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User experience in online stores: these are the biggest sources of frustration

User experience in online stores: these issues frustrate customers.
Image: © Вадим Пастух / Adobe Stock

Pain points along the customer journey

Poor product availability, not enough product information, too many promotional emails – there are some things that are simply frustrating for online shoppers. But not all of the well-known pain points negatively impact the user experience in an online store to the same extent. A recent study conducted by Trusted Shops and elaboratum reveals exactly how the priorities are weighted. In the study, a total of approximately 1,200 customers from Germany and Switzerland were surveyed to determine the frustration threshold of consumers when it comes to web shops and which bad habits of store owners are most likely to put off their customers. In addition, around 500 store owners were also asked how they see the situation through their customers’ eyes.

The result: store owners often overestimate the frustration threshold of their customers – particularly with regard to promotional emails and process flows.

What frustrates online shoppers in reality

The frustration barometer shows that the priorities of store owners and online shoppers are very different in some cases. For example, while an annoying barrage of promotional emails ranks second for consumers, store owners only put this in seventh place. More noticeably, complicated returns processes only rank 12th in the frustration barometer of store owners, although this is the third most irritating aspect for consumers.

The following 10 factors frustrate consumers the most (in descending order of relevance):

  1. Low product availability
  2. Barrage of promotional emails
  3. Returns process too complicated
  4. Online store not easy to navigate
  5. Too few options for contacting the company
  6. Inadequate product information
  7. Not enough choice in terms of payment options
  8. Delivery times too long
  9. Website takes too long to load
  10. Poor search and filter options

The survey shows that store owners overestimate the relevance of some factors – for example, long website loading times and a lack of contact options. In terms of the usability of an online store, on the other hand, users are more tolerant than many online retailers think and aren’t as put off by longer loading times and a less user-friendly web design.

Process excellence even behind the scenes

Based on the findings from the frustration barometer, store owners still have a lot to learn. Brands that want to fully leverage their potential in online retail should therefore analyze all the possible pain points along the customer journey in a reflective and self-critical way, judge aspects from a customer’s viewpoint, and thus learn to truly understand their customers. This will provide valuable insights for

  • identifying conversion killers,
  • strengthening the customer relationship, and
  • improving the customer experience over the long term.

Trust is key in e-commerce

Aside from the obvious differences in what brands and consumers perceive as the biggest pain points responsible for abandoned purchases, the frustration barometer study by Trusted Shops and elaboratum also exposes blind spots with regard to trust. The study revealed that store owners feel that quality seals, testimonials, and reviews are much less important to consumers than is actually the case.

23%
of the surveyed consumers said that they avoid stores without quality seals.
20%
of the surveyed consumers avoid stores without reviews.
9%
of the surveyed store owners think that a lack of quality seals or reviews is a reason for customers to avoid an online store.

Consequently, to generate significantly more measurable success in the context of optimizing the user experience in your brand’s online store, you need to incorporate trust symbols more purposefully. That will make visitors trust your web shop more and also encourage potential customers to make a purchase. As an example, quality seals with integrated customer reviews are incredibly effective, since they not only reinforce the general credibility of the online store, but the reviews also provide very personal reasons why prospective buyers should trust the brand and online store.

For trust symbols to have the desired effect and for their psychological reassurance to make customers stay on the website and ideally even consider buying something, the quality seals must be clearly visible within the online store, for example on the homepage and also at a later stage in the purchasing process, e.g. if the user puts a product in the shopping cart.

So, if not only the first impression when visiting the online store is positive, but the processes behind the scenes are flawless as well and there are no more gaps in terms of trustworthiness, a good user experience and frustration-free shopping will be the logical outcome.

User experience in online stores: time for a frustration-free shopping era

The pain points along the customer journey that were identified in the survey are of course anything but desirable for users and brands alike – and yet they are more or less present in nearly every web shop. If such annoyances regularly leave online shoppers frustrated and even cause them to abandon their purchase, brands will not only see a growing number of dissatisfied customers but ultimately also a lower conversion rate.

That makes it all the more important for companies to understand customers and their sources of frustration so that they can adapt their processes to user priorities with as much clarity as possible. Making sure that e-commerce services meet the needs and desires of website visitors is an important step on the path toward an even better user experience in online stores.

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