UX for Frictionless Shopping: A Guide for Retailers

shopping on mobile
Paul Hunter
by: Paul Hunter
We’ve broken down Google’s Playbook for Retail detailing its featured UX best practices into digestible steps in readiness for the holiday season. It’s said that better UX design can increase conversions by up to 400%, so what are you waiting for?

What is UX?

User experience (UX) and user interface have emerged as increasingly important to modern online audiences. As people grow more used to online environments and businesses continually provide more sophisticated online experiences, standards get raised for your own website.

UX optimisation mainly focuses on turning a website into a seamless and branded experience that meets modern user expectations, putting emphasis on the overall enjoyment someone may have when visiting a website.

Improvements to UX can raise your brand sentiment, enhance customer loyalty, and make website visitors more likely to convert.

What is Google’s Playbook for Retail?

After looking at several hundred retail sites, Google realised that there are universal UX elements that help create a frictionless shopping experience. Its playbook aims to expand on the 25 Retail Principles and provide a checklist for improving your mobile site experience across 6 key site areas…

1. Homepage/Landing Pages

Easy to implement:

  • Clear CTA above the fold
  • Clear benefit-orientated value proposition above the fold
  • Don’t use full page interstitials 
  • Remove automatic carousels
  • Use legible font sizes (16+)

A little more difficult to implement:

  • Display top categories on Homepage

Easy to implement:

  • Have descriptive CTAs
  • Use social proof i.e. reviews, testimonials, press/partner badges

2. Menu and Navigation

Easy to implement:

  • If calls are important, include click to call at the top of every page
  • If foot traffic is important, include a store locator button in the menu

A little more difficult to implement:

  • Show a consolidated menu; a hamburger menu for example

Easy to implement:

  • For main product categories, order by traffic volume
  • If using sub-categories, organise alphabetically
  • Include post sales activities in the menu

A little more difficult to implement:

  • Keep menu options on one page

3. Search Function

Easy to implement:

  • Make the search function visible

A little more difficult to implement:

  • Use auto-suggestions

Difficult to implement:

  • Include a search function

A little difficult to implement:

  • Implement spelling correction
  • Always return results
  • Include previous or top searches

4. Product Pages

Easy to implement:

  • Have a value prop at every point in the funnel, including category and product pages
  • Display price info above the fold
  • Make sure product descriptions are readable

A little more difficult to implement:

  • Allow users to sort/filter a large number of products easily

Difficult to implement:

  • Make sure filtering is useful
  • Add urgency elements
  • If you have a large number of products, add reviews

5. Conversion Optimisation

A little difficult to implement:

  • Don’t redirect into checkout after adding to cart
  • Limit your exit points during the conversion flow
  • Allow checkout as guest. Google says 35% of users will abandon the checkout if a retailer does not offer guest checkout
  • Use pagination or a progress bar if there’s more than 2 steps in the conversion flow

Difficult to implement:

  • Allow users to continue on another device by emailing or saving for later

Easy to implement:

  • Re-iterate value proposition in the cart – especially free shipping!
  • Add value prop around why someone should create an account

A little difficult to implement:

  • Let users sign up or sign in with social

Easy to implement:

  • Have descriptive CTAs

A little more difficult to implement:

  • Allow users to update their carts, i.e. update quantities

6. Form Optimisation

A little difficult to implement:

  • Use inline validation and autofill
  • Reduce number of fields; remove optional fields/use full name instead of first and last/check billing address as shipping address by default etc

Easy to implement:

  • Don’t use dropdowns for inputs with less than 4 options, instead opt for buttons
  • Use steppers, sliders or open field input for numerical entry rather than large dropdowns
  • Use correct keypads

We absolutely recommend A/B testing any changes implemented.

A/B testing will prove the value of the change, be it negative or positive, to support your decision to keep or dismiss the UX optimisation.

For example, Mango implemented an algorithm to correct typos in their search bar and always show results for searches onsite, this led to a 4.5% uplift in mobile conversion rate.

This increase in conversions can be directly attributed to the search bar because of A/B testing.

If you need support to set up testing facilities or would like a guiding hand when it comes to your digital strategy, we’re here to help. Contact us today.

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