Matt Powers is an Internet Marketer with Blue Soda Promo. He also does graphic design so he’s a pretty busy guy at work. Off the clock, he blogs here and most nights are spent watching Chicago sports or a good documentary. ________________________________________________________________
We all know what the five second rule is, right? If a piece of food drops on the floor, you have five seconds to pick it up before you should throw it away. However, as a UX (user experience) designer, my interpretation is a little different.
If a user cannot find what he/she is looking for on a specific site in 5 seconds, they will leave your site and not come back.
That is why user experience is an absolute must when it comes to customer service. If you are able to make your website as dummy-proof as possible for the user, they will easily be able to reach their end-goal. More importantly, you will accomplish your end-goals, which are gaining customers and increasing revenue.
The following 4 tips can easily be applied to any small business or e-Commerce site. We included some actual examples of how these changes were implemented and the results they had on Blue Soda Promo, an e-Commerce site that offers promotional products and customized apparel.
Tip: The Internet is an endless web of sites trying to take your money. Most users trust Google to point them in the right direction and leave it up to you to convince them they have come to the right place.
When they first arrive, it is important to make them feel right at home. Remember, users won’t always land on the homepage. This is why the combination of web design, product selection and trust symbols should play a prominent role on each and every landing page.
Changes made: Our site always had a solid design with trust symbols. Yet Blue Soda Promo felt it necessary to make the site even more user-friendly. We took the time to compile a strong list of testimonials from past customers, create a “meet the team” section full of pictures and biographies, and launch a section for our awards and certifications.
Results: Both new and past customers loved it. The three short videos we put on the site generated 17k views in the last two months alone. Customers now even ask our account mangers about information directly from their bio.
Tip: Not all users are created equal. While some users may be able to navigate a site without any problems, others may struggle and all the UX changes in the world may not prevent them from getting lost.
To save them from abandoning your site all together and running to the competition, users need to be able to find help and contact functions on every page of your site. Also, all sites should have help/FAQ sections, and if possible, a live chat function to answer customer questions.
Changes made: Blue Soda Promo updated the site header and put both the 800-number and live chat button prominently displayed big and bold, to ensure that customers didn’t leave before talking to someone. Blue Soda Promo also has contact forms on every product page to create an easy point of contact for users that have questions and may not want to call or chat.
Results: The percentage of live chats and phone calls have increased 11%, which is great because these two channels bring in the most engaged consumers.
Tip: Going beyond a loose categorization of your site will help you from both a user experience and an SEO point of view. This goes for everything, from the products you sell to the blog posts you write. By better categorizing your site, you will help users get to what they are looking for as quickly as possible.
This can be something broad to extremely niche. For example, if you were trying to find a BIC ballpoint pen, the breadcrumbs may look like this – Writing Utensils >> Pens >> BIC >> Ballpoint. Simply adding a category and some targeted keyword tags to a blog post is an alternative option.
Changes made: Because Blue Soda Promo bolstered their product selection to offer a wider variety for their customers, it was a necessity to go much deeper with their product categorization in the redesign. This ensured that it was as easy as possible for the user to find the product they were looking for. The new design implemented a filter system. Now users can filter by price, production time and quantity, and can break down categories into subcategories.
Results: We immediately saw a diversification of the type of products we were selling. Prior to the redesign, we saw the majority of our sales came from a handful of categories and products. Since the site is now easier to browse and filter, we not only have seen an increased conversion rate but also a greater mix of the type of products that we sell.
Tip: Further optimizing your site is up to you, but the end goal should always be to make things easier on the user. Ask yourself questions. Better yet, ask your customer base. For example, would a 360-degree product view be beneficial and help them in their decision to buy? Would a wish list help organize their preferences? What else would make their shopping experience easier?
Changes made: The biggest challenge in the new design was to further help users customize their product without requiring any assistance from the sales team. With a new step-by-step process, users could select exactly the quantity, color, size, logo and time frame they needed to get their products on time.
Blue Soda Promo also created two separate sections, solely to provide additional help to the user while shopping. The Product Genie is a simple tool that suggests personalized product options based on the event, budget and time frame the user inputs. The Design Center was created to help give customers a library of clipart, fonts and images that they could personalize their products with.
Results: These changes had the most profound impact in increasing conversion rates. The key to remember here is that these changes worked because they made the shopping experience even easier for the customer. Sales increased nearly 20% because of this change alone, making it well worth the time to develop and implement!
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