For starters…. We all know what usability is right?
Usability is the things within your website that make using it, navigating it and ultimately enjoying it better for your shoppers. These items are things that people need, expect and are accustomed to.
Granted we see new, exciting design innovations and features in web design and ecommerce almost daily….. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter how cool you think it is, if people cannot use your site effectively and make purchases easily and quickly.
Lets point out some of the biggest mistakes I have seen that inhibit a shopping cart’s usability and sales!
- Right hand navigation only. While this is certainly cutting edge, cool and all that…. Your customers do not think so, they are not comfortable.
- No or poorly located search box. Users will look to the top (header area) of your website for search. Fact is, we have indeed trained them to do this.
- Logos that do not link to your homepage. Augh! Shoppers hate this, it is expected…. They know to click there and when no link exists they are immediately stressed and put off because in their mind it is supposed to be there!
- Lack of product information. Whether you cannot take the time to write a few words or have lousy images…. Either way this is poor usability and worse yet, low trust!
- Illegible text blocks. How many of you have crammed 250 words on your homepage which has no legible paragraphs and by it’s very look guarantees no one will read it? People NEED logical breaks in text to scan, read and navigate text properly. If you think you are helping your SEO with this, you are probably wrong and you are loosing sales, trust and user interest to boot!
- Mouseovers. Mouseovers are styles to let people know where their cursor is set to click. These tiny little bits of CSS are more important than you can ever imagine when navigating a website. ALL links of ANY kind should have an action when moused over and preferably a different color or style once visited.
- Breadcrumbs. If you are assuming that people know where they are on your website, you are wrong. Visitors do not all enter your website through your main page and then systematically navigate to your products. They enter when the search engine sends them. So if I search for a leather belt, I will likely end up on a leather belt product page…. But what if this is close but not exactly what I wanted? Now without breadcrumbs I have to try to find it…. Hmmmm, probably easier for me to hit my back button and return to the search engine to refine my search or try another site.
- Add to cart buttons. Websites are not interior design classes, your add to cart button (all important buttons) should be located above the fold and clearly contain a color that stands out…. Call to action. Did you know that redesigning your product pages to adhere to JUST the position and color can increase your conversion rate 2%? Try to create perfect product pages for a huge increase in conversions.
- Shipping. This is one of the top issues we find in the carts we look at. It is literally costing you more than you can even imagine. You see, eBay and other less than transparent transactions online have created a “fear of shipping”. If I cannot get the shipping cost before I have to give you my personal information, I am leaving, period!
- Font size, type and style. If you think that rainbow mix of 14 different font styles throughout your website is cool, you are dead wrong. Even customers think this is unprofessional. Might as well hang a banner on your site telling everyone you are a low trust, garage based drop shipper! Face it, do you see mixed, unreadable or rainbow fonts on successful shopping sites like Macy’s or Wal Mart? Nope, they use consistent, easy to read text throughout their entire websites. Might consider that the marketing and development minds that built these websites are just a bit more advanced than yourself and take advantage of their research and success.
- Slow pages. If your website is slow… You are throwing away sales. People will no longer tolerate slow loading sites when the back button will bring them to a plethora of other choices! Study, optimize and maximize your site speed… It pays!
- Attributes. Are your product attributes below the add to cart button? What exactly is the logic in this…….. Do you go to the store, pick a shirt, go to checkout and then tell them what size at the register? Hell no!
- Trust. We mentioned this a bit above, but is your contact information displayed prominently and professionally? Do I know your site is safe to shop from? Does your site give me the idea that it’s low budget, low class and untrusted? Ask some friends to look at your site with honest eyes… Then listen to them.
Take away from this post whatever you choose, but remember, you do not shop on your site………. Your shoppers do and they need your help to find and buy what they are looking for. If you assume….. Well you know the old saying about assuming.