Basic ecommerce usability tips

I’ve been doing research for a client on ecommerce usability best practices.  According to a study conducted two years ago 48% of website users will abandon the website if they struggled to use it or can’t find what they’re looking for.  There are a few useful best practices that many sites don’t include so I’ve compiled a list of some of the most important ones.

Contact information
Ensure that your contact information is visible on all pages of the site and positioned in such a way that the user will easily find it.  For instance, list it at the top of every page on the site.  You may think your website is easy to use and intuitive but there are users that will struggle and they need to be able to get in touch with you easily, whether it’s via email or a phone call.

Breadcrumb navigation
Breadcrumb navigation is used to show users exactly where they are within the website, for instance Home > Products > Product 1.  Make sure that each description is linked to its relevant page for easy navigation should the user wish to go back.

Related products
Cross-selling is not only important in an offline business, but also for an online business.  You can easily incorporate a ‘related products’ section at the bottom of the page to increase sales.

Call to action buttons
Your ‘add to cart,’ ‘wish list’ and other call to action buttons should stand out from the rest of your website but still compliment the other colours used in your web design.  The placement of these buttons plays an important role in the website’s conversion rate, this post on provides some great pointers.

Search function
It goes without saying that you should offer your visitors a search function on the website so that they can easily find the products they are looking for.  That being said, I’ve landed on two websites this week with no search function which resulted in me leaving the website as I couldn’t find what I was looking for.

Keep important information above the fold
Keeping information above the fold means that visitors can see important information like your contact details, the search bar and the breadcrumb navigation without scrolling down.

Other relevant articles and posts you might find interesting:

eCommerce and shopping cart usability: 21 best practices
Registration kills conversion
Form field usability – what to avoid

Posted by Carla Fourie

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