Designing for Ecommerce: Know Your Audience (Part 1)

In this first of a five-part series, I’ll be discussing what goes into making a successful ecommerce site, achieving success for both the users and the business. In this first section, we’ll look at how understanding the knowledge of your users helps set goals for your site and later inform what features to include in your design.

Today’s consumers aren't satisfied with sites that simply make it possible to shop; the experience must also be pleasant. Forty-eight percent of visitors on ecommerce sites don’t buy because of lack of usability. In the following 5-part Designing for Ecommerce series, we’ll be navigating through the online buying cycle:

20 tips for designing for ecommerce

Know your Ecommerce Audience

The optimal use of the 20+ tips in this series takes into equal consideration the three personalities of online shoppers. Let’s meet them...

The power shopper

The Power Shopper

This persona knows what they want. Power shoppers have sophisticated shopping habits and are frequent ecommerce users, making them highly comfortable with the technology. Power shoppers have high expectations regarding search usability and will quickly exit a site if they feel they are wasting time finding the item they were seeking.

The recreational shopper

The Recreational Shopper

We all know this type of shopper in real life: the friend or relative that insists on going up and down each aisle, easily distracted by endcaps and specials. These shoppers are casual explorers, more in it for the experience. Recreational shoppers commonly use ecommerce. Often these users are browsing for inspiration and have a high frequency of cart abandonment. However, recreational shoppers are also the most impulsive: influenced by sales, cross promotions, and popular items.

The reluctant shopper

The Reluctant Shopper

This group of users is generally uncomfortable about shopping online. They are the least tech savvy of all three groups. Reluctant shoppers respond favorably to trust indicators, easily available customer service, and clearly published terms and conditions (i.e. shipping, returns, refunds).

Other Audience Considerations

Returning customers

Returning customers are so much more than repeat customers; they had a good shopping experience both on your site and after their purchase. They felt genuinely good about their previous experience and actively decided to return to your ecommerce site to make another purchase (rather than just doing it as a utility or because “there was nowhere else to buy this

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