[Techie Tuesday] How UI/UX is changing the digital commerce landscape

Brands are fighting for the mindshare of their consumers while battling competition. That’s where UI/UX comes in – the best-performing sites have a solid mix of brand + performance + UI/UX.
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Ecommerce in India has come a long way since Flipkart took on Amazon in the early 2000s. While the early half of the last decade embodied significant growth of the industry (with new and emerging players entering the fray), the latter half witnessed maturity and spikes.

Today, we’re in a post-pandemic ecommerce India; one where you have to fight for attention, time, and respect from your customers.

Brands are fighting for the mindshare of their consumers alongside battling competition. While reliance on running ads could take care of a small part of the job in customer acquisition. But ads are just the equivalent of leading the horse to the water. The horse still needs to drink it!

That’s where UI/UX comes in.

The best-performing sites have a solid mix of brand + performance + UI/UX. After having worked with, seen, and spoken to a bunch of DTC owners, here’s a mix of UI/UX basics that differentiate between good versus great product design.

User Experience (UX)

We’ll start with this because this is what forms the ‘functional’ part of digital commerce. Everything that your customer experiences while on your site is what comes under UX.

Mobile-friendly interfaces

You could have all the mixes of the marketing and sales in place, but if customers drop out after they see your ad or if your mobile experience is glitchy, it’s game over.

So it’s time that online commerce is built with a mobile-first approach and not a desktop-first approach.

Landing pages

Your ads cannot lead to product pages anymore. That’s a whole lot of information for consumers to take in one shot. And landing pages should have bare bones of your story (your WHY), your customer reviews (social proof), your hero product that’s in discussion, and finally the right CTA’s (call to actions) for them to actually buy the product.

UX optimisation

With trends and tastes constantly evolving, your commerce sites need to, as well. Whether it’s the placement of your content, CTA buttons, story, colours, or your copy, constantly testing them out with your audience is what would give you an optimal mix of what works and what doesn't.

Most ecommerce sites undertake a design overhaul every two years. While that may work in spikes, it’s not guaranteed to give you compounding returns.

A deep understanding of your customer

With a host of tools that can help segment your customers, it’s essential to know as much about them. Gone are the days when you could slice them just by demographics and geography. You should know what their friends are like, what they consume, what they do on weekends, etc.

You can't create good content (online or offline) if you don't know how they'll consume it. And these preferences need to reflect in your design thinking frameworks that create user flows for mobile apps or ecommerce sites.

Applications

As an ecommerce business, if you are looking to play the long-term game, it’s wiser for you to build your own product (application) that can be super-personalised to the experience you wish to give your shoppers.

Applications come with inherent benefits that websites or even PWA’s (Progress Web Apps) don't offer as experientially: Subscription experiences, delights, communities, AI engine integrations, in-store experiences and whatnot. You want your applications to become future search engines for your categories.

Trust

In many conversations with business owners, this scores extremely high on a differentiator that products are built around. In a market like India, that’s dominated by mistrust and loosely held online experiences, trust is a key expectation from digital commerce across any demographic segment.

Right from your shipping timelines to return policies and checkout flows to payment gateway integrations, this forms the cornerstone of conversion funnels.

User Interface (UI)

I’m going to club the visual aesthetics along with some content requisites here. It all adds up to a whole lot of experience.

A reason to exist and the problem you're solving

Against nine companies selling the same product, what brings people back to you? Is it the community around your product? Is it the sense of belonging you gravitated toward from the content created by the brand?

Engagement through UI

When people land on your page, there needs to be something beyond your offering. Something that engages them on ‘why’ and ‘how’ they could use the product. Personality quizzes, educational content on the usage, behavioural patterns that give them a reason enough to buy it. These are just some of the examples that can be embedded.

Scalable design system

A strong rationale on why you use certain colours, types of checkboxes, icons, illustrations or even visual hierarchy. All of these are in a format that helps scale to multiple pages as you add more products and categories to your offerings.

Product images or videos

With less than three seconds that you have to make an impact, what image would you portray of your product. Ideally, a mix of products plus videos would be ideal.

If you are using an image, it’s wiser to portray lifestyle images of the product in use. Not only does that showcase the lifestyles that your ideal customers would lead, but also showcase a narrative-in-action with the product.

While these are just some aspects that showcase the power of UI/UX in modern-day digital commerce, it’s imperative that businesses start differentiating themselves with experience and design in their tech products. Not everything from these would apply to every category, but there’s plenty you could pick.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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