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Online shoppers can be impatient and unforgiving, to the point of abandoning an e-commerce site out of frustration. To prevent this from happening, it is important to have functionality and usability. An e-commerce site that offers a smooth and enjoyable user experience, will convert visitors into loyal customers. A few key elements to a successful e-commerce site are described in detail below.

Navigation menu. Usually, the main focus of a shopper when first landing on a homepage is figuring out how to navigate to the product they are seeking. This can be accomplished by typing, filtering, sorting, etc. Most well-placed navigation menus are either horizontal on a landing page above the fold or a vertical sidebar menu. If a website has an easy navigation menu, it normally takes about 3 search actions for a shopper to find their product. The easier a website is to navigate the longer a shopper will stay. For example, if a shopper finds their product, then their attention wonders across the page which may result in more purchases then initially intended. If the website is difficult to navigate, a shopper may become frustrated and abandon the site.

Product photos. Photos are a main element to an e-commerce site. A shopper will always be drawn to an image before reading the text on the page. The more appealing a product looks, the more likely it will be purchased. It is critical to have detailed product photos, especially large, well-focused, and zoomable images. It helps shoppers see the product when they can’t touch or feel it.

Product description. Descriptive text is important for shoppers to better understand a product. Each product description should be detailed, well-written, and unique. If a description is missing or missing major information on a listing, it is unattractive and can detour a shopper from making a purchase. It is also important to have a consistent format for product descriptions.

Customer reviews. Over half of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase decision. Reviews are an essential part of any e-commerce site, including links to third party reviews to bolster number of reviews. Customer reviews are significantly more trusted than descriptions that come from the manufacture, especially by Millennials. The number of reviews a product receives is also important. For example, if a product has 5 stars but only 6 reviews it may not be the most accurate. However, if a product has 4.5 stars and a thousand reviews then it would be safe to assume that the reviews are accurate. Reviews can give a shopper reassurance and help them gauge whether a product is good or not.

With global e-commerce sales predicted to rise over $4 trillion by 2020, competition between online retailers has never been more intense. It is important for companies to perform usability testing on their site to optimize their overall performance. A good e-commerce site will have an easy to navigate search menu, high-resolution product photos, helpful product descriptions, and real customer reviews.

If you would like to learn more, check on these articles:
Just Half Of Ecommerce Companies Do Regular Usability Testing
10 Simple Features Your eCommerce Website Needs

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