Running an eCommerce website can be hard. Your site may be ranking well, users are finding it through search engines with ease, they interact with your homepage, product pages and maybe even begin the checkout process. But somewhere along the way you lose them. They don’t convert and you’re left wondering why.   

Inevitably, user experience (UX) is one of the top considerations facing eCommerce businesses today and it can have a real impact on online success. But how do you improve your site usability? This is where a UX audit can help.  

Over the years, we’ve completed many UX audits for leading retailers. From our experience, we’ve recognised favourable features and common mistakes in eCommerce, knowledge that we can share with you. First, let’s get back to basics… 

What is a UX audit? 

Essentially, a UX audit is a simple way of seeing what’s working and what isn’t on your website. The process identifies barriers and underperforming functionality, in turn, improvements can be made to deliver results-driven user experiences. A UX audit can also answer some pretty insightful questions that many businesses would be thrilled to know the answers too such as: 

  • Where and why are users abandoning their cart? 
  • What stage do users most commonly leave your website? 
  • Where are users getting stuck within your website? 
  • What are users struggling to understand?  

Combining data analysis with intuitive insights and expert knowledge allows site barriers to be identified, providing you with the understanding to build a robust UX strategy that will boost your website effectiveness and conversion potential.  For more information read our blog: Unlock your website’s conversion power using a UX audit.

It’s important to remember that just because you understand your website and have a clear customer journey in mind, doesn’t mean everyone will follow the same path. A UX audit considers both sides of the coin: the good and the bad; the features that delight and the features that frustrate. Some of these mistakes occur across many eCommerce websites we see and are important features for businesses to consider. Here are some of the common themes we’ve noticed from previous audits.  

The top features of eCommerce UX 

Think mobile-first 

As we know, business objectives should be at the core of your actions, but going that step further and aligning your business objectives with the needs of your audience adds focus to a UX audit.  

Think audience-first. If the majority of your traffic comes from mobile, then you should be designing and building for mobile over desktop or tablet. In recent years, mobile usage has surpassed desktop with BrightEdge revealing 57% of traffic is now from smartphones and tablets highlighting the necessity of thinking of mobile-first.  

Even if you’re sat at a desk using a desktop or laptop, it doesn’t necessarily mean your consumers are. When making changes to or browsing your website, view it from the point of view of your users and always consider what they would be expecting.  

Increasing site search usage 

Make sure your site search box stands out! It’s the feature that your ‘ready to buy’ customers will instantly look for when on your site. For people to find the product/service they want, they need to be able to search through your website content quickly and easily. After all, the easier it is for people to navigate your website, the more likely it is that they will do just that. 

 (Source: https://www.startfitness.co.uk/

We know that users who use the site search functionality convert better than those who don’t. Here at Pinpoint, we have found that our client’s conversion rate is, on average, 5 x higher when customers use the site search feature compared to when customers ignore this feature. The best performing search bars are the most noticeable, which is why Start Fitness have enhanced theirs with a design that takes up two-thirds of their header.  

Smart Search 

It’s not just the positioning of the search box that’s important, the search filters are too. We work closely with Klevu, a world-class search technology delivering intuitive and responsive user experiences connecting shoppers to the exact products they are looking for. Full of insight, this solution offers self-learning search, rich autocomplete and trending searches, you can read more about Klevu here.  

(Source: https://www.beerhawk.co.uk/

Filter effectively  

Users rely on category filters to narrow down their requirements, particularly if categories contain a large number of products. Once your filters have been carefully selected and put into a logical pattern, the usage of them can be monitored in Google Analytics, making sure the most frequently used are closer to the top. Creating a robust and efficient filtering system will help users find the products they want faster – a win-win for everyone! 

(Sources: https://www.henry-london.com/

 Locked in checkout  

A challenge many eCommerce stores are familiar with is the number of cart abandonments they experience. For this, we suggest having a ‘lock-in’ checkout. This includes a simplified header to help reduce distraction and minimise the chance of users leaving the checkout process.  

(Source: https://www.henry-london.com/

Common eCommerce UX mistakes 

Missing asterisks  

Absent asterisks from mandatory information is a regular frustration that users experience. Consumers think they’ve completed all the required information fields on account creation or during checkout only to discover they’ve missed something out upon pressing enter. Ensure each field that needs an asterisk has one to avoid confusion or frustration.  

(Source: https://www.beerhawk.co.uk/

Unclear sizing  

If your eCommerce store sells something that has a size field, this sizing must be made clear and easy to access. Don’t presume that users understand your sizing. Even if you think it’s obvious, making a size chart accessible wouldn’t go a miss. Whether it’s for shoes, clothing or backpacks, don’t underestimate how important your size guide is and how often users may look for it, especially if you have unconventional sizing. 

(Source: https://www.npeal.com/

Pop-ups  

Be aware of the number of pop-ups you have and what they are trying to achieve. Pop-ups are an effective and enticing way to increase email sign-ups, promote an offer or bring a discount to a user’s attention. However, striking the balance between having enough site pop-ups and having so many that it annoys customers is a difficult to get right. During user testing, we have seen many users become frustrated with live pop-up chats that aren’t easy to close down or cookie notifications that pop up too frequently.  

When integrating pop-ups, pay close attention to who will be using them. Ensure incentives are clear and make your pop-ups easy to close if the user is not interested. We’ve shown a few examples of how our clients have implemented pop-ups well. 

(Source: https://www.regissalons.co.uk/
(Source: https://www.supercuts.co.uk/

Product Categories  

Often, eCommerce websites selling items such as clothing or shoes may have a product available in more than one colour. To enhance ease of use, we recommend grouping your options into one product, making swatches available so the user can easily see the choices available. You may be surprised how many user testers say, “that’s nice, but I’d love it in black”. Don’t miss out on an easy sale by listing your products separately.  

(Source: https://www.npeal.com/

A well-known rule within the world of eCommerce is to make the path to checkout as quick, easy and seamless as possible. UX audits are effective at identifying common errors and additional requirements, giving you the insight needed to implement the necessary improvements across your eCommerce website. Our in-house eCommerce UX Strategist has the expertise and experience to help you gain the insight and analyse the results. If you feel your business would benefit from a UX audit, reach out to the team at Pinpoint.