Shopify 101: How Good UX Design Completes Sales
Table of Contents:
- Becoming A Trendsetter
- Why Most Trends Seem Similar
- How Good UX Does Your Heavy Lifting For You
- Mapping your UX
Good, simple, memorable design is important for your business’ success. And while Shopify is great for cultivating your brand, building your online storefront, writing ads, and managing orders, it cannot help you develop your particular voice or style. You need to build a lasting relationship with your audience.
To do that, you need a well-designed website. In this lesson, we’ll show you how to pick your design and explain how a well-made storefront affects your audience at every phase of their buying journey.
Becoming A Trendsetter
Most people think trendsetters are Mavericks – free thinkers who look and act differently from everyone else. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, trendsetters are much more conservative: they measure data, observe trends, and A/B test variations of winning formulas. They’re less artists and more social scientists.
To become a successful Shopify store owner, you must become a trendsetter within your niche. To do that, you must design a great website.
The average internet surfer spends about three seconds on a page before bouncing. To keep them on your site, you must build their trust quickly. The easiest way to do this is by picking a storefront that’s familiar enough to make them comfortable but different enough to peak their interest. This is where target audience research becomes extremely important.
Use your research to guide your aesthetic and UX design choices. Figure out what your shoppers like (or expect) and tailor your store to fit them. And don’t be afraid of seeming “samey.” New trends emerge by slightly changing the formula – by adding, removing, or altering one aspect of a current trend.
Why Most Trends Seem Similar
Not convinced? This is exactly how popular music works. For example, Spotify uses your listening data to help studios make pop songs. Your preferences fuel the Spotify Web API, which includes a variety of metrics, from tempo to artist popularity to “danceability.” Experts then use that API to predict trends and create new hit music. The result: new Billboard Hot 100 singles that are similar to, but ever-so-slightly-different from, songs you currently enjoy (Source).
This is also how the movie industry works. Ever wondered why there are so many sequels, reboots, or remakes? It’s because audiences prefer stories that are akin to, but not exactly the same as, films they already like. Franchises make money. And given the exponentially rising cost of filmmaking, Hollywood has become increasingly more reliant on data to inform their corporate decisions.
Simply put, seeming “samey” is sometimes a good thing. And as paradoxical as it seems, learning to properly harness your users’ preferences and expectations can set your Shopify store apart from everyone else’s.
How Good UX Does Your Heavy Lifting For You
This “same but different” approach to design is very important in your user experience (UX). The internet operates on a series of unwritten rules – a visual language that governs how we expect websites to work. When a website doesn’t mind those rules, users become confused. That confusion is a breach of trust that often causes people to leave without clicking anything. (This is called “bounce,” and it’s very bad for your Google search rankings.)
You’ve likely experienced this ‘breach of trust’ if you’ve ever clicked blue underlined text that didn’t go anywhere.
This approach to holistic web design is called Jakob’s Law, which states:
“Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.” (Source)
If users can instantly understand the way your website works based on their accumulated knowledge of the internet, then they will be more receptive to your content and products, resulting in a higher likelihood of completing sales.
In other words, don’t fix something that isn’t broken. The internet is just fine, as is. Don’t reinvent it.
Let your UX do the heavy lifting for you. Before you start working on digital ads, email blasts, or product descriptions, build a Shopify store that makes your visitors feel welcome. The more at-home they feel in your store, the more likely they are to become regular customers and brand advocates. Featuring popular products near the top of your most prominent pages, improving your search function, and including an obvious language and currency converter are great ways to improve user experience. If you intend to ship overseas, consider adding a shipping calculator.
A great store is not just a great store; it’s a great website, too.
Mapping Your UX
Before you choose your Shopify theme, figure out your optimal layout. We recommend you map out your UX. On a sheet of notebook paper, draw each page of your website. Highlight (or color) high traffic areas, and connect each link to a page.
A few things to consider as you draw:
- What is your brand promise? How is it different from your competitors?
- What are your best selling products? Find a place to prominently feature them so customers can find them more quickly.
- Is your shipping information visible? If not, consider adding it to your product page.
- Do you have an email list? If so, how are you drawing people in? Is the sign-up form easily accessible?
- How many clicks does it take to navigate from your homepage to your cart? How can you reduce that number?
- If your business uses Instagram, consider adding a feed to your site.
Having a simple, usable design makes users more forgiving of minor issues. Streamlining your navigation, minimizing the steps required to complete a purchase, and prioritizing high traffic areas are great ways to keep users happy.
If you have access to an Adobe account, we highly recommend you download Adobe XD. It’s a free UX wireframing tool that allows you to map your website digitally. It’s surprisingly intuitive, and it supports both desktop, mobile, and web app UX design. It’s also collaborative, meaning you can share your project with others and build together in real-time.
Fortunately, Shopify’s theme store makes picking a UX pretty simple. Most themes come with great desktop and mobile interfaces, right out of the box. Find a theme that best matches your needs and customize it to accommodate your customers’ needs.
One highly recommended theme provider is Out of the Sandbox. We are avid users of their themes, and can’t recommend their functionality, design and support enough. Here are some of our client’s whose stores are built with their themes: Sandrelle Beauty, One Happy Leaf, Bower Bird Designs, Allegra and Grace.
The tricky part is getting the colors, fonts, and pictures right. In our next post, we’ll show you how.
Estlanders Is Your Strategic Digital Partner
Still struggling with UX design? No worries. Estlanders has your back. Let’s conquer your digital jungle together. Contact us, so we can get started.
This Shopify blog series is for sellers like you who want to make the most of their online stores. Join us as we delve into the platform and teach you how to set up and run your shop. We’ll cover everything from target audience research to design, functionality, product descriptions, and marketing strategies.
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I’m the creative brain behind Estlanders Marketing, and I turn products and services into digital brands. Whether you’re looking to increase your social following, automate your ad campaigns or increase your online sales, I’m here to help. I’m your strategic digital partner, and I take your success seriously.