Converting the Connected Consumer: Landmines to Avoid in User Experience Design

converting connected consumerOnline retail has been dependent of the function of visitor to purchase conversion ratio. In traditional offline retail, the rockstar salesman is a key asset for an outlet to drive its conversion, however for online store, the store itself needs to drive sales. Hence there’s the question of how to maximize the conversion, especially in case of a connecte consumer.

With Indian eCommerce market being valued at USD 14 Bn currently, the competition between internet retailers is getting more and more fierce especially in terms of conversion of the potential buyer landing on their homepage.

There are players like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Myntra, etc. which are not only dealing with high volumes of traffic but have also attracted good amount of funds from the VC’s and the angels. But what about the new entrants? Despite of having much knowledge about their target market, product, technology, innovation, etc., the conversion rates for most of the web stores is a mere few percent, which is quite low considering the rising amount of internet penetration in the country and the increasing number of online buyers.

At present, a lot of practices are being adopted by site owners to attract and sell the products on their site. Email marketing, COD services, more than 100 payment options, over thousands of product choices, cheaper shipping services, and much more.

However, before proceeding with the above, the first thing a site owner must focus upon is to design a hurdle-free user experience at his/her website. We recently had a word with Neha Modgil, Director, Techved Consulting, Asia’s first and only complete solutions for WCO to get deeper insights into the subject.

Here is a brief overview:

1) Determining importance of browse and search: To know what users will pick on the site, its important to understand their primary behavior, viz. browse/search which mainly depends upon category of the products. For instance, if one needs to buy an apparel, he/she will look for more variety and hence will browse. However, if one needs to purchase an iPhone 5, he will directly search for the desired specification. So, before designing the site, one must first recognize what is the product he/she will be selling and accordingly build an emphasized browse or search on the site.

Next, when the search is designed, one must make sure to provide relevant search results and of substantial amount. Keeping in mind that majority will not be going to set the search filters at first, search filters should be according to target users one is catering to. For e.g. if you are catering to masses then  default order of sorting of the search must be on price ranging from low to high.

2) Product page: Depending on a product type, images should be pretty big and there must be comprehensive information, sufficient enough to make the purchase decision. Getting the shipping, logistics and other overhead costs, added into the final bill at the time of checkout causes distress to the buyer than the actual product cost.Thus, the product page itself must mention all about prices, discounts, free shipping, COD services etc. Also, it is advisable to place a range of alternative products with images in case search results are anywhere below 50.

3) Less Loading time: According to a recent study conducted by Swedish startup Load Impact, on average, eCommerce websites take 7.9 seconds to load, almost 3 seconds longer than any other industry verticals. However, eCommerce retailers say under 2 seconds is most desirable. Online retailers must perform regular load testing and especially before key sales campaigns. There are free tools available like Load Impact or, to perform load testing.

4) Link-less checkout: Once the product is added to the cart, the site must make sure to make fulfil payments in as minimum steps as possible, as every new page will lead to 10% dropouts. Also, the payment mechanism should be fast, secure and free from distractions like forced login into merchant site, upsell and cross sell offers, etc.

5) Guest purchase option: A site which forces the potential shopper to first register, suffers with more bounce backs. Providing a guest purchase option to the user, will not only enhance the average time user will spend on the site, but will also increase the possibility of at least a one time purchase.

6) Simple site design: Finally, a clean, simple and targeted site design, free from any kind of complexities and unusual distractions, does half of the task for an online retailer. It allows consumers to focus only on the products they wish to buy.

Apart from these, the other factors which one can keep in mind include optimization of dead pages (‘No Search Result’,  404 Error Page, etc.), Honest advertisement, competitive pricing, and clear replacement & refund policy.

Although, the world is moving ahead with a technology changing at the speed of light. However, a majority of online buyers in developing countries like India are still in a nascent stage and are just exploring and experimenting this medium to make it a part of their daily life’s routine. Online retailers must adopt ways to make user experience for online buying as simple as possible.

To contact the author, email at Discover more on latest trends followed by connected consumers at the upcoming #IRE2014

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