Essentials to Good e-Commerce UX
Chief Marketing Officer of GS1 Hong Kong
Until recently Hong Kong has been at an adolescent stage in the development of e-commerce. COVID-19 has caused dramatic changes to consumer behavior, and “online shopping” has become the new normal in Hong Kong people’s lives. We have talked to an e-commerce expert earlier on the user experience (UX) of Hong Kong’s e-commerce platforms. Mignone Cheng, Chief Marketing Director of GS1 Hong Kong, reckons that some online shopping platforms have not been designed with the users in mind, causing customers sometimes to simply abandon their online shopping at times. “Sometimes, consumers see a lot of goods on the website, but they don’t know how to place order, or can’t even find the “shopping cart” easily” said Mignone. She believes that a good online shopping experience should meet the following basic criteria:
- Responsive Web Design
Mignone points out that the use of contrasting colors and simple design not only can give users a refreshing feel, it can also help users find the icons and information they need more easily. The global online marketplace eBay is a good example.
Mignone emphasises that “user-friendliness” is the key to success for e-commerce platforms. “A clear and easy-to-navigate interface with simple and user-friendly checkout can definitely help users search for the products they need effectively, speed up the order placement and select the best delivery and pick-up methods accurately. This enables a user-friendly and quality experience throughout the customer journey.”
Taking HKTVmall as an example, there are many types of products on this online marketplace. Users can easily find their target products through a clear product classification interface, powerful search functions and simple steps. Together with clear payment instructions and delivery options, it makes the online shopping “journey” enjoyable.
Regarding the treatment of product information, Mignone believes that the online shopping platform of Watsons (the personal care products store) is a good model for the industry. Along with detailed product information and high-quality images, the platform provides timely products to meet consumers’ urgent needs, and also timely information updates with photos of related products to enable customers to purchase anti-epidemic products, food and daily necessities during the pandemic.
“Transparent” information on online shopping platforms can also help enhance the user experience and consumer confidence. When consumers encounter multiple suppliers offering the same type of goods, users will benefit from clear price comparisons. This will enable consumers to get updated market information and choose value for money offerings. Pricerite and HKTVmall are good examples. Effectively collating and improving the transparency of data such as product prices and inventories will definitely help build consumers’ trust and relationship with the platform.
Responsive Web Design
Today’s consumers switch between different devices to shop online, including mobile phones, tablets, and desktop computers. A consistent user experience across all devices is very important. Mignone points out a good thing about platforms like eBay is that no matter which device you use, you can enjoy a consistent user experience. The platform’s responsive design allows the website to adapt to any screen size and provides a seamless user experience.
The mega trends of online shopping UX
In the era of big data, it has become a major trend for online shopping platforms to predict user preferences and needs. Mignone takes J Select as an example, a platform for smart home and trendy products. In addition to providing price comparison functions, based on data analytics, the platform will also suggest to the user with products that he or she will be interested in. Looking into the future, online shopping platforms will provide users with a more “personalized” UX. They can use data to anticipate the next purchase of its customers and provide reminders and recommendations.
“Omnichannel” shopping experience
In addition, a good online and offline (O2O) “omni-channel” shopping experience is underway and will be the future. Pricerite, a platform on household goods, provides a good O2O UX. Customers can go to the physical store to experience the features of the product first, and then decide to buy, and place order through its online platform. Consumers can choose to pick up from stores in different districts or the door-to-door delivery services to get their desired shopping experience. In addition, Pricerite offers a virtual store online, which simulates the actual environment of one of its store. Consumers can browse the aisles and click on a product on the shelf to read its details and price, before adding it to their cart should they wish to buy it.
Digital UX Hunt
Mignone has shared five e-commerce platforms with excellent UX (in no particular order):
As a Hong Kong consumer, do you have any good examples of online shopping e-experience?
About GS1 HK
GS1 Hong Kong is the local chapter of GS1, a not-for-profit organisation that develops and drives the adoption of easy-to-implement global standards including barcodes. GS1 HK is dedicated to empower businesses to improve operation efficiency and facilitate commerce connectivity through a full spectrum of platforms, solutions and services based on global standards. It supports 8,000+ corporate members across 20 industries in Hong Kong, spanning from retail, FMCG, food & beverage, healthcare, logistics & transportation, ICT to apparel & footwear.