Whether you want to sell niche products to a particular consumer, engage the masses with a range that undercuts the competition or get people to sign up for your services, you need an eCommerce site that is first and foremost, useable.
Sounds obvious, but with consumer shopping preferences and the capacity of various technologies that cater to them evolving quickly, understanding what usability really means today could be the difference between your business thriving or sinking without trace.
Think your site can pass the ten-point usability test? Check it for the following:
1. Responsive Design
The variety of desktop and mobile devices is expanding quickly and consumers now expect every website they access on their chosen gadget to be responsively designed.
In other words, your customers want the size, content, rotation and functionality of every page on your website to perform flawlessly on their chosen device, in any location, at any time. Sites that perform poorly will quickly be abandoned and are unlikely to be revisited.
Efficiency is crucial. Not only do page loading speeds matter to your customers, they matter to Google.
In 2016, Gary Illyes of Google confirmed that mobile page speeds would become standardised website ranking criteria so if you want to appear in the search results on any desktop or mobile device, your site needs to load quickly.
You want to sell your customers something that they want to buy, so make the process as easy as possible with clear directions that help them navigate through your site from the moment they arrive to the moment they checkout.
This includes drop-down menus that help them select everything from appropriate size and colour options to delivery and payment methods as well as simple ‘Add to Cart’ and ‘Buy Now’ buttons.
4. Shopping Cart
Want customers to add items to their cart? Then make sure your icon, whether it’s a bag, trolley, or something else entirely is clearly visible and accessible on every page.
5. Search Box
Consumers are short on time so make sure your products are easy to find by installing a search box, preferably one with an autocomplete function, on every page.
6. Contact Information
Whether you offer a phone, email or live chat service, give customers your contact details to reassure them that you care about their business and are ready and waiting to respond to their enquiries quickly.
Consumers may be increasingly comfortable shopping online but they’re also increasingly astute at spotting poor quality retailers so assure them that you’re legit with a solid ‘About Us’ page.
Your customers won’t always have the time or inclination to learn about your business so give them the reassurance they need to confidently hand over their card or other payment details by using logos.
Include the images of any payment gateway partners, services or accolades you have won at the footer of each page.
9. The Small Print
No matter how niche your products or services, the online marketplace is a competitive one and your customers will want the best deal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the lowest price.
Make the small print easily available so that details on everything from your shipping fees and returns policy to your code of practice are clear.
10. The Hook
Whether they buy something on this visit or not, give every customer a reason to come back with a hook.
This might mean giving them a 10% discount for subscribing to a newsletter or exclusive, advance notice of any seasonal sales or promotions by signing up to a mailing list or sharing your posts on social media.
If your site fails to pass any of these checklist items with flying colours, it’s a safe bet that you are losing custom to another online retailer who will and these are just the ten usability essentials.
On top of these things, you’ll need quality imagery, faultless content, up-to-date SEO and an operating platform like Magento Hosting UK that can adapt to meet your customer’s current and future usability requirements.