When it comes to e-commerce, design is one of the most important aspects of your website. An e-commerce store’s design is all about guiding users to go from an enticing homepage to quickly finding products and purchasing them. Being able to create nice, optimized websites is tricky when companies rely solely on developers. With prototyping, access to your website’s design is easier than ever, allowing you to design and work on a more successful e-commerce design.
Designing fast wireframes and in detail mockups in the space of days allows you to test your website without spending weeks and months developing it. This gives you a tangible website to work with in no time. As a result, you can design both wireframes and detailed designs while testing your homepage, product page, navigation and checkout. This can all happen within a short timeframe, allowing companies to ensure everything on the website is as good as it can be before putting in resources into creating the website.
By using a prototyping tool, e-commerce brands can quickly design wireframes to start initial testing and mocking up detailed designs. Prototyping tools often have ready made components with animation and transitions for fast mockups. Buttons, content panels, switches and more can be dragged and dropped onto the page to create a prototype webpage in a few minutes.
Once you have customized your components you can quickly create a landing page, product page, checkout page and more in a matter of hours. Developing these pages has a barrier to entry, only specialists can develop a landing page or product page with code, but with prototyping tools anyone can design them. As a result, you can start testing your shop, work on the user navigation and optimize your store.
You can use Mockplus or Adobe XD to create these prototypes. On Mockplus you get the massive built in component library mentioned earlier. With either platform, the relevant code (for Web, iOS or Android) is generated for your prototype components allowing fast and accurate implementation by developers.
Earlier user testing
Because you have now quickly created a mockup, you can now use the time saved from waiting for a developmental prototype as bonus testing and iterating time. Now you should test extensively through A/B testing with target groups and stakeholders, along with blind testing.
When testing, you can find areas in which the app or website is slow and slows down the user in their final goal (buying a product). Create landing pages, CTA pages, product pages, checkout and more, and optimize every small process to ensure a potential customer finds what they are looking for – fast, without abandoning their basket.
A/B testing is important to test various designs to find out which page is more optimal for target groups and customers. Give two or more designs to different groups, and collect data. With that data – such as the bounce rates and time to find a product, or more in depth analysis such as how many customers found related items in the related items bar, compared to how many went to the related items and then abandoned the whole basket.
If you are using prototyping to achieve this early data, you get real, actionable data from the testing to help iterate and refine your e-commerce store, allowing you to get ahead of the competition. Even with barely any development yet on the real pages, you are already making massive progress on your store.
Work on navigation
In addition to testing specific pages and groups of pages, e-commerce stores need to test navigation and user flow. At this early stage don’t worry about in depth architecture, this is all about ensuring customers follow the path you want them to follow. Likely: homepage – search/categories – product page – checkout. By optimizing the navigation on a surface level you reduce any inefficiencies and ensure users remain focused on the product.
You should check:
Check every link off a page. Ensure any links that are there are useful and prominent, and that any links that are distracting, removed. Any distracting links can take users off the ideal track.
Checking on a storyboard allows you to blind test user flows – similar to a flowchart with restricted choices. Users can then only go from A to B through designated choices. With the data you get from this you can find any inefficiencies and adapt to how users see your website. Every website has their own overall flow but looking at it from above, on a full-view storyboard, allows you to find inconsistencies and areas to optimize.
Also check out the back button, to see where a back button takes the user. This impacts users directly because when shopping users often flip between pages quickly to find their preferred choice.
Testing these out helps ensure users go through your website exactly how you want.
Use inspiration from successful e-commerce sites
Amazon, Asos and Macy’s are all fast, image rich and focused. They don’t distract the user when shopping. They are all very good at guiding the user to where the website wants. On each of these stores, the product pages are personalized and don’t just plugin generic product information that everyone else has. The information is presented in a proper manner, making sure every product page is as good as it can be, with product names, description text and images all suiting their website.
The same can be done on your website. Personalize the website and make sure every product has good product information, make sure they are image rich but focused on guiding the user to checkout without distractions. Make sure you stand out from the crowd – do analysis on your competitors and make sure your website information is more informative and of better quality than other stores that appear alongside your site on Google Shopping or on the Google search page.
Optimize for mobile
By the end of 2021, mobile e-commerce customers will account for 53.9% of all customers (Statista). It is vital that your store is optimized for fast shopping on a phone. By not optimizing well for mobile customers, you are potentially losing an estimated 63% of mobile customers who abandon a website due to poor usability.
Problems arise when designers and developers don’t adapt for touch users. A mouse on a computer compared to a touch screen on a mobile gives a very different interface – one where you use mouse hovers, rely on the keyboard for fast input of information. Mobile users, on the other hand, don’t use a mouse, and type slowly on touch keyboards. These need to be taken into account.
This goes into areas of the e-commerce store such as filtering, checkout, navigating into categories and sub-categories. The optimization needed is deep, but can truly transform your website for mobile users.
Two areas to highlight:
- Address lookup
Find ways of helping the user type less. This can primarily be done in two ways: smart address lookup. Mobile users do type, but they type slower than on a desktop. This is prohibitive to a fast checkout, and to combat that, have an address lookup tool for users to quickly enter only part of the address, before the full address appears and can be entered into the field.
- Apple or Google pay
These payment systems help users pay without needing to get out their credit card and manually enter all of the details. These help save the user valuable time and can save many abandoned baskets simply because the user won’t abandon the cart when the credit card information isn’t at hand or is too time consuming to enter.
These are two prominent examples of how mobile optimization can have immense impacts on your e-commerce store’s usability and competitiveness.
Other areas to consider: selecting categories and sub-categories, since users won’t use a mouse, hover interactions with categories will not be useful and a user touching the screen several times to find their category can be annoying.
Filter refinements also have massive potential for optimization, since again, users won’t be using a mouse, so selecting several checkboxes to filter requirements can be tedious. Finding solutions for your store can take time, but prototyping them out helps you find real solutions, fast.
These are several simple ways in which you can optimize your ecommerce store and beat the competition. Don’t be a run-of-the-mill online store, prototype, test, find inefficiencies and optimize them wherever you can. Learn from the best and ensure customers find your store and keep returning to your store.