the military”, or “sign up for the seminar”. “Log in / out” button is perceived more technically than “Sign in / out”, but the value is approximately the same. It is up to you what names you choose and how many buttons you need, but sometimes it is better to ask the audience about what is clearer to them. You also have to create the appropriate button design which includes color, font, size and wording. The button should be clearly visible but it has to fit in with the store’s corporate style.

Avoid mandatory registration

Visitors hate mandatory registration that is why it is better not to make the difference between registered and guest users. Both categories of visitors must have the same rights and opportunities. Registration or “Sing up” is needed when the user is going to buy something. Please consider that complex sign-up process that takes a lot of time can alienate customers away. You can also allow guest visitors to go through checkout without registration, and after this suggest them to sign up in order to make their next purchase in your online store easier.

Provide comfortable search functionality

Navigation or search features allow visitors to find desired products in the store. Firstly, it is necessary to understand the search criteria that potential customers use. There are clear and obvious criteria such as prices, brands, models, colors and so on. But some users prefer using specific search criteria. For example, women may search by unusual color names: terracotta, cherry, lemon color. Some users search by the product dimensions or products with reviews. The best way to identify the non-standard search criteria is to ask the online store visitors what is important for them and what words, names and terms they prefer to use. Only after this the navigation functionality can be implemented to the online store.

Other online store elements

The LOGO is a visible online store element and it is not only a brand identity. If you click on the logo on most websites you know where you will be forwarded to. Logo leads to the home page regardless of how deep into the online store you are.

SEO Tip. Logo on the website’s home page should be inactive, because circular reference which leads to the same page where it is located is unsuitable and bad for SEO, so it is better to get rid of it.

Such elements as MY ACCOUNT and MY CART should be placed at the top right corner of the page. These are generally accepted things and people are accustomed to look for these elements there. It is rather a recommendation and, if you put these elements in a different place – make sure that users can quickly find them.

BREADCRUMBS are not something very outstanding, but they are very convenient for users because they show full path to the page that customers are viewing. They are usually placed horizontally across the top of the page and indicate the online store current page’s hierarchy in relation to the website structure. Breadcrumbs navigation is very useful for SEO.

The FOOTER in the online store is another place where visitors look for the necessary information. It is better to put some significant elements like Terms, Privacy Policy, License Agreement and others in the footer, as those may be of interest to your customers and should be easy to find.

Provide Related Items

If you suggest related items effectively you can increase sales because of cross-selling. Related products may be bought in addition to the product the visitor is searching for. The Related Products block can be placed depending on the e-platform, theme and page layout. Generally, you can set the related items for each product that will be recommended to the customers.

Avoid Hidden Charges

Customers definitely leave the online store if the price on the last step of the purchase turns out to be higher than the price they saw on the product page. Be sure that you display prices, shipping charges, taxes and discounts clearly. Very often the extra charge can be shown separately and visitors don’t pay attention to this block of information. Check twice and even do the usability test to be sure that buyers understand everything correctly when they choose the products, so that they know the final sum they have to pay before going to checkout.

There are only some tips and, as you can see, there are only hints and ideas related to making your online store better. There are no strict instructions and rules that you would certainly need to apply. You should analyze the situation, implement changes, run tests and compare the results, as only this kind of approach will show you what is right and effective for your e-commerce business.