Ten Tips for Designing User Friendly Shopping Sites

How user friendly is your e-commerce site? Have you considered the psychology of online shopping?  Successful online retailing is becoming a science and many online retailers often fail to consider the ‘usability’ of their sites from a consumer’s perspective. Ryan Murtagh, CEO of the Australian e-commerce provider, Neto Ecommerce Solutions, has complied a usability checklist for online shopping site.

Usability Checklist for a Successful Shopping Site:

  1. People process information best in black and white.  Our brains are designed for simplicity and efficiency, the old adage KISS (keep it simple, stupid) still applies to website usability.
  2. Pop ups are good way of getting a users attention because they interrupt a users usual pattern of behaviour. Make sure the pop up is properly coded – don’t use web browser popup windows as these are often blocked by a user’s browser.
  3. People look for people – make sure you have appropriate images of people throughout your site to make users feel comfortable.
  4. We look for patterns.  Patterns are considered safe by users and easy navigation is very important.  Generally, users don’t like search functions on sites.  Sometimes they are necessary but always try to present your product in a logical pattern.
  5. People like things they can touch – which puts online retailers at a disadvantage. Overcome this with excellent descriptions and pictures of your products.  Many online retailers use words that simply don’t resinate or connect with the user.
  6. We all work better to deadlines.  A call to action with a deadline creates a sense of urgency, which causes us to focus.  3-5 minutes is the maximum time someone will concentrate on a website. Make sure it’s easy and compelling for your users to ‘Checkout’ and actually buy from your site.
  7. Users love short cuts and we all try to take them.  Are your users smart enough to figure out your pricing structure?  Can they easily calculate the discounts you’re offering?  If you make it too difficult they won’t bother and will click to a competitor’s website that does makes it easy.
  8. Users like to be in control. Make sure you locate ‘Action’ buttons on every page and make it very easy for users to feel like they are in control.
  9. Who doesn’t like a present? We all have a level of ‘present bias’,  we’re always looking for a deal.  If you offer users something extra, chances are they will take up your offer.
  10. We all have a fear of the unknown.  Always consider how the user will feel as they are shopping with you.  Do they need more information?  Can they get this information easily?  What is stopping them from checking out or adding more items to their shopping cart?

There is a world of opportunity for successful online retailers in Australia and no doubt that consumers are moving online at a rapid rate. The online retailers in tune with the usability of their online ecommerce platforms will reap the rewards as this space explodes in the coming years.

Seeking more information on how to get an online retail venture off to a flying start? See our complete A-Z guide, Power Up: The Online Retail Entrepreneur’s Guide.

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