eCommerce Customer Experience Kills or Drives Sales
When consumers can easily and quickly find what they’re looking to buy, brands dramatically increase the likelihood of converting these searches into sales.
Considering that 94% of consumers abandon their shopping sessions because of choice overload, irrelevant products, or even coming up with zero search results, this is a clear sign that there’s room for improvement in retailers’ execution of practical onsite search experiences. This metric certainly begs the question of how poor the average ecommerce customer experience is and the importance of modernizing how they function.
First, let’s dive into the reasons that search results often fail so miserably and the barriers to purchase customers have to overcome.
eCommerce UX Expert
“Optimizing your website’s user experience (UX) is the cornerstone of business growth and customer loyalty. If there are hurdles in the purchasing process or your website isn’t designed with the users’ needs in mind, you will be sabotaging your brand engagement, erode conversion rates, nd many of your customers will look to your competitors for a better buying experience”.
Kira Renee, E-Comm Product Marketing Manager, SmartBug
Buying Barrier 1 – Too Many Search Choices
Overwhelming site visitors with choices leads to shopping paralysis. With too many products and options, narrowing down what you want to buy is impossible. Scrolling through unending screens of products is overwhelming and doesn’t lend to an efficient user experience. People will bounce before putting something in their carts due to too many product choices. Nowadays, consumers have high expectations for a seamless eCommerce customer experience.
I spent time looking for a shelving unit on Wayfair’s site, and here are my search queries in order with the results.
Search Queries with Results:
Searching for products via search terms doesn’t have to be a problem if brands add functions to their search bar, such as autocomplete and product suggestions, to guide shoppers in the right direction.
Buying Barrier 2 – Irrelevant Search Results
When shoppers know what they want to buy and unrelated results appear, it’s disheartening, and they’re likely to abandon their search and head on to a competitor’s site. When a shopper searches for a “yellow girls bike” and receives “boys bikes in black, green, and blue,” those results will diminish the brand’s credibility and have no significance to a shopper.
The image illustrates a common customer frustration – when the search ahead recommendations don’t match the actual search results. In this example, the shopper types “mom jeans” into the search bar. The search ahead box displays an image of mom jeans, setting the expectation that the results will contain that style. However, when the search is executed, the results page shows irrelevant styles like skinny jeans and boyfriend jeans. None of the products match the original “mom jeans” query entered by the shopper. This bait-and-switch experience, where the search ahead recommendations are inconsistent with the actual results, leads to diminished credibility and frustration for shoppers. Ensuring search relevancy is critical to avoiding this trust-damaging scenario.
Buying Barrier 3 – No Search Results Found
Shoppers start with the search bar at least 30% of the time when they’re looking for a specific product, but when their search queries don’t match the product names, descriptions, or product tags, they’re faced with the soul-crushing message of “no results found” this ultimately kills the vibe of shopping. A no results found screen is probably the worst outcome for a brand because the shopper is likelier to bounce, having gotten nothing in return.
Nothing deflates a shopper’s experience faster than the dreaded “no results found” message. As these images from Evereve.com illustrate, search relevancy impacts sales. The query “ripped jeans” in the first image returns zero products. However, using the synonym “distressed jeans” surfaces an option for ripped and torn jeans styles.
When search terms miss the mark, brands miss sales. While ripped and distressed jeans are the same, inconsistent product tagging leads to dead ends. And for retailers, an empty results page means empty carts and wallets. Optimizing search to match customer language is crucial. Otherwise, shoppers’ journeys end abruptly. Finding products becomes frictionless with more relevant results and reduced dead ends, keeping customers engaged and business momentum strong.
Content Marketing Expert
“When you’ve implemented a search box to your eCommerce website and store, there may be a time when you’re unable to return a result for the keywords the potential customer has implemented. This is when you need to be able to find the closest results to what the customer has entered. Additionally, if you don’t sell that kind of product, you need to be able to give them a new category which they could explore. This is based on upselling, always give the customer a range of different options to explore. Never leave them with nothing to view.”
Alex Milner, Founder, AEMedia – Content Marketing Services
Buying Barrier 4 – Bridging the Vocabulary Search Gap
What’s interesting about language is that your primary target market may speak one way, while your holiday shoppers may use different words and phrases in describing what they’re after.
Shoppers use varied terminology to describe dog food. Terms like kibble, wet, grain-free, puppy formula, and senior are distinct but related.
Analyzing search queries allows brands to expand product tags to cover the different descriptors people use. Accommodating multiple word semantics improves findability.
The visual demonstrates the diversity of language around “dog food” that impacts search. Optimized tagging bridges vocabulary gaps and creates better experiences.
A clearly defined product taxonomy is a powerful but often overlooked opportunity for retailers. A taxonomy provides a consistent, hierarchical structure for categorizing and describing all products.
Dog Food Taxonomy Example:
- Dog Supplies
- Dog Food
- Dry Dog Food
- Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food
- Adult Formula Dry Dog Food
- Senior Formula Dry Dog Food
- Wet Dog Food
- Puppy Formula Wet Dog Food
- Adult Formula Wet Dog Food
- Prescription Dog Food
- Grain-Free Dog Food
- Organic Dog Food
- Dry Dog Food
- Dog Food
With a robust taxonomy, products are classified under logical, shopper-friendly categories. This powers:
- Intuitive site navigation – Shoppers can easily drill down to narrower subcategories to find what they need.
- Relevant search filters – Layering taxonomy-based filters creates clear segmentation without choice overload.
- Optimized product tagging – Taxonomy terms provide a standard vocabulary for product attributes and descriptors.
- Merchandising flexibility – Products can be grouped and promoted in endless combinations of categories and filters.
- Enhanced analytics – Taxonomy labels enable analyzing performance by product type, collection, style, etc.
A thoughtful taxonomy informed by shopper search data establishes a shared language between customers and products. This minimizes confusion, dead-end searches, and buying barriers. With products organized and described consistently, finding the perfect item becomes intuitive and frustration-free.
Tip 1 – The Art of Persuasive Product Descriptions
This product description paints a vivid scene that engages the target audience. Some key strengths:
- It builds an immersive world with descriptive details like “Spooky Town” and “frighteningly finest” outfits. This draws the reader in.
- The storyline of a Dia de los Muertos fashion show is creative yet aligned with the Halloween theme.
- It uses visual language to showcase the item’s details, like the lighting and participants’ costumes.
- The tone balances creepy and cute elements that appeal to Halloween fans.
- Words like “beautifully detailed” and “expertly crafted” convey quality.
- The ending creates intrigue by describing it as an “out of this world” fashion show.
Overall, this description excels at using evocative, engaging storytelling to capture the imagination of the target Halloween enthusiast audience. The details, tone, and language are tailored expertly to this demographic.
Tips for optimizing descriptions:
- Highlight the specific benefits and standout features that will resonate with your audience. Focus on the value.
- Use persuasive language and phrasing – don’t just state facts; sell the sizzle.
- Share details that evoke emotions and connections to the customer’s needs.
- Use visual language and vivid descriptions to help the reader envision using the product.
- Structure details in easy-to-scan sections with headers, bullets, and emphasis.
- Optimize descriptions with relevant keywords to improve search visibility.
- Test different description variations and styles to determine what converts best.
- Leverage Digitile’s Generative AI to create high-converting product copy at scale efficiently.
Crafting compelling product descriptions is crucial yet highly manual. Writing engaging copy at scale is impossible for eCommerce brands managing thousands of SKUs.
That’s where Digitile comes in. Our Generative AI solution transforms product listing creation by automatically generating optimized, persuasive descriptions tailored to your brand voice and audience.
By combining data-driven insights with linguistic mastery, Digitile’s AI can instantly create product narratives with the creative flair of an expert human copywriter. The AI handles the intensive research, analysis, and writing to produce pages of on-brand, conversion-focused copy efficiently.
The results speak for themselves. With Digitile, brands safely reduce copywriting workloads by up to 75% while accelerating time to market. And conversions consistently improve versus manual efforts.
Don’t hamstring growth with manual listing processes. Digitile’s AI takes your eCommerce copy and conversions to the next level.
SEO Subject Matter Expert
“Funny enough the trick to writing persuasive descriptions is to use one of the AI tools like Chat GPT or Claude or Perplexity and ask the tools to rewrite your descriptions with the following prompt parameters. Describe a pain point, add a hook to capture attention and write the description from with emotional tugging and in the style of a famous copywriter like Gary Halbert or Joe Sugarman.”
Jason Ciment, CEO, GetVisible – SEO Agency
Tip 2 – Onsite Search Analytics
Sometimes a solution is right in front of us. All it requires is shifting your perspective. To identify low-hanging fruit, run the following Behavior Reports to understand how visitors move through your site.
Use these reports to improve and expand your product data efficiently and quickly. These reports help you understand which search terms visitors use to find what they’re looking for in rank order. Armed with this information, review which products relate to the popular keywords and update their product descriptions and tags to ensure these popular search terms help visitors discover these precise items quickly. And most importantly, this minimizes friction and reduces frustration throughout the browsing experience.
Tip 3 – Product Image Attribution Data
Product image attribution uses artificial intelligence to detect visual attributes in product photos, like color, style, material, etc. For example, a photo of blue distressed jeans could be tagged with keywords like “blue,” “denim,” “distressed,” “slim fit,” and so on by the AI model.
This allows the product to surface in search results when users enter related search terms, even if those specific words are not in the product title or description. For instance, the jeans would appear for searches like “distressed jeans” thanks to the auto-generated tag.
While image analysis is imperfect, it allows eCommerce brands to scale up their product tagging and data significantly faster than manual human tagging. Studies show shoppers have better on-site search success, and conversion rates improve when retailers implement product image attribution, as it surfaces more relevant results.
The product image below demonstrates how an AI model can analyze a product image and generate descriptive tags based on the visual characteristics it detects. These tags augment the product metadata to improve how it ranks for search queries related to color, style, fit, etc.
Tip 4 – Search Bar Enhancements
There are several ways to upgrade your shopper’s onsite search experience by introducing a few basic search bar enhancements.
- Search Box Autocomplete – Autocomplete assists shoppers in finding exactly what they’re looking for quickly, revealing alternatives to what they might be looking for or even additional items they hadn’t previously considered.
- Search Box Displays Related Products – Consumers are visual. Lean on your most valuable sales asset – product images, to enhance your customer’s shopping experience.
- Filters – offer your shoppers broad categories to help them fine-tune their search within a specific category.
According to Spyfu, adding or improving typeahead (auto complete) on a search box will increase the average search length by 1.6 words (from 1.7 to 3.3). Longer, more specific searches lead to higher engagement and higher conversion rates.
Specifically, every word added to a search drives a 15% increase in conversion rate. So, adding autocomplete will increase sales by 24% (1.6 words x 15%)
Tip 5 – Customer-Driven Product Tags
A site with more optimized site search capabilities and better product attribution data built to include customer intent converts anywhere from 15%-35% more intent buyers.
Semantic search aims to emulate how people speak and process search terms accordingly. For example, Gap carries activewear, and when you search for “gym shorts,” Gap provides suggested categories such as women’s, men’s, and gym pants. However, when you search for “women’s gym shorts,” their search engine has no suggestions, although the results for this search are primarily in the “women’s gym shorts” category with a few closely related items. Gap has added Customer-Driven Product tags on the backend, so when shoppers expand their search terms to include explicit contextual product cues, their search engine provides relevant results.
This allows products to match search intent better. The examples show how customer keywords can enhance product findability for a pillow item.
Customer Review Expert
“A great way to minimize buying barriers when selling products online is to connect ‘hesitant’ or ‘undecided’ shoppers with a brand’s existing customers in their community for an authentic testimonial. Studies have shown that social influence is the number one contributing factor to making a purchasing decision. Connecting a shopper with a happy customer is a great way to incorporate social influence in the purchasing journey, increase trust, and minimize friction at checkout. This peer-to-peer shopping concept is new to the world of e-commerce and already has a major impact on the industry. Big brands like Transformer Table and Oru Kayaks have implemented similar experiences on their website much to the delight of their shoppers.”
Mark Yeramian, CEO/Founder, Moast, E-Commerce Testimonial Platform
Tip 6 – Instant and Mobile-Friendly Checkout Process
In the world of online shopping, making things fast and easy is super important. To make buying stuff a quick and smooth experience, you should offer different ways to pay.
You can use regular methods like credit and debit cards, which most people trust and know how to use. Or you can use mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. They’re cool because they let you pay fast with your phone; no need to type in card numbers.
For some places where people often transfer money between banks using their phones, something called a real-time payment system (Wallet Apps, UPI, instant payment solutions, etc) is a must. And for international shopping, digital wallets like PayPal and Skrill are great because they keep your info safe.
“To make it even easier, you can save their payment details, allowing one-click checkout for people who return to the shop. And it’s super important to ensure your website works well on phones and tablets so people can buy without any trouble, no matter their device. Making things convenient and speedy like this reduces the things that make it hard for people to shop online, and that’s good for your online store.”
Dhruv Malhotra, Founder, EyeUniversal, Los Angeles SEO Company
👉 6 Tips to Minimize eCommerce Customer Experience Buying Barriers
In the fast-paced world of eCommerce, the customer experience can make or break your sales. This blog sheds light on key factors significantly impacting your online store’s performance and provides invaluable tips for enhancing your eCommerce operation and customer experience.
In the competitive realm of online shopping, the ability to convert consumers into actual sales is the holy grail for brands. However, 94% of potential customers abandon shopping due to buying barriers. This alarming statistic indicates retailers must revamp their onsite experiences and modernize their shopping site.
A seamless customer experience is the key to boosting sales in the eCommerce landscape. By addressing these barriers and implementing the recommended tips, your brand can set itself on the path to success in the competitive online market.