The season of sales is already here, and with Black Friday almost here, retailers are preparing for an influx of site traffic, store visitors, and (hopefully) purchases. You might be out of time to launch brand-new features or completely redesign your site, but you should still review some of your current design practices and maybe even make a few last-minute tweaks. Retailers can improve their websites this holiday season by:
- Decreasing clutter in websites and apps. Bizrate Insights found that, around the 2021 holiday season, only 12% of US online shoppers said they “love deals — the more, the merrier!” compared to 31% the year prior. Coupons, discounts, and promotions can benefit customers, but the common practice of overloading sites with promotional content detracts from the site’s usability. Websites are difficult to use when the experience is interrupted by pop-ups, autoplay videos, and animated content like carousels. Test your digital experiences on multiple device types with users to understand how they feel, and establish user confidence by eliminating factors that distract or overwhelm users.
- Being aware of coercive and deceptive design patterns. Coercive and deceptive design, commonly known as “dark patterns,” involves design choices that manipulate customers into acting against their own interests. Pop-up windows that are easy to misclick or difficult to turn off, forced action to accept cookies, fake countdown timers, hidden costs, and difficult cancellation of subscriptions are some examples of coercive and deceptive design. Some retail sites use coercive and deceptive design because it boosts revenues in the short term, but in the long term, these practices hurt customer loyalty and put companies at risk of legal fines and reputation damage.
- Making your chatbots more helpful. According to Forrester’s May 2022 Consumer Energy Index And Retail Pulse Survey, 43% of US online adults have used text-based support to get help on a company’s or brand’s website in the past 12 months. Still, many retailers and brands that we review don’t make their chatbots visible or easily found on their sites. Be sure to feature chat prominently on your site. Additionally, don’t limit assistance only to the help section. Provide customers with in-context and relevant help. For example, consider including holiday shipping deadlines and prices on your home page, product detail pages, and checkout page so that customers can easily access that information throughout the shopping journey.
If you want to learn more or have any questions about how to make improvements on your site’s user experience this holiday season, feel free to reach out to us. And stay tuned for more holiday-prep blog posts by many of our Forrester colleagues in the coming weeks!