How Usability Influences Sales in an Online Store

17 October, 2018

How Usability Influences Sales

Ease of use is one of the factors that affect website conversion. Whereas traffic demonstrates whether users are interested in a resource, usability shows whether the design is clear. Obviously, the quality of a resource isn’t limited to its technical characteristics. Visitors who understand the design are more willing to place an order or leave their contact details.

The first impression of a web resource is by 94% formed by its interface while the level of trust depends on the look by 75%.

The majority of usability mistakes have been studied long ago. Nevertheless, there are numerous websites that still ignore basic design demands. They often try to explain low sales by external factors and much less often pay attention to the behavior of users on their site.

Business owners usually don’t admit that the reason for their poor conversion rates lies in the difficult or unclear design of their web resource.

In this article, we will talk about the connection between usability and conversion rates.

What is online store usability about?

Interface and responsiveness

As it was already mentioned, the look is important. Simplicity, style, and relevance to the corresponding field affect the level of trust.

Example of a quite strange-looking websitehow_UX_works_01

Internet users more and more often buy from smartphones. It is no wonder that Google first tested and now fully implemented mobile-first indexing. Responsive layout is an extremely crucial factor for web resource ranking.

Example of a non-responsive website how_UX_works_02

From the brand development perspective, your website should be easy to remember. That’s why you need a unique and appealing design. Therefore it’s better to create an individual logo and select a color scheme. Many websites don’t take branding seriously even though uniqueness affects their recognizability.

Based on the evaluation provided by Roger Pressman in his book “Software Engineering”, $1 invested in UX returns $10 to $100. The work with an interface is closely connected with the understanding of loyalty metrics and user retention. Emotions users feel when they look at your website is directly linked to their further actions (going to the next page or closing your website).

Well-organized navigation

Developing a website, make sure to work on its structure. Most online stores have several thousands of pages of product categories and subcategories. Hence, they must have a structure that would allow users to understand the navigation quickly.

Example of a website with an unclear structurehow_UX_works_03

50% of visitors that landed on a website via referral pages use the navigation to find their way.

It’s not only about a search bar but also about a convenient and clear menu.

Tips are also a great solution. When a user sees an element for the first time and doesn’t know what to do, a hint may be really helpful.

Remember that tips don’t work wonders. If a website is inconvenient, they won’t help.how_UX_works_04

Visitors of online stores don’t like spending a lot of time on search. A potential buyer should quickly get to a product page. Some experts insist on the three-click rule which states that an optimum website structure must allow you to get anywhere with no more than 3 clicks.

In reality, everything is a bit different. Users don’t care about the number of clicks. The most important is to understand each step and know how to get what you need.

Below is the example of a website that may be difficult to understandhow_UX_works_05

The fewer mistakes a user makes on a website, the higher the conversion to target pages you have.

Content quality

Clicking a link in search results, users want to see an answer to their request. In this case, you should take into account that content has a superpower of convincing and selling. When you show that you are an expert, have a deep understanding of customer needs and use professional vocabulary, you get users’ trust. Until users make a purchase, everything they think about you depends on the content.

Of course, the content on a website should be fresh and useful. Descriptions must be good and detailed. 38% of users will leave a web resource if its content or layout is unappealing.

To have good usability, ensure your text and pictures are easy to perceive.

Tips on content

  1. Use clear and correct page titles. They are shown in search results and tell users which page they are currently browsing.
  2. Important ideas and thoughts must be in headings (H1) and section titles (H2, H3 tags, etc.). Divide text into several sections and start each new thought with a new paragraph.
  3. Use convenient typography (font, typeface, size, line spacing, etc.). The visual presentation of text is one of the most powerful web design tools.
  4. If possible, use lists (numbered and unnumbered). Lists contain concise information and therefore are easier to read.
  5. Remember about the F-pattern of reading. Most Internet users perceive information from left to right and from top to bottom. Always put important information in the top left corner.

To increase conversion, a text should be interesting to visitors and nudge them into target actions (newsletter subscription, callback, etc.).

Such presentation of content won’t help you to get a high conversionhow_UX_works_07

Some online stores don’t have descriptions on their product pages. This gives a competitive edge to other, more scrupulous websites. In small 500-1000 word texts, you can always add low competition keywords which are both important for SEO and usability, since users get a chance to learn more about the product.

Talking of content, we just have to tell a few words about images. It’s not a secret that high-quality images are a must have for sales.

Contact details

If you want to increase conversion, put your contact information in plain sight of the resource. Contact details should be readable and attract attention. Usually, they are placed in a header or a separate block on the left or right side.

According to the research by Huff Industrial Marketing, KoMarketing, & BuyerZone, 64% of visitors would like to see contact details on a website. Moreover, 44% of users will leave if a page doesn’t have contact info.

Websites without contact information shouldn’t hope to get customers.how_UX_works_08

Thanks to available contacts users can quickly get in touch with a manager. Most online stores offer advice in online chats, which is a good usability factor.

Organize newsletter subscription, to inform customers about new arrivals. Promotions, bonuses, and discounts also have a positive impact on conversion. Additionally, you should display separate blocks with similar or new products. Post useful articles related to the subject of a website, as they effectively attract the attention of the target audience.

Technical condition

Don’t forget about the technical part (load speed, working links, etc.). A visually nice but technically not optimized web resource is doomed to a high bounce rate.

The research shows that 40% of users leave websites that load longer than 3 seconds.

Conversion increase depends not so much on the volume of traffic as on the ease of use of an online platform. A website is a business card of a company on the web. Its condition forms the impression of your trademark.

Website usability assessment

Whereas website conversion can be analyzed with Google Analytics and other specialized tools, usability needs a dedicated approach. The thing is that there are two ways to check the convenience of a website:

  1. Ask your users directly.
  2. Analyze their behavior.

Surveys are a good way to engage users. Yet, on the other hand, you cannot always ask users what they think about your design, functionality, and other usability issues.

For a systematic analysis, click heatmaps are really effective. Actually, they have already become multi-tools with many functions.

For instance, in Plerdy you can check click statistics on all (even dynamic) website elements. This click heatmap shows real interactions with everything on a web resource.

Example of the workspacehow_UX_works_09

This way you can find flaws in your website usability.

On the next stage, to increase conversion and lower a bounce rate, you can use smart popup forms. This tool allows you to display banners on the selected pages under an individually set condition.

Conclusion

In a competitive environment, usability is one of the crucial requirements for a website. Therefore, to improve UX/UI, you need to allocate time and resources. To make your site more convenient, pay attention to the quality of its design, text and graphic content, structure, navigation as well as technical issues.

As you are getting more competitors, usability becomes more important. If users are satisfied with the condition and content of a web resource, most probably, they will make a purchase. Even if they don’t buy during the first visit, they will return thanks to a nice impression the website left.

Dmytro Tkach is a marketing expert in Plerdy.

Plerdy is a universal SaaS solution for website conversion increase. With Plerdy you can check a click heatmap on a website and add smart pop-up forms to pages.