I’ve been dealing with e-commerce usability for 10 years now: I’ve taken part in countless user tests, observing what hinders conversion and thinking how to remove the obstacles.

Here’s a list of 11 tips that always work.

  1. Place labels outside text boxes.

Avoid putting labels inside the text boxes of the form. Users look through the form before filling it in. If they accidentally click on the form boxes, the labels will disappear for good. When filling in the form, the users may not remember what data you ask for in a given box.

  1. Encourage registration right after purchase.

If  a customer opts out to shop as a guest, it’s a good idea to suggest starting an account (indicate the benefits). Since we’ve already collected all the data, all that’s left for the user to do is to decide on a password.

  1. Follow error messages with a solution to the problem.

Error message should explain what has happened and offer guidance on what to do next. It may be simply giving contact details to the shop service (an email address and a phone number). It’s important not leave the customer alone with the problem.

  1. Ask for data once only.

Don’t make the user give the same information twice (e.g., the details of the credit card holder). Inserting the data manually is tiresome, especially in mobile. Try to remember as much of the data the user has given to you as possible.

  1. Explain why you need the data.

When you ask for personal data (a phone number, date of birth, marital status, or gender), you always have to explain why you need the information in the shopping process.

  1. Highlight taking care of security.

Make it clear that sensitive data (e.g., credit card data) is guarded with care (a ssl logo, enclosed graphics – e.g., a differentiated background).

  1. Ensure a  smooth process.

The number of steps in a purchase process doesn’t really matter. What matters is what steps they are. Take care of the visual representation and informing the user where they are in the process.

  1. Show total cost.

You need to make sure you show the total value of the purchase as soon as possible. Showing an estimated cost of delivery early is better than giving the information only when the user has given all the data necessary to calculate the exact cost of delivery.

  1. Offer a free delivery.

A free delivery is one of the most effective methods to increase conversion. Almost ¼ of customers prefer to add an item to a cart rather than pay for the shipment. The most frequent reason for abandoning the cart is an expensive delivery.

  1. Regain the abandoned carts.

Over a half of customers who have abandoned their carts can be convinced to place an order. Implementing the mechanisms dealing with the carts abandoned is extremely important.

  1. Use live chat.

Customers perceive live chat as the best form of contact. Most often, they think it’s twice as satisfactory as speaking with a consultant on the phone. The chat lets you collect the clients’ opinions and most frequent questions – an excellent source of knowledge to rely on when improving the product descriptions.


About Tom Karwatka
Tom Karwatka is CEO of Divante which was founded in 2008 and since then delivers high quality e-commerce solutions. Divante supports its Clients in creating, developing and optimizing new sales channels.  More about Tom Karwatka  on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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