Why user experience is as important as what you’re selling

User experience (UX) relates to the experience your website visitors have when they visit your site. In short, how they feel when they engage with your brand online: be it your website, product, or app. A good user experience is crucial – it’s what keeps customers on your website and encourages a repeat visit. But the same is true for a poor experience: if customers struggle to do what they want to do, they may not return.

UX should not be confused with conversion-rate optimisation (CRO) which focuses on conversions. Even though your ultimate goal is increasing sales (and converting visitors into customers), your first priority should always be your overall experience. Luckily, it is possible to focus on both by including your UX metrics in your CRO campaigns. This mix of qualitative data (customer satisfaction) and quantitative data (clicks) will give you a true reflection of how well your website is performing.

UX is all about humanising technology. Your customers may not be visiting an actual store, but that doesn’t mean they want to lose out on the shopping experience. Make sure your website is visually appealing, and include good quality product photos so it's easier for customers to make their buying decisions. Keep in mind, though, that up to 39% of users may abandon your website if the images on your website take too long to load.

If you aren't familiar with UX, it may seem impossible, but all you need to do is optimise a few aspects of your online store. Here’s how to start.

Ask for feedback – and then use it

No one knows what your customers want more than they do. When you receive feedback from your customers, verify their feedback and then use it. This shows that you care enough to listen.

If you’re just starting out, make sure you understand who your target market is: the specific group of people you think will benefit most from your products. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, you could end up wasting your time and money (and losing potential customers). Your ideal customer will have specific characteristics or business needs. Your target market will rarely, if ever, be everyone.

Open with strong brand messaging

Even when your customers are buying products, that’s not all they’re buying. They’re also buying the problems you’re promising to solve. Make this clear as soon as visitors land on your website. On average, you only have 2.6 seconds to impress potential customers. Their first impression of your website will influence whether they stay a little longer (and explore) or not. That’s not a lot of time to impress new, potential customers. To get this right, you need to understand who they are and what issues you’re solving for them. Use your homepage to tell visitors why they should choose your brand.

Help visitors navigate your site easily

First, you need to make sure your website is performing at its best, so try to fix any usability or speed issues as soon as possible.

Use visual cues to help your potential customers find what they're looking for. Visual cues directly affect where your visitors look on a page. Use arrows, lines and call-to-action (CTA) buttons to guide visitors to where you want them to go.

Recognise that customers attract customers

It’s no secret that online customers are more likely to trust social proof like customer reviews. By that logic, keeping existing customers satisfied is one of the easiest ways to attract new ones.

We’ve already mentioned that UX data is more qualitative than it is quantitative. This means you’ll need written or verbal feedback from your customers, which you can ask for in customer surveys or email campaigns. What you want to find out is how happy customers are with their shopping experience. In addition, ask how likely they are to recommend your business to a friend, or if they already do, how often.

We’ve already stressed the importance of a good user experience but did you know that 88% of users are less likely to return to a website if they haven’t had a good one?

Choose your ecommerce platform

When choosing an ecommerce platform, look out for the UX features and level of flexibility it offers. If you’re looking for ease of use, you could try Shopify or WooCommerce.

UX is one of the most crucial components of making sure your ecommerce store runs smoothly and converts your web visitors into customers. Just a few small adjustments to your website can enhance your customers' experience. Start by improving your homepage messaging, simplifying your site navigation, adding imagery and visual cues, and asking for customer feedback.

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