Anyone working in the digital space in the early 2000’s can remember the experience of visiting a website: Blurry images, large bodies of text, broken links, slow page speed, empty categories and many more, as the world grappled with web development in its infancy. Needless to say, the user’s experience was static, disjointed, and enjoyable to say the least. Over the last two decades, web development has seen the growth of an entire sector called User Interface and User Experience - often abbreviated to UI/UX - which focuses entirely on the design and quality of experience while using a product or online service. While UI prioritises the look-and-feel of a website, UX focuses on the conceptualisation, implementation and delivery. From online stores to marketplaces to delivery tracking to getting a quote for travel insurance, any brand with a successful digital strategy includes UI/UX. Nevertheless, when it comes to shopping online, how important is UI/UX? Could a potential shopper abandon their cart early because of poor UI/UX? What are the trends today and beyond in UI/UX? We’re answering these questions and more as we delve into the online shopping journey.

A superior user interface and experience leads to higher conversions

Organising the flow within an online store is not dissimilar to how a supermarket organises their produce. Just how it wouldn't make sense to put toilet paper and cucumbers next to one another, UI/UX designers have the important job of creating seamless usability for shoppers, no matter what they’re looking for. Just like Amazon’s revolutionary recommendations feature that pushes sales and revenue, supermarket planners - and e-commerce designers alike - have to build a space that creates easy and helpful navigation as well as keeping profit top-of-mind. 

The UI/UX department is customer-centric, meaning it is built around earning and retaining consumer loyalty. If an online store or marketplace has an excellent user interface, they can expect positive outcomes:

Increased screen time

An intelligent, clutter-free and user-friendly UI/UX strategy will increase a shopper’s screen time. More screen time results in more sales and higher ROI (return on investment). A Forrester study revealed that good UI can improve a website’s conversions by 200% and good UX can increase conversions by 400%.

Improved SEO

If shoppers are spending more time on your online store, this will inadvertently improve your SEO (search engine optimisation). In addition, the way in which an online store is built goes a long way in Google prioritising your website. If your store is reminiscent of the early 2000’s websites mentioned above, Google is going to push your store back to pages 2, 3 and 4 in preference for more contemporary, shopper-optimised web stores.

Increased streams of revenue from mobile and social commerce

Revenue doesn’t just have to come from desktop customers. If you have a successful UI/UX strategy, your online store is mobile and tablet friendly, also called responsive,and connected to Instagram Shop’s marketplace, ensuring multiple channels of website visitors and sales from various types of consumers. Social commerce is expected to grow faster than e-commerce to €1.1 trillion by 2025, showing just how versatile and mobile-friendly an online store needs to be.

UI/UX trends for e-commerce in 2023

Dark Mode

Apple introduced Dark Mode in 2018 on their iPhones and iPads, which uses darker colours on the display at night time or on a set schedule. Dark Mode not only lessens the harsh brightness of one’s screen on the eyes, but adds a level of sophistication too. It also reduces blue light and battery drainage on mobile devices. Some users opt for Dark Mode as a permanent setting. Instagram, Wikipedia, Amazon and Google have already started offering Dark Mode as an option. For desktop web stores and mobile apps, consumers will start seeing this feature more often. 

Voice search capabilities

By 2026, the global voice recognition market will be valued at €25.9 billion and, currently, 71% of shoppers prefer to use voice search instead of typing, according to a PwC study. With the number of voice recognition speakers increasing in US and EU homes, being voice-search-responsive is vital to a retailer’s UI/UX strategy. Voice search and commerce embody the epitome of convenient and easy shopping, making it part of the next retail revolution. In addition, being voice-search-friendly lends a hand to improved accessibility and usability for consumers with disabilities.

Video reviews

When searching for and researching a product, it is always helpful to have shopper reviews on the same page as the product with a star rating and a short blurb, but e-commerce consumers today treat this as an expected feature that goes without saying. Considering that 80% of shoppers say that video reviews give them more confidence when buying an item, and an additional 50% of shoppers worry that a clothing or apparel item will look different in person, we should be seeing more e-commerce stores offering video reviews. 

Detailed and intuitive descriptions 

When shopping for shoes, a bikini or a new moisturising cream, a detailed description of the fit, feel, ingredients or incentivising characteristics goes a long way in providing important information as well as motivating the consumer to purchase. Coreelle, a South Korean online marketplace for high-end skincare, provides detailed descriptions using graphics and keywords in an interesting way. For example, a shopper can learn about this product in an innovative way by looking at the various images, key features like how it is vegan and cruelty-free in nature, and can learn how to use it by tapping the “how to use” tab. 

UI/UX is part of a brand’s identity and success

67% of website users are likely to make a purchase and 74% of users will return to a website if it has good UI/UX. However, the percentages are just as high for consumers who have waited longer than five seconds for a website to load or if they had a negative user interface experience. In fact, a website’s bounce rate increases by 35% if it doesn’t load within five seconds. E-commerce brands and retailers must ensure that they are aware of what consumers want along the shopping journey and how they can consistently improve and stay ahead of competitors.