In today’s digital age, reducing usability hurdles and simplifying your ecommerce site's “path to purchase” for mobile shoppers is crucial. Responsive web designs and simplified navigation are key to creating a positive mobile shopping experience. Unfortunately, form fields tend to be overlooked in this regard.
A simple but essential part of any ecommerce site, forms allow e-tailers to collect customer information to complete orders and set up user accounts. However, forms can produce frustrating hurdles for mobile shoppers who must manually input information via small touch screens. To keep mobile customers from bouncing off of your site or abandoning their carts, make sure that your website forms abide by these design guidelines:
Minimal form fields
For mobile users, each blank form field is a step in the registration and/or checkout processes. In ecommerce, each step is an opportunity for users to bounce. By reducing the length and complexity of your forms, you reduce cart abandonment rates too. One common mistake is requiring customers to enter the same information for multiple form fields, such as for email and password confirmation. The purpose of repeating form fields is to reduce user-submitted errors - but there are other ways to achieve this. For example, you could make password creation forms visible by default to allow customers to easily see if they have made an error. You can also show new customers the bare minimum of forms for their first purchase, then follow up with additional forms via email.
By streamlining the process of inputting information, you reduce your customer’s exposure to checkout friction. Incorporating autofill features into your forms accomplishes this while also reducing the amount of user errors that come from unassisted manual input.
Streamline form navigation
To make it easier for mobile shoppers to input information and navigate between fields, make sure your forms are vertically aligned. With this layout, users see multiple fields at once and only need to scroll up or down to see more (as opposed to up, down, left, or right with side-by-side form fields). You can further streamline forms by combining single input fields that request related parts of related information. For example, instead of having fields for First and Last name, area code and phone number, or month/day/year (3 types of information, split among 7 fields) - combine them to create a Full Name field, Phone Number field, and Birthdate field, respectively.
Making sure that your ecommerce site is compatible with mobile devices is critical for maintaining a good shopping experience – not just for your current customers, but also for new customers who may get their first impression of your brand through a mobile browser. While developing your strategy for mobile users, remember these guidelines for giving your customers the best mobile experience.
Size & Speed
On average, internet connection speeds for mobile devices are slower than desktops. More features and content take longer to load - and this time is emphasized for your mobile users. A feature-rich desktop version of the site is a great idea, you'll need to turn off some of these features on the mobile site to keep loading times down.
Screen real estate on mobile devices is limited. While working on the size and speed of your mobile site, consider how you can simplify the navigation. People love mobile devices because of their convenience, so as a general rule of thumb – the fewer steps it takes to find a product or complete a purchase, the better.
Mobile app vs. mobile website
Depending on the experience you want your customers to have, you may want to invest in an app over a mobile site. Compared to a mobile-friendly website, apps are more expensive to develop, but they can incorporate much more functionality without sacrificing speed. If you decide to create an app, it should provide an experience that is distinct from visiting your ecommerce site. Otherwise, customers will have little incentive to download and use it.
The main function of product pages are to provide users with the information they need to decide whether to purchase a product. There are many types of information you can add to these pages to make them more useful to potential customers, including:
Imagery & Video
Give shoppers something more than standard manufacturer-provided photos – which tend to convey only basic information about a product. In addition to using images that show customers as many models, colors, angles, and other variables as possible, include images or videos of the product in multiple scenarios (e.g. in use, before assembly, in storage, on display, etc.) to give customers more information.
Written descriptions educate shoppers about the product's functions and features, specifications, and advantages over similar products. However, you don’t want to frustrate your users with a wall of text - so keep your product descriptions short and to the point. When possible, try to let your images do the talking.
Whether positive or negative, reviews are an asset for product pages. Obviously, positive reviews reinforce a prospective customer’s decision to buy. Meanwhile, negative reviews give you the opportunity to help consumers who were unhappy with a purchase. Even if they do not respond or change their review, other readers will see that you made an effort and are sincere in your customer service.
For certain types of products (especially in the B2B space), users really appreciate technical product data like dimensions, weight, materials, instructions, and spec drawings.
Shoppers rely on various types of product information in their purchasing decisions. Your product pages should provide this information with as much clarity and detail as possible so customers can comfortably "add to cart" without needing to leave your site and find the information elsewhere – possibly from a competitor.
When comparing the shopping experiences between the two, it's common to see B2B and B2C companies take very different approaches to ecommerce. On one hand, larger audiences and intense competition have driven B2C ecommerce to grow and evolve rapidly. Meanwhile, B2B companies have focused on industry networking and strengthening relationships with returning customers – often at the cost of allowing their ecommerce capabilities to stagnate.
Slowly but surely, this is changing as more B2B companies are refreshing the design and functionality of their ecommerce sites to mimic some of the strategies for growth and customer retention employed by B2C ecommerce sites. In a way, a business is a group of consumers working together to find a product or service to meet a common need – so it makes sense to provide a shopping experience for businesses that’s similar to one for individuals.
In this post, we’ll point out key areas B2B companies should focus on to improve their ecommerce performance.
Customers expect a quality experience when they’re shopping online – whether for themselves or on their company’s behalf. To give your B2B customers a better user experience, take a hint from what B2C sites do by bolstering your site’s content and making it easy to find. Detailed and well-written content gives users the confidence to take the next step and contact you, or place an order. Additionally, a well-organized site structure helps customers find that information in as few clicks as possible.
Behavior Data & Analytics
B2C sites are experts at analyzing user data to accurately target customers for cross-sells and up-sells. Tracking user behaviors by way of site analytics can provide valuable insights you can leverage to better cater to your customers.
Customer accounts on B2B sites tend to be filled with comprehensive information. But, they aren’t always fully accessible for the customer. Allowing users to view order histories, check account data, and see the status of orders in progress can help users customize their B2B shopping experience while reducing common customer service inquiries.
In ecommerce, images are an important part of the design for your product pages. The purpose of product images is to help customers get a strong grasp of what it is they’re actually buying. While the product description is also important for building this consumer confidence, images can be more impactful, since they are the closest thing to "experiencing" the product first-hand. To ensure the images for your product pages are effectively driving purchases, follow these best practices for ecommerce images.
Images should be properly sized
Image files should be as large as possible to show necessary details, but they also need to accommodate the design of the product page. Use modal windows (aka, lightboxes) to enlarge thumbnails and provide manipulation features (e.g. zoom, rotation, etc.).
Show as many variables as possible
Ideally, images answer all of a customer's potential questions about the product's size and appearance. Make sure that your product pages utilize a gallery of images to show customers as many models, colors, angles, and other variables as possible.
Use many types of images
Give your users something more than the standard manufacturer-provided photos – which tend to convey only the most basic information about a product. Add images of the product in use, before assembly, and on display to give customers more information. Additionally, you can allow previous customers to upload photos they have taken of the product.