4 Design Tips for Reducing Ecommerce Friction

There’s nothing easy about generating traffic and pushing leads to product pages. As such, it’s incredibly important that you reduce your bounce rate and eliminate points of contention between your website and your users. Otherwise you’re wasting money and missing out on qualified leads.

4 Ways to Reduce Friction

Every website has its own issues, but in most cases, friction occurs when the website surprises users with something they aren’t expecting, fails to establish trust, or doesn’t properly convey the information the customer needs. You can avoid these major friction points by heeding the following tips:

1. Incorporate Trust Signals

When people visit an ecommerce site – particularly one they’ve never been to before – they subconsciously search for signs that they can trust the site. In order to satisfy this desire, you can incorporate trust signals into the site design.

According to conversion consultant Jeremy Smith, there are three trust signals every ecommerce website absolutely must have: customer testimonials and reviews, contact features and multiple communication methods, and some sort of payment assurance.

2. Don’t Overwhelm

Today’s online customer is much savvier than in the past. They don’t fall for sales gimmicks and they prefer sleek, modern websites that don’t try to oversell or overwhelm. If you can find a way to incorporate a minimalist design on your product pages, seize this opportunity. You’ll enjoy a much higher conversion rate, as you don’t have to worry about users getting distracted or frustrated.

The product pages for Related Garments, a matching socks and underwear brand for men, are good examples of what effective minimalist design looks like in ecommerce. Notice the use of white space and the lack of distracting buttons, text boxes, and image galleries. The user experience is simple, yet effective. There are many lessons to be gleaned from this example.

3. Create Good Search and Filter Functions

For sites that have lots of inventory and different SKUs, having robust search and filter functions is critically important. It’s the only way to ensure customers are able to find what they’re looking for.

You can look at virtually any big box retailer’s online site to see what good search and filter functioning looks like, but we’ll study Dick’s Sporting Goods. Check out this sales page for golf clubs. Do you notice all of the features the page has? There are searchable categories on the left side of the page (New Releases for 2016, Drivers, Fairway Woods, etc.), a search box at the top, breadcrumb navigation below the header, and more. All of these features combine to produce an excellent search experience.

4. Don’t Surprise

Here’s an extremely practical tip: Don’t surprise your customers! When someone lands on a website to buy a product, they want a consistent experience that doesn’t deviate from their image of what should happen.

This means don’t throw in last minute shipping charges, require the user to register in order to check out, or ask the customer to jump through hoops just to make a purchase. Remember, they don’t have to do business with your site. If you make it too challenging or complicated, they’ll bounce without hesitation. This is especially true of first time customers who have no loyalty to the brand.

Identify Your Site’s Friction Points

While a brief increase in bounce rates shouldn’t alarm you, any prolonged increase tells you that something is wrong. Your website is designed to facilitate smooth transactions, not hold you back. If you find that your ecommerce design is hurting the overall conversion rate, then it’s time to dissect the issue and identify the problem.

Correcting points of contention and streamlining the user experience will ensure qualified leads become paying customers.

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