It is not news that a significant portion of our lives occurs on the internet. We socialize, relax, and even party online. When it comes to purchasing behavior, many individuals have shied away from traditional brick-and-mortar stores and do most of their shopping on the internet instead. This trend has only grown during the COVID-19 pandemic and is here to stay.
It is estimated that US eCommerce grew 44% in 2020, and online sales represented nearly 22% of retail sales last year.
Retail therapy? It’s likely considering the year(s) we’ve had.
Regardless of the driving force behind this trend, it represents an undeniable silver lining for any online retail owner or digital marketer. As marketers, we must recognize this shift to online and optimize our sites accordingly to reap the benefits. A great way to do this is by utilizing user experience (UX) to incentivize online conversions.
UX is the experience that a potential customer has with your brand or product. It is your role as a marketer to optimize these exchanges to make them as hassle-free as possible. Given the popularity of eCommerce, one of the main interactions between customer and brand will likely occur on your website. Ultimately, you want your site to facilitate an intuitive and smooth ride. Remove the barriers to use, connect to consumer usability preferences, and your conversions will likely increase.
It’s easy to see the benefits of UX to incentivize conversions on our digital touchpoints. I asked five experts to give me their opinion on user experience and break down the steps to success with UX. Here’s what they shared:
Testing is key:
Want to optimize your site based on UX? Then test, test, test!
Remember, your website is not a static piece of work. It should ebb and flow and adapt to new trends and user preferences. We often don’t know what we don’t know unless we observe it in action: this is where testing and measuring come into play.
UX testing allows you to analyze your clients in real-time as they interact with your website. You can obtain live feedback and explore multiple variables within your website to discover what is most likely to generate conversions. A great way to do this is by developing A/B or multivariate tests and measure user behavior with Google Analytics, VWO, session replays, and even heat maps. Consider testing your call to action, website readability, load time, and more, evaluate user conversions, and adjust your site accordingly.
Eugenia Rodriguez, Business Director and Cofounder at Neurobrand Costa Rica, highlights the importance of UX for conversions and how primordial data can be in driving the user experience strategy. She believes that “marketers should aim to understand the behavior of their target audience to conceptualize and strategically implement an effective website. This can help structure the architecture in the wireframes, attractively design the information and highlight valuable details (for example, implementing icons when mentioning the benefits of products or services). To best understand user behavior, we must track and measure user actions. The best way to do this is to integrate Google Analytics to track user behavior. With such a large inventory of web pages globally, developing a solid UX strategy that supports my communication objectives is vital to achieving my business goals. Evaluate the different integrations that you can implement on your site to deepen your client’s connection to your brand, and you will inevitably increase the likelihood of a conversion.”
Channeling Freud – Psychology in UX:
It is a scary trend that, as a society, we are shying away from direct human contact and opt instead to engage with the automaticity that is only possible through digital touchpoints. Regardless of the emotional reaction this may provoke, it is our role as digital marketers to recognize this transition, humanize customer touchpoints, and adjust them to match user preferences and motivations with UX.
Few people understand the link between consumer motivation and experience better than Gregory Maloney, Ph.D. Dr. Maloney, Marketing and Logistics Specialist and Faculty Member at FIU, mentions that “in the last decade, there has been a fundamental shift of consumers making more and more purchases using computers instead of purchasing directly from another human. A friendly and helpful salesperson is now being replaced with technology. This means the sales techniques of the past are no longer useful with purely digital transactions and marketers need to utilize the user experience to replace these techniques. The good news is that we can create the same psychological reactions with consumers that attractive or knowledgeable salespeople do by enhancing the digital experience through UX. In fact, there is even more potential with digital interfaces to induce affect in consumers that can increase consumption. Companies that figure out how to use UX the most effectively will be the leaders of tomorrow.”
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail:
Once we collect data, we must adjust our UX strategy by incorporating actionable insights that are more likely to generate results. Ricardo Puyana, FIU MSM ’20 graduate and Digital Marketing Coordinator at VIAX Dental Technologies, recognizes the importance of solid UX planning. Ricardo mentions that “with digital commerce taking a massive leap of evolution during the COVID-19 pandemic, we as marketers must carefully plan the UX in the customer journey when visiting our website. Doing so can help make the experience in the website usable and accessible, where users can find what they need quickly and have valuable content that adds value to your product or service and drives conversions.”
Functionality trumps design:
In a perfect world, you should create digital touchpoints that are esthetically pleasing and optimized for an ideal user experience. However, beauty is subjective, while simplicity of use is less so. Simple and easy to navigate sites and more likely to generate conversions when compared to visually pleasing sites that are difficult to use.
Despite being an expert in design, Mariana Cabrera Faverola, Marketer and Digital Content Creator at IMC, recognizes that a site that enhances user experience is more critical than a visually pleasing one. Mariana emphasizes that “understanding user experience has become a necessity for any digital and advertising development. Users are becoming increasingly complex and volatile, so having a well-defined communication strategy based on data enhances the user experience and is essential for any digital or analog marketing campaign. Thinking that design is only about aesthetics is a big mistake made by different brands of all scales. Considering site architecture, user motivation, and previous interactions is much more crucial if you strive for success.”
KISS – Keep it simple, silly:
UX may be one of the areas where doing less is more. You don’t want to saturate your user with too many options. Instead, include a clear call to action that seamlessly incentivizes your consumer to convert. Think about designing for grandma. If she can navigate your site successfully and wants to convert, you have done an excellent job!
Once again, Ricardo Puyana highlights that “we should look at conversion optimization using UX as a process of making our customer’s life easier. Make the process as straightforward as possible, with every action that your customers need to take to be findable and straightforward instructions or call to action so that they can become leads or complete their purchases. Make your conversion funnel easy and leads and sales will grow. Focus too much on the flash and not on the experience and conversions will be lost.”
Delight your client:
Barbara Larco Vega, a Digital Marketing Expert and current FIU MSM student, concisely encapsulates the importance of UX to drive conversions. Barbara mentions that “multiple strategies and methodologies currently exist to generate attraction and conversion. By developing and providing digital experiences that satisfy our customers, we can attract, convert, and retain them. Therefore, it is essential to create UX strategies to generate a successful digital customer journey. UX should prioritize value, functionality, utility, and interactivity to ensure that our audience gets the most value and contribution. By placing your customers’ needs at the core of your strategy, learning their expectations, and then exceeding those expectations, you’ll end up with loyal customers who sing your praises and spread the word about your product.”
A digitally centered life calls for the optimization of user experience and online platforms. Doing so will result in hassle-free customer journeys and catapult conversions. It’s a win-win for users and marketers.
Walk in your users’ shoes. Be curious and test to gain actionable insights into user preferences. Delve a little deeper to understand the psychology of consumer motivation and the driving forces behind conversions. Develop a well-thought-out strategy that simplifies the customer journey. Exceed customer expectations and keep them coming back.
It’s a lot, but it can be done. Consider the importance of UX for your digital touchpoints, implement an actionable strategy, and watch your conversions soar accordingly.
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