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Data-Driven Design in Ecommerce: The Ultimate Guide

Data-Driven Design in Ecommerce: The Ultimate Guide

Data. It surrounds us and powers various eCommerce activities, from planning marketing efforts to building websites. It lets you appeal to your target audience and deliver relevant content. And if consumers find your offers interesting enough, they will more likely buy the products, leaving more money in your shop. In short, the more data you have, the better you can predict customer behaviour and generate revenue.

In this article, we’ll consider the role of data-driven design in eCommerce. What does this term mean? At its core, data-driven design is a methodology that prioritises data and insights rather than assumptions or subjective judgments during the design process. It involves placing web/app elements and strategising digital experiences based on multiple data sources, such as:

So, get ready to roll up your sleeves and go on a fantastic adventure through the world of data-driven design.

Exploring User Experience (UX): The 7 Influencing Factors

The term “user experience” refers to emotions experienced by users when interacting with a company’s mobile app, website, or another digital medium. Is it easy to find the needed product? Is it convenient to access the website from a smartphone and make a purchase?

The designers’ task is to ensure consumers can smoothly navigate the website, prevent them from leaving or getting lost, and encourage them to return. How can they achieve that? With user experience best practices for web design. These are rules concentrating on making a website user-friendly and appealing to customers. To do this, designers should leverage content, image, and media to elicit strong emotional reactions.

Imagine a situation: you open a link and proceed to the navigation menu. But there are so many items in the list that you can’t find a general “Women T-Shirts” section. It’s irritating. You would probably try to look for the goods on the website search, but it returns the “Nothing Found” message.

With each unsuccessful attempt to find the needed information, the seller loses the opportunity to convert a user. That’s why you should take user experience design seriously. Many people will leave a website if the design is terrible, with 88% of shoppers becoming less likely to return. Plus, user expectations evolve, and people now have dozens of options. If you already have a glitchy website, all these factors should be compelling reasons to redesign your eCommerce website.

Excellent user experiences unite several components, such as user interface, usability, and user research. Other facets of user experience are as follows:

7 Factors Of User Experience

Useful

Regarding UX, “useful” denotes the product’s ability to address user problems. There is a direct link between good design and product usefulness. Consider a website that lacks relevant and valuable information or fails to fulfil user needs. In this case, we can deem the strategy ineffective, reducing the website’s usefulness.

Usable

Product usability is what lets people complete the intended task. For example, it can be to buy a dress. It would be best to have intuitive navigation, a clear layout, and easy-to-use interfaces to make the purchase possible. 

Desirable

If a product doesn’t seem appealing when first introduced to the market, it won’t have much effect. The design relies on branding, identity, image, emotional design, and aesthetics to boost desirability. If a website is attractive, users are likelier to recommend it.

Findable

Another crucial UX factor revolves around finding the needed information on the website. When designing your shop, ensure CTAs are visible enough, and features are easy to turn on/off. The fewer clicks and less time it takes to reach a certain point, the lower the chances of abandonment.

Accessible

Like ramps and elevators in buildings, the website should contain elements to be convenient for everyone. One example of website inclusivity is adding alternative text (alt text) for images. This text describes the image. It helps to understand the image content and context when the picture fails to load or when individuals with visual impairments utilise screen readers.

In the screens below is an accessibility menu implemented by the fashion brand Loup. It eases shopping for those who need unique settings while using a phone or a computer.

Loup Website

Credible

Website credibility is another influencing factor when turning visitors into customers. Because poor design not only looks messy. It denotes the seller’s negligence in providing a decent user experience, which may indicate the following:

  • lack of professionalism;
  • a disregard for modern requirements;
  • disregarding user needs, among others.

That’s why businesses need to establish trust and credibility on their sites. How can you determine the website’s trustworthiness? In a recent usability study conducted in Singapore, researchers found that users evaluate site trustworthiness by four factors: 

  • Design quality: site organisation and visual design with appropriate colour schemes and imagery;
  • up-front disclosure: displaying contact information prominently and documenting base costs, fees or charges for services;
  • comprehensive and current content: providing thorough information about products or services offered by an organisation as well as photos from all stages of service;
  • connection to the rest of the web: linking to review sites or social media.

Valuable

Wed design should add value to visitors. It encompasses relevant and valuable content, user-focused features, lightning-fast speed, and transparency. When evaluating a website, you should ask, “How does it benefit my customers?” That’s where you should have a full view of the target audience to cater to their needs, pain points, and interests.

Below is a striking example from the Abbott Lyon website. It’s a British fashion brand specialising in creating stylish and contemporary watches, jewellery, and accessories. Its website meets the high standards of a professionally designed solution. It contains elements such as:

  • on-site search;
  • personalisation capabilities;
  • buttons to manage your account or shopping cart;
  • convenient navigation, and much more.

On product pages, the company picks the best-suited goods for you and presents customer reviews to form an opinion based on the real-life experiences of others.

Product Pages Example Ecommerce

The Importance of Relying on Data-Driven Design

Today, data analysis goes beyond monitoring website visits, bounce, and exit rates. Knowing your target audience and where they come from is essential, but you should also examine why people stay away from your shop. By leveraging data-driven insights about consumer behaviour patterns and pain points, you can identify opportunities for improvement, for example:

However, there is a risk of relying too much on feelings during the design process. Known as the false consensus effect, this phenomenon implies the belief that everyone would act in the given situation similarly.

The data-driven design eliminates any possibility of projecting your assumptions on others. Instead, you take the guesswork out of the equation and deliver solutions for users, informed by users.

Note that data-driven design doesn’t limit creativity. While you should prioritise ease of use and performance, a data-driven approach still leaves room for imagination. Among the reasons to start making data-based decisions are as follows:

  • evolving in line with changing user expectations;
  • improving conversions and return on investment (ROI);
  • removing distractions and irritation.

The Dilemma: Prioritising Looks or Data-Driven Insights

Good looks may only sometimes equal excellent results and performance. Sometimes, what seems essential during brainstorming can confuse users more than help them. And that’s a big no-no.

That’s where data-driven design comes in. It’s like having a secret weapon that allows you to see how users interact with your website. You can make informed decisions about what works and what doesn’t by tracking their every move. As a result, a data-driven website becomes more efficient, which increases productivity and profitability.

A good eCommerce website should identify and comprehend the target audience using numerous methods, such as research and analysis. Designers must understand how people engage with the website or product, their pain points, what features they love using or find challenging, etc.

Incorporating Data into Web Design: Four Key Components

Modern eCommerce shop owners strive to provide user-centred solutions. For this purpose, developers and designers integrate data into the same cycle. Here are four ways to implement data during this process:

  1. Building a user persona: Data helps you develop the typical buyer portrait to identify who may utilise your products. Include needs, experiences, behaviours, and objectives in this overview. Here is an example of a user persona from the Make My Persona tool by HubSpot.
User Persona In Ecommerce
  1. Drafting a task model: When de­signing a game or website, it’s pivotal to e­nsure the end-use­r can easily interact with it. You can achieve­ that through meticulous planning, known as a task model. Think of this plan as a map, outlining each ste­p and action the user will take while­ engaging with your creation. Carefully docume­nting all necessary details and information helps guarantee­ that the final product is functional, enjoyable and mee­ts its users’ needs pe­rfectly.
  2. Redesigning the UX: It’s crucial to consider the elements you found effective or ineffective when using a particular website. You also need to put into practice those that positively impact the user experience.
  3. Doing heuristic evaluation: When e­valuating a website or app, designe­rs conduct a heuristic evaluation. It’s the process of locating issue­s that may hinder usability. In this evaluation, a group of expe­rts scrutinises the design to e­nsure its adherence to usability principle­s, which are vital for ease-of-use­. Why do you need it? This procedure allows for identifying areas for improvement, leading to more­ user-friendly designs.
Related:  Amazon A+ Content: All You Need To Know

Tools for Data-Driven Decision Making in Ecommerce

Data-driven decisions are possible with sufficient insights to provide customer experiences, leading to business growth. That’s where you need to combine the right combination of tools. Let’s overview some of them.

Real-Time Analytics

Data-Driven Design In Analytics

Real-time­ eCommerce analytics is an essential tool for businesse­s operating in a fast-paced environme­nt. Such analytics enables data processing as soon as it goe­s into the database. To leverage real-time analytics effectively, you must merge siloed information scattered across various platforms like CRMs and email automation into one system.

What benefits does it bring to shop owners? With this kind of information readily available, companie­s can achieve the following:

  • speed up de­cision-making;
  • improve customer se­rvice;
  • personalise their approach to custome­rs;
  • optimise inventory manageme­nt effortlessly;
  • impleme­nt dynamic pricing options that improve profitability further;
  • anticipate future tre­nds;
  • enhance productivity leve­ls toward long-term success.

Real-time analytics tools like Apache Kafka, Apache Flink, and Amazon Kinesis enable businesses to determine the best strategies. How? By providing insights into visitors’ activities, clicks, social media shares, etc. Analysing real-time data can save merchants money on inefficient options and create new ways to improve the company. 

Web Analytics

These are tools for analysing website traffic and their behaviour on every page, such as:

  • how much traffic leaves without taking any action (bounce rate);
  • how many people convert (conversion rate);
  • how long they stay on the page (time spent), etc.

However, these­ tools require additional support or interpre­tation because they typically lack justifications for the­ quantitative data provided. Some of the famous solutions are Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and Kissmetrics.

Session Recordings

Session recordings, often referred to as website session replays, user recordings, and user/visitor replay tools, are depictions of actual actions users take while browsing a website, including:

  • mouse movements;
  • clicks;
  • taps;
  • scrolling.

This kind of analytics details how a visitor steers or navigates a particular website, including exit and entry points and the page with the highest user engagement. This knowledge helps solve problems, improve UX, and increase conversion rates. Top session recording tools include Hotjar, Mouseflow, FullStory, etc.

Heat Map Analytics

Heat Map Analytics

Heat map analytics is one of the ideal ways to examine user behaviour. A heat map is a multi-coloured map showing the places of the lowest and highest user activity. Typically, the colours in the picture range from blue to red, denoting how people scroll, where they place a mouse cursor, tap, click, etc.

Heat maps help determine whether the buttons and forms on your page function as you expected. By highlighting problematic regions of a web page, a heat map can assist you in improving on-site user journeys. Famous heat map tools include Smartlook, Crazy Egg, Hotjar, Lucky Orange, and others.

5 Steps to Implementing Data-Driven Design in Ecommerce

1. Identify Key Metrics and Goals

Data-Driven Design Metrics

Before tweaking your design, first, establish what to strive for. Suppose you run a new online shop with little historical data. Compare the existing metrics with industry benchmarks. You can build a strategy for improving underperforming parts by learning where you lag.

On the other hand, if you’ve been around long enough, you’ve already accumulated essential details about traffic, bounce rates, conversions, etc. That’s where you should evaluate the shop and identify areas of improvement. What CTA shows fewer conversions? What pages have the highest bounce rates? What audience segments respond better to what website elements?

Look into GA, a native CMS/CRM reporting dashboard, or a reporting plugin. To find areas for UX enhancement, you may also send email surveys to current users or customers, employ survey forms, or look back at previous research.

Once you’ve determined vital metrics, set objectives to achieve during the design process, don’t be too vague in your aims. For example, “boosting conversions” may be suitable. But it consists of numerous smaller tasks to solve during several test cycles.

Solution? Consider SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. In this case, increasing conversions may transform into “improving conversions from 2% to 8% in six months on mobile devices”. That way, you’ll know what data to gather and how to do it.

2. Collect and Analyse Data

Data-driven design implementation in eCommerce calls for determining the specific data you’ll collect. However, you need to understand the difference between the two types of information: quantitative and qualitative. Let’s compare both:

Type of dataQuantitative dataQualitative data
What is it?Numerical data that provides objective performance indicators. It includes traffic levels, bounce rates, clicks, and traffic share by device type or geographic location.Nonnumerical data helps understand user motivations and feelings. Qualitative data capture users’ thoughts and the reasons behind their actions.
What are the methods to collect data?Site analytics, A/B testing, multivariate testing, surveys, heat maps, user flowsSurveys, interviews, user testing

As you can see, you can’t proceed with only one type of information. Quantitative­ data measures performance­ and tracks goals, while qualitative offers insights that inform future­ designs and experime­nts. Incorporate a combination of both in research to get a comprehensive­ understanding of user behaviour and motivations.

3. Develop User Personas

A user persona is an imaginary portrait of your ideal client. It should result from your user research, where you determine your target audience’s needs, goals, and observed behaviour patterns. User personas represent different groups of people using your website, app, or product and include the following sections:

  • Description: Who is this person? Where do they live and work? What is their marital status?
  • Goals and needs: What are the specific personal, professional, or lifestyle goals this person wants to achieve? What are the essential needs or requirements this person has? These could be related to their work, relationships, health, or any other aspect of their life.
  • Motivations: What drives and inspires this person? What motivates them to take action or make decisions?
  • Frustrations: What are the main challenges or frustrations this person faces daily? For example, a mother with four children may need more planning time, difficulties combining work and family, etc.
  • Everyday activities: What does a typical day look like for this person? Do they study at college on weekdays and work at weekends?
  • Device and Internet usage: What devices does this person typically use to access the Internet? Are they more likely to utilise a desktop computer, a smartphone, or a tablet?
  • Favourite brands: What brands does this person admire, trust, or strong affinity for? Is it sustainable companies with solid eco-friendly initiatives or high-end apparel suppliers?
  • Preferred social media: Are they active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other platform? What channel would be the most effective to reach out to them?

Note: Since each user persona is typically one page long, concentrate on the key components. Stay away from including extra information that doesn’t affect the design.

User Personas Example

4. Conduct A/B Testing

A/B testing (or split testing) is a way to measure the effectiveness of two website versions. It’s an experiment where you split the traffic and show one page to the first group and another to the second.

The only thing to remember is that A/B testing compares only one deviation. So whether you change the call-to-action (CTA) wording or colour, you should test this exact aspect during one test. The option with the most incredible response wins this battle and goes into implementation. 

You can test pretty much anything with this technique:

  • colour variations;
  • button placement or design;
  • CTA text;
  • product pricing or discounts;
  • product descriptions;
  • images or visuals;
  • navigation menu layout or structure, and more.

A/B testing is essential because it lets you make product design decisions based on evidence rather than intuition or opinion. It helps with design and allows customers to influence your choices. 

How can you develop practical A/B tests? Consider the following strategies:

  1. Select variables: To ensure­ precise results and accurate­ conclusions from your experiment, carefully choose the specific elements or features to test. Consider only those pertinent to your goals, which can significantly influe­nce user behaviour or outcome­s. Take experimenting with different headline variations on landing pages as an example. You can do it to measure their impact on user engagement or bounce rates.
  2. Set up control groups: They represent your product’s or service’s baseline or current version. These groups remain unchanged and serve as a reference when comparing the variation performance. In a website design A/B test, the control group is the existing variant, while the variation group is the updated option.
  3. Analyse results: Leverage statistical analysis to interpre­t the collected data. Compare­ variation performance and check for any changes in user behaviour or outcomes. This analysis can help detect the best-performing variation and inform future design iterations.

A case in point is FSAstore.com. The online shop had a complicated design, leading to low sales. The company employed A/B testing to simplify navigation and find the perfect solution. The result: the revenue grew by 53.8%.

Image 29

5. Monitor and Optimise

Achieving continuous improvement in the eCommerce business relies on iterative refinement, vigilant monitoring, and strategic optimisation. Here are some key actions and tools to implement for sustained growth:

  • Engage with customers through feedback forms, online chat, or email surveys to gather their thoughts and suggestions. Actively incorporate customer feedback into the design process.
  • Continuously iterate on user journeys, optimising conversion rates and enhancing usability.
  • Conduct user testing and usability studies to uncover pain points and refine the eCommerce experience.
  • Leverage powerful monitoring tools like Kibana, Cyfe, or Tableau to track key metrics, performance indicators, and trends.
  • Set up custom dashboards that display real-time data.
  • Utilise automated reports and alerts to stay informed about significant changes or anomalies.
  • Implement A/B testing tools like Optimizely or VWO to test and refine design variations.
  • Personalise recommendations using AI-powered solutions like Dynamic Yield or Nosto to deliver tailored experiences based on user behaviour and preferences.
  • Streamline the checkout process and optimise form fields.

Conclusion

A thriving eComme­rce platform can hardly do without customers. Plus, competition is e­ver-present among the­ numerous platforms that offer similar service­s. How can you provide a good customer expe­rience to drive people to checkout? By embracing data-driven UX.

Effective­ eCommerce we­bsites demand attention-grabbing de­signs blended with smooth interactions. For this re­ason, it becomes crucial to marry imagination with research. You need to acquire reliable analytics and track custome­r behaviour’s impact on the website­’s success. That’s what a data-driven approach is all about. Leverage customer insights, personalise the website­’s layout, ensure a captivating expe­rience, and see your business grow!

Author Bio: Kate Parish is the chief marketing officer at Onilab, a full-service eCommerce agency focusing on Magento. Kate helps businesses grow by developing practical and measurable digital marketing strategies. She shares her expertise in SEO, branding, link-building, and digital marketing tools for attracting, nurturing, and converting the target audience into loyal customers.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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