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What stops customers buying from you online?

Is it easy for them to find what they’re looking for on your website?

Do some of them give up because your checkout process is unclear?

These are some of the questions Dorset Growth Hub helped five Dorset businesses address at a workshop in late November, run by Bournemouth-based Experience UX.  The Experience UX team help some of the UK’s leading brands understand how to improve their e-commerce sites and have a wealth of experience in capturing and applying the knowledge gained from watching how consumers shop online.

A day of surprising discovery

Five food and drink producers and retailers took part in the one day workshop. Experience UX recruited five members of the public who demonstrated how they might use the retailers’ websites, highlighting what they liked and disliked about them.

The consumers were all experienced at buying online. The workshop was structured to allow them to be themselves, allowing us to observe different patterns of website use and varied approaches as to how people buy online.

None of the five firms participating thought that their website was perfect. But they were still surprised by some of the frustrations expressed by the site users.

Website Design: How To Turn Clickers Into Customers

Simple changes could make a massive difference

These are just some of the issues highlighted by the workshop:

  • Newsletter pop-ups really annoy people, particularly when they’ve only just arrived at a website.
  • Unusual fonts and poor contrast can make pages hard to read, particularly as people tend to scan blocks of text rather than reading word by word.
  • When browsing a page displaying multiple products, shoppers expect to be able to click on the product image to get to more information.
  • People get frustrated when more than one or two products are marked out of stock, or when they can’t get the detailed information they want about a specific item.
  • Some shoppers want to know more about who they’re buying from, while others focus almost entirely on the products.
  • Shipping costs need to be clearly explained during, or even before, the checkout process.

If each one of these issues is putting off some buyers, then fixing just a few could see a rise in purchases.

A powerful lesson in the importance of website design

The big takeaway from the workshop was that customers will continually surprise us. We think we know what they want, and from this, we design sites and shopping cart processes that we think meet their needs.

In reality, our e-commerce websites often reflect our own preferences and habits. In addition, they’re often constrained by limitations imposed by the e-commerce platform being used and the time available to put it together.

We’re looking forward to seeing how the five businesses respond to the workshop by amending their sites, and to hearing what difference they see in the volume of online sales.

The Dorset Business Growth programme is led by WSX Enterprise and the Dorset Growth Hub with a range of support partners.

Find out how Dorset Growth Hub can help your business navigate the many challenges that digital can present, by getting in contact.

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