Ecommerce Design: How Smart UI Choices Boost Engagement and Conversion
In ecommerce, conversions are considered the most important metric to track. However, an increase in engagement can matter just as much: the more people interact with your pages, the more likely they are to return and convert later as well as to promote your business among their own network.
Boosting both of these metrics will also help you earn more if you ever decide to sell the website. Traffic and interaction demonstrate value and will help a potential customer evaluate potential returns better.
By improving your user interface design and making your website more usable, you can boost all of these valuable performance indicators. Here’s how.
Minimize Interactive Distractions
Some ecommerce websites try to do too much in a small space and have too many visual and interactive distractions on a page. Of course, all the various UI elements, including forms, lead magnets, and links to your blog posts, are important. But if you’re not careful, they can become overwhelming and very disruptive.
To improve your UI, aim to offer your visitors a limited choice. True, you will be minimizing their conversion options and pathways, but that’s actually a good thing. Choice paralysis can be more harmful. When you ask visitors to focus only on certain elements, they will feel more in control.
A well-thought-out sales funnel will come into play here, as you want to know exactly which choice you need to offer and which one you can omit. For example, offering a transactional choice alongside an email signup, as long as it’s not too flashy, can work well.
On the other hand, recommending too many products, showing your social media feed, asking for a signup, and recommending blog posts at the same time will be overkill.
If you are not worried about executing this tactic, take a look at the example of Kopi Luwak Direct. Their hero focuses on their USP and CTA. There’s nothing superfluous about it. And when you click, it takes you lower on the page, where you are again exposed to limited, important information.
It’s not quite a minimalist approach, but it’s certainly less distracting than what most competitors present.
Image source: Kopiluwakdirect.com
Don’t Hide Your Trust Badges
Online shoppers browse every website armed with certain questions and misgivings. They will want to know how much shipping is, who you’ve worked with before, what your product quality is, and so on.
This is an unavoidable fact. You can’t design a website that will eliminate all of these misgivings instantly. What you can do is provide trust badges that will keep visitors engaged long enough to convert.
The mistake ecommerce stores make here is that they hide these trust signals on their product pages. True, they certainly need to be there, but that’s not enough.
If a shopper lands on your homepage, they may decide to leave long before they see any product details. If you place your trust badges there as well, they are more likely to stay interested, click through to a product page, and ultimately convert.
What your trust badges are will depend on the most common conversion obstacles your customers face. It may be shipping or payment options, delivery dates, or sizing, for example. Address the biggest ones that have the highest chance of swaying a potential customer.
Take a look at Firepit Surplus. They have highlighted their free shipping above a certain price point, along with their reviews, price matching, and customer service. These four points make emotional engagement with the brand much more likely, as customers explore the site knowing that they have someone to talk to, they won’t be overcharged, and that the brand is trusted by many.
Image source: Firepitsurplus.com
Simplify Your Checkout Process
26% of customers will abandon their cart if the checkout process is too long. An additional 34% will give up if you also make them register an account.
Sure, the more you know about your shoppers, the better you’ll be able to serve them. But shoppers hate long checkout processes with too many fields to fill out, especially if they have nothing to do with their purchase. How they heard about you or whether they would recommend you to a friend has no place in the checkout process.
The simpler you can be, the better. Shopify offers a very easy solution to its customers. Take a look at Colourpop: it’s super fast, it shows you all the relevant information, and there really is no hassle. If you’ve already saved your personal information in your Google account, you can check out in seconds, even as a guest.
Image source: Colourpop.com
Prioritize Page Speed
Page speed directly impacts both conversion and engagement rates. The faster the website, the better both of these metrics will be. Websites that load in under 2.5 seconds average conversion rates of 1.9%, while websites that load in over 5.7 seconds average a conversion rate of under 0.6%.
Bounce rates also increase by 32% when page load times go up to 3 seconds and by 90% when they go up to 5 seconds. By prioritizing speed, you can directly impact how long someone stays on your website and how they engage with it.
Here are the most important steps to take:
- Choose a reliable and fast hosting provider with servers located in the same area as your customers.
- Compress your image file sizes with a tool like Smush. Use next-gen formats, like webP.
- Cut down on the number of redirects you have on the website, and avoid redirect chains. Some redirects are to be expected (like from your http:// to your https:// website).
- Use a caching plugin and a CDN.
- Minimize your CSS and JS file sizes.
- Eliminate all unnecessary plugins. Use a plugin manager to turn them off on the pages where you don’t need them.
Design for Mobile
Instead of merely making your website responsive, design mobile-specific pages. Mobile sales totaled $359.32 billion in 2021 in the US, a 15% rise compared to 2020. If you fail to make your mobile UI excellent, you’ll be missing out on your share of this pie.
Start by understanding your audience and what they are doing from a mobile device. 80% of shoppers will use their phone to look up a product even while in a physical store. They’ll typically compare prices, look for reviews, or research specific details.
Learn more about thumb placement and where to position your CTAs, and carefully vet all the information you present on a smaller screen. Mobile experiences need to be lightning fast (which is where page speed comes in again), and they need to be easy and light.
Shoot your images specifically for portrait orientation, and actually test how they look on a mobile phone. Choose one font and stick to it, and make sure it stays readable at all zoom levels and screen sizes.
A/B test your mobile website frequently and track click-through rates across your most important elements. Move them around if necessary — even an inch can make a huge difference.
Figuring Out Ecommerce Design
By implementing smarter UI design choices in ecommerce, you can increase both your engagement and conversion rates. The devil is in the details, as usual. So, tailor all of your decisions to your specific audience and their expectations and needs.
Karl Kangur is the founder of Resultcompass.com.