Friday, September 17, 2010

How to Make your E-commerce Website User-friendly

by Manish Rawat

Gone are those days when people spent most of their time travelling and shopping for hours. Today, no one has got enough time and a fully tech-savvy generation needs all the products and services at just a click away. This is the sole reason why, more and more money is being spent to increase their usability.

In the real world, imagine yourself walking into a store and you see clutter everywhere - the only thing that is clearly visible is the EXIT sign. However, good the pricing is, if the store is not organised in a presentable manner, you are likely to walk straight through that exit door. Similarly in the virtual world, a lot of online retailers do not focus on getting objective feedback from external users on site usability.

What Is an Effective E-commerce Marketplace?

In the online world, there exists a very competitive marketplace, where a rival's site is not more than one click away. It must be possible that you could be selling the best products in the market and that too at much cost effective values, but if shoppers suffer difficulty in finding them or get confused, there are one hundred and one percent chances of losing them. An effective e-commerce website is a one-stop store for equipped with all the services and maximum conversion rate.

Ways that will make your e-commerce website have the most dramatic effects on the conversion rates, and avoid users prematurely abandoning shopping baskets.

1.Try and avoid confusion with the usernames- It is much easier to remember one's e-mail id rather than a username. How many different usernames you would keep for an e-commerce website? It is actually ridiculous, and tends to confuse the visitor. E-mail addresses are more standard and avoid the problem of another user sharing the same.

2.Avoid lengthy registration process- Let your shoppers buy without registering. A lengthy registration process is a big turn-off for many visitors. The best idea is to let them explore the shopping carts and when they are really done with the purchase, give them an option to Sign Up. In most of the cases, sales is more important than the registration process.

3.Chunks Of An Order Process- Think this way, there is little time to think at each step and much lesser information to enter. Breaking up the long and sometimes, quite over-stretched ordering process into bits would quite ease the process. A simple login, and choice of delivery address and the options, information about the payment details and a simple review and order submission would prove quite helpful in increasing sales, improve customer retention and lower cart abandonment.

4.Tell customers where they actually stand- It is by far the most ridiculous situation for a customer if they are unaware of how many steps they have completed and how many are yet to come. They would surely abandon their purchase halfway. In order to avoid such a mess, it is important to provide the visitors with an easy navigation where they can easily skip back to the previous option, instead of going all the way again through the process.

5.Provide users with a reason- Many effective e-commerce sites provide adequate reasons or in more simpler terms, common user queries to the customers to their but obvious questions throughout the ordering process. For instance, the user might want to know the reason behind their need to provide extra information such as, date of birth, etc. provide them reasons either on-screen or with a hyperlink.

6.Lessen the chances to have the form returned- It is very important for your e-commerce website to contain highlighted fields that are mandatory for the customers to fill in. There can nothing be more annoying than a form that has already been filled, and then returned.

7.Give them an assurance- Try and put yourself into customer's shoes, and then think of their utter security and the other concerns they might have to encounter during any online purchase. Give assurance that they are 100 percent safe and the information provided by them such as credit card details, transaction is private and protected.

8.Avoid Hidden charges- Make sure that you provide them with exact prices, taxes, shipping charges as early in the purchase process as possible. Otherwise, you tend to lose your customers' trust and repeat orders.

9.A confirmation mail is a must- After the last, but not the least stage of the order process, i.e. confirming their order, do send in a confirmation mail straight away. It is actually more feasible to get the details of the order online rather than calls to customer services.

In other words, a successful and a user-friendly e-commerce website development depends on building a healthy relationship between the user's expectation and how the website delivers the service in a non-threatening manner. Following these guidelines, for sure would help you develop an e-commerce website that is not only user-friendly, but effective as well.

About the Author

PixelCrayons, a web design & development company offers E-commerce website development and provides shopping cart solutions with integrated shopping cart software.