The user experience on your e-commerce site can make or break a conversion. Whether you’re looking for leads or aiming for sales, offering an innovative, yet reliable experience for visitors is the best way to achieve your goals.
But websites are growing more high-tech and user-focused by the day, which means traditional e-commerce site features may not be enough to create a stand-out experience. Modern businesses need to get a step ahead.
With these eight creative tools, you can improve your website and stay on top of user experience trends.
1) Story Mapping Tools
Story mapping is an exercise that can help you visualize the customer journey — including how they’ll interact with your e-commerce website. The story mapping process allows you to:
- Identify features that can help your clients convert
- Catch and eliminate any overly complex processes
- Build an e-commerce site with your clients’ needs thoroughly considered
- Plan out storylines with your website copy that customers can relate to
As a whole, story mapping creates an improved user experience. And when potential customers can smoothly navigate your website, they’ll be significantly more likely to convert and less likely to feel frustrated with your brand.
While traditional story mapping relied on sticky notes or whiteboards, a digital story mapping tool can speed up your website planning process, so you can get the right features developed faster. Plus, you can collaborate with your team in real-time, so you can get more perspectives before launching any feature.
2) AI Recommendation Systems
One of the biggest trends in e-commerce consumer behavior is a gravitation toward personalized experiences. Standing out from the rising number of e-commerce sites on the web requires companies to create dynamic websites that are custom-fit to each user’s needs.
Artificial intelligence (AI), which is already impacting e-commerce supply chain management, can be a user experience solution, too. Because supply chain management is linked so closely to e-commerce, when you integrate an AI recommendation system like Namagoo or Salesforce’s Einstein Product Recommendations with your website, you can:
- Suggest in-stock products and services each client may be interested in
- Sort search results based on a customer’s browsing habits and supply
- Offer personalized incentives while clients explore your site
By offering an online shopping experience that’s more relevant to each visitor’s unique needs and interests, you can boost your conversion rate, as well as your average purchase value. Plus, customer loyalty may rise if your website can impress.
The power of AI doesn’t end with recommendation systems. If you want to create an even more innovative experience on your e-commerce site, consider implementing a chatbot.
Adding a chatbot to your site allows you to automate parts of the support process. Users will be able to get answers to common questions without waiting for available employees. Chatbots essentially screen visitors to see if they really need live support, or if they just need to be sent in the right direction. In turn, your customer service team will have more time to invest in quality assurance, as well as open tickets that actually require human skills.
A website chatbot can also request a visitor’s name and email at the start of a conversation. This way, you can instantly pull up relevant details on your CRM when needed.
Tools like Freshchat and Zendesk Chat simplify the chatbot creation process, so you can go live with your helpful bot as soon as possible.
4) Live Chat Integration
Most chatbots aren’t advanced enough to completely replace customer support. When your customers need your team’s help, you should ideally be available for a live chat (at least during business hours). Plus, your customers shouldn’t have to leave your website to reach you via a different channel.
Live chat software can help you provide real-time customer support right on your site while helping you organize conversations on the backend.
Live chat can make your e-commerce site more effective for sales, too. When live chat is available, 62% of online shoppers are willing to purchase more products. Your conversion rates and customer satisfaction will likely rise, too.
If you want to get a touch more innovative — and provide an even more personalized experience — you can implement a live video chat tool. Solutions like Talkative and ServiceBell allow you to speak face-to-face with customers when they request your help, which can lead to even higher satisfaction — not to mention, fewer misconstrued messages on both ends.
5) Website Analytics Tools
Website analytics tools don’t have a direct effect on the user experience, but they’re powerful tools that help you understand how visitors engage with your site. For example, Google Analytics — perhaps the most well-known solution — can help you track:
- The devices customers are using
- The pages customers are entering or exiting your site from
- The marketing channels visitors are coming from
- Your site’s conversion rate
- How users move and click through your site
Using website analytics, you can better understand what pages are effectively driving purchases — and which pages need to be improved. Understanding customer behavior can help you create a more intuitive, conversion-friendly e-commerce site.
Pairing this tool with your story mapping tool can be highly effective. You’ll know if customers are actually following the processes you want them to follow. And if not, you’ll be able to make adjustments on your existing map, using your website analytics as a point of reference.
6) Email Marketing Services
Linking an email marketing tool to your e-commerce site can help you build automated campaigns that drive satisfaction and sales. For example, you’ll be able to send instant order confirmation emails, so customers know their order went through, as well as abandoned cart emails. Given that over 88% of online shopping carts are abandoned across all industries, this integration can be critical for saving your sales.
Email marketing services like Mailchimp and Convertkit integrate directly with popular e-commerce platforms. Once you complete your email template and set up the integration, your post-sale and abandoned cart emails basically run on autopilot — no need for you to lay a hand on it at all.
This doesn’t just improve the user experience and help you recapture sales. It also ensures that your marketing team has more free time to strategize and drive more people to your online store. The result? Much higher return on investment.
7) Multichannel Inventory Management Systems
If you’re running multiple e-commerce sites or a mix of e-commerce and physical stores, inventory can be hard to keep up with. Without inventory that accurately updates in real-time, you risk overselling — or even overstocking, if you want to play it safe. This can lead to delays in the order fulfillment process (which can frustrate customers) or wasted cash and space for your business.
A multichannel inventory management software like Sellbrite and Expandly can help you sync stock across several sales channels. This way, your customers can always have confidence that you’ll fulfill orders on time, and that their orders won’t be canceled for no apparent reason.
Some solutions even enable you to display the exact availability of your products. Shoppers can see if an item is available online, on backorder, or only available in select stores. When stock is low, this can drive shoppers to purchase faster, so they don’t risk missing out.
8) Visual Search Software
Site search software is fairly standard on e-commerce sites these days. Now, visual search software is a growing trend used by successful brands like IKEA and Forever 21.
So what is visual search? It allows shoppers to upload an image of something they’re interested in buying, then find the product (or similar options) on an e-commerce site. Instead of simply searching “black jacket” and scrolling through pages of options, they can find the exact style they want. It decreases the work that customers have to put in to get the results they actually want.
For example, visual search provider Syte allows you to add a camera search option on your site, so users can easily snap a picture while on the go. Syte also offers a “discovery button” that you can place on each product photo, so customers can easily find similar styles if the one they’re viewing isn’t perfect. Customers will be more likely to stay on your site, instead of immediately looking for options from your competition.
With visual search, shoppers check out twice as fast, too. They won’t spend as much time clicking around your site, which means less second-guessing and more buying.
Invest in a Better E-Commerce Experience
The online shopping experience is growing more personalized and more convenient for shoppers. To stay competitive, your e-commerce store needs to offer equally creative and user-focused features to keep shoppers loyal and engaged. Innovative software like AI-based recommendation systems, visual search, and chatbots can help you provide an improved user experience and increase your return on investment as a result.
Start implementing these creative tools today to impress every website visitor and gain more leads and sales.