Every website design decision has the potential to boost usability and impact sales. Design and user experience make the difference. Through understanding the power of user experience design (UX design), and knowing how interface design choices influence purchase decisions, you can create an environment that’s habitable for shoppers and helps them make decisions.
So, how can you influence the purchasing decision?
Here are some of the most critical elements of your interface design that have a great effect on your ability to facilitate purchase decision-making on your site:
Intuitive Usability and the Mental model
Before a customer lands on your website, they have what’s known as a ‘mental model’ of what it’s like to shop in-store. They know that, in a real store, they can ask shop assistants for advice, browse items, try things on, keep hold of things they like and checkout.
When these people land on your website, they bring their expectations, or mental model, to your online store. Providing an experience that reflects that mental model is important in helping your users navigate effectively and allowing them to explore your offers intuitively.
The trick with building an intuitive user interface and creating an experience that will be successful, your site design, or your ‘conceptual model’ (i.e. your online representation of the real shopping experience), must match the user’s ‘mental model’. You have to consider that your audience consists of people with different mental models (i.e. beginner, intermediate, and advanced users) who have different motivations and expectations. Catering to their individual needs and making it easy for them to navigate your site will have a direct impact on sales figures.
Where’s the white space?
White space, or negative space, is a portion of a webpage that’s purposely left blank. The effective use of white space makes your website easier to use, simpler to navigate and will help you create a focused customer journey that’s optimised to increase engagement and, ultimately, sales.
- It helps guide user attention – As highlighted by Steve Krug in his book, Don’t Make Me Think, web users don’t think. They don’t pay half as much attention to what’s on a webpage as you might think. Instead, they scan, skim and skip over content in search of an anchor or trigger. Leaving white space helps you show users where they should be looking and helps people navigate your site with little effort.
- It helps you prioritise – White space can be used to help draw attention to the other, more important elements on the page, such as your CTA buttons.
The Importance of Copy
You wouldn’t think that something as simple as the words you use would have a great deal of influence on whether your users convert. Surely it’s more about your product, features, price, delivery times and brand values?
The words you use have a huge impact on whether your shopper can identify with what you have to offer and proceed to make a purchase.
Here are some quick tips for getting your copy right:
- Make sure your copy reflects your user’s interests and desires
- Ensure the formatting is easy to skim and scan over
- Keep it short and concise – this High-rise case study example shows that having a shorter page increased conversions by 102.5%. The longer page decreased conversions by 22.72%!
- Have a strong call to action (CTA) that leaves your user in no doubt as to how to progress – Schuh changed their CTA from ‘Buy Now’ to ‘Add to Bag’ and increased conversions by 17%.
The Rule of Thumb
If you don’t have a mobile site yet, then, what are you waiting for? If you do have a mobile site, ensure that you’re meeting the specific behavioural traits that users exhibit on a mobile device. On mobile, user’s act differently. They swipe instead of scroll; tap instead of click; rotate, pinch, even speak while they’re navigating their device. With this usability shift comes an exception of certain functionality.
Providing an interaction experience that meets user expectations is imperative on mobile devices. Failing to address the subtleties of the mobile interaction could cost you dearly.
Understanding touch gestures and embracing the concept as part of your interaction design will help you sustain user engagement and ensure that you’re doing all you can to keep users on your site.
Seizing I-want-to-buy Moments
Mobile devices have also become the new shopping assistant, with opportunities for you to influence purchase decisions smartly.
82% of smartphone users turn to their devices in stores to assist them in making a product decision, and 93% of mobile shoppers who use their devices end up making a purchase (Think-With-Google). Whether it’s at home, at the airport or right in your store, mobile shoppers use their devices to help them decide on a purchase.82% of mobile shoppers use their devices in store to assist them in making a decision Click To Tweet 93% of mobile shoppers who use their devices end up making a purchase Click To Tweet
Think-With-Google calls these critical phases whenever a user turns to their mobile device to research the best choice, I-want-to-buy moments. They occur throughout the decision-making cycle for everyday purchases as well as high ticket items.
Identifying and considering these micro-moments as you develop a mobile UX design is important for you to be there in the moment of need, and support and influence decisions before a purchase.
“We think one of the biggest opportunities that we have in retail is for our customers to leverage their phones as a shopping assistant when they’re standing in the store,” says Sephora’s vice president of interactive media, Bridget Dolan.
Integrating mobile-optimized product finders to assist shoppers during I-want-to-buy moments helps you to make it easy for users to decide and cater to some of the specific nuances and differences in mobile usability that they have grown to expect, reducing the chances of them turning to your competitor for buying advice and support.
Simplicity is Key
When making purchase decisions, visitors tend to choose the easiest route possible. People are more likely to engage with websites that are easy to process. Difficult and complex websites do not only impact the user’s willingness to explore and navigate, they also directly impact their feelings about a product, causing them to delay or avoid purchasing altogether.
Keeping things simple and aligned with user expectations is key to providing an interaction experience that doesn’t hinder the customer journey and helps shoppers navigate, explore, pick and take a purchase decision with little effort.
If you are looking for design inspirations, check out our roundup of the best digital advisors in 2016 with great examples of user friendly design.