Have we evolved in our shopping expectations? Yes, of course! Our design expectations in online shopping have evolved dramatically compared to the past few years.
Convenience of Shopping
In the previous years, customers weren’t expecting to try out the products online before making a purchase. But in this new era, we have multiple options to try out the products before placing an order while shopping online. For instance, in an online eyewear website, you could choose a particular eyewear and try it out by uploading your image or by taking a picture through your webcam to find how it looks on you. This design option gives shoppers the confidence to place an order.
Comparing the products is important in eCommerce websites when making a large purchase online. Mostly, the customers get choice paralysis while choosing products, and this leads to the decision of not buying any of the products. Previously, add-ons have been used to compare products.
Compare buttons or checkboxes in listing pages must be prominent and discoverable by the customers, and the comparison list should have 3-4 items to compare. Typically, customers will scan for differences and similarities among the selected items, highlighting these attributes makes the comparison easier. User experience of a product on comparison pages can be improved one step further by providing control to the users, by which customers can choose the specific attributes to compare in the selected items.
Comparison page design can be improved with:
- Sticky column header.
- Excess content can be shown through a hover popup.
- Comparison columns can be replaced with tabs in Mobile Design.
- Pre-populated comparison charts.
- Customers can be allowed to swap the position of compared items with draggable columns.
- Removing and adding an item is necessary in a comparison table.
Search Field Design (In-site Search)
“Knowledge in the world is better than knowledge in the head.”
– Designing Interfaces by Jenifer Tidwell
An In-site search field option is a powerful tool to reach your products in the eCommerce website. Badly designed In-site search could frustrate the buyers and may result in them abandoning your eCommerce website. The search field option has been evolved from a simple search and display method to an auto suggestion and auto complete feature. Rich search suggestion is an auto suggest option which recommends the product thumbnail with other query (text) suggestions. Customers can get a visual idea about the searched products. For example, sugarfina.com has similar search options which reduces the cognitive load to choose the searched products.
The search field could have typed text, suggested text, and scope (e.g. hand bag for women). In this, the search query “hand b” will be the typed query and “bag” will be the suggested query, and “for women” will be the scope. This type of suggestion could reduce the mental effort, typos, and time. As the Yahoo Design Pattern Library explains “The autocomplete pattern relies on the principle of recognition over recall.” More likely, customers would recognize and select from the suggested query instead of recalling the full exact text query.
As eCommerce UX design explains, “Don’t sell your product. Sell the experience that your product offers.” Presenting a product with context will provide a sense of how it looks in the real world. Riddell.com has product details on videos, explaining how it suits the players in the real world. Customers expect a good quality of images that will load quickly on all devices. It is essential to provide an option to zoom in on the products and describe the details. Providing very few images of a product might lead to the users abandoning the purchase.
E-commerce has been evolved from “one-size-fits-all” to “Customized or Personalized Products”. Customizing the product is an interactive design feature in online shopping. Customers can now become a partner in designing a product by customizing the type, size, and format, and this option strengthens the user experience of the customer. The better the user experience, the better the conversion rates. For instance, bluesky.com has options to customize their products through the personalized option. Customers are forever delighted with this Product Customization option.
Augmented and Virtual Reality in eCommerce
In online shopping, touching and feeling a product is not possible, so many customers avoid online shopping because they can’t feel the product as they would at a physical storefront. A maximum number of customers abandon their carts before completing the purchase. The emerging technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) could bridge this gap.
Customers could view the products in real time through AR and check whether it best fits their expectations in size, scale, and details. AR could boost the website’s traffic and increase the user sessions in eCommerce websites, where the customers who are impressed with the AR user experience would recommend the website to others. Projection-Based Augmented reality could rule eCommerce websites in the future.
Shopify allows customers to view realistic and interactive products in Augmented Reality (AR) through the 3D Warehouse app
eBay and Australian retailer Myer have launched a virtual reality departmental store, which gives a glimpse of the future of the eCommerce shopping experience.
Multiple Shopping Experience
In this online shopping world, we might think that the “brick and mortar” shopping experience has come to an end. But, it has evolved into a different shopping experience. Typically, we used to shop online and wish that the product would be the same as we have experienced online. Now, we have instore options in which you could place orders online and collect the products in person from a nearby store. For instance, croma has a Store Pickup facility in the delivery option. This reduces the product delivery time and gives a hands on experience of the product.
We hope you understood how the evolution of customer expectations in eCommerce works, you can find more of our articles on eCommerce here.