Ecommerce Usability Best Practices: Ultimate Guide [2023]

ecommerce usability - Feature image

What Does Usability Mean?

Usability refers to the ease with which users can interact with your website and is a crucial aspect of ecommerce user experience. When a site has good usability, it provides a comfortable and straightforward experience for users to navigate. This is important for all types of visitors, whether they have a specific goal in mind or are simply browsing.

To cater to different types of users, an optimized e-commerce platform should support various shopping behaviours, such as customizable purchasing options based on region. For instance, Larq, a water purification system, saw an 80% increase in visitor conversions by launching multi-currency support from a single e-commerce platform.

In a competitive e-commerce landscape, good usability is essential for survival. If a website’s usability issues prevent a visitor from finding a product, they are less likely to make a purchase. On the other hand, a shop that offers better functionality from browsing to order submission is more likely to convert visitors into customers.

By improving consistency, design, and task focus, e-commerce usability promotes your website and allows for a more customer-centric approach. This, in turn, can lead to higher revenues, increased customer loyalty, and improved brand value.

Why Usability Is Essential to an E-commerce Website

User ability is important for e-commerce usability because it ensures that customers can easily navigate the online store and find what they are looking for. A good ecommerce user experience leads to satisfied customers who are more likely to return to the site and make purchases. On the other hand, a company that offers a poor user experience will lose customers and see a decline in sales. In order to be successful, e-commerce businesses must focus on offering a user-friendly experience.

An Improved Omnichannel Customer Experience.

Modern e-commerce ux has advanced to offer customers an improved omnichannel experience. This means that customers have access to multiple options for shopping as well as better visibility into the entire purchasing process. Companies are able to provide a consistent customer experience no-matter what channel is used and also ensure that their online store is easy to use and navigate. By improving user ability, companies can offer customers a seamless shopping journey that elevates the overall customer experience.

Reduce Browsing Time.

Your site visitor’s browsing experience should be effortless and pleasurable. An optimized e-commerce user experience (UX) aims to minimize loading times and facilitate swift product discovery for customers.

Research indicates that consumers are more likely to make a purchase within three to four minutes of landing on your site. However, if their browsing duration extends to seven minutes, the probability of completing the checkout process significantly drops. Therefore, any usability issues that prolong visitor durations can significantly impact potential revenue.

There are a number of reasons why we should reduce our browser time.

  • Too much time spent online can lead to internet addiction, which can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health.
  • Excessive browsing can also lead to information overload, which can make it difficult to focus and be productive.
  • Spending too much time on the internet can also cause social isolation and loneliness.

Establish Credibility.

Consistent experience across every visit and transaction builds consumer trust and boosts brand credibility for an online store. Conversely, if your website could be more active and convenient to navigate or its user interface (UI) could be more organized, it can hurt your reputation among consumers. This can result in reduced repeat purchases and an increased likelihood of cart abandonment.

A QA test (quality assurance testing) can help you identify site bugs and ensure that you offer your customers the most valuable e-commerce experience. Automated and manual tests offer insight into your store from a customer’s viewpoint and help you make the necessary usability changes to optimize their shopping experience.

Enhanced Brand Engagement.

Reduced browser time can lead to enhanced brand engagement due to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Customers who find it easy to interact with your business online are more likely to become repeat customers, recommend your brand to others, and share their positive experiences on social media. This will elevate your business in the long run by increasing visibility and improving customer relationships.

The Common Usability Challenges in E-commerce

E-commerce websites are complex, and they come with their own usability challenges that can make it difficult for customers to find what they are looking for or complete transactions. Here are some common usability challenges in e-commerce

Poor Design.

Poor design can be a significant obstacle for e-commerce websites. Websites should be designed so that customers can easily find what they are looking for, and the checkout process should be quick and intuitive. A visually appealing website will also create a better customer experience and make it more likely for customers to return to the site. 

Other areas of poor design can include:

  • Limited payment options.
  • Lack of product information.
  • Slow page loading times.
  • Confusing navigation menus.

Lack of System Feedback.

Lack of system feedback is a common usability challenge in e-commerce design. Customers need to be able to track their progress throughout the checkout process and receive a confirmation when changes are made on their account page or order page. With this necessary feedback, customers may become satisfied and confident if they have completed their tasks correctly. Furthermore, e-commerce sites need to provide helpful error messages when customers enter incorrect information, such as an expiration date or incorrect billing address.

Problems With CTA Buttons.

CTA (Call To Action) buttons play a critical role in e-commerce, and problems with them can lead to lost sales. Poorly placed or unreadable buttons can make it difficult for customers to take action and complete their purchases. 

Problems with CTA buttons can also include:

  • Confusing text or language.
  • Buttons that are too small or too large.
  • Buttons that are slow to load or hard to find.

Additionally, different platforms need different types of CTA buttons, so e-commerce websites need to ensure their design accommodates the various platforms they will be viewed on.

Low Social Media Visibility.

Social media is a critical component of any e-commerce business. Without a strong presence on social channels, customers may be unaware of promotions and new products or services. Low social media visibility can also lead to lost sales opportunities, as potential customers may need help finding the store online. To address this issue, eCommerce businesses need to create a comprehensive social media strategy that includes content creation, distribution and engagement tactics. Additionally, they should establish clear goals and objectives for each platform, so they know what success looks like.

Best Practices For Optimizing Ecommerce Usability

Optimizing for the best ecommerce user experience is an integral part of any successful e-commerce business. Here are a few best practices to consider when creating or tweaking an existing website.

Make Navigation A Breeze.

Navigation should be a breeze for customers on an e-commerce website, improving the UX of your ecommerce site and helping users get around your ecommerce store more effeciently. To make navigation easy, keep menus simple and straightforward, with clear labels and categories. Include a search function and consider including breadcrumb links so users can easily track their journey through the site. Additionally, create visual cues like arrows or scrollbars to guide users through their shopping experience. Finally, include a “back” button when applicable, so users are not stuck on one page if they want to revisit a previous category.

Internal Search

Internal search is an important part of website usability. A good internal search feature should be easy to find, allow customers to refine their searches as needed, and return relevant results. To ensure your internal search is effective, try testing it with different keyword combinations and index all content from product descriptions and blog posts. Additionally, include autocompleting functionality so users can quickly find what they’re looking for without typing out full keywords. This often helps customers identify products or services they were unaware of.

Filter Options

Customers should easily filter through product or service options on your e-commerce website. Filter options should appear directly on the page and provide customers with relevant criteria, such as size, colour, price range, or specific features. This gives customers more control over the shopping experience and allows them to narrow down their search results quickly. Additionally, consider including a “reset” button that clears all filters so users can start again from scratch without having to reload the page.

The Checkout Process Needs To Be Streamlined.

Streamlining the checkout process is essential to improving your customers’ shopping experience on your website. Make sure that customers can easily view and update their cart, enter contact/payment information, review terms and conditions, and complete their purchase. Remove all unnecessary steps, such as account creation or surveys, as this will only add time and complexity to the checkout process. Additionally, ensure the checkout page is optimized for mobile devices so customers can finish their orders on any device easily.

Look At Your Search Engine.

Optimizing your website for search engines is important to ensure that your customers can easily find what they’re looking for. Search engine optimization (SEO) requires the use of specific keywords, well-organized content, fast loading times, and link building. Additionally, utilizing analytics tools such as Google Analytics helps track which keywords are most successful and how users interact with the content on your website. With the help of SEO and analytics data, you can better tailor your website to meet the needs of potential customers.

The Page’s Load Time Needs To Be Optimized.

Optimizing page load time is essential for a great customer experience. Slow loading times can lead to user frustration and abandoned orders. You can reduce the time it takes for your website’s pages to load by compressing images, minifying HTML/CSS/JavaScript, optimizing database queries, caching often-used resources, and utilizing a content delivery network. Additionally, using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom Website Speed Test can help you diagnose and prioritize page speed optimizations.

Optimize For Mobile Use.

Optimizing your website for mobile use is essential to ensure customers have a good user experience regardless of which device they are using. To optimize for mobile use, you should utilize responsive design so that your page automatically adjusts based on the size of the device’s screen. Adjust font sizes and other elements to be easy to read on a variety of devices. Additionally, using tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can help you diagnose any potential issues with your website’s mobile design.

Make It Accessible To All Users.

Making a website accessible to all users is essential to ensure everyone can use your website regardless of their age, ability, or experience level. To make your website more accessible, you should remove any unnecessary barriers and provide clear navigation with clear labels and descriptions for each page. Additionally, using HTML elements like ARIA roles and tab index can help with screen reader accessibility on pages with complex layouts. 

Other things to consider include:

  • Making sure that text is readable and contrast is high enough.
  • Avoiding the use of videos as backgrounds.
  • Ensuring visual cues are also conveyed without colour.
  • Providing captions for audio content.

Design Your Pages Better.

Designing your pages with the user in mind is essential for creating an enjoyable experience for visitors. To create better page designs, start by determining the purpose of each page and prioritizing key information. Additionally, it’s essential to consider how visitors will interact with the page, so breaking up text into chunks and using headers can help enhance readability. Utilizing white space can also help draw attention to specific elements while avoiding clutter that can distract users from their intended purpose. Incorporating other design elements like color, typography, animation, visuals, and buttons can help create attractive and engaging pages.

Focus on A/B Testing.

A/B testing is an essential tool for improving your website and optimizing UX. By testing different web page versions, you can see which versions provide the best results. To get started with A/B testing, begin by identifying the goals you want to achieve. Then, create two different versions of the web page that feature slight variations in design or content. After setting up the experiment and collecting visitor data, you can measure how each variation performs against your goals and draw meaningful conclusions from your results. With the insights gained from A/B testing, you’ll be able to make strategic decisions about improving your website for better user engagement and satisfaction.

Usability Testing and the User Experience

Usability testing is an important step for understanding the user experience and identifying areas for improvement. Through usability testing, you can evaluate how easily visitors can use your website or application by observing real people interacting with it. This feedback from users can help you identify problems like user confusion or difficulty navigating, so you’ll be able to make informed decisions about any necessary changes. Usability testing will also provide you with valuable insights into user preferences, behaviours, and motivations that can help inform design decisions and improve the overall user experience.

What Is Usability Testing in E-commerce?

Usability testing for e-commerce involves assessing how easy customers find and select products, navigate through the checkout process, and complete a purchase. This type of testing helps you identify any areas that may prevent customers from completing orders or buying from your website. By engaging in usability testing for e-commerce, you’ll be able to improve the customer experience and ensure that the checkout process is as streamlined as possible. Additionally, usability testing can also provide valuable insights into customer preferences and shopping trends, so you can make strategic decisions about product offerings or marketing campaigns.

Why Usability Testing Can Improve the User Experience

Usability testing can provide invaluable insights into the user experience and help identify areas for improvement. By closely observing how visitors interact with your site or application, you’ll be able to evaluate if they’re having a positive or negative experience while using it. This feedback can then inform design decisions and help make your site more intuitive and easy to use. Additionally, usability testing can also give you an understanding of user motivations and preferences, leading to more targeted marketing efforts and increased conversions.

Online Shop Homepage Usability 101

Creating an intuitive and enjoyable user experience on your e-commerce homepage is essential to giving visitors an excellent first impression. 

Here are some critical elements of a successful homepage:

  • Clear and concise product descriptions: Ensure that all product categories and products are categorized and describe what they offer.
  • Easy to find search bar: Make sure it is prominently displayed at the top of the page, so customers can quickly find what they need.
  • Prominent call to action (CTA): A prominent CTA can help customers complete their purchase, whether it’s a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Add to Cart’ button.
  • Clearly visible promotion/discounts: If you offer promotions or discounts, make them visible on your homepage and provide information about how the customer can take advantage of them.
  • Simple navigation: Keep navigation simple and easy to use so customers feel safe when searching for products or information.

Focus On Your Target Audience.

When creating a great user experience for your website or application, focusing on your target audience is key. Knowing who you’re designing for helps you decide which features to prioritize and how the interface should look. Consider researching the needs, wants and preferences of your target audience so that you can create an intuitive design that meets their needs. Additionally, users’ feedback can provide valuable insights into what they think could be improved or added to enhance their experience even further.

Homepage Call-to-action

The homepage call-to-action (CTA) is one of the most important elements of your e-commerce website, as it helps to guide customers towards completing their purchases. Ensure that your CTA stands out from the rest of the page and is visible, such as a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Add to Cart’ button. Additionally, ensure that the user experience surrounding this CTA is straightforward; provide helpful information about the product (such as product images and descriptions) so that customers feel safe when making their decision.

Category Page Optimization

Category page optimization is an essential part of an effective e-commerce website. Start by creating descriptive category pages with relevant keywords and a clear hierarchy to help customers easily navigate your product range. Additionally, consider optimizing these pages for SEO, as this will help you rank higher in search results and reach more potential customers. Furthermore, use the category page to suggest products that may relate to what the customer is looking for; this way, you’ll ensure they are exposed to more of your products without feeling overwhelmed or confused about their options.

Landing Page Optimization

Landing page optimization is a great way to ensure that your customers engage with your website and convert into paying customers. Start by ensuring that the landing page’s layout is attention-grabbing and easy to read, incorporating visuals or related products to boost engagement. Additionally, provide clear instructions on what the user should do next, such as ‘click here’ or ‘buy now’. Finally, optimize for SEO by including relevant keywords in your headlines and descriptions; this will help you rank higher in search engine results and attract more potential customers.

Product Page Optimization

Product page optimization is essential when it comes to increasing conversions. Start by creating product descriptions that are easy to read and contain relevant keywords that users may be searching for. Additionally, include visuals such as product images, videos or customer reviews to create a more engaging experience. Furthermore, consider optimizing the page with SEO-friendly content; this will help customers find your products more quickly and increase the visibility of your website in search engine results. Finally, ensure your call-to-action is clear and prominent so customers know what to do next.

Best Practices

Best practices when it comes to web design are essential for creating an engaging and positive user experience. Firstly, make sure your website is mobile-friendly; users should be able to access the same content on their phone or tablet as they would on a desktop. Secondly, ensure your page load times are fast; if a page takes too long to load, customers may become frustrated and leave without completing the task. Thirdly, prioritize security by enabling SSL certification or HTTPS on all pages; this will establish trust with your customers and keep their data safe. Finally, maintain a consistent layout across all pages so that users know what they can expect throughout the website.

Call To Action (CTA)

An effective call-to-action (CTA) should be clear, concise and prominently displayed so that customers can quickly identify what they need to do next. The language should be direct and visual elements such as buttons, icons, or colour blocks can help draw attention to the CTA. Additionally, consider A/B testing different versions of your CTA to see what works best with your audience. Finally, make sure the action users need to take is intuitive; if too many steps are involved, it could cause confusion and lead to customers abandoning the process altogether.

Checkout Page Optimization

Here are the most important checkout page optimization tips:

  1. Keep it simple and straightforward – there should be minimal steps during checkout, and only include essential information fields.
  2. Provide helpful customer support options if needed – include chat, phone numbers or an FAQ section to help customers during their purchase process.
  3. Offer a variety of payment methods – customers should have the option to pay with either credit cards, debit cards, online wallets or PayPal.
  4. Show progress indicators – break down complex forms into smaller chunks so customers can quickly see how far they have progressed in the checkout journey.
  5. Provide reassuring trust signals – badges or logos from well-known brands can help reassure customers that their data is secure when making a purchase on your website.
  6. Design for mobile users – it’s essential to ensure that your checkout page performs well on both desktop and mobile devices as more people now shop using their phones or tablets than ever before.

Guest Purchase

A guest purchase is a checkout process that enables customers to complete their purchase without needing to create an account on your website. This option has the advantage of being quick and simple, but it means you won’t be able to capture personal information such as email addresses or addresses for marketing purposes. It can also leave a customer feeling less committed since they don’t have an account associated with their purchases. Therefore, it’s important to offer both guest checkout and account-based options so that customers can choose whichever suits them best.

Short Forms

Short forms are a great way to simplify the checkout process and reduce the number of steps required. They allow customers to fill out their details quickly and easily without needing to manually enter information into each field. When creating short forms, only include fields that are absolutely necessary, such as name, address and payment details. If possible, pre-fill any available data so that customers don’t have to spend time typing in the same information more than once.


Secure payment is essential for any e-commerce website. Customers need to feel confident that their data will be protected when they enter their personal and financial information. Make sure your website is using the latest encryption technology, as well as adhering to all security regulations. Additionally, offer customers a variety of payment methods so they can choose which one works best for them. This could include debit/credit cards, PayPal and other digital wallets.

Shopping Cart Abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment is a major issue for online stores, with over 70% of customers leaving without completing their purchases. There are several strategies that can be used to reduce abandonment, such as offering discounts or incentives for completing the purchase, providing easy payment options and enabling guests to checkout. Additionally, you could use automated emails to remind customers that they still have items in their cart and encourage them to complete the purchase.

Optimize Site Speed

Optimizing the speed of your website is essential for providing a good user experience. A slow-loading website can lead to customers leaving your site before they even get a chance to look around. To boost your website’s performance and reduce loading times, you should consider leveraging content delivery networks (CDNs), minifying code and enabling caching on your server. You can also compress images and use a dedicated hosting provider for improved performance.

Conclusion: E-commerce Usability Is A Trade Of Its Own

E-commerce usability is an essential component of any successful online store. To ensure customers have the best experience when using your website, consider key factors such as site speed, load times, shopping cart abandonment, payment options and user-friendly designs. By optimizing these features and providing a smooth and seamless experience, you can drastically increase customer satisfaction and keep them coming back for more.

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