2020 has been a whirlwind, with the global pandemic completely changing the way users shop.
As brick and mortar stores have closed, and working from home becoming the norm, businesses have had to adapt to ensure their products are accessible online and without contact. We have outlined the best practices for the entire eCommerce process, helping you to ensure your website is in its best shape for 2021.
Homepages are becoming shorter and are providing a more direct product journey as many users will often navigate directly to a category or search. The focus is on current campaigns, trending products, categories and brands, and is a great place to showcase your brand to the users. This can be seen on Bellroy, as they use the space to show beautiful, engaging photographs of their products that take their users on a different journey than the direct-to-product or category route.
Navigation and Search
We have moved away from the giant mega-menus we saw not that long ago, as they have been proven to overwhelm users and don’t translate well to mobile. As search capabilities become more advanced, the need for access to every level of content is almost obsolete, and now menus must be designed to help users get to their product within 3 clicks.
Simplifying the menu can be done by reducing how many options are available and categorising them appropriately. The less items, the easier it is for a user to identify their options and start their journey; too many options increases the focus time for the user before making a decision. The smaller amount of options can be based on the core market (men, women, sale, brands) or products (shoes, clothing, accessories). Mega-menus have also been simplified with an average of 5 categories.
Search is the most important part of a menu, as users who search for a product are 300% more likely to convert (Nicolas Gorrono, Performance Manager at JTB). Search bars have now become larger and provide more unique, engaging experiences, such as the photo upload search on Fashion Nova.
Simplifying your menus and ensuring your search is accessible and easy to use can greatly influence your conversion rates and make for a positive user experience.
Categories and Search Results
Categories and search pages haven’t changed much as its essential to keep the most comfortable and simple user experience. Ensure you provide detailed and clear filters to your products, whether it be how the products are sorted (most popular), colour, size and brand.
The biggest change to category pages is the Infinite scroll function, as seen on Nike, where pagination is removed and users can scroll until they reach the maximum products. Infinite scroll can be great for users as it reduces clicks, but can be also be a detriment to your site as it can lead to lower load times and it doesn’t allow users to reach the footer. If you are interested in utilising infinite scroll on your site, ensure your footer isn’t a necessary navigation and that you don’t have any important CTAs at the bottom of your page.
Product pages can range in design and experience based on your product. If you have a large eCommerce site with thousands of products, such as asos, a simple consistent solution is best. Include your product images and product details side by side, a large identifiable add to cart CTA and upfront payment options (AfterPay, Klarna).
If you have a specialised product you can have some fun by tailoring each page to create an engaging story-telling experience. Apple does this with every product, as each scroll has been designed to engage and delight, whether it be about the colour options, specifications or product add-ons.
Another new feature to keep an eye on is augmented reality. This is commonly seen in with large furniture stores, such as Fantastic Furniture. They have integrated AR for users to see the product in their home before making a purchase decision. Apple has also implemented the same AR to allow users to see their new products without having to visit a store. AR hasn’t proved yet to be crucial in buying decisions, but it is definitely a technology to keep an eye on in 2021.
Cart and checkout experiences are pivotal to conversion success on your site. As more purchase options are becoming available, it is important to provide every relevant option to your user, such as payment system options (PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay), and pay later services (AfterPay, Klarna). It is important to know which systems are most used by your users, whether it is location (localised, global) and how many of your users shop on mobile. For example, AfterPay is most common with lifestyle products and is primarily used in Australia and United States. Klarna on the other hand is used with a much larger range of products and is primarily used in Europe. If you are global and have a large range of mobile users, having as many payment systems as possible is best. If you are more localised, make sure you have what is relevant and most common to your customers.
Your checkout process should be seamless as well. Ensure your forms are easy and efficient to complete, with features such as auto-filling. Shopify is one of the most popular checkout options for stores as it is code-free, accepts major credit cards and works with PayPal. The downsides are the locations are limited, and it costs fees. Getting a custom checkout built through a platform, such as Magento, is free, open source and has the customisation ability to ensure your brand is present throughout the whole cart process. The only downside is the need for design and build support. If you have the time and budget, a custom platform is perfect to ensure you can have control of every part of your cart process.
The thank you page might be the end of the purchase, but having a genuine and personal thank you page is best to show your customer your support and appreciation. Make sure its humanised and ensure you keep all the important information simple and easy to read (such as order numbers and details).
Overall, eCommerce sites in 2021 will be more simplified, help users get to their desired product in minimal clicks, give them unique product experiences and have seamless, simple purchase processes.
Considering every step in the eCommerce process is important to ensuring your brand is consistent, you give your audience a great user experience and ultimately help to sell more products.
Are you ready for 2021? Ensure your site provides the best eCommerce experience by booking your personalised digital strategy with us today