It came as a big surprise when Google laid out several ‘playbooks’ about improving the user experience of eCommerce sites. With best practices that covered travel, finance, and real estate segments, the playbooks comprised the best UX practices for online stores, too.
Google hardly gives out specific advice to webmasters about things that work best on its search engine. Its attitude is mostly reserved and is all about the best search results without influencing the sites themselves. Hence, if Google went out of its way to offer UX improvement insights, we should take the recommendations seriously. Let’s understand how to increase the conversion rate of eCommerce websiteswith Google’s suggestions.
Use Self-explanatory and descriptive CTAs
Google considers’ CTAs as prominent elements for every eCommerce website. However, Google does not want you to stick random CTAs all over the site. The correct way of using CTAs is placing them at prominent places with self-explanatory descriptions.
A CTA must clearly state its purpose and tell the users what they are going to find or where they are going to land upon clicking on it. An unclear CTA is more likely to trick users onto unintended pages, which consequently result in a high bounce rate and decrease the credibility of the site altogether.
If you check out on Sephora’s homepage, you can see a correct implementation of descriptive CTAs. The homepage defines all the clickable actions with a clear definition of the post-click results: SKINCARE MINIS, MAKEUP MINIS, and HAIR MINIS.
Not only these clickable CTA are self-explanatory, but they are also simple and prominent. It’s easier to land on the correct pages of the website from the homepage depending on if a user is looking for skincare, makeup, or hair products from Sephora.
Get rid of Carousels and Sliders
It’s a harsh decision but a thought one. Once, large image carousels and sliders were sophisticated ways to display your best products and services on top of a page. Homepage, landing pages, and even checkout pages used them for drawing the attention of the customers. Unfortunately, Google no more recommends carousels and sliders, and it is for a good reason (s).
Sliders and carousels don’t get enough click-through. To be precise, it’s hardly 1 percent. A majority of users see sliders as Ad banners, rather than as something useful to them. Besides, carousels are not optimized for users with special abilities. Take the following image as an example:
Sliders like these use arrows or small bullets as ways to control the banners. These small arrows or bullets with poor contrast are hardly visible to a person with even a slight visual impairment. We can see the worst part of such sliders on mobile devices. While the poor controls make mobile browsing difficult, the large images make the pages to load slowly. You don’t want to mess-up the mobile commerce best practices if you are even remotely thinking about ranking on Google’s SERPs.
Don’t ask for mandatory sign up and allow Guest Checkout
There is no doubt that a registered user is more valuable to your online store. Not only is it easier to provide customer services to registered users but also easier to sack the opportunities for micro-focused marketing and better customer engagement. However, making it mandatory or forcing users to create an account before they can make a purchase is really a bad choice. According to a study by Baymard Institute, over one-third of your customers will simply abandon their shopping cart and leave your site if you force them to sign up before they can check out. While it’s nice to have customers with user accounts, prioritizing it over a sale is not what Google recommends.
Instead, keep the account registration as optional and give yet another option to your visitors to check out as a guest by providing their email address. Additionally, if you can’t do without registered users, you can also provide social login options, which are easier ways to sign-up without filling lengthy forms. Best buy present the best example of all three considerations:
Add a fully functional site-wide search functionality
No customer has the time to traverse your entire website to find a product. Customers rely on the site search box on your homepage to quickly find a product and purchase it. However, many websites don’t take the search functionality seriously and they run into problems as their site search breaks down.
For example, the search autosuggestion is an extremely important feature of eCommerce search boxes. Users rely on it to let the website guide them through their product search. Sometimes they type initials and wait for the site to complete them, while many a time users may miss-spell the keywords too. In either of the situations, your search box must handle the queries without failing.
If your search bar is not generating autosuggestions as the users type-in, you should really consider a different eCommerce or marketplace software for your website. Besides, also make sure that your search functionality supports auto spell-correction, and most of all, it should never return a blank result. If the typed-in product is not available, the search algorithm must pick similar, related, or other relevant products in the search result.
Although Google recommends these changes in your eCommerce website, I would recommend that you should A/B test before adopting any of them. These tips are no doubt are highly researched, but it always wise to ensure if they would work equally well on your website too. However, if you have just started with the development of your eCommerce store and looking for a good eCommerce platform, I would recommend you to consider these requirements in your search. All the best!
I am a professional blogger, guest writer, Influencer & an eCommerce expert. Currently associated with ShopyGen as a content marketing strategist. I also report on the latest happenings and trends associated with the eCommerce industry.
Follow me on Twitter @Jessicabruc (https://twitter.com/Jessicabruc)