Enhancing User Experience in Ecommerce and becoming Relevant to Customers:
There has been an exponential growth in the ecommerce sites in the market with many new entrants coming up lately. To gain competitive advantage over the others, the companies are continuously trying to figure out ways to attract and retain customers without having to compromise on their margins. One such example is the introduction of "Cash on Delivery" introduced for the Indian Consumers as large section of our society is still skeptical about Online Payment gateways. But such methods can be easily replicated and there is no competitive advantage. It is a well-known fact that it is always economical to retain a customer and do repeat business than hunt for new customers. This is possible only if the ecommerce site is User friendly and customers are able to easily locate the item that they are looking for. Also customers would want to do comparison, look for alternative items based on their preferences.
With the evolution in tools and practice, the Ecommerce sites have become sophisticated and also the expectation of the buyer has increased manifold. In addition to competitive pricing, the customers also expects an engaging, interactive and transparent online shopping experience. Research in User Experience and Content Strategy have enhanced the Ecommerce sites which now have elements of Marketing, Optimized Conversion and Personalized Shopping
Some of the points which help Ecommerce sites to become relevant to the customers are as shown in the table.
1 Search Engine Optimization / Search Engine Marketing: The success of ecommerce sites primarily depends upon how easily it is searchable on the internet as compared to its competitors or in order words it's Page Rank in Search Engines. This is followed by providing the right content to the right customer at the right time.
2 Cross Selling and Up Selling: The ecommerce sites track the user data in real time to understand their shopping preferences and interests. Based on this analysis, particular content is directed to the customers which helps in increasing Sales per Customer.
3 Personalization increases Conversion rates: Customers prefer to have personalized shopping experience based on their preferences. With functionalities of ecommerce sites, companies are able to provide the personal shopping experience to several customers at the same time.
User experience is an integral part which encourages the customers to buy from an Ecommerce site again and again. It can be considered at the summation if "Enhanced User Experience Design" and "Content Strategy".
The best practices for enhancing User Experience are as follows.
1 Enhanced Usability in terms of Browsing, Comparing, Visibility and Transparency: The Product categorization and labels must be meaningful, the Visual design must be appealing and Navigation across the site must be streamline with proper links and Bread crumps. The Pages must be consistent in design and layout and contents must not be cluttered.
2 The Content must be meaningful: Enhanced Usability without proper content can hamper the growth of sales of ecommerce sites. The content should be based on the research into the customer needs, user groups, and preferences.
3 Branding of the retailer: A brand is a perception of a particular thing. The users relate to this brand though Brand Ambassadors, Images or Ideas. It is mainly spread through Advertisements and Word of Mouth. The competition in online shopping is very fierce and hence the ecommerce sites must be designed in a way that it enforces the Brand image of the retailer.
The main aim is to send the 'right message' to the 'right customer' through the 'right channel' at the 'right time'. A successful Ecommerce site is one which provides a platform to be usable & appealing to customers, and has the power to persuade them to do repeat purchasing though enhanced User Experience and branding. The site should also fulfill a company's business goals and create a user experience that customers will like to return to the site and not move to any other available in the market.