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Creating an Intuitive UX When You Offer 100+ Products

Growth Spark

*** If you’re just starting out with a few products for sale, check out our earlier blog post, “Shopify E-commerce Success When You Only Offer a Few Products”. 

Your e-commerce business is growing and you’ve passed the 100-SKU mark… woohoo! Take a sip of champagne before tucking your head down again to focus on what comes next. (Ah, the glamorous life of an e-commerce entrepreneur.)

Crossing the threshold from a few dozen products to over a hundred is a critical time for examining your Shopify site’s user experience (UX). The more products you have, the more easily customers can feel overwhelmed. No one wants a shopper frozen in confusion or indecision on their site.

Think back to the last time you browsed the cereal aisle in the grocery store and thought, “hm, think I’ll find something new today.” No. You just don’t do it. The store manager will find you hours later comparing the ingredient lists of five different granola boxes as he’s shutting down the lights and locking up for the night. Just, nope.

What’s the e-commerce equivalent of Cereal Aisle Syndrome? Basically, it’s an abandoned cart (if your shopper even gets that far). You have 8 seconds or less to help someone find what they want. 

The difference between an intuitive (read: so easy to use your customers don’t have to think) and a frustrating UX can be as simple as a quality search algorithm or navigation terminology. For example, a shopper looking for a small sofa may have seen a loveseat they liked the last time they were at Restoration Hardware. They go to the store’s site, and do a search:

Poor search creates a negative UX

Hm. It seems that Restoration Hardware doesn’t sell any 2-seater sofas.

But Wayfair does. (Apparently over 200 of them.)

Good search functionality means positive UX

Chances are, Restoration Hardware lost that sale. Their site’s poor search functionality contributed to a frustrating UX.

Customers will go elsewhere if your UX isn’t up to par.

What Makes an Intuitive UX? It’s More Than Design.

The user experience is the overall experience of a person when visiting your store, from start to finish. Ideally, it’s easy and enjoyable for shoppers to navigate your store, find what they’re looking for, and make a purchase. Making the UX intuitive depends on your understanding of your customers, and your ability to make the site design essentially invisible. It should enable customers to reach their goal without thinking about the path required to get there. It just happens, easily and seamlessly.

A few key questions to assess how intuitive your Shopify site is:

  • Does it load quickly?
  • Is it easy to navigate?
  • Is it as easy and enjoyable on mobile devices?
  • Is the copy simple, specific and clear?
  • Are icons labelled and easy to decipher?
  • Have unnecessary steps been removed?

A study by Radware found that “a two-second delay in load time during a transaction resulted in abandonment rates of up to 87%. This is significantly higher than the baseline abandonment rate of 67%.” Across U.S. e-commerce sites, they estimated that slow pages cost over $3 billion in lost sales.

Why Improve Your UX? The Benefits of Intuitive Site Design

Your site’s UX is just as important as your product mix and your marketing plan. An intuitive UX means higher order values because customers can find the products they’re looking for faster and can discover new ones easily. It means that customers will spend more time on your site, increasing the chances that they will purchase more. It makes it more likely that customers will return, increasing your repeat rate and customer lifetime value. It results in fewer abandoned carts and sets your shop up for continued future growth.

Wow. That’s a lot of power. So, how do you make the most of your Shopify site’s user experience?

Intuitive UX Strategies for Shopify E-Commerce Sites with 100+ Products

Every element on your site needs to support the shopper in reaching his or her goal. Once you have more than 100 products on offer, it becomes even more important to fully understand your customers and how they shop, provide clear and easy navigation (product categories and search functionality), simplify the shopping experience, and make it as personalized as possible.

Know Your Customer

In order to create a more intuitive UX for your customers, you need to understand who they are and what they want (and don’t want). There are a lot of ways to gather this information - some are more complicated and expensive than others. One key is to target your research as much as possible:

Where are visitors falling out of the funnel? Are they making it beyond the product page? Are they calling it quits when they see shipping prices? Or maybe when they have a full cart?

Some ways to test your site’s UX are to use tools like UsabilityHubUserTesting.com, and Hotjar and others to learn about how customers use your site.

  • Find out where people try to click, but can’t.
  • Look at how far down people scroll and plan your messaging hierarchy appropriately.
  • Use session replays to watch real people navigate your site. What frustrates them? What are they struggling with? Where do they drop-off?
  • Conduct user testing by giving people specific instructions (for example, find a laptop bag for under $65 and add it to your cart). Watch as they try to follow the instructions, narrating their thoughts out loud.
  • Show your site for a short period of time to find out if your messaging and value proposition are clear.

Make Your Shopify Site Easy to Navigate

Visitors will create a mental image of your site’s hierarchy and message importance in just 2.5 seconds. Make it easy for them.

  • Use familiar words when labeling.
  • Keep the functionality familiar using standard e-commerce design. Shoppers expect the cart to be in the upper right corner, for example.
  • Make menu categories and subcategories clickable
  • Use breadcrumbs.
  • Keep the navigation consistent throughout your site.

Keep the navigation as simple and easy-to-follow as possible.

Search that Works

Shoppers who use search typically have a higher conversion rate; they know what they’re looking for and are there for something specific. Yet, 50% of all users don’t buy because they can’t find what they’re looking for, and 80% of consumers will abandon a site after a poor search experience. You need to have search on your site, it has to be easy to find, and it needs to work. Remember the Restoration Hardware example above.

If you happen to be out of an item, or you don’t carry the exact product that a consumer is searching for, don’t send them to a “no results found” page. Instead, take the opportunity to save the sale by suggesting other similar products.

How to Add On-Site Search to Shopify

Reduce the Number of Choices

Analysis paralysis is a thing. Especially when your site grows to more than 100 products, it’s important to help shoppers find what they want without getting lost among a slew of other options. 

MarketingExperiments.com found that reducing the products on a page from three down to one increased revenue by 24%. Use categories and subcategories to organize your products and make them easy to find. Ideally: one page, one goal.

Bottlekeeper does this beautifully.

Simplify the visuals for a better UX

Provide Personalized Product Recommendations

Show shoppers what they’ll be most interested in based on previous visits or purchases. You can guide them to products they are likely to want, and help them to discover new ones by identifying “best sellers” or “trending” products. You can also try to personalize based on targeting: behavioral, location, referring URL, ad content, device, search keywords, customer history, sessions behavior, date and even time of day.

How to Add Related Products to Shopify

Related products collections support a positive UX

The Black Dog gives recommendation categories on their product pages.

Make Loading Times Fast

A study by Radware found that “a two-second delay in load time during a transaction resulted in abandonment rates of up to 87%. This is significantly higher than the baseline abandonment rate of 67%.” They estimated that slow pages cost U.S. ecommerce sites over $3 billion in lost sales.

Check out Shopify’s blog post, “12 Ways to Improve Ecommerce Site Performance & Speed for 2X Conversions,” for some great tips to get your site moving even faster.

More Isn’t Always Better—But Sometimes It Is

Depending on your business strategy, introducing more products into your online shop can be an exciting proof point: it’s working! People are buying your products, you’re seeing demand, and there’s room to grow. Just make sure that more products are what your customer wants, too.

While more of a good thing can be even better, sometimes it can simply be too much. You don’t want to overwhelm your customers or risk diluting (or confusing) your brand and positioning. But from a hundred products to thousands… as long as your product growth is based on good data and strategy, and you’ve built a strong and intuitive UX to support your offerings, the sky’s the limit!

Learn more with our How-To blog series:

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