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Why UX Can’t Be an Afterthought in a Successful E-com Project

Jul 07, 2022

If you’re planning an e-commerce project, press pause for a moment. You may very well be undermining your success by not starting in the right place.

Many retailers and brands make the mistake of only thinking about user experience (UX) towards the end of their e-com projects. At that point though, you’ve already missed the value UX has to offer.

UX needs to be the foundation rather than a layer on top if you want a successful e-commerce project. Because if you thought UX is just about design, then you’re very much mistaken.


Why UX Matters in Your E-commerce Project

Why does UX matter so much? It’s because user experience is all about supporting customer flows and journeys. By doing this you increase your conversion rate, which is one of the key measures used to determine the success of your e-commerce site.

UX goes a lot deeper than how a website looks. It refers to the overall experience for the customer when using the site. Good UX empowers the user. Bad UX makes them leave.

Great UX comes from a combination of specialist knowledge in digital commerce, responsive web design, digital transformation and inclusive accessibility rules. But it’s also about really understanding your customer and their needs. This goes beyond just the website and into their wider shopping journey across all your channels.

Great UX comes from a combination of specialist knowledge in digital commerce, responsive web design, digital transformation and inclusive accessibility rules.

What Are the Benefits of Starting with UX on an E-commerce Project?

A lot of people choose to start their e-commerce project with development simply because they can see things happening. They get a sense of progress.

However, by starting with UX you enable more valuable discussions about your site and how it should function which helps guide the development and increases the pay-off.

Think about it. There is no point in building a beautiful website that your users hate or can’t navigate.

As such, UX is a great way to kickstart the discovery phase of your e-commerce project. By creating wireframes and visual mock-ups, you generate ideas and can identify opportunities and challenges – both technically and logistically. This helps to define the scope of the project and the sort of features that the e-commerce site should include. It means you don’t end up wasting money going down the wrong path.

There is no point in building a beautiful website that your users hate or can’t navigate.

UX also helps with briefing the site developers and pre-planning. Being able to see things visually, makes it easier to make sure that everyone is on the same page and understands what the goal is. Whereas verbal or written instructions can more easily be misinterpreted or misunderstood between parties.

It also gives you the opportunity to discuss your requirements with the developers and whether they can deliver what you need. Not every website idea can easily become a reality, so it’s good to have these conversations early on.

The other benefit of starting with UX is the opportunity to boost conversion rates. You can look at each part of the customer journey and try to solve problems or find better ways to navigate through A/B testing. Each change can be measured and analyzed for its impact on conversion.


How UX Can Help Your E-commerce Site Meet Customer Expectations

Data is an incredibly valuable resource, but it doesn’t tell you the full story about what customers are doing. Or what they want.

A core part of UX design is user research, testing and customer interviews. This enables you to get to grips with how customers use your website and what problems they have. Combining this with analytics gives you really powerful insights that save you time and money because you start your e-commerce project knowing what you need to do – rather than finding out down the line.

This approach is more critical than ever as customers have a lot of expectations for e-commerce today. In an increasingly omnichannel retail world, you have to constantly be thinking about the entire flow of the customer journey. This might see customers move from the physical store to Google to your website to actually making a purchase. Returns are another element in the customer flow.

UX can map all of these different journeys and elements from the very beginning which has huge operational benefits. Remember, although you may be planning an e-commerce project, the customer journey doesn’t necessarily start on the website, so you have to take that into account. Your retail business may rely more on physical stores, or your customers may be used to experiencing products and customer service in a certain way.

If you only think about your e-commerce, you’ll end up building a single channel journey that you have to try and make omnichannel later – at greater cost and effort. Taking a UX-led approach will give you that omnichannel view, so you can build a solution that fits how your customers shop.


UX Gives Your E-commerce Project an Advantage

E-commerce is a conversion business. This means it important to understand your customer and what gets them to convert. Even if you want to use your e-commerce site for brand building, you still want users to take certain actions.

Getting the UX right from the start will give you a considerable advantage over the competition. Your e-commerce site will be better from a technical and operational perspective through solving challenges early on and embracing opportunities to improve the experience. It will also help optimize your e-commerce project for today’s omnichannel shopping journeys.

If UX is missing from your e-commerce project plans, get in touch to find out how our UX experts can help you create experiences that matter to your customers.