Usability and the Retail Website

Posted on in Blog

The ability to shop without leaving the comfort of your home – what a wonderful time to be alive!

With more and more businesses starting websites, optimizing websites, and advertising websites it’s like having the world at your finger tips. Literally.

Shopping has never been easier, or at least that’s what would be expected. The problem is that so many businesses drop the ball when it comes to website usability, that shoppers who go to a site to shop often feel one or more of the following: frustration, annoyance, distress, anxiety, disappointment, irritation, vexation, etc.

Working with paid search campaigns specifically, website usability is front and center. No matter the efforts that are put into keyword research, ad creative, choosing destination URLs, bidding strategies and so on, the site ultimately has to pull through. For website usability in the context of paid search I feel that there are three major areas of focus:

1) Organization – In order to make a great first impression a site needs to be well organized. For PPC every keyword and ad in a campaign should be associated with an appropriate page on the site. Having a well organized site allows searchers to see the products targeted to their search, together or in a clearly defined area of the site.

2) Navigation – Once you have a shopper at your site, clear navigation helps with the up sell and instills confidence that the site is professional and trustworthy. Ideally a shopper who comes to your site in search of one product will enjoy their shopping experience so much that they will want to buy more. Good navigation is key.

3) Shopping Cart – Close the deal with a simple and short checkout. The final moment of truth happens after a shopper comes to your site, finds what they are looking for (and hopefully some other goodies), and enters the shopping cart. Simplicity please! Anything that can be done to make the checkout process as easy as possible the better.

Improving the usability of any website will improve user experience and user action. This is important for Paid Search because getting a shopper to your site is only half the battle. In truly effective PPC campaigns all aspects work together for a great user experience. So for any of you out there thinking of creating, optimizing or advertising a site, please keep the people who are going to be USING your site in the forefront of your mind.

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