Online shopping has seen massive acceleration worldwide since the pandemic began in 2020, with many consumers globally saying they are now shopping more online. With this increase in usage, friction has also risen worldwide. Poorly designed sites and non-standard website interaction functionality can lead to confusion and frustration for users.
By focusing on the people who are most likely to use your digital products or services, User Experience (UX) research can help you understand the existing mental model of consumers in order to design successful experiences. UX research can also identify usability issues with functionality or content by testing prototypes, live sites, and apps with users.
UX research generates insights about the expectations, goals, and needs of consumers, so that eCommerce teams can design shopping experiences that are intuitive, satisfying, and drive the behaviours your business wants.
The eCommerce landscape today has a level of complexity that goes beyond setting up a website to promote your brand. On and offline retailers, brand sites, marketplaces, and direct-to-consumer offers compete for attention and sales in an extremely crowded digital ecosystem. Social media is also increasingly introducing consumers to products and services and offering marketplaces for consumers to purchase items.
Through more than 600 UX research sessions with major eCommerce retailers and brands worldwide, we have identified the following five common shopping barriers online retailers should be aware of as they implement their shopping experiences, and how leveraging UX research can help.
- Shoppers can struggle to find what they are looking for
Leverage UX research to ensure shoppers can easily find what they are looking for and uncover how they shop for your products. Incorporate sort, rank and filter features, smart search, and intuitive naming and grouping of products – or risk losing your shoppers to sites that do this well.
- Shoppers have trouble deciding if a product is right for them
Feeling confident about a purchase is crucial. Videos are important here, as well as pictures and reviews. Without them, users will navigate away from your site to a broader eCommerce search engine where the risk of losing the sale increases.
- Shoppers want to compare products and prices
Online retailers can use a side-by-side comparison tool to give consumers an easy way to assess different versions of products and understand price/value trade-offs. UX research can help show which attributes are important to shoppers, so they do not navigate away from your site in search of what you have not told them.
- Shoppers want delivery and pick-up options with clear costs
In many markets, fast and free delivery has become the norm, so shoppers watch closely for any shipping costs and factor them into purchasing decisions. Transparency is important here – let people know as soon as they arrive on your site if there is a minimum order amount for free delivery.
- Shoppers worry about the hassle factor of returning items they buy online
Let shoppers know what your policies are for returns and refunds and they will have more confidence about buying from you. Knowing that returns are allowed, and are easy, can lower the barrier to “sight unseen” purchases.
Addressing these barriers requires a deep understanding of how consumers shop for your products, what leads them to feel confident about purchasing decisions, which attributes are important to them and, ultimately, what their expectations are so online retailers can meet (or exceed) them frequently.
Listen to our podcast
In the latest in our series of Ipsos Views podcasts, you can listen to two of the authors of this paper – Yana Beranek and Suki Beg – discussing the key themes.