The number of reasons why online sales seem to underperform is infinite. Perhaps the prices are too high, the selection is not quite broad enough, or the user experience associated with shopping on your website is leaving much to be desired. User experience can have a bigger impact on your sales than you might think. Below are five reasons and scenarios that show how a bad user experience will lead to poor sales.
Over the course of the last several years, people have begun to rely on their mobile phones for just about everything – and that includes shopping. Even if your site looks phenomenal on every imaginable browser on desktops and laptops, if it doesn’t perform as it should on a mobile phone or even tablet, you are essentially alienating a huge percentage of your audience. According to socPub, 57% of smartphone users will not recommend a business with a poorly-designed website, and when you consider that 70% of the population will have smartphones by 2020, a mobile-friendly site is no longer optional.
No matter which industry you choose, there is a very good chance you are in competition with several other websites that sell the exact same things you sell. This means that you should have a goal of making your site better than all the rest – including its overall feel. If your site is boring and does very little to draw visitors in, this is how they will inevitably come to view your brand. There are plenty of other choices out there, so be sure that you are not driving people away with a plain website that does very little to represent your company and its core values.
If there is one thing that people have come to expect from the websites they visit, that thing is speed. The faster someone can go online, search for a product, put the product in their shopping cart, and complete the checkout process, the better. If your visitor waits more than two or three seconds for a product page to load, frustration begins to set in, and this frustration will increase your bounce rate drastically. Converting more of your visitors into buyers requires speedy load times, so be sure to check yours often and adjust where needed.
It is always an excellent idea to make sure your customers understand your shipping rates and return policies as they navigate through the checkout process, but if you are putting each of these things on a separate page and forcing visitors to scroll to continue, there is a very good chance you are frustrating them. By and large, one of the best ways to improve the overall user experience (and therefore your sales) involves making the checkout process as simple and painless as possible. Ideally, the process should consist of one or two pages at most, not including the final confirmation.
Last, but most certainly not least, it is important to consider the amount of information your website offers to your visitors. Just as an example, if you are selling t-shirts online, including information about your shirts is crucial. Are they made from natural fibers? Is the cotton organically grown? Are your t-shirts made from more sustainable, greener materials? If someone is likely to ask a question about your products, be sure that it is easy to find the answer. If your competitors provide information you have omitted, you might find yourself losing sales.
The user experience is one of the most important parts of your website. Taking the time to test your site across numerous browsers and devices – including mobile devices – can help you determine where you can improve. As always, you should provide a user experience that goes above and beyond the competitors and makes your customers want to return again and again.