E-Commerce Websites & COVID-19: How to Improve User Experience Image

E-commerce businesses know that now is the time for their websites to step up to the plate. As consumers look towards online shopping during the COVID-19 outbreak, it is essential that e-commerce websites display the fundamentals: smooth navigation, user-friendly and responsive design and clear and engaging content.

Online businesses need to respond to times of crisis in a transparent and empathetic way. They must ensure user experience is carefully planned, and executed in a way that clearly presents the value their products/services hold. E-commerce businesses need to find the balance between an image of strength and reliability, and flexibility amidst changing circumstances in terms of user behaviour and time-sensitive messaging.

We’ve put together a list of important elements that e-commerce businesses need to consider when it comes to improving user experience during COVID-19.

1. Usability

There is nothing worse than visiting a website with an idea of what you would like to purchase in mind and being unable to find it because pages won’t load, the menu is too confusing or calls to action don’t work. Once you’ve got your potential customers on your site, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to find what they are looking for so that they will make purchases.

To improve website usability, think of consumer paths to purchase. Keep your content headings and sub-headings clear and consistent throughout your site, make sure all your links work and use a familiar navigation layout, not a confusing one! This might mean keeping your website design as simple as possible, for now at least.

2. Hard-selling to soft-selling

Although you are an e-commerce site and of course you are aiming for growth in your online sales, try to adapt your online experience from a hard-sell to a soft one.

Focus less on the product or service you’re offering, and more on what it can do for your customer. This way you are remaining sensitive to the situation and maintaining a user-centred online experience.

3. Communicate updates

You need to ensure your website communicates effectively with consumers during this time. If you need to update your customers on your current level of operation or of any changes in terms of shipping and delivery or opening hours, use clear banners at the top of your website. You could also add this information to Product, Cart, and Checkout pages to notify customers of delays in shipping or changes in shipping costs.

Government advice is constantly being updated, and so you need to be ready to update your own customers on your active response to the situation. Saying nothing isn’t an option. Consumer confidence is low at the moment, so you need to assure them of your response. If you are open and still operating, tell them. If customers visit your site and are unsure as to whether you are open, they’ll leave, simple as that. Using site-wide banners and clear, relevant messaging will provide this assurance and show you are responding appropriately and that you are still standing behind the products/services you’re offering.

4. Valuable content

Think about transforming user experience with valuable website content. This might actually help you develop engaging content that will help your website in the long-run. For example, with product descriptions, think about the value your product/service is offering right now. Your messaging should answer the consumers problem in a straight-forward and genuine way that consumers will appreciate and relate to. Use your calls to action to clearly provide the answers and create that easy path to purchase.

If you have a blog section on your website, start adding content there too. (And if you don’t have a blog, get one!). Now is a great time to write blogs on your website and share them on social. This way you can drive traffic back to your site whilst building stronger relationships with customers.

5. Readability & white space

It’s great to have valuable blogs and information on your website, but make sure you consider readability! Nobody likes to see long chunks of content, people simply won’t read it and doesn’t look great for your website design either.

So, try breaking content up and using headings, sub-headings and lists/bullet-points. And, if you are keeping things simple and easy to read, integrating white space into your website might be a great idea. White space makes your content more legible and allows the user to focus on the elements surrounding the text. Users will focus on the important things, and your website content becomes far easier for them to digest.

6. Customer service

During this time, you might find that you receive an increase in enquiries and messages with different questions. Make your contact details clear as day on your website, as this gives users an elevated sense of trust. Phone numbers and email addresses should be quickly discoverable and try to keep your FAQ page up to date.

You should maintain strong customer service across your entire business – respond quickly to emails and social media comments/messages, and keep up the consistent communication so consumers have a positive experience with your business online.

7. Page speed & responsiveness

Waiting for a page to load for too long is an extremely frustrating experience. Consumers today expect instantaneous page loading on websites. When they don’t experience this, they usually bounce, as this is an interrupting experience for the user. To reduce loading times, try compressing images and setting external links to open in new windows.

The same goes for responsiveness. Your website needs to work across all devices so that whether you visit the site from an iPhone or a desktop computer, every user has the same smooth, seamless experience.

8. Engaging visuals

Many of us are visual learners. So, as always, keep your website visually engaging. It’s more personable to show photos of your team and use real-life images of your products and your business in general. Just make sure these are high-quality images, so you can maintain a high-quality user experience.


User experience is so important, especially now. With more and more consumers going online to shop, this a chance to show consumers what you’ve got. This could be great for your e-commerce website in the long-run – you have this time to think about how to add value and create a user-centred design, and you will have learned how to communicate better with your consumers and provide the best possible overall user experience as a result.

If your company requires a professional online presence please Contact Us to discuss how we can help you, on Dungannon 028 3754 9025 or Belfast 028 9002 5050.