Design is only one feature of a website that affects user experience. It’s a huge one, though.
Design impacts how a brand makes users feel, affects how users navigate through pages to find products and consume content, and how they interact with the website overall.
A poor website design can ruin a healthy eCommerce business, crush sales, destroy the customer experience, and tarnish a brand. All of those things are very difficult to recover from. Ideally, your website should offer the best design and interface possible.
Conversely, a well-planned design can do the opposite. It can turn bounce rates around, increase conversions and sales figures and help an online business grow. Among these concrete benefits are the intangible values that result from good brand management with a UX-optimized eCommerce web design.
Stores built on the Shopify platform that suffer from poor design will be just as adversely affected as those built on BigCommerce but utilize a poorly-chosen BigCommerce theme. It is not platform or industry-specific. These issues to be investigated are universal in eCommerce web design: below are five key metrics that may indicate that your online business is in need of a redesign.
1. Bounce Rate
A high bounce rate is a problem, whether or not it is attributable to a poor website design. A rising bounce rate is even more of a problem because it indicates that something is seriously wrong with a website.
Bounce rate indicates any of several factors, but at the most basic level, a high bounce rate indicates that your customers are not getting something that they expected from your website. When their expectations are not met, they leave.
Now, there are many reasons that a website can suffer from a high bounce rate. It could be to do inconsistent branding. It could be due to poor messaging about a product’s value. It could be that your website has an overall untrustworthy feel. Poor search functionality, confusing or overwhelming search results, or ineffectively arranged product categories can all adversely affect user experience, and when UX suffers enough, visitors leave.
Not everything that causes a high or increasing bounce rate can be addressed by a redesign, but you’ll notice that several of those mentioned can be.
As an example, consider these real-life examples from several of our clients. The clients featured below are in vastly different industries; one is in food service, one is in a PPC restricted business and the other sells furnishings and home improvements. In each of these projects for which we performed a redesign for the client, we took a look at the bounce rate in the months after the project was delivered and then compared it to the previous period.
This is just a snapshot, and you can see that the figures vary widely, but there is a common trend here: after each redesign, the bounce rate dropped sharply. In one case, the bounce rate was slashed in half.
The takeaway here: redesign may not solve all of your eCommerce woes, but bounce rate may be an indicator that you need one.
2. Dropping Time on Page
Dropping time on page is another real concern that there’s something missing from the design of your website that should be there. It could be an indication that customers are not satisfied with your site design or that your brand is weak or poorly integrated.
As with the rising bounce rate, there are a lot of factors that could be causing your average time on page to be dropping. It’s not the secret indicator that you need a redesign or need to develop some new features, but consider this:
Your website’s average time on page might not even be dropping. It might just be very low, and low time on page rarely correlates to conversions. It usually goes hand in hand with a high bounce rate, which may also indicate that your website is in need of a new appearance.
Consider getting a free E-brand appraisal from our team of specialists so you can see if your website suffers from poor brand integration and less-than-desirable UX features. We’ll give you a snapshot of how your website performs and offer some explanation for poor performance metrics like these.
3. Dropping Conversions
Dropping conversions are a concern whether they are attributable to poor design and layout or not. Nonetheless, a long term decline may indicate that your website is missing out in some area of design.
Perhaps your search features are not robust enough or they are too difficult to find. Perhaps your website’s categories are confusingly arranged. Perhaps there is a death of content on your website and customers want to learn more. On that note, maybe there is no good way to get in touch with you. This, after all, is a feature of design, and without it, frustrated customers will often just leave rather than do the legwork to find you and answer their questions.
Ultimately, there are a lot of variables to consider, but there’s a very good chance that conversions that are falling off are indicative of a general design that leaves customers wanting more. It could even be that your competitors recently unrolled a new design and are taking business away from you.
To know for sure, you’ll need to take a deep dive into the industry and at your own customers’ behavior. That’s where a specialist like 1DigitalⓇ comes into the picture.
4. Odd Exit Page Statistics
Odd exit page statistics actually usually mean one thing. Usually, these off-statistics mean that your visitors are not getting to a location on your website where their expectations can be met, getting frustrated, and leaving somewhere random without legitimately progressing along the sales funnel.
For example, if you have an influx of customers to your homepage, and that predominantly these customers travel from the homepage through product or category pages where they ultimately exit without making a purchase, it’s not a good thing.
Every website is going to have exit page statistics, but if you get visitors from your homepage to your product pages from which they ultimately bounce, it’s not a good thing.
It could mean that your visitors could not reach the product pages that they wanted to, which is an issue with navigation. It could mean that your visitors were not sold on your branding or product image. It could also mean that your website lacked the promotional or educational material your visitors wanted before making a purchase and thus had to get it elsewhere.
These problems are all unique, but they are also all directly related to design. If you’ve had an eye on your analytics and feel that something is up with the pages from which customers are leaving, it might mean it’s time for a redesign.
5. A Lot of New Users – but Few Returning Users
Let’s say you have an eCommerce website that gets a lot of web traffic, most of which are new users. The good news is that you have a lot of new users, which means that you may have great organic rankings, you might be getting sent a lot of traffic from social media, or even that you are running a paid search campaign that’s generating a lot of clicks.
New users are great, and to some degree, every business needs them. However, an influx of new users and no returning users could indicate that your landing pages (as a part of a PPC campaign) are poorly optimized. It could mean that you have great organic rankings but that your website design is falling far behind and is failing to attract and engage attention.
While you should celebrate an influx of new users, customer retention is vital, and a design that visitors enjoy using is one great component of CRM.
Still curious on how some of the features mentioned in this article are affected by the design of your website? You’re in the right place for more information, and our eCommerce experts can help. Since 2012 we’ve been solving tons of complex problems in eCommerce and impressive, UX-optimized designs and advanced development are only some of them!
Our eCommerce website design specialists know more than a thing or two about what makes a website design that will dazzle and satisfy your customers and have them returning time and time again. We’re also well versed in the in, outs, ups, and downs of the biggest and most powerful e-Commerce platforms out there. Whether you’re looking for a Shopify Plus Partner or want to learn more about our dedicated BigCommerce web design services, contact us today at 888-982-8269!
- Michael Esposito
- January 28, 2021