Conventional best practice tells you how your site should be laid out, otherwise you will lose and confuse users. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd with an original and engaging web shop should you deliberately avoid these templates and standards? The short answer to this is yes and no. Confused? Here we outline some key points to consider:
- UX needs to be just that, UX. That should mean that you look in depth at YOUR users’ needs and YOUR users’ experience. Yes, take advantage of standardised templates and designs IF they can help you. But it’s a mistake to take off-the-shelf products and just expect them to perform. Ultimately that is a lazy way of driving results and can easily backfire. Of course it is labour intensive to analyse your site’s statistics in depth and plan changes as a result, but if you want to truly understand your customer set, their behaviour and how you can impact their purchase performance there really are no short-cuts. Pick your UX products and designs wisely but use them in the full knowledge of their impact on YOUR business and customers.
- CRO at its most basic is common sense. Take it too literally and again you will lose sight of YOUR customer. Of course you can learn from the eCommerce giants, and of course take advantage of the sheer scale of their experience and learn from their mistakes. But just as with UX you should never lose sight of YOUR customers’ needs and how you are fulfilling them. Maximise your conversions by analysing how your customers behave and combine this with the experiences of other businesses rather than simply taking ‘best practice’ as the gospel.
- Web success is a balancing act. Become too focused on CRO to the detriment of your User Experience and you will lose the very customers you have worked so hard to acquire. Become too focused on UX and you can end up with a beautiful, but under-performing site. The simple truth is that there are no short-cuts to web success and no substitute for in-depth customer understanding driven by detailed analysis. Look sideways to see what you can learn, yes. But always be the expert in your field and the owner of your own best practice.