Search online and you’ll find countless ecommerce guides and secret tips. From hosting to online merchandising and shipping, there are a lot of boxes for merchants to tick. But, when you boil down every bit of guidance, one rule remains clear – simplicity is the key to a successful online shop. Launching and running an ecommerce store is tricky enough, so why would you add complexity into the mix?

It all starts with Occam

People visiting your ecommerce store will want a simple, stress-free experience. They’ll probably want a slick, engaging and fun experience too, but that can wait until another day.

If you had two options and had no preference for one of the other, you’d pick the simplest option, right? This principle is called Occam’s razor (named after William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347) – an English friar, no less). So, for example, if you were locked out of your house, your first choice wouldn’t be to break down the door (surely that’s further down the list, right?). You’d probably knock first, and if that doesn’t help, you’d choose the next easiest option, and so forth.

Most visitors to your website will want to take the easiest route too. And sometimes, the easiest route is just to leave your site. According to a recent study by statista.com, 25% – a quarter! – of website visitors abandon ship because the navigation is too complicated proving just how critical a user-friendly experience is on ecommerce sites.

So, what should you do?

The first step is to look for common friction points across your online store. Put yourself in the shoes of your website visitors and actually use the site. Here are a few questions as a starting point:

  • Does your website contain complicated features that some users might struggle to function?
  • Is your navigation confusing people? And could it be boiled down to the main sections of your site?
  • Do you use a hamburger menu on the desktop version of your shop? Hamburger menus are great on mobile phones, but can provide a poor user experience. According to nngroup.com, UX metrics such as task difficulty, time spent on task, and task success will suffer.
  • Do any webpages have a particularly high bounce rate? This might help you pin-point major issues.
  • And what is the desktop bounce rate compared to mobile and tablet visitors? Some of the design features might not translate easily from one device to another.
  • Do your customers choose from dropdown lists? According to UX Designer Nils Sköld, drop-down lists are bad for the user experience, as “the user can’t see all the options they are presented with directly”.
  • Could your forms be simpler? Removing surplus fields can actually increase your conversion rates.
  • Do you allow guest check outs? If not, this is an easy way to boost your conversion rates even further. If you’re worried you’ll lose on valuable customer data, you can always offer to save the customers details after they’ve made the purchase.
  • Is your pricing strategy complex and full of surprises? Adding shipping costs at the final hurdle can have a detrimental impact. Simplify the process by integrating your shipping costs into product prices. Anti-aging skin care company NuFace added a ‘Free Shipping above $75’ notification on their site and enjoyed a 90% increase in orders.

If you’ve worked through a few of these questions and you’re not happy with the results, perhaps it’s time to ask a professional team for assistance…

Can we help?

If you’re looking for ways to simplify your ecommerce site and boost sales, simply “stepping into the shoes of your customers” can only take you so far. From heat maps to session replays to form analytics, there are some incredible ways to spot friction points and make data informed changes.

If you need assistance, we can help. Our team of experts boast an incredible amount of ecommerce and conversion rate optimisation expertise, making us the ideal choice for any ecommerce business looking for marginal (and major!) gains.

Posted in Ecommerce on 26th Jun 2017