As business owners, we measure key e-commerce metrics to evaluate the overall performance of the store. However, these metrics give you a picture of the holistic store performance that can be a combination of performance of your site design, back end engine, pricing, catalogue, marketing communication among others. For example: if your cart abandonment rate is increasing, it might be as a result of pricing issues when the user cannot afford your price, or identifies a better deal / discount at a competitor’s site; logistics issues such as unavailability of delivery or right payment option; design issues such as multiple distractions at the cart page or back end issues with a slow loading cart.

So, where lies the problem then?
While there are enough well documented resources to measure and improve the impact of pricing, marketing communications and other business/marketing aspects on e-commerce ROIs; there is very less documentation to single out and understand your store’s performance with respect to e-commerce UX and back end application and its impact on your e-commerce ROIs.
I have created two articles to address this issue. The first one talks about how to identify if the problem lies in your e-commerce UX / UI design for improving e-commerce ROI. The other one tackles the same challenge from a back end application-engineering perspective.

How do I know if my e-commerce store UX / UI needs improvement?
Unfortunately, evaluating your UX/UI cannot be done simply by looking at page analytics or click stream data, since each click is a result of many factors such as pricing, imagery, design, page speed and more. Hence most of the evaluation of design today is a result of gut feeling and intuitions by e-commerce managers. However, here are a few research driven design practices to help you evaluate your e-commerce store designs.

    • Usability Analysis: This practice involves primary research on your actual site users; getting them to analyze usability of your sites and understanding how comfortable/uncomfortable are they in doing these activities. At Kuliza, we ask our research subjects (who are actual users of the e-commerce site that we are analyzing) to complete multiple tasks (e.g. buy sunglasses for your sister / daughter) and see how the user navigates through the entire experience. Our research analysts encourage subjects to talk through the experience while they are browsing to understand what are they thinking

usability-testing-01

    • Focused interviews: Focused interviews are a great way to understand what the user thinks about the overall site experience. At Kuliza, we conduct focused interviews to understand the overall design and UX pain-points of the users. These interviews are also used to improve UX by showing users quick prototypes of wireframes and seeing whether this prototype solves their challenges. One important point here is that, since this is a design research you are looking at 8-15 interviews (and not the statistical number of 35) to verify your concepts. These interviews are more personal where the research analyst spends time understanding how your users perceive your site UX and UI (and usually are not surveys)
    • Heat maps and time spent on the page: This is the closest one might get to use click stream analytics and understanding your side design pain points. Heats maps will help you understand if your users are spending time on the areas of the page where you want them to spend time or not. Although, even here, a certain click stream can be influenced by multiple parameters such as price, imagery, offers and more, but you can get strong hints on design feedback too. For example, if people are not spending time at all on your site navigation, search, filters etc. , you can interpret that the flaw lies in the designs. Similarly if the time spent on a page is too small or too high than expected over a period of time to eliminate micro campaign dependent factors, you can correlate this issue to site designs

heatmap-campaign-1

  • A/B testing: A/B testing is a great way to understand whether the flaw lies in your site designs and what can be a good solution. An A/B test where all parameters (app back end, images, pricing and more) are same except the design elements help you understand how that design transition impacts your bottom line and whether the impact is important enough to take it seriously
    In the coming weeks, I’m going to be writing more on e-commerce challenges from a back end perspective. In the meanwhile, what are some evaluations you take into consideration for your e-commerce store? Would you like some help with some of your challenges? Feel free to get in touch and I’d be happy to help!