Designing e-Commerce Pages For Shoppers

Image:  E-commerce Website Design by Kip-koech (licensed under CC by 2.0)

Image: E-commerce Website Design by Kip-koech (licensed under CC by 2.0)

According to the Nielsen Norman Group, there are 5 kinds of e-commerce shoppers you should keep in mind when designing your e-commerce pages. These are:

  1. Product focused – know what they want and they want it fast;
  2. Browsers – have time to browse around and need to see what’s new;
  3. Researchers – need easy way to look up and compare product information;
  4. Bargain hunters – look for a great sale; and
  5. One-time shoppers – may also be one of the other four, and hate creating and registering an account with you.

These five are actually personas on which you can build your whole marketing, starting with your e-commerce website – they are your top audiences. Designing your e-commerce website for these five types of shoppers will improve your visitors’ shopping experience and can go a long way in increasing the attractiveness and profitability of your site compared to that of your competitors.

Knowing these five personas enable you to determine the right tone and style of your content and ways on how to best deliver the information needed by each of these shoppers. These five personas are not mutually exclusive so you can design your pages to accommodate all of them.

Here are the main points you should keep in mind when designing for the five types of e-commerce shoppers:

Your site should …

Be easy to navigate

Deliver useful information fast

  • Product names, descriptions, and images should be clear and complete. Descriptions should be easy to understand (not too technical). Special terms should be clearly defined (an easy to navigate glossary section can help). Product images that can be clicked to enlarge, or zoomed into, are a plus over small thumbnails.
  • Have a good search box. The search results should be clear and easy to navigate (also include thumbnails).
  • Previous visitors should be able to easily access and reorder items they previously purchased. Shopping carts should be easy to edit and keep products between visits.
  • Checkout should be easy to process without requiring registration. Or make the sign-up very easy using visitors’ social media accounts like Facebook or Google+.
  • Coupons should be redeemed easily.

Show what’s new and what to do

  • Highlight new, popular and on-sale products in easy to find sections
  • Show related and recommended products in product pages

Point out bargains

  • Show sale products alongside full-priced items.
  • Show discounts and savings
  • Apply discounts automatically whenever criteria are met

Be informative, trustworthy, and social

  • Enable users to compare products easily – similar to how cellphone sites enable you to easily select products for side-by-side comparison.
  • Show clear and trustworthy company information.
  • Users should be able to review products easily and share them with friends in their social media networks.
  • User reviews should also be real and reliable.

Note that these points are also best practices used in designing e-commerce sites. Relating them to the five e-commerce shopper personas just gives them context, so you’ll know the reason for the good things (in your e-commerce site that) you do.