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E-Commerce UX Best Practices

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Online shopping is becoming one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, with e-commerce sales in the United States alone growing up to 49% higher in March 2021, as compared to the previous year. Global e-commerce sales are expected to further increase to $1 trillion by 2025, with the rise in this retail trend spurred on by the COVID19 pandemic.

An e-commerce report also further stated that the pandemic has brought about a “permanent and massive digital adoption spurt”, in Southeast Asian countries, which can be seen in Singapore itself, with the rise of huge e-commerce platforms such as Shopee and Lazada.

For such e-commerce platforms with large sales traffic and number of users, even a slight difference in metrics such as conversion rate or bounce rate can have a big impact on profits and yearly revenue. This is the reason why many of these companies focus so heavily on providing good interface design and good user experience to their users as they are key in affecting the user’s behavior and ultimately, the company’s overall performance.

In this article, we will be talking about the E-Commerce UX Best Practices that top companies apply on their platforms to ensure a good e-commerce user experience.

Business illustrations by Storyset

What is E-Commerce UX?

UX in E-commerce follows the same basic fundamentals of UX, to provide users with a smooth experience on their e-commerce platform, helping them to complete their objective of purchasing a product without any issues. However, UX is also further applied to affect the user’s perception towards the brand and drive specific actions on the platform that aids conversion, such as prompting users to browse through additional products.

The Value of UX in E-Commerce

Due to the nature of the industry, where conversion directly impacts the company’s revenue, good UX interface design becomes all the more pivotal to the success of these platforms. Factors such as clear product presentation, smooth checkout process, and an intuitive browsing experience play a large role in the user’s experience and their decision to stay on the platform.

For example, the average shopping cart abandonment rate sits at around 70%, with many of the factors attributing to poor UX design like having a complex checkout process or overly-tedious sign-up forms.

Source: optinmonster

Good user interface design is also important due to the added complexity of many modern e-commerce platforms that feature many different categories, sales, and products. Furthermore, providing a good user experience pushes customers to use the platform again in the future, eventually cultivating a loyal user base that would also advocate and tell others about it.

Source: thequotes

Next, we will go through examples of how established e-commerce brands employ strong UX design practices to provide their users with a better user experience.

Best UX Design Practices in E-commerce

A. User reviews

Shopee incentivizes users to leave reviews after their purchase by rewarding them with coins that can be redeemed for future discounts. Users that include photos and videos in their ratings are able to receive more points. This has led to the development of a strong review system, where users proactively leave genuine reviews, allowing their items to feature quality reviews and proof.

So why does Shopee try so hard to get users to leave reviews? User reviews are a huge factor in the e-commerce user experience, with over 97% of customers relying on reviews to make purchase decisions online. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores, online stores lack in-person interaction and the physical feel of products, thus reviews are important to reduce customer anxiety during checkouts. Statistics show that product pages with reviews have conversation rates up to 3.5 times higher than those without.

Shopee’s user review features on products

On the flip side, reviews are also useful for sellers to be notified of any issues with their products early on. It is a way for the platform to manage and filter individual sellers, optimizing the process of matching buyers with the appropriate sellers and improving the overall user experience.

In the review page itself, Shopee further included a ranking distribution summary at the top for users to easily gauge the product by its reviews. Users can also click on the summary to filter through reviews with different ratings.

Shopee’s user review ranking summary

B. Streamlining purchases

Amazon first revolutionized the e-commerce world with its “1-click” button for ordering which allowed customers to pre-set their credit card information, shipping address, and buyer’s information so that they can instantly purchase an item at the click of a button. This was a game-changer as it dramatically improved the user’s experience by minimizing friction and reducing cognitive overload for a better user experience. Users no longer need to go through the hassle of filling in form fields or double-checking their card information when making purchases, which also reduces the amount of time for them to re-think their purchases.

Aside from Amazon, this checkout UX practice has been adopted by many e-commerce platforms today, such as Shopee. Shopee has also further optimized the shopping process by providing users with “Add to Cart” and “Buy now” buttons, with the latter bringing users straight to the checkout page. This reduces the effort and time taken needed for those that are only looking to purchase a single item rather than browsing.

Amazon and Shopee’s checkout buttons

C. Intuitive menu and navigation

With over 3,000 brands and more than 30 product categories on Lazada, having a proper information hierarchy and organisation is essential for users to be able to navigate through their platform. Lazada makes use of a nested category menu to display their different categories while minimising clutter. Users can easily hover over a category to view its sub-category, giving them an instant overview with minimal delay. This allows users to find the products in an easy and intuitive manner, especially on platforms with various products and services.

Lazada’s information hierarchy and nested category menu

D. Supportive search

Having a search bar is a necessity for most, if not all e-commerce platforms. Its purpose is to help customers quickly and directly find a specific product. These are customers that already know what they are looking for as compared to those trying to browse around. A good UX design applied to this feature is the addition of a search bar that dynamically suggests results as the user is typing, which substantially reduces the amount of time required for users to input their search. This functionality also reduces typographic errors, helping users look for what they need more effectively.

Search results on ASOS dynamically changes as the users type

Many search functions are also designed to support query mistakes, such as when a user misspells a product or inputs a wrong name based on a guess. The displayed search results take these mistakes into account and try to show the closest product or suggestions, rather than just stating that there are no results.

Left: ASOS searches “jacket” for the user even when they misspell it, Right: List of filter categories available

Detailed search filters are also available for users to better narrow down their search. These are especially useful for users trying to browse through hundreds of products available on the store. Filter categories are usually arranged by the importance to the users such as discount available or gender. These are good UX search practices that drastically improves the customer user experience.

E. Multi-access navigation

Apart from information architecture and optimized search features, having multiple ways in which users can search for products can further increase accessibility. Many popular e-commerce platforms nowadays have picture search functionality, where users can upload or take a photo of an item to search for similar products sold on the platform. This can help users that are looking for a specific product but do not know its name, or those looking for a specific appearance. Additionally, some platforms also have voice search features, allowing users to perform searches without having to spell or type.

These alternative methods of searching provide more accessibility and convenience for users, allowing them to complete their goal of finding products more successfully.

Shopee’s Camera Search Function


I hope that this article has provided you with some insight into how UX can be used in an e-commerce setting through the various examples from established companies like Shopee, Lazada, ASOS, and Amazon. Although not all UX practitioners work in the e-commerce industry, the ideas and reasoning behind these practices are useful and can be widely applied to other areas. If you want to know more about user experience and its industry, do check out our other resources available on our website, such as our articles, weekly webinars, and podcasts.

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