Now that you have access to the Helumium Free Kit there are surely a few questions that might pop in your head such as:
If you are an eCommerce store owner or someone involved in eCommerce projects then your main goal is to grow the revenue of the store you are working on.
You could be working on:
1) Acquisition – running ads or writing content to drive traffic to a site
2) User Experience – improving/optimizing each step of the website funnel to increase the Average Order Value (AOV) and revenue
3) Retention – creating more customer’ engagement and drive more repeat purchases to increase the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV or LTV)
Our approach is that by first improving the user experience of your eCommerce website you will inevitably make your visitors happier, which down the line will translate into increased revenue and more repeat business.
By making sure your eCommerce website does its best at converting visitors into buyers you ensure that you won’t waste the budget spent in acquisition campaigns.
After all, what would be the point of paying money to drive visitors to a site that doesn’t convert?
There isn’t. Which explains why we are quite fanatical about improving the website first as you will then make a lot more profits from your campaigns and from each visitor coming to your site.
The good news is that we’ve seen it happening over and over again with all the companies we have been fortunate enough to work with. Companies of all sizes, from plenty of different industries and 30+ countries.
Improving the user experience of your eCommerce website will improve a lot of business-critical metrics such as revenue per visitor, average order value, frequency of purchases, customer lifetime value, revenue, and ultimately profits.
But while you are certainly aware you can leverage UX to improve these metrics, the main issue that people face is the plethora of articles that make it difficult to know what to do and what to focus on to get results.
Instead of recommending yet another article about eCommerce with a gazillion tactics or hacks (hoping one will eventually work for your business) we decided to gather guidelines that have been heavily researched and are proven to raise the bar.
To make things better, our guidelines are linked with Mobile and Desktop screens so you have a visual representation of how you could implement them on your website and what a “best-in-class” eCommerce website looks like.
If you prefer, we combined the theory (the guidelines) and practice (the screens) to make your lives easier.
Let’s see together (1) how to use the Kit and (2) where to start.
After entering your email address you will receive an access link to a Miro board via email. In this (pretty massive) board you will find plenty of screens for Mobile and Desktop that are annotated with guidelines.
The board is split between Mobile and Desktop screens and cover all the essential pages and elements that an eCommerce website should have to offer a “best-in-class” user experience to your visitors:
Desktop usually boasts higher conversion rates and revenue than Mobile, but Mobile is often the first point of contact between prospects and your website. It’s now not uncommon for eCommerce brands to see 60 to 70% of their traffic coming from Mobile. Poor first experience on Mobile will negatively impact the performance of your brand on Desktop too. The bottom line is that Desktop and Mobile should receive similar attention when optimizing your website.
Some screens will have more guidelines linked to them than others, as our experience and research have shown that some pages will require more features or elements to be implemented. New guidelines that have been proven to increase usability and conversions will be added regularly while the existing guidelines are also being updated.
Using the Free Kit is quite simple, you simply need to zoom in to the eCommerce page of your interest and read the associated guideline. If you zoom in enough on the guideline boxes you will see descriptions that explain the reasoning behind each of them and why you should be implementing them.
Moreover, each guideline box is tagged with keywords (“Mobile”, “Homepage” and “Guideline” in the screenshot below) so you always know which specific page or element the guideline applies to.
The answer is… it depends (yikes!)
What we always recommend first is to identify where you have the most severe issues on your website. In other words: where is your website leaking money?
Go to your analytics tool of choice (for most it’s going to be Google Analytics) and look where drop-offs are happening in your funnel.
You can start with the “Funnel visualization” to see where your traffic is dropping off at each step. To access it you should go to ‘Conversions’ > ‘Goals’ > ‘Funnel’. Also, it will give you an overview of how your funnel performs.
If the numbers show a clear leak then focus on that page and start comparing it with the guidelines in the Free Kit. Your analytics showed you where you had a problem (visitors dropping off) but it’s your role to discover why it is happening. The Free Kit guidelines are there to help you figure out why your page isn’t performing as intended.
Another approach is to analyze your eCommerce website “bottom-up”, meaning to start optimizing the checkout flow and progressively move upwards in the funnel to other pages. The rationale behind this approach is that since the checkout page is the closest to revenue, even a small uplift in visitors completing the checkout process directly translates into more money.
By optimizing your checkout you are recovering sales that initially couldn’t be completed for the sole reason that the checkout had too much friction. If you improve your Product page but leave your cart and checkout as they are you might face the same issue as brands spending money on ads to acquire traffic that will be lost because of a “leaky” website.
An improvement at the bottom of the funnel means that every additional visitor starting the checkout flow will now be more likely to convert into a customer. This is why we pay much attention to this area, it raises the bar for your business without having to invest more in ads, you simply convert more visitors into customers.
Once you have fixed the checkout – granted you identified issues there in the first place – move you can move up to the Cart page. Here again, the screens and guidelines are there to inform your business and design decisions.
You get the idea.
Another place where we have seen great improvement in usability is the main navigation. A clear and organized navigation will allow your visitors to easily discover and access your products. Discoverability is the rule number one if you want your visitors to buy from you. It shouldn’t be overlooked as a visitor failing to find the right product will most likely lead him to leave your website.
Rinse and repeat with all screens from the board. See what you got right, what’s currently missing, and based on each guideline consider how long it would take to implement that improvement and how much it would cost.
The most crucial part before starting any eCommerce website optimization is to first identify where are the areas that lose you money. If you aren’t too sure where to start then using the “bottom-up” can prove very useful, even though it’s true that depending on your CMS (especially Shopify) implementing changes can be a little harder.
Other than that, focus on one page at a time, both on Mobile and Desktop because you want the user experience to be consistent no matter what devices or browsers are being used by your visitors.
Finally, once you have spotted these areas for improvement, cross-check your eCommerce website with the screens and guidelines from the Free Kit. If you want to dig deeper on a certain aspect of the page you are working on you can zoom in onto the board to have a detailed explanation about each guideline and why it should be done a certain way.