In this article, we’re going behind the scenes of user experience to the engineering or development of an e-commerce site. What makes for good UX is often times, plain and simple, good engineering. The development makes a site function well. It includes software, servers, code, infrastructure, data security, and much more. It’s a bit analogous to the foundation of the structure. If engineering isn’t good, the whole thing could crumble. We’ve identified 5 main tenents that make for good e-commerce-specific engineering.
- Attractive, easy to use site
- Responsive web design
- Quick load times
- Simple check out
First off, you want an attractive and easy to use e-commerce site. You want to have a good layout, pleasing color scheme, clear product images and an obvious overall sense of what your site is selling— without overwhelming potential customers with excess data. Information should be clear and easily accessible. While quite a bit of this falls under the UX or user experience category, the engineers are the ones who actually write the code to make the UX happen. If the code is sloppy, the appearance of the site will be adversely affected. The bottom line is that you want to have well-written code behind your e-commerce site. According to Adobe’s State of Content from a survey of over 2,000 consumers, given just 15 minutes to consume, 66% prefer to view something “beautifully designed versus something simple and plain.”
Responsive, responsive, responsive! An e-commerce site has to be able to be viewed in its full glory from any device. A site that isn’t able to adapt for a cell phone or a tablet will quickly lose clients. According to Hitachi Solutions, 88% of consumers say that they use multiple screens. Your site needs to meet them where they are, at whichever device they’re on. If there are issues viewing a site, consumers are quick to leave.
Your e-commerce site needs to load quickly. The same Adobe article found that 39% of consumers stop engaging if a site is too slow to load. At Adobe’s MagentoLive Europe Conference in 2019, “ Many speakers noted that progressive web apps (PWAs), which preload content on devices to speed up and optimize navigation, will increasingly become the norm, due to their potential to improve commerce experiences online.” In order to stay competitive, an e-commerce site needs to stay on top of technological advances especially when it comes to load times.
The checkout experience is another moment that makes or breaks a sale in e-commerce. If the checkout is complicated, asking for too much information, shoppers will abandon their carts. 69.57% – is the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate. Now imagine what the abandonment rate would be if the checkout process is slow, confusing, or too demanding. The number one reason for cart abandonment, according to Baymard research is the extra costs, (shipping, tax, etc) were too high. It’s best to be as transparent as possible as early as possible regarding costs. If you’re offering free shipping, make sure your clients are aware of this. It’s also a good idea to keep the checkout process as short and sweet as possible. It offers less time for shoppers to get distracted or rethink a purchase. On the bright side, Baymard also found that the average e-commerce site can increase conversions by 35.26% with better check out design.
Consumers’ perceived security risks are another factor that can make or break a sale. Consumers are leery of giving out too much information in general and especially when it comes to bank details and paying with cards. A survey from Worldpay, a payment processing firm, found that 24% of online shoppers will not complete a purchase online unless they receive assurance that their information and details are safe. To set a good precedent, It’s best to display security badges every step of the way to reassure security-aware visitors that you are protecting their interests. It is also a good idea to have a policy such as refunds or returns visible so that consumers can learn how they’re protected while shopping on your site.
E-commerce is poised to continue its tremendous growth, which while good for entrepreneurs in the e-commerce sphere, also means that competition will increase. The bones (aka the engineering) of the site have to be solid to keep it competitive. The engineers are responsible for executing the UX design, making sure the site is responsive to function well on multiple devices, and for providing quick load times so consumers aren’t deterred by a wait. In addition, they’re also working hard to create no-frills, seamless, secure checkout systems that keep the consumer’s attention focused on the purchase. While all this is no small feat, excellent engineering plays a vital role in the success of any e-commerce site.