The 12 Days of Usability (2/2)

November 23, 2011

Why do so many people abandon their online shopping carts? From a user’s perspective, it might just be the online equivalent of comparison shopping. Retailers should pay attention to the fact that poor e-commerce usability dictates a poor shopping experience, which can quickly scare your customers away.

So without further ado, here are the last six holiday shopping tips for online retailers and bargainistas. If you missed last week’s tips, you can view them here.

Seven Swans a Swimming

An effective website is like a swimming swan: elegance is maintained by a highly orchestrated pair of webbed feet. Now consider yourself the webbed feet. In order to push that swan effortlessly across the lake, you must provide the right amount of direction to keep that swan moving. That means using headlines and helpful tidbits of copy to show shoppers where they are on your site. Keep your search function clearly visible above the fold and help your users find exactly what they’re looking for.

Eight Maids a Milking

Milk e-commerce sites for the best deal possible! Sites might have specials or discount codes available that you’re not even aware of. Sign up for their newsletter to be notified of special deals and use sites like RetailMeNot to find coupon codes.

Nine Ladies Dancing

Women share their opinions about products online more than any single demographic, so if you want to keep those ladies dancing on your site you ought to think about adding a review and comments section. Comments are also a good way to enhance the community of your site, while allowing you to identify your audience and encourage their input.

Ten Lords a Leaping

Ten lords a leaping sounds like the result of too much egg nog at end of the office Christmas party. Leaping around is also a good way to describe the frenetic habits of holiday shoppers. If you know where to look, clicking around the myriad of e-commerce sites can help you find some killer deals. There are some great resources, like Google’s shopping tool that let you compare prices from various stores all on the same page. This works both online and off, so be sure to remember that not all the best deals are online.

Eleven Pipers Piping

Act like the pied piper and lead your users through the shopping process. Don’t set up barriers by making them register before they can add items to their cart, and make sure an “add to cart” button and color or size options are easy to find. It’s all about making it as simple as possible for a user to find their shopping cart and proceed to checkout, so think about adding express checkout options and one-click shopping.

Twelve Drummers Drumming

Drum up your approval (or disapproval) by sharing your shopping experience on a site’s internal reviews. Social media like Twitter or Facebook are great for spreading the news of a good deal to your friends, or asking about the latest sales in the area.

This is the second half of a two part series on e-commerce usability and the holidays. You can read the first post here. Follow us on Twitter for more usability tips and updates! @StudioKandM