The eCommerce Performance Magic Sauce
There are three main activities that make up the magic sauce in eCommerce. Real Internet craftsmanship performed by experienced UX designers, frontend developers and information architects. The combined focus on customer experience, frontend performance and beautiful reusable information architecture is rocket fuel for SEO, eCommerce conversion and reusable content services. The differentiation is in the execution. The details.
UX Designers view on eCommerce
UX designers care about the complete customer experience. The goal is to design engaging customer journeys so the customer is enjoying the experience while being informed with beautiful product information. Combining rich content and storytelling with the product information.
The UX designers baseline is mapping out the complete customer journeys and designing them in tools like Figma. Initially decisions are made based on experience and best practices. Perhaps also customer feedback and user testing. However in an iterative design process KPIs are defined to measure the impact on the complete customer journey. So, each change is measured and insight is created.
For example; will the checkout process of 4 steps sell more than having 6 steps for a given eCommerce experience? Most would assume shorter is better, but the data should tell you. Ryan from Netflix talked about a longer signup process converted better than a shorter one at our React New York conference. Do not assume. Know.
User experience designers add the following to eCommerce:
- Complete customer journey mapping
- Engaging and enjoyable shopping experiences
- Data driven metrics of success for an iterative design process
Frontend Developers make it real
Frontend developers are a key ingredient in the eCommerce magic sauce. Their role is to work with the UX designers and the information architects to build out the actual shop. The difference between excellent and mediocre frontend development is huge. Basically because the details really matter in the execution and simple mistakes can cost huge in terms of performance, SEO or accessibility resulting in lower traffic and conversion.
The first step is to translate the user experience designed into a real eCommerce experience. Typically using a modern frontend framework like React. I assume a tailor made approach where the real craftsmanship comes to play. Not slapping on some colors and tweaking a template. The result is a set of reusable components and efficient code that are automatically tested during deployment for high quality.
Frontend performance and measuring site speed is in the DNA of experienced frontend developers. And automatic testing is set up to make sure nobody drops the ball. Accessibility and optimization for search engines are also executed in the frontend.
For iterative development they use A/B testing by measuring the impact of each change. This is where the frontend developer works with the UX designers to roll out a new feature, let's say an alternative checkout process. Based on insight a change is being made, and the numbers will verify how successful the change was. Data. Not opinions.
Frontend developers add to the magic sauce:
- Focus on site speed with performance budgets
- Automatic testing for frontend performance and accessibility
- Iterative development processes for faster changes
- A/B testing execution
Information Architects Perspective
Information architecture is key to succeed in a modern eCommerce environment. You need to design the structure of your product information and rich content in such a way that it is easily reusable across channels. You need the product information available for your webshop, App, in store, Point of Sales and even digital signage and good old printed material.
Having the product information properly modelled, organized and labelled builds the ground floor of an eCommerce architecture. Properly done it can serve as a content services layer in your organization. This allows for rapid testing and innovation as you have the underlying data available in real time.
Information architects builds the foundation for eCommerce performance with:
- Information modelling
- Organizing and labelling information
- Building foundation for navigation and search
Some of these points are often attributed to content strategists, marketing managers and eCommerce managers. However I believe that the real magic of eCommerce success is built with a successful teamwork between UX designers, information architects and front end developers. That is where the magic happens and where real internet craftsmanship makes the difference.