Ecommerce UX: Must-Know Best Practices and Principles In 2024

Your online store’s success hinges on more than just what you sell—it’s about how you sell it. eCommerce UX makes shoppers stay, browse, and buy instead of bouncing off to a competitor. 

This guide cuts straight to the chase. It’s packed with must-know best practices to supercharge your eCommerce site. We’ll show you how to solve the big pain points: slow load times, confusing navigation, and checkout hassles. 

Discover how to turn cluttered pages and slow checkouts into a seamless, fast shopping experience to improve conversions.

What Is eCommerce UX and Why It Is Important?

Benefits of good UX design

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eCommerce UX is how customers interact with and perceive an eCommerce website. It is making the purchasing process smooth and enjoyable for customers. This includes site navigation, layout, and how easy it is to find products. 

Good eCommerce UX focuses on simplicity, clear information, and minimising any hurdles that might stop someone from making a purchase. Essentially, it’s about creating a hassle-free and satisfying shopping journey whatever online business ideas you are working on.

Specifically, it helps with:

  • Good user experiences impact the online store’s ranking and visibility.
  • Streamlining the checkout process, minimising friction points, and reducing abandoned cart rates.
  • With the increasing use of mobile devices for online shopping, a good UX ensures the site is optimised for mobile.
  • A user-friendly interface that directly reduces customer inquiries and support tickets. This saves costs linked to support services.
  • A well-designed UX that enhances customer satisfaction by making it easier for shoppers to find what they want quickly and efficiently.
  • A seamless and user-friendly experience increases the chances of visitors making purchases, which in turn, boosts the conversion rate.
  • Positive online shopping experience that creates happier customers who are more likely to speak positively about the eCommerce business and boost its reputation.
  • Making development smoother and more efficient. They focus on smart design approaches that save time and money during the development phase.
  • A user-friendly interface that encourages visitors to explore more products and engage with the eCommerce site, lowering the churn rate and increasing the chances of repeat visits.

Understanding the 5 Steps In the eCommerce User Journey

Before we start talking about ways to improve eCommerce UX, understand the journey users take while shopping online. Once we get that down, it helps you see how each step presents opportunities to apply the best design practices and principles. Understanding this flow sets the stage for enhancing your UX at every crucial point.

I. Discovery

The customer journey starts with discovering something intriguing – a product, an ad, or a mention. Users stumble upon your eCommerce site through social media, search engines, or recommendations.

II. Research and Exploration

Once on the site, users go deeper. They check out product details, read descriptions, zoom in on product images, compare prices, and even read reviews and blogs. This phase is all about gathering information to make an informed decision.

Build your credibility. This could be an extensive weekly blog for a large eCommerce store or a monthly blog for local online shops. Use content marketing to convince casual customers to become paying customers.

III. Decision Making

After weighing options, users make their choice. They add items to the shopping cart or wishlist, or compare options before finalising choices. They consider price, quality, and product availability. The decision-making phase is when the user is one step closer to making a purchase.

IV. Checkout and Payment

Once they are ready to buy, users proceed to the checkout process. This involves providing shipping information, selecting payment methods, and reviewing their order before making the final purchase.

V. Post-Purchase Experience

After making a purchase, the customer experience continues. This includes order confirmation, shipping notifications, delivery tracking, and possibly soliciting feedback or reviews after receiving the product.

22 eCommerce UX Best Practices and Principles for Maximising Impact

Having walked through the different stages of a user’s journey in eCommerce, let’s take a look at 22 strategies and design principles you can apply in each step to elevate the benefits of an already convenient online shopping experience.

1. Discovery

1.1. Simplify Navigation and Search Field

To simplify navigation, use a search bar prominently placed on your website so users can easily find what they are looking for. Make sure the search box is robust, allowing users to filter results by various metrics like size, colour, price, etc.

You can also add a dropdown of categories or buttons for popular searches like what Prosple did on their homepage. This way, users don’t have to type to find what they need.

Prosple example of search navigation

1.2. Prioritise Visual Product Presentation

Visuals matter a lot in eCommerce, especially when products are presented. Use high-quality product photos from multiple angles. These images should be optimised for quick loading without compromising quality. Slow load times cause a bad user experience. 

Make sure the images showcase the product’s features and details effectively. Consider using zoom-in features or even a product video to enhance the visual experience.

1.3. Incorporate Personalisation and Recommendations

Implement algorithms to suggest relevant products. Use metrics and driver trees to analyse customer behaviour and preferences. Then, suggest products or create personalised recommendations based on their browsing history or previous purchases. Display these personalised recommendations using triggers to guide users to products they might be interested in.

1.4. Implement Mobile-First Approach

Benefits of a mobile-first design approach

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Design your eCommerce platform with mobile devices in mind. Ensure a seamless experience on smartphones and tablets by using responsive design. Test the site thoroughly on different mobile devices to guarantee it is easy to navigate and maintain functionality across various screen sizes. Check the load time – slow loading frustrates mobile users. Make sure it is quick to maintain a good user experience.

2. Research and Exploration

2.1. Provide Detailed Product Descriptions

When it comes to detailed product information, think comprehensive. You’ll want to cover everything a potential customer might want to know about a product. This includes specifications, dimensions, materials used, care instructions – any detail that could influence a buying decision. Make sure it’s presented in a clear, easily accessible manner.

2.2. Integrate Customer Reviews and Ratings

Product reviews and ratings are word-of-mouth recommendations in the digital world. Integrate this user-generated content into your product pages. Encourage customers to leave reviews by making them straightforward and rewarding. Have a mix of positive and negative reviews to offer a balanced perspective. This will add credibility to your eCommerce experience.

2.3. Enable Simple Filtering and Sorting

Make the shopping experience smooth by allowing users to filter and sort products easily. Let them refine their search based on price, size, colour, or any other relevant product categories. This helps them narrow down options quickly and find what they want without getting lost.

2.4. Establish Visual Hierarchy for Products

Visual hierarchy is about arranging elements to guide users’ attention. Highlight key products or offers prominently. Use contrasting colours, sizes, or placement to draw attention to new arrivals, best sellers, or any specific promotions. These visual elements help in directing customers toward what you want them to see without overwhelming them.

F-pattern and Z-pattern design hierarchy

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3. Decision Making

3.1. Ensure Clear Call-to-Actions (CTAs)

Your CTAs are signposts guiding online shoppers on what actions to take next. Make these action buttons stand out – use contrasting colours and clear, action-oriented words that prompt action, like “Buy Now,” “Add to Cart,” or “Learn More”. 

Make sure they are most likely to catch your audience’s attention, especially on product pages, checkout, and key steps in the buyer’s journey. Use historical data analysis to understand which CTAs have been effective in driving conversions. Analyse past user behaviour to determine the most effective wording, placement, and design for your calls to action.

3.2. Keep Pricing Transparent

Transparency builds trust. Clearly display product prices, shipping costs, and any additional fees upfront. Avoid surprising customers with unexpected costs during checkout. Be straightforward about discounts, offers, and any conditions that apply. This helps in managing customer expectations and prevents confusion or distrust.

3.3. Display Trust and Security Signals

Types of trust badges

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Customers need to be assured that their transactions are safe. Display trust signals like security badges, SSL certificates, and payment icons prominently on your website. Include customer testimonials, trust badges, or affiliations that your eCommerce company has to reinforce credibility.

3.4. Offer Live Chat Support

Live chat support can make a significant difference in the customer experience. It gets them immediate assistance. Make sure it’s easily accessible on the website, preferably visible on all pages, to address any concerns or queries that might pop up during the shopping journey.

4. Checkout and Payment

4.1. Streamline Checkout Process

Streamline checkout process

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Simplify the checkout steps. Reduce unnecessary form fields to only ask for essential information. Minimise the number of pages a customer has to go through to complete their purchase. Limit distractions – keep the focus on completing the purchase. Progressively guide customers through the process without overwhelming them.

4.2. Allow Guest Checkout Option

Not everyone wants to create an account. Provide a guest checkout option. Allow them to complete their online purchases without the hassle of setting up an account. This helps in catering to both new and returning customers.

4.3. Provide Progress Indicators

Let customers know where they are in the checkout process. Use progress indicators to display steps like ‘Shipping’, ‘Payment’, and ‘Review’. This helps in managing expectations and reduces any anxiety about the process’s length.

4.4. Implement Address Validation and Auto-fill

Make it effortless for customers to input their address. Implement tools that validate addresses in real-time. Offer auto-fill suggestions based on partial inputs, reducing errors and saving time for customers.

4.5. Offer Multiple Payment Options

Customers have their preferred payment methods. Offer a variety of options like credit/debit cards, digital wallets, or other popular methods. This flexibility accommodates different customer preferences and in turn, enhances the eCommerce user experience.

4.6. Save Payment Information

For loyal customers, make the checkout process even smoother. Offer the option to save payment information securely for future purchases. This streamlines the process, making it quicker and more convenient for returning customers.

5. Post-Purchase Experience

Post purchase experience

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5.1. Provide Real-Time Order Tracking and Updates

Implement a real-time order tracking system that allows customers to check order status at any time. This could involve sending automated email or text updates at key stages – like when the order is confirmed, shipped, and out for delivery – along with a tracking link that takes them to detailed information about their package.

5.2. Offer Post-Purchase Support

Don’t leave customers hanging after they make a purchase. Offer robust post-purchase support through various channels like live chat, email, or a dedicated support hotline. Make sure your customer service team is well-trained to handle post-purchase inquiries promptly and effectively. 

These could be addressing issues with deliveries, assisting with product setup or usage, or handling any complaints or questions customers might have after receiving their order.

5.3. Prompt User for Feedback and Review

Encourage customers to share their feedback and reviews. After a reasonable time post-purchase, send a polite and concise email asking for their thoughts on the product or overall shopping experience. This can vary based on the type of product or service, but a general range is between 30 to 90 days.

Make it easy for them to leave feedback by providing a direct link to a review section on your website or a review platform. This not only helps in collecting valuable insights but also improves your credibility and assists other potential customers in making informed decisions.

You can further enhance the post-purchase experience by incorporating a thoughtful touch in your follow-up email. Add a section to thank shoppers or extend well-wishes, providing a personal touch to their shopping journey. This solicits feedback and strengthens the emotional connection between the customer and your brand.

5.4. Clearly Outline Return and Refund Policy

Make your return and refund policy crystal clear. Display it prominently on your website and include it in confirmation emails. Ensure it’s easy to understand, detailing the process, timeframes, and conditions for returns or refunds. 

Make sure that the process is hassle-free for customers and that they know exactly what to expect if they need to return a product or seek a refund. This transparency builds trust and reduces potential frustrations for customers.

We’ve explored the must-dos; now, let’s dive into the pitfalls to avoid.

6 Costly eCommerce UX Mistakes You Can’t Afford

Creating a seamless and satisfying user experience in eCommerce means not just doing the right things but also avoiding the wrong ones. Consider these 6 eCommerce UX mistakes that, when sidestepped, can elevate your online store from good to great.

A. Irrelevant or Excessive Pop-Ups

Pop-ups can be a hit or miss. When they are relevant and used judiciously, they can be effective. However, bombarding users with too many pop-ups – asking them to sign up for a newsletter or offering a discount that they are not even interested in – can annoy them.

Use pop-ups sparingly and ensure they are relevant to the user’s browsing context. Make sure they add value, like offering a discount code when someone is about to leave the site or asking for feedback after a purchase, rather than randomly popping up every few moments. Leverage triggers instead of bombarding users with all your offers.

B. Cluttered and Confusing Product Pages

Cluttered product pages happens when there is too much text, unclear images, or an overcrowded layout. To avoid this, keep product pages clean and organised. 

Make sure the layout is intuitive, with clear sections for pricing, specifications, and purchasing options. The goal is to make it easy for users to understand the product and make a confident purchasing decision without feeling overwhelmed by unnecessary information.

C. Forced Account Creation for Checkout

Forcing users to create an account during the checkout process can be a big turn-off, especially if they are in a hurry or just trying to make a one-time purchase. Some users might abandon their carts altogether rather than go through the hassle of signing up. 

Offer a guest checkout option where users can complete their purchase without creating an account. If you want to encourage account creation, make it optional and offer benefits like order tracking or faster checkouts for those who opt in.

D. Ignoring Localisation and Language Preferences

Not everyone speaks the same language and not everyone uses the same currency or measurement units. Failing to provide options for different languages or currency preferences can alienate potential customers

Implement language options that cater to your target audience. Consider displaying prices in the local currency and ensuring that shipping information aligns with the user’s location. This makes the shopping experience more inclusive and user-friendly for a diverse customer base.

E. Inconsistent Branding Across Pages

Imagine visiting an online store where each page feels like it belongs to a different website – different colours, fonts, and styles. It is disorienting and doesn’t give a cohesive brand experience. When users move from the homepage to product pages or the checkout, they expect a seamless visual experience that resonates with the brand they are engaging with. 

Inconsistent branding confuses users about the authenticity of the website or the products offered. Keep a consistent visual identity – using the same colour schemes, fonts, logo placement, and design elements throughout the website. This helps in reinforcing brand recognition and trust among users.

F. Absence of Social Media Pins

When you don’t include easy-to-use social media sharing or pinning options for products, you are missing out on potential exposure and engagement. Integrating social media pins allows users to easily share products they like on platforms like Pinterest or Facebook.

It is free advertising and can drive more traffic to your site through social shares. Not having these options could limit your product’s reach and impact potential sales and brand visibility.


The crux of eCommerce UX strategies and principles boils down to one fundamental ideology: putting the user at the centre. Users demand simplicity and speed; they will quickly abandon sites that make shopping a chore.

Create an experience for them that leaves an indelible mark – a delightful, seamless, and unforgettable journey for every online shopper. Prioritise simplicity without compromising on depth, infuse trust at every turn, and anticipate user needs even before they arise.

Ready to learn more strategies to grow your online business? Check out our blog to discover more UX and inbound digital marketing strategies. 

Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. He helps innovative B2B companies implement revenue-driven SEO strategies to scale their organic traffic to 1,000,000+ visitors per month. Curious about what your true traffic potential is?