In e-commerce, people often say it's all about the customers. If a website is too complicated, customers will go to more user-friendly sites. If a page loads slowly, the customer will move on to something else. In short, an e-commerce website's design can be a hit or a miss for business depending on customers' experience. Based on this writer's experience navigating through Bangladeshi e-commerce websites, below are a few pointers on what could be done better.
Less clutter plus less scrolling equals cleaner design.
If a customer lands on a site and immediately feels lost, that customer will likely never make it to the end of a purchase. Too many ads and unnecessary information simply confuse the customer, and make the design look poorly executed.
For instance, Chaldal.com's homepage takes quite some time to scroll through, and contains an infographic at the very bottom that most customers probably wouldn't even get to. One needs to scroll through more than half of the homepage containing less important sections to even reach the buttons to download the Chaldal app and to become a corporate customer.
To make things easier on customers and reduce scrolling time, prioritise content and put important things like payment options, app store and social media buttons etc. in a place where customers can instantly and easily find them.
Create relevant filters to help customers sort better.
Imagine trying to choose an outfit out of a heap of clothes. Next, imagine choosing one from a well-organised cupboard where all the clothes are neatly folded and separated by color and type. In the second scenario, the process is far more convenient.
This applies to e-commerce sites too. Rokomari.com has an extensive collection of books. If I click on the novels category, I see a list of 18,000+ books spread over 300+ pages. Since sorting through all 18,000 books is a terrible option, I select a few extra filters such as author, sub – category and ratings to narrow the list down.
Without these filters, I cannot choose and will need to have a specific book in mind to buy. This defeats the whole purpose of categorising. If categories are large, add filters to help the customer choose.
Bagdoom.com has price and seller filters for eyewear, but doesn't separate contact lenses from 3D glasses, sunglasses and night vision glasses. To buy goggles on this site, I'd have to sort through page after page of products. Besides having filters, sites also need to make them relevant to the product categories.
Use proper images, write product descriptions, and add videos where possible.
For a customer to feel confident about buying a product from an e-commerce site, images are vital. I tried buying a saree at daraz.com.bd, but found only one picture of it on a model facing front. I couldn't tell how the whole saree was from that one pixelated image, so I didn't click buy.
To make the decision process easy for customers, always take 3 to 4 clear images of each product from different angles. Adding a magnification option image is a must.
If anything features a product even better than photos, it's a video. Videos can further engage the customer and show a product being used.
Product descriptions are another excellent way to help customers understand what they're buying. For most products, add a brief snippet that describes their components and other features. When describing a bag, for example, add details about the material used for the body and how spacious the different sections are.
As competition increases and more e-commerce sites come into play, attracting and retaining customers is a key challenge for most sites. Since an e-commerce website represents the front end of the business, improving customer experience eventually translates to improvements in the business itself to stay ahead of competing platforms.
Tasmiah is a senior studying Finance at IBA, DU. She likes food and makes stressful choices.