The Key to Successful Ecommerce Mobile Apps? Testing Your UX

The mobile ecommerce industry is booming. Global mobile purchases have tripled over the last four years to hit $3 trillion this year, and with the further boost to ecommerce due to the pandemic, this trend shows no sign of abating. So, it’s no surprise that ecommerce industry leaders are honing in on their mobile app user experience (UX) in an effort to get an even bigger slice of the pie. Creating seamless UX that’s intuitive for the user is no easy task, so it’s important that you test with real-life users to ensure it’s meeting and exceeding its intended goals.

User testing can either mean analyzing the user’s experience of a product as a whole, or looking at the ways in which they interact with individual design features or techniques. User testing takes place in a variety of ways: It could mean monitoring how long users take to complete certain tasks, how they navigate through the app, how often they abandon their cart, and other points at which they get stuck. It could also include the results of qualitative or quantitative surveys where users give insights on how their experience using the app.

Let’s dive deep into why user testing is vital for any mobile commerce app looking to boost UX, increase retention, and drive ROI.

User Testing Allows You to Keep Up With Evolving Consumer Needs

Building quality UX is a continuous journey: As people become more accustomed to increasingly using technology for their everyday needs, their preferences for how they interact with these products evolves too. It’s crucial to keep up with these changing trends. But without user testing, you risk being out of touch with how users want to engage with digital products.

One example of this in action is Amazon’s latest app redesign, which it recently rolled out in Germany. Amazon made changes that it discovered were necessary based on the A/B testing conducted prior to launching the new app for all of its users in Germany.

The redesign includes a new navigation tab, which is now located at the bottom of the screen and simplifies access to the shopping cart, profile, main menu, and start page. This change reflects the rejection of the “Hamburger Menu” which was common in many apps until recently. It allows users to establish where they are and where they can go, all within easy reach of the user’s thumb.

Another lesson to be learned from the Amazon app redesign, which was powered by user testing, is the changes the platform made to its in-app search bar. The new version displays the camera scan (scan to search) and microphone (voice command search) functionalities within the search bar itself. 

Integrating these features into the search bar makes it easier for users to search for items in these alternative ways and complies with the Law of Proximity. This law states that by seeing items located near each other, users establish a relationship between them. Users are now increasingly using their voice to interact with technology and cameras to identify items - Amazon took note of this.

User Testing Delivers on Higher ROI

The link between excellent UX and ROI is difficult to overstate: The more usable your platform is, the more likely users are to stick around. The longer time they spend using your product, the likelier they are to come back and make purchases. In fact, research by Forrester (paid report) shows that every $1 invested in UX brings $100 in return. That’s an ROI of 9,900%.

Quality UX is like the in-person experience: If you are walking around an unorganized retail store where products are difficult to find, the chance that you will stay for a long time and make purchases is slim. The same goes for UX: seamless and smooth UX that allows you to orientate yourself and locate what you’re looking for will result in more conversions and more time spent interacting with the product. 

Not to mention, a checkout process that’s simple to navigate and trustworthy will prevent customers leaving their baskets untouched because they don’t trust the process with their sensitive information. It is predicted that the ecommerce industry could have saved an astonishing $1.42 trillion (a sales increase of 25%) by now, just by implementing better checkout flow.

Ultimately, the only way to know for sure what will make your app user-friendly and easy to navigate is the results of consistent user testing. You may think you have all of the best experts working on the project, but no one can predict how users will react en-masse. Even big players like Spotify and Google make costly misled assumptions with their UX, so while taking note of what the big guys are doing can be helpful, you still need to user test with your own audience.

User Testing Enables for More Inclusive UX

As humans that live life through our own lens, each with our own unique experiences and within our own contexts, we are inherently biased. Only through user testing can you understand how other groups receive and use your products.

When it comes to building global products that span across different cultures, you need to ensure that they will resonate with local populations and be relevant to their contexts. This is called cross-cultural design, and is a key part of inclusive UX. Amazon provides another good example here as it adapted its search bar icon within the Indian version of its app. Before, Indian users recognized the historically-used magnifying glass as a ping pong paddle, resulting in them missing the search bar altogether. After uncovering this, the app added pop-up descriptions and recommendations on how to find products in Hindi, and replaced the magnifying glass icon with the relevant text.

In addition to different cultures, inclusive UX also means taking into account users that have diverse needs, such as those that are hard of hearing or with vision impairments. This is especially relevant when it comes to mobile ecommerce, as ecommerce apps have a wide range of target users and need to ensure that they cater for everyone’s experience.

For example, color blindness affects between 4-5% of the global population, so you have to take this into account when choosing a color scheme. Other users may need features that are friendly for left-handed people, or the option to make text size bigger. 

By conducting user testing on a wide range of research subjects and within target demographics, you can ensure that your ecommerce experience is just as smooth for people with a diverse range of needs.

Ultimately, user testing is non-negotiable for any ecommerce company that’s building out its mobile app UX. Yet, many business leaders still don’t see just how central it is to creating the best possible experience for customers. User testing should never be an afterthought or something that gets cut when budgets are tight: Not only does it help you stay ahead of the UX curve and create inclusive products, but it’s also guaranteed to deliver ROI for every single penny you invest.

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