eCommerce UX Best Practices to Increase Conversions

June 1, 2016

If you own an online ecommerce business, you know already how difficult it can be to find customers, drive them to your website, get them to buy your product and then, face the ultimate challenge, to get them smoothly through your payment process without them abandoning their shopping cart. This article is designed to give you our top 10 ecommerce UX recommendations to help increase your online conversions for your ecommerce shop, from the first touchpoint a shopper has with your website through to product purchase.

Simple Mission

One of the worst experiences an ecommerce site can offer is when it is not clear what the product is that is being sold. When a shopper first lands on your website, it should be obvious what your website is trying to do. Ideally, there should be a really simple explanation of what your company is selling, what the value is for the buyer, how much it will cost and additional information about shipping and current sale products. If a visitor has to spend time understanding your product, chances are they will drop off and go looking elsewhere.


For a shopper to purchase something on your website, they need to be able to find it and this is where logical navigation comes into play. This starts with your menu items. Depending on how your products are best organised, you might organise based on gender, on type of product or, if your products are seasonal, based on seasonality. Beyond the menu items, it is best practice to offer filters so users can specify exactly what they are looking for. For example, if you sell women's shoes you would offer a filter to break it out into flats, heels and so on. You could even take it a step further and offer pages of products based on events, such as 'Wedding shoes'.


User experience elements are the focus for this article, however, we must devote one point to SEO as it is just that important. Even though search engines are adapting all the time to become more 'human' they are still very non human in the way they crawl websites and serve results to users. With this in mind, it is vital to optimize your ecommerce website to get the top positions in the search engines. Here are two ways you can do this:

  • Optimized product descriptions - research and use targeted keywords throughout your product descriptions so your pages are optimized to show up for specific keywords.
  • Meta data - using the same keywords you used for your product descriptions, optimize your page title and meta description with these keywords to increase the chances of showing up on page one of the search results.
  • Alt tags - Remember to include alt tags for your images. A good formula to follow is to include both the brand and the product description.

If you do not portray your images well, chances are you will lose shoppers to your competitors. Images are incredibly important to the user experience for your customer. In the current online shopping climate, shoppers research and look into products and competitor's products before they make their choice, and chances are, they will choose your competitor's product if the images are not high quality on your website. A good rule of thumb with images is to have one dominant image accompanied by 3-5 thumbnails showing the product from various angles. Shoppers love to see the products in action too, so real-life images help to increase conversions further. If you are in retail, another great touch is to let the visitors know what size the model is wearing, so they can self compare when choosing their own size. Any additional, helpful information you can offer that makes sense to the larger audience visiting your website will help to set you apart from your competition.

Product Reviews

More than 60% of people who are shopping online are looking for product reviews before purchasing. Peer influence is stronger than ever online and this is shown through influencer outreach success. It is very important to have reviews because it shows that your brand is confident enough in your product to be transparent with reviews and this develops trust.

Call To Action (CTA)

This is by far one of the most important user experience design elements for conversion optimization. You need to have a call to action on every page at least once. The CTA should be obvious and the text on the CTA should encourage the shopper to take an action. The action could be to help shoppers to make a purchase, to inform them of more information to help them make the purchase or to help them gather the information they need to make a more considered purchase.

Security (SSL)

Online shoppers want to feel safe when they make a purchase online. They need to be assured that their credit card data will not be misused. An SSL certificate is used to encrypt the data between your website and the consumers ensuring that no hacker can break into the server and get the credit card data. If your URL has HTTPS then it is secured with an SSL - it is recommended to secure your website in this way to develop trust between your consumer and your brand.

Shopping Cart

This can be one of the most overlooked stages in the consumer journey through an online shopping experience, when it is actually one of the most important. Shopping cart abandonments are around 65% of all purchases, so this stage is very important to understand. It goes without saying that shopping carts should be easy-to-use. There are two things you can do to try and improve the user experience at checkout:Auto-complete form fields - One thing is for sure, consumers hate filling out forms - only make then fill out what is necessary, and where applicable, allow forms to be auto-completed with information stored in the browser.

One click payment options - Amazon is the best example of this feature. Amazon allows users to click once to purchase a product from their app. This makes the steps to purchase as minimal as possible.

User feedback

It is difficult to create a satisfying user experience for customers unless you are actively seeking their feedback. Google analytics can tell you some information about how users behave, but the best way to get actionable feedback is by conducting a survey. This will help you to keep up with how user needs and preferences change over time and how different target audiences prefer to experience online shopping (For example: Millennials vs. Baby Boomers)

Thank you page

Once a purchase has happened, typically the experience is considered over, however, this is the prime moment to nurture your audience by offering reasons to come back to your website again. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Similar products - this is a popular tactic to tempt consumers into purchasing more from your website instantly.
  • Savings and upcoming sales - this is your opportunity to let your users know about upcoming sales that will drive them back to the website at a later date.
  • Voucher for next visit - One way to tempt consumers back is to offer them a discount on their next purchase.

Prototype is an ecommerce design and development company that specializes in user experience design. Contact us for a free consultation.

Tell us your experience with ecommerce over on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

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