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Customer experience is now the real differentiator. Once a visitor arrives at your site, it’s vital to make the most of every moment by delivering a compelling and personalised experience.
Customers are more demanding than ever, so it’s essential to be switched-on to what will tip them from being a browser to a buyer, and how to increase basket value. However, this can seem increasingly daunting.
In a world with multiple channels, devices, customer segments, influencers, languages, and currencies, it seems there is no end of variables confronting every modern e-commerce professional.
Today sees the release of Econsultancy's E-commerce Best Practice Compendium, which contains more than 170 tips on improving usability and conversions.
The report is split into three sections: site search and navigation, product pages, and the checkout process.
In today's post, I'll look at some tips examples to improve e-commerce navigation.
It seems that, after a few years of redesigns, navigation on most e-commerce sites follows a pretty familiar pattern.
There is some sense in this. Online shoppers are accustomed to the same general patterns of navigation from their experiences on the online retail sites they use regularly, so there is much to be said for following precedent in this area.
But does this prevent innovation in e-commerce design? Are there better ways that retailers could be using?
I've been asking the e-commerce experts and looking at a few examples...
I started writing this post intending to look at some big-hitting art gallery websites and pick out best practice.
The aim was to turn you content marketers green by showing you websites for juicy organisations whose very ethos has always been content, form, learning, information, and which are now trying to adapt and evolve to make some money, too (outside of entry fees and patronage).
You can see this as the exact reversal of, for example, a marketing agency, which stereotypically has always been trying to sell through its website and is now getting its collective head around the idea of information, learning and content as the very top of the sales funnel.
So, I’ll give honourable mention to a couple of big galleries, and then move on to the meat of the post, which has been hijacked by my enthusiasm for Tate.org.uk, a website mottled with the sublime.
Drop-down menus are a valuable navigational tool for e-commerce and other sites. There are potential usability issues, but a well designed drop-down will help customers to navigate more quickly and effectively.
In this post, I'll look at some of the pros and cons of drop-downs, mega drop-downs, as well as some examples and best practices from a range of e-commerce sites.
Telecoms selling wireless devices and services face unique conversion challenges.
Supporting customers through a complex sales decision made once every few years that often includes a bundle of phone and tariff plan, add-on services and accessories requires attention to nine key areas from home page to shopping cart.
I've been taking a look at the Sears website from a user experience perspective to see what the retailer does well online, and where it can improve.
I've highlighted some excellent features on the site that other online retailers could learn from, some relatively minor irritations that would annoy users, and problems that may make users abandon the site.
Overall, the site performs well and contains some excellent features, such as proactive use of live chat.
However, even with the best sites, there is always room for improvement...
Four Seasons unveiled its new website earlier this month, with many eyebrows raised as a result of the reported $18m pricetag.
While this seems like a lot of money for a site relaunch, it is an international brand, and the $18m may cover more than just a redesign.
The important point is whether or not this website will help it achieve its aim of improving its online revenues, which currently stand at 12% of overall sales.
While the site contains some great imagery and content, there is plenty of room for improvement, and it's a big fail on accessibility...
House of Fraser unveiled an updated version of its website recently.
Online sales rose by 110% in the first 24 weeks of the year, and House of Fraser aims to continue this growth with the redesigned website.
Mega menus have been applauded by gurus such as Jakob Nielsen for their ease of use, so it's little surprise that they've become the menu of choice for a growing proportion of ecommerce retailers.
If you are planning on adding a mega menu to your site, want to improve your existing menu or just need some inspiration, here is a round-up of some of the things online retailers are currently doing with their horizontal navigation.
Online shoe retailer Javari has the best user experience of 51 leading e-commerce websites, according to a new study.
Javari, which is an offshoot of Amazon, achieved this thanks to excellent scores for search and navigation, as well as its delivery and returns process.
I've been looking at the eDigital Research report in detail, as well as what Javari is doing well online...
Improving your site search and navigation can have a dramatic impact on sales. Not being able to find the product you want is one of the top - and sometimes overlooked - barriers to conversion.
In this article I've attempted to summarise what I see as the most important steps to improving the customer experience. While some require specific technology, many of these ideas can be implemented on any website.