4 ways to keep your users engaged during Covid-19

“During this extremely difficult situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19), nothing is more important to [Company Name Here] than the health and safety of our customers…”

In the past few months, as Covid-19 and quarantine have stalled what we always considered our “normal” life, companies across the globe have also suffered as a result. Most retail stores, unless considered “essential” have had to close, with many also ceasing online operations. 

We’ve seen the above statement everywhere. From websites to mobile apps, emails to social media, as well as hand-written notes in shop windows. It’s become ingrained in our everyday lives.

While all industries are affected, some are harder hit than others. Take a look at our dedicated Covid-19 Impact Data Hub, where you’ll find a detailed overview on the impact of coronavirus on digital consumer behaviour, as well as a deep dive into industries and sub-sectors. 

Despite consumer confidence dropping, digital traffic and transactions overall have climbed significantly since the onset of the crisis. Parents can’t buy shoes, clothes or tablets for their children’s homeschooling anywhere but online right now, meaning shopping online is the only place to shop. Your priority needs to be ensuring continuity for your customers and adapting to their new circumstances and needs.If you can create a meaningful experience for your customers now, and provide the kind of value they’re looking for, you will be building loyalty and investing in long-lasting customer relationships

Discounts, free delivery, extended returns; these are all effective. But for those industries that are facing the most uncertainty, and in some cases, seeing their services completely disrupted you’ll need to keep customers engaged in other ways. So when that confidence returns, they’ll feel compelled to spend with you. 

Now more than ever we need to maintain brand awareness and keep users engaged. Below are four examples of brands leveraging technology to elevate the CX, from augmented (AR) to virtual (VR) reality to classic email and social media channels. 

1. Virtual Artist with Sephora

Sephora allows users to visualize a product with Virtual Artist

Prior to Covid-19, you could venture into one of the Sephora stores, pick up several different testers or maybe even have a makeover with one of their consultants. Today that’s not possible, but instead you can try on a range of different products; from lipsticks to mascaras to multiple shades of foundation, virtually. With tutorials also included, you can learn from a variety of styles, including how to apply the “No Makeup Look”, just in time for your first zoom call. 

Happy with your new look? You can save for later or buy now.

Although it’s not possible to visit physical stores right now, this is an innovative way to get new and existing customers involved with your brand. As well as gaining a real understanding of what a customer needs and expects when it comes to purchasing makeup, without being able to do it in store. This doesn’t have to apply just to beauty brands though, Ace and Tate / Warby Parker are using similar technology that allows users to try-on glasses. 

Both Web and App versions available.

2. Augmented Reality with IKEA Place

As we’ve all been stuck indoors the last few weeks, it’s become natural to dislike items in your home. From that living room rug, or that strange looking lampshade in your bedroom you’ve been meaning to change for years, it’s understandable that you fancy a change. 

We observed in our data a few weeks ago a wave of re-decoration happening across many homes, and not just because of that ugly lamp. Our homes have now become multi-purpose – they’re offices, schools, gyms or even small restaurants providing food for the vulnerable. We’ve had to adapt and rethink what makes a “home”.

Buying a new chair or desk however is not as easy as purchasing a smaller item, such as a vase or plant pot. There’s a certain degree of risk involved, that actually, it might not look right or even fit in your new office. The solution…go virtual.

Does that chaise longue look good in that empty corner of your living room? add to your wish-list for later or purchase through the online store.

We all love visiting an IKEA store – from jumping on the bed, to sitting at the kitchen counter or rolling around on that fluffy rug. With this app, you can get those items in your home…virtually (just please don’t try jumping on this bed, it’ll hurt).

Available on iOS and Android.

3. Social Media with Lush

Now back online, during quarantine Lush had to temporarily close their physical stores and pause all new online orders.

But, they added ways customers can still keep in touch and be engaged during this challenging period.

Utilizing your social media presence is more important now, than it’s ever been before. Stores are closed, online orders are paused for the foreseeable future. How are you navigating the crisis? Keeping your employees safe? What are your plans for reopening when safe to do so? Businesses, like us, have human concerns. Think of fun and informative ways to keep customers committed to your brand; Instagram stories, Tik Tok, prizes and giveaways, the list goes on. 

Times are tough, but going that extra mile for your customers now will help you significantly in the long run.

4. Airbnb’s Email Digest 

Airbnb have been keeping users up-to-date through weekly digests – a weekly email with advice, tips and updates on how they’re supporting the community.

As I write this, many brands are being proactive and delivering countless updates to their customers. Keep this up! 

As consumers we need reassurance, and a weekly update goes a long way. 

 

Although we’re living through unprecedented times, with stores closing and online operations halted, there’s still ways we can keep users engaged and informed. Let’s band together and be creative!

For examples on how websites are dealing with the current situation, subscribe below to access our lite version or contact us for examples dedicated specifically to your industry.

New Year, New UX: Three Digital Experience Trends On The Horizon For 2020

It’s 2020, the beginning of a new year, and more notably, a new decade. With our environment shifting constantly around us, and both our physical and digital worlds increasingly blending together, it can be difficult to imagine what lies ahead. 

Here are a few trends we observed in 2019 that we believe will gain even more momentum as digital CX surges ahead in the new decade.

Are Bottom Navigations Making a Comeback?

As mobile traffic continues to grow, so does the size of our smartphone screens. Screen sizes have almost doubled since the first iPhone release, with market share shifting drastically to larger screens as sales increase. In 2019, 43.4% of the market share was dominated by screens sizes 6” and above. Reaching the top of mobile screens remains difficult, which is why smartphone manufacturers have adapted thumb zones for larger mobile devices.

To adjust to changing device designs, we are slowly seeing the navigation shift back down to the bottom of the mobile screen. More recently seen at the top of the screen, top-level functions on some apps and mobile sites are coming back down to the bottom of the display, where they are easier for users to access quickly, no matter the device size. Take a look at Uber and Lyft: 

Most of the key and primary functions are at the bottom of the screen, with an additional tab bar. Secondary functions that are not associated with the current and most primary tasks are still findable behind the hamburger menu, which remains at the top of the screen.

 

Bottom navigation is proven to be a winning UX tactic for ride-hailing companies Uber (left) and Lyft (right)


From Work to Home, Across all Devices

Given the surge of mobile use in the past decade, syncing across different devices in different environments is now a far from a perk, but is now a must. User experience (UX) continues on even after users interact with their first device. For example, users may start watching their downloaded Netflix shows on a plane, but finish them on their phone or tablet, or even on the less mobile, but highly relevant, smart TVs at home. 

Because our physical and digital devices are continuously blending together — at least as far as usage is concerned — it is imperative for companies to store specific user data in order for the experience to continue smoothly. From saving items in your shopping wishlist to pausing past streamed or downloaded shows, users want to be able to log into their accounts from any device, and pick up exactly where they left off.

Augmented Reality, from Your Makeup to Your Shoes

Yet another sign of the physical and digital worlds coming together, augmented reality integrations are ramping up across channels. Retailers are attempting to bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar and digital experience (DX) by creating immersive environments to create added value for customers.

According to Gartner, 100 million consumers are projected to shop in AR online and in-store in 2020, with 46% of retailers planning to deploy AR or VR solutions

Although 69% of the nation shops online, 56% of those who shop online say they would prefer to shop in-store. So in-store environments continue to matter, despite speed and convenience winning when it comes to digital experiences. As networks and connections increasingly improve with the advent of 5G, AR technology is helping brands to bridge the gap between users’ in-store and digital experience.

Check out this immersive experience with Sephora’s Virtual Artist:

It is the perfect marriage between customization and virtual reality. Users can upload an image of themselves (or use a model) and see the results of multiple product lines and a variety of styles. What the user is “wearing” is listed below the image, and can be removed or clicked on to go directly to the relevant product page. 

The Future of CX is Already Here

Technology that might have seemed impossible a decade ago is today a reality. The devices we use are now deeply connected to our lives, creating a closer connection than we have ever had with our consumers. If there’s one lesson we’ve learned in the last decade, it’s to embrace the new, and expect our consumers will do the same.

 

Hero image: Adobe Stock, Via rcfotostock

Salesforce World Tour New York 2019: Lessons on Digital Engagement & More

I was chartering unknown territory when I set foot in the venue for Salesforce World Tour 2019 in New York City. 

The tour — which voyages multiple cities across the US and the globe — is the flagship event from Salesforce, covering everything from the multitude of Salesforce products, their integrations, and of course, user and customer experience (CX). 

The event was branded as “a day of innovation and inspiration” on its website, and upon entry to the vast expanse that is the Javits Center, I was able to sense these ideas in the ambiance.

Let me set the scene: the ground in the reception and main halls was coated in green carpet, with large sculptures of the characters found in Salesforce products, particularly those of its Trailhead characters, decking the convention. They too were surrounded by greenery: shrubs, trees and fireplaces kept them snug.

Modern-day carollers were warbling Christmas tunes with a dose of beatboxing. Further along in the Trailhead-themed area, a wide array of brands set up shop to tout their latest products and innovations. Makeshift theaters (with no enclosures) were set up for some of the sessions; much in line with the Trailhead world, the seats here were little tree trunks.

Further down, the sessions were a bit more sophisticated, with larger volumes, larger screens and headphones provided for all attendees. I was excited to have a listen and imbue as much CX knowledge as possible. 

Here are some of the key learnings I acquired:

Creating 1:1 Opportunities with Conversational Commerce 

One of the first sessions I attended stressed that the best shopping experiences are personal. This means taking the catered in-store (or bank, etc.) experiences into the digital world. As such, websites and UX take the role of digital salespeople. Like a real sales associate, they must act as someone who helps customers find the products they want.

This, in turn, creates increased engagement with your brand, which encourages loyalty. A personalized CX is a kind of 1:1 experience customers have with brands, but since there are no sales associates online, digital players must employ conversational commerce into their strategy.

Conversational commerce refers to an e-commerce method that employs various means of inciting conversations. This includes using chatbots on sites and apps, artificial intelligence (AI) and the newer advent of voice technology which includes speech recognition.

Salesforce relayed the importance of using VIP chatbots, which ask site visitors what they’re looking for upfront and in a casual way. These bots can then help set up customers with a real associate, who gives recommendations based on the info shoppers gave to the bot, removing an annoying layer of repetition with the associate. 

This closes a loop and shows that you’re paying attention to customer needs. It also helps personalize the shopping process by digitizing its best assets. The key is to make these chatbots mimic human conversations as closely as possible. 

Brands can leverage chatbots and other conversational commerce techniques (messaging apps, Siri, etc) as a means of helping customers solve hurdles, particularly those that they can take offline and implement it into the digital space.

All in all, conversational commerce has the prowess to streamline the shopping process to make it more scalable. It enables you to put your customers at the center of your business.

Improving VoC with Interactive Emails

Naturally, one of the lessons from the World Tour came from one of Salesforce’s own and relatively new innovations: interactive emails. 

Implemented into the Einstein marketing cloud, along with other email capabilities this fall, interactive emails allow customers to provide their feedback in their own inboxes, as opposed to clicking on a link and being sent to a website or app.

This form of email extends the personalization factor that emails already can provide, so brands ought to tap into this trend. It also enhances email UX, as it augments emails with a web-like function. 

Essentially, it’s a new form of VoC, providing customers with the convenient option of staying within the comfort and privacy of their own email.

Brands can capitalize on interactive emails by attaching a survey or poll at the end of their message to collect vital customer opinions and attitudes. These can be towards a number of digital or customer experiences. Alternatively, brands can dedicate entire emails for this purpose.

For example, a fruitful interactive email strategy is to simply add an open text box so that a customer can type in any concern, effectuating a service case to be created — all without the need to create a new email or search for an answer elsewhere on the net.

Interactive emails provide a great brand experience and can be used across industries.

Undergoing a Customer Revolution for All Sectors

Brands are competing on experiences — whether they know it or not. As Parker Harris, the Salesforce Co-founder and EVP remarked in the keynote session, “customers may love your products and services, but do they trust you? if not, they will move on to someone else.”

This rings true even for niche brands and those in more “serious” sectors, ie, B2B and other non-retail fields. Consider this scenario: there are two banking services that offer the same kind of accounts, with limited restrictions and fees. However, one offers a customer-centric UX in which customer service and website sessions are quick and hassle-free.

Clearly, customers will gravitate towards the bank with the better experience. Given that the financial services vertical is known as being less tailored for experiences, competing on experience may seem like a forbidding challenge. 

However, even basic financial tasks like checking a debit card charge and disputing it can be leveraged and turned into a personalized, well-serviced experience. To achieve this, the UX should be made frictionless and require the least amount of steps to do something, ie report a fraudulent card charge.

For example, if customers report a fraudulent charge via a chatbot or by phone, they’ll often get redirected to another representative or department most suited to handle their case. A common UX source of annoyance is being asked a second (or third time) to repeat an issue already reported. Thus, when rerouting customers, or getting back to them after a break, associates should be fully aware of their issue to tackle it head-on, instead of wasting time asking for specifics.

No one wants to waste time, so if your customer services are optimized for speed and their issues/preferences recorded, your customers will notice. Dovetailing to this idea is the general approach chatbots take in conversing with customers: the chat shouldn’t start with “how can I help you?” but rather by asking something more concrete, showing that you understand your customers.

This can be gathered from their previous purchases or VoC feedback or even past chats if it’s a returning or logged in customer. 

Putting Customers First Digitally

Although it lasted for roughly a workday, Salesforce World Tour 2019 has fired up my neurons. The main takeaway from this convention is that digital experiences need to require minimal effort from users to either complete an action or traverse your site in general. 

Aside from seamlessness, the event accentuated the need for personalizing and customizing experiences. The reasoning for this is that if you don’t, you will lose quality customers. The impact you as a business should aim to create is that of making your customers feel understood and listened to.

Per the recommendation of Parker Harris et al. in the event, you should also incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into your digital strategy, whether it’s through live support, standard chat boxes, or even in your customer data collection.

When you do, you can bet on their return to your site — and not just for browsing purposes. 

 

Three UX Tips to Avoid the Snowball Effect in your Digital Experiences

This time of the year is all about staying cozy and warm, sheltered from what is going on outside. While this may be a good remedy against the cold December days, brands shouldn’t get too comfortable when it comes to their digital strategy. The last thing you need as a business is to land in a digital stagnation cocoon. 

Every now and then, companies are exposed to external or internal factors that can hamper their efforts to deliver a great customer experience (CX) and get in the way of them meeting their digital objectives.

There are several things you can do to avoid the pitfalls of a poor customer experience:

Customer satisfaction begins with team synergy. Getting everyone aligned around the same customer intelligence is the first step to being able to tackle CX improvements in a holistic, impactful way. 

The ability to create (and maintain) a deep connection with your customers is another key challenge for brands. Understanding what visitors are trying to achieve on your site or app is crucial to building trust and delivering an online experience that is helpful and ticks all the boxes.

Companies spend a tremendous amount of time, energy and money on acquisition strategies, but once traffic objectives are reached, you need to give your audience a reason to come back. Getting complacent is very easy, especially when site elements, and sometimes entire pages, are being neglected. 

The impact of neglecting some of these details is often underestimated, and what is initially perceived as a small thing can have disastrous effects on revenue and retention. 

Here are some examples of the snowball effect, and 3 tips on how to prevent them.

Don’t stagnate, innovate 

Stagnation is often characterized by the tendency of a company to rest on its laurels after meeting a period of success and growth. Once expectations are being met and results are being generated, the risk for your website is to stagnate and remain where it stands.

Keeping your customers excited and enthusiastic starts with making sure you always provide them with innovative digital experiences. As in any kind of relationship, users don’t like to be taken for granted — keeping it fresh will help keep the engagement up. 

The big disruptors are leveraging digital innovation and technology-powered convenience to build seamless digital experiences. Autonomy, speed, the ability to visualize products before buying… these are just some of the things technology has facilitated for consumers. 

Adobe Stock, via Instagram.Com/_alfil

 

Keep the communication lines open

As the saying goes,“either you follow up or you fold up.” Not being responsive to your users’ needs will annoy your customers, and even worse, lead them to write or voice bad reviews. Known as VoC, this method of airing out bad UX can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line, as is often emphasized by our digital strategists. 

Reviews make up the most commonly used VoC method. Positive reviews can boost a company’s reputation, but bad ones can severely damage a brand’s credibility. According to Inc, it takes roughly forty positive customer experiences to undo the damage of a single negative review. Communication is also making the customer understand that their needs are being prioritized and their voice is being heard. 

Adobe Stock, via Wei

 

Don’t let your digital strategy be an after-thought

In most cases, implementation is simply about what the future strategy of a company will be to increase conversion rates and boost visits on your site. 

When it comes to your website, you need a solid plan to minimize interferences and remove pain points to enable easy customer journeys. The success of your digital experiences rests on their ability to meet the expectations of your customers. While most businesses have embraced digital transformation and understand that customer intelligence is the foundation for a great CX, implementing a digital mindset remains a big challenge for many brands.

So, make sure your team is equipped with the right tools to implement a data-first approach to experience building and business decisions. 

The good news is, if you’re guilty of one of the above, it is not too late to react. A good way to counteract these snowball effects is to first acknowledge what has been neglected, take into consideration what could have been done earlier, and come up with a stronger digital implementation strategy. Understanding customer expectations has never been easier, nor has dropping intuition in favor of data.

 

Hero Image: Adobe Stock, via Maria Medvedeva

How to Identify and Fix a Broken UX with User Behavior Analytics

Some website users undergo a bad UX, which leads them to exit — or worse — bounce from a website, possibly to never again return. Understanding what causes premature site exits is key to improving the customer experience (CX), and delivering journeys that help customers meet their wide-ranging digital expectations.

Making use of data for a UX analysis is the most practical approach to scrutinizing customer journeys, including high-level views that locate friction points and counter-intuitive navigation patterns. Once you’ve identified your problematic pages through a high-level view of user behavior, you can make more fine-tuned changes by assessing individual pages and elements.

Achieving a fulfilling digital experience is attainable, but you have to identify what constitutes a broken UX in the first place, and establish the visitor segments that come across one. Once you have this insight on hand, you can prioritize optimization efforts to improve your digital experience and make your visitors crave more.

Identifying What’s Amiss in the Customer Journey

We quizzed Ying Yang, our Lead Product Experience Manager, to get her thoughts on where to start. “The first thing you must look at when identifying a poor UX is the customer journey,” she said. “You should be able to break it apart page by page to see exactly how users traverse your site during each session.”

A well-built customer journey analysis tool will show you each step a customer takes during their time spent on a site, help uncover what they are trying to do, and how they went about doing it. You ought to be able to detect where the first UX friction lies on a high level; to find this, you have to pinpoint where users are bouncing or leaving the site, and what led to this outcome.

“You need to identify the last page that a segment of users stayed on during their journey before leaving your site. It is this page in which their UX was disrupted,” explained Ying. 

However, in longer customer journeys, note that a page from which a user has left the site may not signify a bad experience. Instead, the user may simply feel that their stay on the site is complete, and requires no further browsing.”

As such, observe the pages that contain bounces initially, as there is some shortage of retaining the visitors’ interest. Furthermore, since a bounce is more caustic than a regular site leave, it requires immediate attention. (Bounces reveal a non-existent journey, or one of one step/page visit).

Now that you’ve found the page with the UX culprit of bouncing or exiting, let’s delve further. 

A Further Analysis of a Crippled UX

Entering step two of making corrections, you will need to work out the cause behind particular site exits or other behaviors indicative of frustration or unmet needs. In order to spot individual obstacles in the customer journey, you’ll need to analyze specific elements within a page. 

Through this approach, you’ll be able to catch the exact cause of friction (whether it’s a CTA, image, product description, form field, etc), as opposed to guessing what regions and elements of a page led users to leave.

So what do you do when analyzing a particular page element? You take a hyper-focused turn in your UX analysis. “This is a more granular step,” says Ying. “As such, you’ll want to look at a robust batch of behavior and revenue metrics. These present a deeper dive of your UX to follow up the customer journey analysis.” 

Here are just a few of the metrics you can appraise for a granular UX performance check:

Hover Rate: The percentage of pageviews in which visitors hovered over the zone at least once, determining which zones are consumed the most. This helps you rank zones and assess if they are consulted properly, by weighing in factors like averages of other zones and the page length. 

Click Recurrence: represents the average number of times a zone was clicked when engaged with during a pageview. This exposes either engagement or frustration. For example, a high click recurrence on a carousel is good news, as it shows a high engagement with an element offering many clickable areas.

It can also point to frustration. For example, if users click on the same element multiple times — such as an image or link, it means the element is drawing up errors; it’s either unclickable or not performing its function correctly. 

Conversion Rate Per Click: Applying only to clickable zone, this metric relays if clicking on a zone impacts the user’s behavior or conversion goal.This helps you determine which elements contribute to or deter from conversions. A conversion can be any behavior you set. 

Exposure Rate: identifies how far down a page a user scrolls; it’s accounted for when at least half of a zone is viewed. This helps you understand how much users scroll, allowing you to make empirical sizing adjustments.

Attractiveness Rate: Relays the percentage of visitors who clicked on a zone after having been exposed to it. This informs you on optimizing the placement of content on your page. For example, if more users click below the fold, you should move that content further up for more of them to see it quicker. A high rate proves the high performing attractiveness of an element.

Segmenting Your Users for UX Comparisons

After you analyzed the elements of your page with granular behavior metrics, you’ll need to analyze further, by conducting comparisons. This will help you determine what comprises an underperforming UX more clearly. To do this, you would need to compare a good behavior with a bad behavior.

Comparing the experience of visitors who accomplished the goal of a page with those who didn’t, will further confirm what needs fixing. You can carry out a zoning analysis on these two segments as well as make comparisons on each metric. 

This allows you to catch where non-converting visitors tend to hover and where they are more inactive. But most importantly, it allows you to weigh this data against the users who did convert/ achieve what they came to your site to do. 

“For example, you can build a segment for the users who saw a 404 error page and compare it with the ones who had the same issue across different journeys or those who didn’t run into it,” explained Ying. “Additionally, you can create a segment around users who clicked on a CTA, deepening their journey against a segment of users who didn’t, or worse, ended their journey on that page.”

Main Examples of UX That Cuts the Customer Journey

One of the attributes of a broken UX is content that doesn’t engage users or is not seen, thus prompting visitors to exit the site. Pages that require too much scrolling, for example, may yield low engagement or little to no views.

For example, a particularly wide banner that takes up much of the screen may be obscuring other content that’s crucial to generating revenue. Some users may not even be aware of the content below the fold. 

“Most high-performing content should have real estate above the fold,” Ying advises. “Does your business have a major campaign or sub campaign running? Post more than one type of content about it above the fold. These can exist as tiles, a carousel or both.”

This source of friction is especially damaging to mobile UX, which has a much smaller screen size than desktop. As such, some functionalities aren’t well suited to be crammed in. “Big banners, images and accordions (vertical menus) push everything down below the fold, so don’t overuse them. You will probably need to scale back on some of these elements to avoid a UX that has turned sour.” 

Another example of poor content occurs when banner usage is slight and/or doesn’t achieve the goal of a page. For example, a banner can send users to a PDP (product details page) that cuts off their browsing journey.

“PDPs, in general, have high bounce rates, as in the case of our retail clients, so you need to be careful what products you send users to, should your banner send them to a PDP (or even a product landing page). Landing on a PDP is especially detrimental to the user experience when the real goal was to send users to a PLP (product landing page), which shows several product options as opposed to a PDP.”

Adobe Stock, via studiostok


Fixing Customer Journeys

Now you know how to move the needle from a high-level UX analysis to a granular level to spot what caused your customers to struggle or give up with your site. After you identify what leads to bad digital experiences, you are all set to start optimizing. Customer experience analytics are your best friend when it comes to augmenting your content ideation strategy.

Since it allows you to meticulously identify digital experience issues, it fastracks you to brainstorming sessions to rectify the issues in a data-backed way. Some things will be clearer than others. For example, if you find 404 errors and other dead-end pages, the quick fix is the get rid of them, or replace them with the proper pages. 

“For example, if an item is no longer in stock, or no longer being digitally offered, make sure it doesn’t yield the 404 error. But if it’s a product users can purchase, or if a page offers any other type of conversion (signing up for content, etc.), make sure your page is functional and devoid of any confusing elements,” said Ying.”

 

Hero image via Adobe Stock, by Marvi7

4 Tips for Maximizing Engagement & ROI on 2019 Holiday Gift Guides

Wondering how best to set up your digital gift guides in time for the holidays? Follow these four tips to make sure your website is making the most out of its “featured gift” products, and is helping users navigate through the 2019 holiday season chaos with much-needed ease.

1. Avoid using content blocks that take up the entire length of a screen.

Steer clear of what we in UI call the “false bottom” — the illusion that a page has ended when it hasn’t. This UX misstep could stop your visitors from scrolling further down the page, and may restrict their exposure to content. Instead, let your visitors know there is more to see — the more categories they see, the more likely they are to find the one that is relevant to them.

Check which categories have the highest purchase conversion or conversion rate per click and prioritize these. It is possible that some categories drive higher engagement, but record lower conversions. This points to frustration and confusion, intel you can use to optimize a particular site element. 

2. Be specific with gift guide categories.

Your gift guide categories should be as specific as possible. It is harder for users to narrow down a large product catalog on a product landing page (PLP), than to click into a category that already has a narrower scope. 

It should be clear before users choose a gift guide that they will find on the gift guide list page. Is the category based on price, interests, demographic information..? Find out what’s most important to your visitors, and wherever you can, personalize suggestions based on these needs. 

Also keep in mind that in gift guides, users are likely to be shopping for somebody else, so recommending repeat purchases based on past sales isn’t always relevant.

3. Ensure that your filter and sort function on your gift guide PLPs are optimized and easy to use.

The more difficult your filter and sort function are to use, the more frustrated users will become when trying to find the most appropriate product on a gift guide list page. Avoid adding frustration to the already overwhelming task of sifting through hundreds or thousands of products. 

4. Provide a seamless way to access various categories from the gift list page.

Displaying shortcuts to other gift categories on the list page can help reduce navigation friction. Visitors shouldn’t have to go back to the homepage, main gift guide page, or use the global navigation to quickly access other gift options.


Examples of Online Gift Guides with Great UX

Here are some great examples of online gift guides:

J.Crew

On the homepage, the gift guide category features an eye-catching GIF that plays automatically. On the gift guide list page, there is a category dropdown that helps users jump to different gift categories. Users can also easily narrow down listings using categorization buttons like “Best Selling” and “Gifts under $25 

Madewell

In this example, at least 3 categories are visible on the homepage without the need for scrolling. Once the user clicks to the gift guide list page, they can also use a category dropdown to jump to more specific gift guide categories.

Macy’s 

Gift guide categories are specific and speak to users’ personalities. Above these categories, there are also categories based on price.

 

Hero Image via Adobe Slack, by Nnudoo

What Not to Do on the Homepage: UX Advice for Fashion Retail 

The homepage is often a key webpage for direct and organic search channels for players in the retail fashion industry. In addition to being a crucial step in the browsing process for users, it’s also an opportunity for businesses to introduce and showcase their brand identity through editorials and fashion trends.

However, according to the data we collected in Q1 of 2019, fashion retail homepage bounce rates were as high as 40% across all devices. Users also still spend an average session time of 7min on desktop and 3min 41s on mobile. (Remember, Contentsquare measures bounce rate as having only seen the single page and leaving the site). 

It can be difficult to know what kinds of design iterations will help prevent users from exiting without having viewed at least a few product pages. It’s also impossible to create the perfect homepage, but we have some great tips to follow if you’re looking to improve the design of your fashion eCommerce homepage. 

Don’t place text on cluttered areas of images

Although images and photography are crucial for communicating brand identity and editorial content, make sure you choose images that are text-friendly. Place text over emptier areas of the image, change the image, or place text on an overlay. Always use white text unless brand guidelines say otherwise. Users tend to skip over text that is too long, too small, or just difficult to read. Keep in mind: any information must be easy to digest at a fast pace, especially for mobile users.

Don’t make the hero image the full length of the page

If you’re showcasing your Fall/Winter looks, consider using a static banner —a prominent, single banner on the page that does not have rotating content, one that allows other content to be seen above the fold. We often find the exposure rate — how far down the page visitors scroll — drops drastically below the fold line. 

A hero image that spans the full length of the page could mislead users into thinking there is no other content. Because the average length of mobile pages is around 3,400px, we need to encourage users as much as possible to scroll past the fold line.

Don’t automate carousels

If you’re showcasing new collections or promoting sitewide discounts, avoid automatically rotating slides within the carousel. Instead, use static carousels that do not include more than three slides to allow users an opportunity to digest both the image and information in each slide. Users should be able to use arrows to easily move from one slide to another. 

Although there is a big debate in the design world over whether carousels are effective, we see much less exposure and engagement on the second and third slides. Automating carousels can rob users of control over the experience and as a result, they are more likely to ignore it if the slide moves too quickly for them to read.

Don’t hide primary CTAs or category links below the fold

Instead, make sure they are clearly above the fold line; try placing them on an uncluttered area of the image. You want to encourage users to immediately begin browsing, whether it leads them to a category page or list page for product catalogs that are currently being prioritized. 

Try placing a horizontal category slider at the top of the page and evaluate whether that improves your users’ browsing process. 

 

 

Showcase editorial content that is space-conscious and easy to interact with

Make sure that any editorial images on the homepage lead the users to specific categories, seasonal collections, or product pages. Giving them a purpose beyond aesthetics encourages users to explore beyond just the homepage and can help increase session time.

Here is a great example from Ralph Lauren:

 

 

The above image on the left showcases the bag as both aesthetic and functional, enticing users with beautiful photography, while leading them to the product page. The text is succinct, easy-to-read, and placed on an uncluttered area of the image. 

The carousel placed on the right provides even more options for the user to view additional products for the upcoming season. Both the image and carousel do not extend past the screen, making it easy to view. Part of the content of the next section is viewable, avoiding the false bottom and encouraging users to scroll further.

Making design iterations to your site never ends. As user behaviors continue to evolve faster than ever, it’s important to continuously evaluate and reassess the performance of individual elements on your pages. It’s important to make design changes based on the needs of your user base, not the general users of the industry. 

Don’t forget to regularly check on other players in your industry for inspiration, as there is much to learn from the digital experiences and websites you enjoy. But remember, just because a competitor does it, doesn’t mean they are improving the experience of their users. So be inspired, yes, but consult your own customer data before implementing changes.

 

Hero Image Via: Rawpixel.com, Adobe Stock

Cracking the Code of UX in Luxury Retail and Travel: Advice From Three Luxury Influencers 

The luxury industry can be a tough puzzle to decode as far as user experience (UX) is concerned. The lavishness of the industry is clearly presented in the messaging of luxury brands. But underneath all that glitz and glamor lies a very serious issue for brands, one that ultimately affects their conversions: user experience on their digital platforms.

You’ve read correctly. Even the top dogs in luxury retail have to contend with UX optimization if they want to forge ahead. They have to engage their site visitors every bit as much as non-high-end industries like grocery, cosmetics, gaming and general fashion.

A lackluster digital experience on a luxury website will be reflected in the key performance indicators of luxury businesses. It will doom a business’s swath of KPIs with underperforming ROI.

So what can luxury brands do to improve their digital experience? We consulted with three influencers in the multi-faceted vertical of luxury to weigh in on how its UX can improve. From what ticks them off, to how brands can perfect their UX, we’ve garnered a bundle of insights from these three content creators in the luxury space.

Desktop or Mobile: What is the Luxury Device of Choice? 

User experience starts with the preferred mode of entry to a website; in this context it’s the device used. We spoke with three influencers in the luxury space: Patrick Van Negri, a content creator and social media influencer who operates his namesake website, which provides lifestyle content on fashion, travel, fitness and more. 

Aftab Pathan is an influencer in the luxury travel  space, who documents his traveling adventures on his website Fresh & Fearless. The site offers insight on the places he’s visited with suggestions on the activities and services of his sojourns.

Marie Olin runs Luxury Travel Diva, a website in which she shares her luxury travel adventures and advice on a bevy of worldwide destinations. Her trips span across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe and her posts review exclusive properties, along with covering travel tips for those seeking extraordinary experiences. 

In the ongoing digital battle of desktop versus mobile, each of our interviewees gave their own takes, demonstrating that even one’s own preference on device usage isn’t always so clear-cut. Patrick made the case for desktop, because of faster load times, a higher-resolution screen and better control of the experience. However, he admitted that he’s been increasingly shopping on his phone, shining light on the potential of mobile conversions, which are unambiguously low. According to our industry benchmark data, the luxury conversion rate on mobile sits at a meager 0.62%, despite its healthy traffic rate of 66%.

While Aftab generally prefers using his laptop, he admitted that a lot of his shopping was done on-the-go. “I don’t always get time to sit down to shop, so I often find myself scrolling through my favorite fashion apps in preparation for my next travels,” he told us. “Especially as I thrive on looking my best when traveling.”

Marie opts for desktop, proving that this device is still a strong digital contender when it comes to digital shopping, even in a mobile-first world. A computer, she reasoned, allows her to “blow up the photos and see the products more easily.” 

Courtesy of Patrick Van Negri


Pet Peeves in the CX of Luxury Retail Sites

When we asked our three influencers to name some of their pet peeves on luxury sites, their answers pointed mostly to a dissatisfaction with the products themselves; or more to the point, with how they are presented. For Patrick, one cause of annoyance is “making sure the size is correct and how the product feels once you have it in your hands.” 

So how can this be rectified through changes to the CX? Brands should offer clear photos of the product in clear lighting, so that once the customer has the product, it doesn’t fall outside their expectations. Making sure you add clear size and size comparator charts will also go a long way to reassuring visitors. And if your brand has a presence in more than one country, consider helping your customers navigate different sizing standards so they can easily find their fit. 

One of Marie’s biggest peeves is missing out on a bargain because her size has sold out. Notifying visitors of low stock is a good solution to this problem, as well as providing the option to be notified once a sold-out item is back in stock.

Patrick, like many other shoppers, hates “going back to the post office for a return or exchange.” This is another area where retailers can make a difference: a pain-free return policy is today a key component of a positive experience.

Aftab chimed in with a joke, referring to the obnoxious prices in luxury. But while one of the defining characteristics of luxury is that the prices are as exclusive as the products, it’s interesting to note that some brands are adopting a “pay what you want” strategy on certain products, giving customers greater control of the shopping experience.

In earnestness, he referred to the lack of diversity from certain luxury brands as worrisome. It seems that, when it comes to inclusive marketing and campaign diversity, many luxury companies are lagging behind more mainstream retailers.

Courtesy of Fresh and Fearless

 

Courtesy of Fresh and Fearless


The Digital Luxury Experience, Best Sites & Apps

But while they had great insights to share on the experience gap, our three interviewees also pointed out that some luxury brands are really getting it right. Patrick singled out GQ, Farfetch, Nordstrom, and Dolce & Gabbana. “I love the style inspiration, user experience, and the info I get prior to my purchase,” he said.

That’s why digital teams ought to consider the weight of the content when designing their UX, as it can resonate with users so much so that it leads to a purchase. The purpose of content, after all, is to not only grab attention /entertain but to establish connections that resonate. 

It’s not surprising then that brands invest heavily in content to boost ecommerce conversions. But according to our data, 68% of luxury content never gets viewed, putting tremendous pressure on the  32% of content visitors are interacting with.

Aftab credits Mr. Porter as his ultimate luxury app and his partiality for this brand highlights the need for and positive outcomes of a mobile-first approach to UX. “It gives me all the latest luxury fashion essentials right to my phone, without needing to browse through various sites and spend hours finding my size,” Aftab said. “It stands out to me because it provides luxury fashion tailored towards men, and there aren’t many online stores like them, or with an app,” he concluded.

For Marie, a seamless navigation, one that shortens the path to product, takes center stage in her choosing of favorite luxury site, as well as the ease of making returns and quick order reception. “I love net-a-porter.com, she said. “It has some great designers, the site is easy to navigate, orders are sent quickly and no quibble returns. Aesthetically pleasing too!”

Courtesy of Patrick Van Negri


The UX of Luxury Travel 

The luxury space is not limited to luxury retail or shopping; plenty of brands render niche offerings that obviously deal with the digital space. Since Aftab and Marie are both laser-focused on the travel niche in the luxury space, we grilled them on this subsector.

We begin with their more high level takes on luxury travel: what the best parts of it are. Aftab praised personalized service and luxurious interiors, doubling down on the former by noting the importance of “attentive service” in one sentence. 

And personalization today is an omnichannel affair — consumers want tailored experiences both off and online. Behavioral analytics allow brands to deploy a deeper personalization strategy than ever before, one that takes into account more than just demographic data and enables meaningful experiences tied to context and intent. 

Additionally, he raved about “my one true love, branded bathroom amenities. Nothing makes me happier!” Providers in luxury hospitality take note.

Marie also ascribes the scenery as the highlight of luxury travel, along with other particular likings. “My favorite aspects of luxury travel are obviously luxurious surroundings but just as important are the staff,” she said. “Luxury travelers want to have everything running smoothly and have competent and polite staff. A Butler is my favorite treat in a top hotel.”

Zeroing in on the UX of luxury travel itself, Aftab cites the need for wish list function for a smoother, more convenient UX.

“I would like to see more travel sites allowing you to save packages and bookings in the form of a “wish list”, the same way you can on many fashion sites. Sometimes you don’t want to book the flight, hotel or both instantly, and want to revisit it at a later date (and for the same price!)”

Whether it’s to avoid longer bookings or to have easy access for a later session, the use of a wish list is crucial, and as we’ve seen in previous research, the converting power of the wish list is proven.

Marie goes for a more general rule of thumb for luxury sites that look to improve their UX, stating the necessity for user-friendliness. She pointed to the specific examples of attaining this: by providing up-to-date information with appealing and functional (clickable) links.

Luxury travel providers, especially those in hospitality, should also make specific types of hotels or other sojourning options readily visible, perhaps with left-hand navigation categories. This is because finding them can be as struggle for users — inevitably leading to their frustration. 

Aftab attests to this: “I’m very specific about the kind of hotels I choose for my travels. Often enough, I find it difficult to find a five-star hotel that fits my “vibe”, which is suitably located, and includes all the amenities/services I require during the dates I want to travel,” he said, following with a jest — “I know, total first world problems!” 

Marie’s biggest frustration in booking luxury travel stays is difficulty in navigation, particularly when there’s “too many boxes to tick!”  Additionally, a poor UX for her involves the insistence on certain dates of travel. She suggests luxury travel sites show an entire month of prices per one page for both convenience and even affordability. This is so — in her own words — “I can go on the cheapest date! Luxury travelers like a good deal.”

Courtesy of Luxury Fashion Diva

 

Courtesy of Luxury Fashion Diva


Advice for Luxury eCommerce Retailers and Content Creators

Lastly, we sought out advice from these influencers for luxury retailers in the digital space and content creators alike. 

According to Patrick, creativity and originality are at the helm of an optimized user experience. Creators need to be able to find their own voice and style and steer clear of duplicating what other content creators do; if they don’t avoid the latter, it’ll stunt the growth of their brand (whether that’s a business or their own media presence).

“Just like any other content creators, stay authentic because that is the only asset you have. Also, do not try to copy what other influencers are doing. You will look cheap and unoriginal, and your potential to grow is non-existent,” he said.

He closes off with: “Innovate and do not be afraid to try new things and concepts, even if they scare you and the risk is too big. That is the only way to stand out and get ahead of your competition.”

“Don’t ever start content creation for the sake of earning money or getting “famous”, it defeats the objective of being a genuine, and sought-after content creator,” he said. “And when it gets tough, or you lose inspiration, remind yourself why you started. Let your creativity run wild!”

Alongside focusing on community-building and common interests, Aftab also believes in the need to have a unique offering, whether that be in sales or content:

“If I had to share one piece of advice, it would be to be completely true to yourself. It’s easy to get consumed with what other luxury content creators are doing around you, but the main thing is that you create content that fits your brand, aura and truly allows your personality to shine through.” 

As they deal with the subject of luxury, Marie suggests that content creators in the luxury space make the content itself luxurious. “Make the content really luxurious, stand out from the ‘ordinary’, be extraordinary.”

Furthermore, she advises on the need to appeal to the target market, meaning those most apt to buy, or at least take interest in the luxury space.  “Someone recently commented that my website was luxury and not for ‘ordinary’ people. This made me happy because I aim to target the luxury market!”

Closing off, she proposes that luxury travel sites ought not forget the older travel market. “Remember the older travel market!  We are the people with time and money to spend on luxury trips. Older travelers want luxurious Business Class flights, top class accommodation,” she said.

3 Tips to Improve Mobile User Experience

Our latest industry benchmarking analysis confirms a mobile-first trend in many sectors, including fashion, retail and beauty, where smartphones account for approximately two-thirds of all traffic (64% for fashion, 63% for cosmetics and 62.3% for pharmaceuticals). 

But what we also surfaced from our survey of 2.1 billion site visits is that mobile conversions are not following suit. In the fashion sector, for example, the mobile conversion rate still stagnates around 1.3% — half of the average desktop conversion rate, which averages in at 2.6%. This meager conversion gap also exists in the beauty sector, and even in the many other industries where the traffic gap between mobile and desktop is not so wide.

Despite mobile making great strides in terms of traffic, the data on conversions suggests that smartphone customer experience (CX) is falling short of consumer demands. Clearly, consumers are keen on connecting with brands, products and services by using their phones, but something in the mobile experience is stopping them in their tracks.

In order for users to become immersed in your brand, the navigation on mobile must be optimized for it to be seamless and intuitive. As such, brands should aim for more meaningful visitor sessions — ones that can inspire conversions and nurture customer loyalty, future visits and possible conversions. 

A granular analysis of customer behavior will shine a light on areas of friction in the customer experience, and flag pages and in-page elements that need improving. This article delves into 3 mobile UX design best practices and their affiliated tips to assure an optimized mobile user experience.

Use Images Sparingly on Mobile

Humans are visual beings. Much of how we consume information and entertainment involves the use of imagery. But images can pose considerable damage to mobile user experience. That’s why you need to heed best practices to avoid a bad mobile UX.

Firstly, there is a smaller screen on mobile, so images carry a larger weight. As such, their implementation is trickier on these devices. They have to be large enough to be seen in a way that clearly and easily conveys their contents, but not so large as to require scrolling.

Make sure your images do not cause any loading delays; images are the primary cause of slow page load times and the problem is compounded on mobile. Slow load times bog down your website speed, which in turn negatively affects SEO and triggers impatience, a telling sign of a bad UX. 

That’s where you have to consult your server. Make sure it has the proper speed and correct updates, so that images never set back your mobile site or app. A good server is able to distinguish which devices your visitors are accessing your content from — desktop or mobile. 

Graphic designers must use the right coding so there are no issues with the general view of the image. Pay close attention to image sizing; there are recommendations on standard image sizes as they relate to pixels and the like. 

 


The Typography Must Be Lucid & Minimal

The typography, i.e., textual style of a website, is a crucial component of the UX. Most of the information we imbue comes from reading, so the typography must be presented in an easy-to-read way.

Although the text must be large enough to see without incurring any squinting, you should steer clear of using large fonts, since mobile screens are much smaller. Otherwise, large letters would block other parts of the page from view, forcing users to constantly scroll around to find anything. But don’t settle for small fonts either — you wouldn’t want to worsen the user experience by making your visitors constantly zoom in/ squint. 

So how do you determine a happy medium? The key is to keep the text in proportion to the page and screen size. Jason Pamental of H+W Design has formulated a method that maps out the correct proportions of the text (including the body copy, H2s, H3s, etc.), the line-height and characters. 

Implementing Sticky Elements

Sticky elements are often those that visitors rely on most; when these elements are not in immediate view or access, it can easily irritate them. As such, you should implement sticky elements for a more convenient mobile user experience that provides a component of seamlessness.

You may have heard of the sticky search bar, but, although a sticky search bar is valuable for desktop, it is inconvenient for a good mobile UX, as it takes up a lot of space. Since it is inopportune for user experience on mobile, you’ll need to opt for another element.

In place of a sticky search bar, add a search icon at the top navigation, or provide the search function within the hamburger menu. The former is a better option, since it renders instant visibility of the icon.

 


Closing Off on Mobile User Experience Improvements

These 3 tips offer clever ways to boost your mobile user experience. Consider each of them and their multifaceted teachings to capture more site visits. But it shouldn’t end here; there are plenty of other ways to optimize mobile UX, no matter how small or distinct.

Keep this in mind: in each instance of changing your mobile experience, determine if the change will contribute to a pleasant experience for users. Most importantly, use data as your armor; it’ll show you in plain terms what makes for a good or bad mobile experience.

For more information on UX optimization on mobile, download our 2019 Mobile Report.

download the Contentsquare report

 

5 Simple Steps to Improve User Experience

You’ve decided to take your UX into your own hands and finally revamp it, so that your site visitors navigate and leave your site digitally happy. You’ve made the right choice and we’re happy you’re here. Improving your user experience is inextricably tied to improving your customer experience.

An adequate CX underpins conversion benchmarks across all the industries we’ve surveyed. So if you’ve been maintaining a site for some time, these are 5 simple steps you can take to improve your UX.

Step 1: Observe Your User Behaviors

Studying how customers navigate your site is the first step towards improving your UX. After all, who else determines the user experience if not, well… the users? Start with the basics, such as how your users are reaching your website. Is it from typing out a URL? If so, note that these visitors are most likely familiar with your service, or, at the very least, your website. Consider the landing pages users entered through as well. It could mean your SEO or paid social campaign is working out.

Other basic analytics to keep watch on are bounces, exists, click through rates and conversions. While very basic, these are the building blocks of how well your UX is performing. But to truly get a sense of what exactly your visitors do on your website, and what they are trying to achieve, you’ll need a behavioral analytics platform, or a UX analytics platform. This kind of platform scopes out customers’ every behavior, including all mouse movements, hovers, scrolls, hesitations, and more.

Once you’ve reaped this information, you can start making informed decisions on how to fix issues, remove obstacles along the customer journey, and ultimately improve the digital experience.

Step 2: Get Rid of Outstanding Issues, Recycle What Works

Not all UX issues are mission critical. Once you’ve parsed through your behavioral data, you’ll find that some pages outperform others in conversions and time on site. So what exactly is responsible for better page performance? It could be that all on-page elements are working properly together, or that the page loads smoothly. It is also possible that you’re highlighting a special deal or limited promotion, leading users to convert.

Once you’ve analyzed your UX from the point of view of your customers, i.e., through behavioral analytics, you’ll be able to pinpoint why certain pages yield good results and why others don’t. If a user journey points to friction within a page, i.e., one that has a form field difficult to get past, or one with too much content, work on correcting the issues on that page. While technical difficulties point to a design or development issue, there may also be problems in the copy that drive lead users away.

However, the reverse can be done for pages that lead to positive experiences. You can repurpose content themes across your web and mobile sites. Additionally, you should make sure the positive technical aspects of these pages (fast loading times, obvious clickable elements) are replicated. Perhaps the design or the position of your call to action has a high click-through rate and drives conversions. You can mimic this across other pages and CTA configurations.

Step 3: Guide Your Visitors With Intuitive Navigation

Navigation refers to the map and directions of a website. Navigation constitutes the areas which help users move, or navigate, from page to page in their customer journeys (also known as user flows). An optimized user experience should include easy site navigation tools, the ones that guide your visitors to what they’re looking for, or where they need to arrive at.

The most common type of navigation is the menu bar. Usually, it’s composed of parent and child categories as a means of organizing the main contents of a website. While this is the standard on most websites, brands with a large swath of offerings may be at a disadvantage. You don’t want to clutter your navigation; if you do, you’re a UX sinner of the gluttonous kind.

If such is the case, you should use mega menus. These are expandable menus that display more categories and subcategories in a two-dimensional dropdown setup.

Other navigation elements that help guide your visitors include:

Step 4: Make Actions Reversible

How many times have we done something that we wish we could undo, or have opted for something which we later want to reverse? This is very much a part of user behavior online. Users may decide they want to buy something and change their minds in a few minutes or even seconds.

Where UX is concerned, you should design—or redesign—your site so that all actions visitors perform can be reversible. This includes non-buying actions. How annoying is it when you sign up for something you don’t need, only to have no option of immediately opting out? No one wants to go through their emails and fish out the fine text that says “unsubscribe.” Thus, make this action reversible on-site.

Another way to optimize this is to be reversible-proof, that is, to provide a clear expectation of what a visitor will get before they convert or take any other action. To do this, you can include a preview mode, showing your users exactly what will happen when they complete their action.

Step 5: Axe Any Distractions in the Content

It’s been said that multitasking is a myth, but in reality, most people are rapidly switching between tasks. That’s why you can’t allow your visitors to get distracted. Don’t inundate them with miscellaneous content, all on one page. Also, steer clear of fatiguing them with different tasks.

Even if it’s two calls-to-action, users will give one CTA more attention than the other. At worst, they won’t be able to pay enough attention to either and will likely leave the page or not convert.

Consequently, your content should point to one task for your users to complete; this is especially true for landing pages. If you have several CTAs you’d like your users to complete, just set up multiple ad campaigns for multiple landing pages, with each that focusing on its own respective task.

Closing Off on User Experience

We hope that our assembly of five simple steps helps guide you as you improve your UX. But these aren’t the only ways/factors that can improve your digital experience. UX is a complex concept, one that takes into account all the user emotions and impressions they experience as part of their journey on a website.

If your site’s UX is unclear or frustrating to users, it can cut their visits short, increasing your bounce rates and hurting your brand in the process. So make sure you’re always paying attention to it and optimizing to drive conversions, boost digital ROI, and build your brand.

5 Ways to Improve User Experience and Reduce Bounce Rate

When taking on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), the primary concern for digital marketers is unsurprisingly the user experience. UX is a catch-all phrase for a visitor’s experience journeying a website, the feelings they undergo and the content of the website itself. Consequently, there are a variety of methods to improve it.

While having CRO on the mind is important, it is also critical to consider user behaviors, including the negative ones. As business owners or marketers, we often have to contend with a rather challenging digital reality, that of bounces and exits. While the definitions of these negative metrics sound similar, they bear a crucial difference.

Delineating site leaves, the bounce rate is far more detrimental to your UX than an exit, and its respective exit rate. That’s because the bounce rate refers to visitors who leave a site after visiting only one page, while the exit rate refers to the visitors leaving after their last pageview, at the end of a journey which may include any number of pages. This article will show you how to both improve your UX and reduce your bounce rate in 5 ways.

1. Measure Conversion Rate and User Experience

It has been said that if you aren’t measuring, then you aren’t marketing. Consequently, particularly in UX and the subdiscipline of conversion rate optimization (CRO), measuring comes first. It is crucial to know how your website is faring and conversion rate is one of the foremost KPIs to keep track of. You’ll also need to understand the state of your conversion rate before moving forward with any changes to your UX.

Measuring the conversion rate is done via the following calculation: divide the total number of conversions by the total number of site visitors and multiply the result by 100%.

This is the formula for conversion rate:
Conversion rate = (conversions / total visitors) * 100%

For example, if there were 8,055 visitors on your site which yielded 1,003 conversions, the conversion rate is 12.45%.

There is no single method to quantify the UX, since it encompasses both the feelings of the users visiting the site and the content of the site itself. There are many factors to work out, as the UX cannot be defined by a single metric, unlike the bounce rate or CRO.

You can parse through the UX  through a variety of means. This is where unique, AI-powered analytics come in, as they point to a much more granular understanding of your visitors’ behaviors. You can get a deeper understanding of the digital happiness that your users experience, by way of a read on their emotions. This can be achieved through an overview of their patterns of behavior, one that takes into account visitor objectives, or intent, context and more.

There’s a lot to sort through when evaluating digital happiness, but these factors contribute to your UX, and as pointed out, UX goes a long way towards both reducing bounce rates and optimizing the conversion rate. Here are some of the metrics to work out in your user experience:

2. Improve UX Design

The design of the UX is essential to the success of digital journeys. You won’t be able to improve the user experience without addressing and mending the design. What makes up the UX, if not the copy and design?

For a long time, UX design has been a guesswork game, with analytics solutions having provided some answers but not all. Today, next-gen solutions can produce a much more in-depth reading of consumer behavior. These will empower you to make wiser, more UX- savvy designs, so that your site visitors get the most optimal user experience. But the UX design should not be entirely dictated by designers.

As aforesaid, marketing teams reflect a diversity of roles and responsibilities, and the UX design can benefit from a variety of team members’ input on improving the UX. Thus, data democratization is paramount, as it denotes data accessibility: the ability of data to be accessible, and understandability, which denotes the ability to be understood and leveraged by non-data analysts. When behavioral analytics meet data democratization, your UX design will become virtually foolproof and indestructible, creating a space for digital happiness.

Additionally, with access to highly visual, easy-to-read data, UX designers don’t have to wait for analysts to provide them with answers before they get to work. This allows them to streamline their projects and helps focus continuous optimizations.

3. Optimize Website Speed

Website speed paints a picture of the faculty of your UX, and as such, has the ability to yield a good or at least an average, conversion rate. Your website’s load speed is important since it’s one of your visitors’ first impressions of your site. Website speed is especially crucial on mobile, which has surpassed desktop in traffic. And there’s plenty of judgment as far as that is concerned for an on-the-go audience.

There are a number of ways to optimize your website speed for both the desktop and mobile versions. First, evaluate your current website load time, a quick task away, since there are several free sources performing a website speed test on your site, such as GTmetrix and Uptrends.

Next, you’ll have to deduce what is slowing your website down, before you can compile a list of solutions. Website speed can slacken from a variety of issues. These include image difficulties, such as too many images per page, large image sizes and the src tag when using images in HTML.

There are other contributing issues, most of which are technical in nature, such as a high server response time, a lack of browser caching, issues with coding languages and disregarding compression.

Once you find what’s bogging down your website’s speed, you can then employ several methods to remedy it. You can try several workarounds; it’s most appropriate to do what corresponds with your particular issues.

These techniques include: changing your website host, tinkering with your images (such as with their size, src tag, etc.), minimizing the amount of JavaScript and CSS files, minifying your plugins, detecting 404 errors and reducing file sizes via compression.

4. Work on Your Funnel Conversion

This primarily deals with sales. A sales funnel is a visualization displaying an assessment of where your site visitors are in their customer journey and conversion process. Specifically, a sales funnel is a model, one that is aptly shaped like a funnel, with the widest area at the top, representing all levels of visitor/customer engagements and narrow at the bottom, which displays the most engaged users, or those most likely to convert.

The below image shows the sales funnel, which can be thought of as a chart that sums up your prospects’ sales process. Each stage can be used to improve the overall funnel conversion, i.e., the totality of the process that gives way to a conversion. By working through each stage in a step-by-step manner, you can effectively augment your funnel conversion.

First, start with the awareness stage at the top. This entails building your brand awareness and digital footprint. You can do this via blogging, social media campaigns, PPC and SEO campaigns and traditional PR work.

Next, you must tackle the consideration stage, where brand awareness exists. To do this, take the lead magnet approach, in which you propose solving your leads’ problems if they give you their email address in turn. This will push these leads further down the funnel. The lead magnet involves using landing pages, CTAs and contact forms for content engagement.

For example, in the case of a contact form, it would be beneficial to be able to know exactly which form field is causing user abandonment of the form. Some form fields aren’t clear to users and others just don’t work because of a technical malfunction. Knowledge is power and with the knowledge of these obstacles, you can make precise optimizations.

Then, ease your leads further through the rest of the steps by way of educating them. This can be done through the application of emails, drip marketing (emails you send over time that have long been previously written), integrations of your CRM for re-targeting, offering promotions to incentivize conversions, monitoring your social media campaigns, performing A/B tests and finally, asking converting users (customers in e-commerce) to refer a friend or anyone that may benefit from your offering.

Throughout your sales funnel optimization efforts, you should analyze your visitor journeys to make sure the path to the objective is clear and intuitive. And of course, the final steps of conversion must be streamlined and pain-free for your visitors so don’t neglect to locate and fix obstacles at checkout.

5.  Improve Your CTA Button

At last, we arrive at the point of conversion in the UX: the terse but mighty CTA button. The CTA button is the last portal to converting, the threshold between your ultimate goal and user hesitation. So it goes without saying that your CTA button must be optimal.

Fortunately, the CTA button requires little on both the copy and design fronts. First, you should come up with a call-out that is not only attention-grabbing but clear and easy to understand. This is usually no more than a few words that denote a command.

Regarding the design quality, you should make your button big enough to be easily seen without the need for much scrolling down after a user views the content above it. Ideally, the button should be big and bold enough to be impossible for your users to overlook.

While generating a productive CTA button isn’t difficult, the button itself is only as good as the content before it. If the content on your landing page is too long, profuse with jargon or exhibiting poor design elements, your prospective visitors and leads will leave before they even finish reading, watching or scrolling through your content.

However, even if your visitors do reach the CTA button, this does not guarantee conversions. Sometimes, the CTA button itself is out of order. There are several signs to take into consideration of a non-working CTA button.

For example, pay attention to clicks and hovers. Is there a high hover rate but little to no clicks? That’s a UX red flag. Are your users clicking on a non-clickable element? This indicates a faulty CTA design, in that the users think a non-CTA element might be the CTA button. Before answering these questions, you’ll need to be equipped with these particular types of analytics.

Thus, captivating visuals and persuasive copywriting go hand in hand on your landing pages, or wherever else you place a CTA. But a truly functioning and conversion-yielding CTA requires knowledge about how users are interacting with it, which only certain analytics can provide.

In Conclusion

Per this reading, you have probably concluded that improving the user experience and reducing bounce rates is not a lone endeavor by any stretch. Instead, it is made up of a series of processes that involve conducting measurements, applying UX design best practices, improving sales funnel conversion, executing an adequate CTA and quickening the speed of your website.

These processes and solutions will not be the same for businesses and websites industry-wide, or even necessary for all, as the UX differs across businesses and their respective digital assets. Thus, the conversion rate also varies from site to site. The good news is that if your CRO efforts stem from a granular analysis of how consumers are navigating your site, you’ll be able to optimize from a knowledgeable place, and enjoy data-driven results in no time.