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E-commerce UX: How to Gain a Competitive Edge

Syed Balkhi
Syed Balkhi

A great user experience is important on all businesses' websites, but it's crucial for e-commerce storefronts. Let's explore several ways you can improve your UX for a competitive edge.

E-commerce storefronts have rapidly grown over the last decade, and shoppers couldn't be happier. People love buying things from the comfort of their homes, especially in the situation we are currently facing. A surprising 92% of consumers in the U.S. buy products online, and we suspect this number will increase by the end of 2020. 

This rise in online stores has put some businesses in a difficult situation. On the one hand, it's great that so many people are responsive to buying things online. On the other, competition is fierce. Competing with countless other brands selling a similar product or service can lead to complicated marketing challenges. 

The best way to overcome these challenges is by fine-tuning the user experience (UX) on your site. Selling great products isn't always enough. Your website has to work correctly and look organized if you hope to pull customers from competitors. 

Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can improve UX. We are going to look at several ways you can get a competitive edge by making user-centric changes to your brand website. Some of the tips mentioned here can immediately yield positive results, while others require time and patience. 

So, if you want to generate more leads, convert more customers, and overall improve how people perceive your brand, keep reading! 

1. Start with your homepage.

Your homepage is what most people will see the first time they land on your site. This is where you give users an overview of your product, include some testimonials, and allow users to navigate to the other areas of your site. 

In other words, your homepage is the heart of your website. If users can't find your blog, their shopping cart or more details about your products from there, they are likely to leave your website. As a result, you'll see a higher bounce rate, a dip in sales, and potentially negative feedback about your brand. 

The first thing you should do is simplify the design. We see plenty of brands using flashy videos and plugins to give their site a unique look when users land on their homepage. You have to admit it looks really cool sometimes – when it works, that is. You can achieve a unique look for your brand and website without using gimmicks that complicate your site and put a damper on UX. 

Include links to all of your main pages, and try to keep your navigation within four pages. Part of a good UX and, consequently, customer satisfaction is how quickly users can get things done. If someone has to go through more than four pages to reach what they were looking for, it may be time to redesign your site map. 

2. Increase your website speed.

Have you ever visited a website that took forever to load? Chances are, you got frustrated and decided to leave the page and go elsewhere. If your site is slow, your consumers will not stick around to browse your store or read your blog. 

Run a speed test on your website often to see the various areas where you can improve. Ideally, your page should load in two seconds or less. The longer it takes to load after that time, the more traffic and sales you'll lose. 

There are a couple of easy ways you can instantly improve the speed of your website. You can install a cache plugin that saves resources for repeat visitors. This tool will allow you to optimize the speed for frequent visitors, but what about new customers? 

Make sure you're using a mobile-friendly design, which promotes fast loading times for smartphone users. This step can also help you improve the appearance of your homepage. 

Photos and videos tend to use up a ton of resources, which can slow your website down to a crawl. If it's possible, host your videos on YouTube to preserve your valuable bandwidth. Images can be optimized to a smaller format, depending on their purpose. You want to keep both of these media files optimized for maximum speed. 

3. Add personalization.

Personalization is quickly becoming one of the best marketing strategies for e-commerce business owners. Consumers enjoy interacting with companies that understand their struggles and want to help them reach their goals. 

Essentially, personalization marketing is a tactic where you're able to show consumers products and services that match their needs. You can research your audience on social media and your website to develop customer personas based on your target audience. Using this information, you can create specific marketing material that appeals to your different segments. 

Let's say you own a pet supply e-commerce storefront and want to create content that appeals to your audience. You would likely create content and offers for dog, cat and bird owners in distinctly different ways. For instance, cat owners are the only people likely to buy cat litter from your store. Understanding these habits and creating the right offer is key to becoming a successful e-commerce business. 

Research shows that failure to add this tactic to your strategy could lead to significant losses, with an estimated $756 million lost due to poor personalization. For reference, this figure was calculated for only one year. In case it wasn't clear before, this is one tactic that can help you dramatically boost UX.  

4. Experiment, revise, repeat.

Last but not least, we are going to talk about the importance of experimenting and revising your website for more growth. Most people will not get their UX strategy right the first time, and that's OK. You can take your mistakes and turn them into victories by split-testing different aspects of your website. 

Split testing, also known as A/B testing, is the process of making a small change to an existing page and using it on a segment of your audience in an attempt to produce positive results. Simply put, split testing is about finding the most effective way to reach your audience. When you can effectively get your message across to consumers, you have a much better chance of creating a great UX. 

You can change many elements of your pages and campaigns when split testing. Popular options include CTA colors and placement, as well as text copy and length. Small changes can yield massive results. The right testing and target method can help you generate 300% more leads

Don't be afraid to admit when one of your split tests doesn't work out. Count it as a lesson learned, and go back to the drawing board. Repeated testing can lead to more conversions and happier customers. 

Back to you

We understand that every business owner is different, so there's bound to be variations on our strategies depending on your industry. However, if you implement these tips into your design and marketing strategy with your own spin, you'll find that you're leaving a ton of money and happy customers on the table by not building a robust user experience. 

It's up to you to take these lessons and think about ways they can apply to your business. Start with your homepage so users can have a positive experience from the moment they land on your site. Work your way through the rest of these steps, tweaking your website until you have an e-commerce store that generates leads, sales and smiles. 

Syed Balkhi
Syed Balkhi,
business.com Writer
See Syed Balkhi's Profile
Hello, I'm Syed Balkhi, a 27 year old award-winning entrepreneur with a strong 8 figure online business. I was recognized as the top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by the United Nations. I was born in Karachi, Pakistan. At age 12, my family immigrated to the United States. Ever since I can remember, I have been extremely competitive which makes me hustle at everything that I do.