A brand image and online sales depend on many factors: technical, strategic, marketing, but also the appearance and functionality of the shop. Transparency, correct arrangement of shop elements, and navigation are the basic factors that lead to success. Under the name, User Experience hides a whole package of knowledge and technologies from different areas: Marketing, Graphics, Design, Programming, and Psychology. It is about designing the online shop in such a way that the customer can use it in a simple, intuitive, and pleasant way, which leads to a purchase.

What is UX and how is it different from UI?

UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) are terms that are still mixed. Although both elements are key to achieving the result, UI Design is an approach closer to designing a visual layer. Its goal is to create a friendly space for interaction between the user and the product. UX, on the other hand, is the design of a product with which the interaction will be full of positive experiences.

In other words, UX is not directly related to technical issues but rather based on the emotions and habits of the recipient. UX designer makes sure that the average user best receives the website/application from the selected target audience. UX designer tries to look at the product from the point of view of the user experience (creates the so-called persona) and designs specific solutions from this point of view.

UI includes navigation, search engines, text fields, some links, content arrangement, the overall interface, and the website's look.

UX is not pretty or ugly. UX is a feeling that may or may not be satisfactory. If a user enters an online store looking for shoes but can't find them (even though they know they're out there somewhere), UX is negative. The user feels disappointed, and the purchase is not made.

Read more about UI:
Storefront UI: Rocket fuel for Vue Storefront development

Why and how does poor UX jeopardize conversion rate (CR)?

A poorly designed UX has a significant impact on the conversion rate of an online store. Even a tiny mistake that frustrates the user can lead to cart abandonment. Therefore, a good UX design is essential.

A prime example of the importance of UX for conversion and return on investment is Amazon. The company has realized a direct correlation between the quality of the user experience and the bottom line. By investing in UX improvements, it went from a book-selling startup to a global retail leader. Even though from today's perspective, these were apparent moves on their part, their career was built on the little things such as the one-click buy button.

Amazon has tried to make it as easy as possible for customers to find products in their store and shorten the shopping path - making the journey from entering the site to clicking "buy" as short as possible. Amazon designers have focused their attention on product merchandising and ease of navigation, and - at the right point - they switched to mobile. Amazon's mobile application, which brings in the most revenue, is very clearly laid out so that users can quickly find the products they are looking for. 

Amazon has around 500 million products on offer. So it is a real challenge to categorize and design the navigation. However, a properly configured menu leads to the fact that the user has no problems with decision-making and does not get lost. As this example proves, the effect of a good user experience design goes far beyond providing the user with a nice-looking interface.

UX refers to all elements of an online store: the language, choice of graphics, or colors are its components, but most crucial is to align them with the preferences of the target audience. Therefore, research and testing with potential users are an inseparable part of the UX process.

Personalisation & Omnichannel presence

Personalization allows online retailers to offer products to users in a way that directly and accurately matches their needs and wants.

According to Accenture Interactive, 91% of consumers prefer to shop at stores that recognize them and provide products that match their interests.

Rather than taking a universal, homogenous approach across their entire group of recipients, online sellers should design vital elements of the customer journey, including website content, emails, social media activity, and paid advertising, to change based on customer needs and past behavior.

Examples of personalization include offers, purchase recommendations, personalized notifications on social media or emails, and one way to get personalized content on your eCommerce store is to use Headless CMSs. They allow for customization of stores, which increases - customer satisfaction.

Read more about Headless CMSs and Vue Storefront:
Which Headless CMSs Integrate with Vue Storefront?

Intuitive navigation, mobile-first & performance

The mobile-first approach is not just a trendy term but a must and standard in-store design as the traffic to the sites mainly comes from mobile devices.

Within the mobile-first approach, it is essential to ensure the proper performance of the website, especially the speed of loading. A slow website will hurt your search presence, jeopardize customers' conversion; optimized performance - on the other hand - helps you to increase customer satisfaction, keep visitors on your site, and turn them into return visitors.

Mobile-friendly navigation is also an essential but often overlooked element. You need to ensure that users have a smooth, and frictionless experience to make them find what they want instantly. There should be no space to overload pop-ups covering the clickable elements, neverending forms, and floating buttons.

Payments

The choice of appropriate payment methods and their number may not seem like a prominent element of UX. However, selecting payment methods tailored to the target audience is a critical element of conversion. Many customers add products to their shopping cart and are about to buy, but it turns out that there is no payment method they would like to choose.

Understanding the local market, including regulations, economics, and cultural differences, is critical to local success, and the same concept applies to payments. You need to take local customs into account, as customers' payment preferences can differ drastically from one country or region to another. 

However, it would help if you stayed cautious; offering too many new payment methods can confuse the user. 

Third-party services to leverage the customer experience

Loyalty programs are the foundation of a well-thought-out marketing strategy to build and maintain solid relationships with customers. Thanks to them, you can show customers that you remember them and that their engagement is essential to you. Of course, it is about higher conversion. Thanks to customer retention, you can help increase the sales level of a particular product or service while keeping the cost of acquiring a customer lower than traditional advertising campaigns. 

The cost of retaining an existing customer is lower than acquiring a new one.

The introduction of the customer loyalty program in eCommerce is particularly attractive because of the low cost of implementation compared to the customer loyalty programs we know from the offline world. When choosing the right tool, it's worth looking at modern solutions that collect data from different touchpoints and provide an omnichannel experience. These include Talon One and Open Loyalty, for example.

Flexible Frontend Platform to connect all the elements

By analyzing the above elements and components of the user experience, it is possible to determine the importance of studying the tools and processes used. UI and UX are critical to the customer experience, which naturally affects conversion, leading to the frontend platform. The frontend layer is the foundation of UX, and it spun all the UX/UI elements all together. 

Given all of these, it is crucial to choose the frontend platform - on the one hand - with short time-to-market, as consumers' behaviors can change dramatically over few months, but - on the other - with a high level of flexibility. The front-end layer must be constantly improved by adding (and removing) tools that boost customer experience. Still, it has to be said loud and clear that customers' expectations are not set in stone, and there is no universal recipe for fulfilling them. Testing and optimizing are the keys.

Both - flexibility and short TTM - are Vue Storefront's crucial features.

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Vue Storefront teams up with commercetools to offer you limitless possibilities

With above-average performance-oriented architecture and customizability, VFS is a solution tailored to modern eCommerce businesses. It is designed to free the business growth by giving the companies technology that molds to its need, not the other way around. With Vue Storefront, there is no limitation on how the user utilizes Vue Storefront in their store and which services they choose. It allows building the system from the best-of-breed solutions... and change them any time with no need to re-vamping the whole system.

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