E-commerce websites are created for customers, right? Without customers you’d have no sales, they’re the life blood of your online business. Therefore, it’s pretty important to take your users’ point of view into consideration when doing anything to your website. After all guys, every visitor is a potential customer.
Adopting a user-centric point of view is a powerful way to approach the creation of an ecommerce store and will give you an immediate leg up on the competition.
Take a few moments and think about online experiences you’ve had that have been good and bad. What made them memorable? What did you love? What did you hate?
Now look at your own website. From what you thought of other sites you visited, would you say its user friendly?
Regularly asking yourself the following 3 questions is a really useful way to assess how user friendly your website is:
Why should I care?
Obviously you think your business is the cat’s whiskers, otherwise you wouldn’t be growing it, but that doesn’t mean that you can assume everyone else will be as well. With so many competing distractions out there vying for your customers’ attention you have to be crystal clear about why someone should care about what you’re offering.
Use strong imagery and a well-considered page layout to grab attention. Make sure you clearly outline why your products are unique. Have an about page that tells the story of your business, which is truly one-of-a-kind. The images that you use throughout the site should support this message.
Why should I trust you?
Again, you know that you’ll deliver what you promised to the highest standards – but to a customer who has landed directly on your homepage and has never dealt with you before, you’re just another anonymous net stranger. It’s your role to guide them through the transaction and keep them in their comfort zone.
A key aspect of gaining trust is demonstrating security. A user wants to know that their payment details will be safe if they trust you with them and that you won’t spam them or sell their email address to any icky third parties.
Data is a big deal. If you’re taking payments on your store, then how you handle data and sensitive information is hugely important. If you process credit card payments directly on your site, you need an SSL certificate, which enables an encrypted connection between a website and browser – a bit like sealing a letter in an envelope before sending it in the mail.
An alternative to accepting cards on your site is to use PayPal, which takes your customer off of your site to the PayPal site to pay before returning them to your page when payment is complete. Even with PayPal, you can still get an SSL certificate to instill a sense of trust on the payment page for potential buyers. This shows a potential customer that you’re hot on security.
Likewise, make sure you have some security software in place to prevent hackers from getting in – a hacked website is a seriously bad thing. I use Wordfence to protect my website.
The second important element in building trust focuses on the customer service experience. Will you deliver what you advertised within a reasonable amount of time? If I need to, will I be able to return something? Will you be pleasant to deal with or will I have a nightmare encounter? These are all questions that might be running through a potential customer’s head before they enter their credit card details and finally take the plunge.
To reassure someone, be clear and upfront. Transparency is the name of the game here.
Be as accurate in your product listings and have photos clearly displaying the exact product. Provide the user with testimonials from other happy and satisfied customers recalling the positive experience they had buying from you or utilising your service.
Lay out your timeline for dispatch and mode of delivery. Provide a returns and refunds page that is easily accessed. And finally, just be nice. Unpleasant or unreasonable retailers are an immediate deal-breaker and one of the biggest killers of trust.
Will it be quick, easy and painless?
So you’ve grabbed and held the attention of a potential customer and gained their trust. Great! You’re almost there. Now you need to give your user the tools to easily, clearly and above all, quickly place an order and pay.
Last week I was dealing with a new online supplier. We had been corresponding for some while through email (already I was getting annoyed) and when I said I was ready to pay, they asked me to send them a cheque and once received, they would send me an invoice.
This is not quick, easy or painless.
The first assumption is that I have a chequebook. I would then have to physically write a cheque, put it in an envelope, address it, pay 95p for postage, walk it to the post office and then wait for them to receive, confirm, process/clear the cheque and fulfill my order. I also have to trust that they will do what they say they will with the cheque – with no BACS record or PayPal receipt my standard paper trail is out the window.
As a result, I went somewhere else and they lost my sale.
Always think about your user and be direct about what you are asking them to do. Make it easy for the them to pay or contact you if they have a question or problem.
To sum up:
Regularly review your website from a user’s perspective
Reviewing your website from your customer’s point of view is the best way to build a website that is stronger, more compelling and more likely to convert.Without users you wouldn’t have an ecommerce business so a user’s experience on your website is one of the most important things and a really easy win, when done right.
Ask yourself 3 questions
Why should I care?
Can I trust you?
Will this be quick, easy and painless?