Table of contents
Undoubtedly, attention to user experience (UX) plays a key role today in the battle for customers. This importance will only grow in the future. So let’s take a look at the UX of websites as part of CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) activities.
Understand UX design
To understand what UX design is and the impact it has on conversions, all it takes is a little imagination. In fact, we deal with User eXperience every day. Each of us is a consumer and each of us goes through a certain conversion path. This happens not only during online shopping, but also in the real world.
Imagine a situation in which we want to buy, for example, a new smartphone. Let’s assume that we are doing this offline and that we do not have a particular model in mind. However, we have certain requirements for the new device.
SXO – a good position in Google is like an easy commute.
To make a purchase, we first need to find a store. In a better position are those markets that are in easily accessible, well-connected places. We prefer those stores that we can get to quickly and efficiently.
“Easy access” on the web can be defined as SEO. Activities aimed at improving the visibility of a site in Google search are also about improving UX. Efficient arrival at the desired domain is always a positive user experience.
For all intents and purposes, if we rank low, we also record less traffic. Less traffic, usually means fewer finalized transactions, i.e., fewer conversions.
Low traffic, usually means fewer conversions.
We have already written about SXO – you can read more about this issue here.
Page Speed, or page loading speed
We have found a store. We need to enter it, of course. So we walk up to the door that opens automatically and… wait, wait, wait… If we have to wait too long, we will certainly give up shopping there.
The same is true on the Internet. Websites need to load as fast as possible so as not to discourage users. The longer it takes to load, the higher the frustration level. The risk of rejection increases – users don’t want to wait.
Time is money, in this case literally. We are impatient. If we provide users with fast site performance we increase the chances of a higher conversion rate.
Good UI design positively influences the conversion optimization process
If, upon entering a store’s interior, we are greeted by clutter, chaos or nightmarish decor, crooked tiles, mismatched shelving, etc., our confidence level will drop. The bad impression will accompany us throughout the rest of the shopping path. Unless we turn on our heel and leave the place.
Similar rules apply in the world of e-commerce. We want to buy from places that are orderly and create positive impressions. The front site of an online store, or home page, must inspire trust and encourage, invite us to learn more about the offer.
Attractive and clear layout
The entire website must be clear and readable. Attractive design is a must. Care must be taken to ensure consistency and harmony, as well as proper placement of elements. Very often you buy with your eyes. Therefore, not only the appearance of the products is important, but also the way it is presented and the place where we make the transaction.
We can’t allow the user to feel lost and have difficulty completing the goal. An overly complicated layout is distracting and makes it easy to deviate from the conversion path. So do the actual stores with colorful lights flashing everywhere, loud music and gadgets rushing around.
Navigation,-search,-CTA – guide-user
There are 2 main ways to navigate in a store. The first is to move between shelves using the posted descriptions of the assortment. The second – going to an employee and asking him to point out the product you are looking for.
Both ways are reflected in the online store. We can either use the navigation (e.g. main menu, category menu, filters) or use the search engine.
Both methods of navigation play a very important role in the conversion path. The more efficient and faster the path to the product we are looking for, the higher the chance of making a purchase.
The more efficient and faster the path to the product we are looking for, the higher the chance of making a purchase.
Proper information architecture (IA)
An extremely important part of the conversion optimization process is to prepare a proper site structure. Categories and products must be logically and clearly grouped and sorted.
A very important part of the information architecture of conversion optimization will be to give sub-pages, categories, navigation elements, buttons, headers, etc. proper names. It is imperative that these names be legible and clear to the user.
The names must be clear to the user.
Product-description – give the user what he needs
When we are in the store at the smartphone rack, each of us will want to see it up close, from all sides, to learn the most important information about it. On the Internet, we don’t have such opportunities.
However, it is still we who want to get to know the product as well as possible. That’s why we need to take care to properly present our offer. Of course, the basis is to show the product from as many shots as possible (360st view will be a plus), it is good to show the product in use.
UX writing vs Copywriting
We must not forget about a good description and parameters. It is worth using the principles of UX writing here. Descriptions, data tables should be maximally focused on what the user needs.
It is best to write in simple language, avoid writing flowery essays. You need to provide the viewer with condensed knowledge in the most accessible way. A good UX practice will be bolding in the text or supporting yourself with icons or infographics.
Let’s also remember the right balance of information. Price is not always the most important. Features such as free delivery, return, fast shipping, longer warranty, etc. may be more important than it.
A product page is a good place to put elements to help make a buying decision. Supporting the decision-making process is also part of the UX Designer’s job as part of conversion optimization.
Customer reviews – social proof
For this purpose, for example, feedback from other customers is ideal. This is an application of the so-called social proof and works very well in practice.
Rule of unavailability
Another way to help with decision-making is the unavailability rule. All you need to do is to signal that you should hurry, because soon the product or service may disappear from the offer, or it will be more expensive, for example.
This type of treatment effectively increases the conversion rate. However, one should keep ethics in mind and avoid cheating. Reviews should be sincere, voiced by real customers, and the unavailability rule should be applied truthfully. Attempts at hypocrisy may have a quick effect, but in the long run they do more harm than good.
This element known from many e-commerce sites is also a good way to boost your conversion rate.
First of all, if a user would like to see what are the differences between the selected models, he doesn’t have to do it outside our site. So he will not leave our site for this purpose, so there is less risk of non-conversion.
Secondly, a comparison engine can help with decision-making. When we have too many choices, it is harder to choose one right product. Our apprehension and discomfort grows, and there is a desire to postpone the moment of purchase.
When comparing, we limit the number of products under consideration to a few models. A good practice is to clearly mark the differences. Green color indicating a better parameter, red a lower one will allow to quickly find the favorite and bring the user closer to the decision and, consequently, to finalize the transaction.
The final stage of shopping is also of great importance. The shopping cart and checkout views should be approached with great care. It is very easy to lose users here, and with them conversions.
When standing at the checkout in a real store, we would like to get things done as quickly as possible. We expect the cashier to serve us efficiently. We expect the same on the Internet.
Unnecessary items in the ordering process to the trash!
If a conversion is to occur, we need to reduce the risk of going to other pages. An example would be the ability to increase the number of items ordered in the shopping cart view. This way we don’t have to go elsewhere to add a few pieces.
It is also good to eliminate all unnecessary elements. You can even go so far as to hide the menu in the order view. Since we already have the customer at the checkout, let’s not let him leave before completing the transaction.
Focus attention on only one thing at a time
For conversion optimization, it is a good idea to divide the order view into several clearly separated sections. You should not bombard the user with forms. Choosing a delivery method, entering shipping details or payment options must clearly guide you through the process step by step.
Breaking these sections into separate subpages, however, is not a good idea – there appears too much risk of shopping cart abandonment. Just like in the real world – we expect to get everything done at a single window and that everything we need to do will be presented one step at a time.
It’s not a good idea to break up the process.
After all, we can’t imagine that upon approaching the checkout, the salesperson will recite to us in one string a sentence like:
“Good morning, payment by card or cash? Do you collect points? Add a bag?”
The cashier will ask us these questions, but each, only after the previous ones have been answered.
Online shopping without registration
A good UX practice for conversion optimization is also to allow shopping without registration. Online shopping without creating an account is a relatively popular choice among Internet users. A good user experience in this field will contribute to increased conversions.
Don’t force. Encourage!
Remember that forcing customers to do anything is against the principles of User eXperience – it builds negative feelings of users. Requiring data that is not necessary from the user’s point of view to complete the order acts as a deterrent.
The situation looks similar for marketing consents and forcing newsletter signups. If the customer is unable to complete the purchase with such a checkbox unchecked, the risk of cart abandonment increases.
UX design recommends encouraging instead of forcing. Of course, it is not worth giving up without a fight and giving up on subscribers. With them we expand our reach and can count on more returning customers, which is an opportunity to build another positive user experience.
What to do? In case we need more data from our customers, it’s a good idea to explain to them why you need it. Be honest and build trust. And if you want to encourage newsletter sign-ups when finalizing purchases, offer something in return, such as a discount.
What else do you need to remember when optimizing for conversions?
We must not forget the general principles of User eXperience. Even the introduction of basic rules, such as Nielsen heuristics, can help increase conversions. Most of them seem simple and easy to understand, but often in practice people without UX experience do not know how to apply them well.
Focus on the user
This is actually where any conversion optimization work should start. UX design focuses on the specific user and meeting their needs.
Every website is different, and although they are all subject to the same rules, you need to skillfully apply them in each case. We need to design interactions differently for young hard-users’and differently for older audiences.
When making every decision in the process, the UX designer must keep in front of his or her eyes not only the goal of increasing conversions, but also who the site is aimed at.
Continuous UX and CRO improvement
Today, the world is changing rapidly and this trend is not bypassing the Internet. In fact, it is very clearly visible on the web. Therefore, the conversion optimization process is worth repeating regularly.
For sure, in the long run, user habits will evolve. Also, the long-term statistics collected after implementing the changes will allow you to see more than was possible based on previous data, or A/B tests performed while working on User eXperience.
The long-term statistics collected after implementing the changes will allow you to see more than was possible based on previous data, or A/B tests performed while working on User eXperience.
Be sure to go RWD
This should not be forgotten in the context of conversion optimization. According to a report on the Polish e-commerce market published in the second half of 2021 by Gemius, laptops and smartphones are the most popular devices on which we shop online.
It is worth noting here that more than half of respondents admitted that they start their shopping on a mobile device and finalize it on a desktop or laptop.
Mobile shopping tops
Smartphones are becoming more popular every year. Among young users, as many as 92% of those surveyed indicated that they shop via smartphone.
People who have been shopping online for at least 2 years are far more likely to choose devices other than smartphones.
Growth of conversions on smartphones
Another interesting finding from the aforementioned study is how much can be improved when shopping on mobile devices. As many as 80% of respondents encountered problems in the process of buying via smartphones.
The most common problems were inconvenient form filling and the general inadequacy of the online store for mobile devices.
Conversion is not just sales
It’s worth remembering that conversion applies not only to e-commerce, but also to other websites. Each one has some goals in front of it. In some, the conversion will be to sign up for a newsletter, in another to leave a lead’a, and in yet another to purchase a product or service.
Optimizing conversions in each of these cases will be based on improving User eXperience.
What results can be expected?
This is where the sacramental “it depends” falls. There are many elements that contribute to the final result. The level from which we start is important, the audience is important, the ability to implement changes not only on the side of the website, but also the entire customer service.
It is also necessary to pay attention to the value of the conversions themselves. As a result of the CRO activities carried out, the conversion rate may increase slightly, but bring a clear improvement in the quality of the leads or the value of the shopping carts.
There is also a need to pay attention to the value of the leads themselves.
How to conduct a conversion optimization process?
Conversion optimization is a complex process and you should prepare well for it. UX design requires extensive knowledge from various fields. All activities should be well planned and synchronized.
That is why it is best to entrust these activities to an experienced agency such as Up&More Then you can count on a marked increase in conversions and, incidentally, more visits resulting from improved SXO (you can learn more about SXO in our post – here).
Kacper has been a Lead Graphic Designer at Up&More for 9 years. He has been dealing with graphics since 2006 and during that time he has completed hundreds of designs for websites and online stores, static and animated advertising graphics, as well as printed materials. Currently, the main direction in which it is developing is issues related to UX/UI.