Happy Cuites is an iconic family-owned and operated company that sells a wide range of baby products.
The GM of Marketing knew that their e-commerce website could be performing much better in terms of sales and conversions,
I reviewed the homepage elements and recommended several tactical changes to not only improve user experience, but to also support the desired conversion goal of a completed sale.
After their review, I recommended design and navigation improvements to the page.
My recommendations for Happy Cuites’ homepage are anchored on the principles of online trust and persuasion.
Building trust online may sound simple, but often, it isn’t.
Web visitors initially judge the trustworthiness of a website on a subconscious level. To effectively design to gain trust, you need to understand how online visitors think, then support the process of automatic decision-making. That is, you must avoid cognitive overload as much as possible and design for the shortcuts the brain uses to identify trustworthiness.
From years of experience, I consider the following to be the foundations of building online trust:
Design is especially important.
People will judge your business from the overall visual look of your website. While web users’ expectations of a good, modern design are influenced by design trends, the process they use to identify a trustworthy website has remained consistent:
People do not read online. You must make sure that your site is organized in a way that makes sense to them from the get-go. They should easily find information that is critical for them to establish the relevance of a web page to their task at hand. For this reason, a web page also needs to be free from unnecessary distractions.
Next, the human brain is wired to appreciate consistency. Online, this translates to people noticing if certain elements look different from others, or if colors used are appropriate to the theme or message that a website is trying to convey.
To improve the design of the Happy Cuites’ homepage, I recommended the following:
Numbers are known to be highly persuasive elements.
On the web page, certain numbers can build visitor confidence if they are believable and real.
For instance, the phone number is the biggest trust symbol on the web. Having a phone number lets visitors know that they are dealing with a legitimate company. It also reassures them that they can call the company when they have any concerns or issues about their purchases.
Other numbers, such as the number of satisfied customers or number of years the company has been around are effective as social proof. These numbers indicate to your web visitors that you have other customers and that your business is one they can depend on.
The original Happy Cuites’ homepage missed the opportunity to use the persuasive power of numbers. Hence, I suggested the following improvements:
People dislike complexity.
Thinking is tiresome and energy-consuming to the brain, so it reserves heavy mental processing for more important decisions.
This is why online users will immediately bail out if they perceive a web page to be too complex. They would rather find another site than exert extra effort to figure out a convoluted web page.
Likewise, having a simple, easy-to-use website increases the likelihood that online visitors will stay and take the desired conversion action. Simplicity also lends transparency to a site, thereby building trust.
To achieve simplicity, you must aim to reduce cognitive friction. Usability expert Steve Krug wrote about this in his book “Don’t Make Me Think.”
I've applied the principle of simplicity and ease of use on the Happy Cuites’ website with the following recommendations:
Authority automatically earns trust.
People look to authority figures for knowledge and guidance and assume that they exercise high levels of competence and goodwill.
Well-known brands hold the same influence: people are more likely to trust them and their products as compared to those that are lesser-known. But, even unknown brands can benefit from established authority figures by utilizing the “halo effect” or borrowing some of that existing trust through simple association.
For instance, prominently displaying reviews, awards, media mentions, or trade associations on a website will extend the perception of authority from these well-known authority figures to the website.
While Happy Cuitesis a relatively popular vendor in the U.S, the company’s e-commerce site also gets online visitors from other regions. Therefore, it made sense to boost the website’s authority with the following recommendation:
E-commerce transactions carry a lot of risk for customers. More so when they involve big-ticket purchases, like expensive diamond rings for example.
Having prominent transactional assurances, like exchange policies and safety guarantees, will minimize online buyers’ perception of risk. Online visitors will be less anxious about buying something when they know they can return it for free if they’re not satisfied for any reason.
Happy Cuites ’ original homepage showed transactional assurances, but these were inconspicuous and likely to be missed by online visitors. I wanted to make this more prominent and suggested the following:
A large part of the visitor having a great experience is managing user expectations.
A website should make online users feel that they are in a safe environment by reassuring them that your company won’t break their trust.
Here are the best practices to meet the bare minimum for user expectations and bolster visitor confidence in completing the desired conversion action:
I've worked to improve the user experience on Happy Cuites ’ homepage by recommending the following:
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