It’s more useful to think of technology adapting to human need than the other way around. Take online shoppers, for example. By now, most adults have shopped online at least once. Many use the internet to buy products regularly. Thus, people are constantly developing expectations about these interactions. Ecommerce websites must adapt to shoppers’ wants and needs if they expect to earn their business.

Pro Tip: Consider the power of design thinking in ecommerce.

Design is about more than just the appearance of your website. Functionality is a key aspect as well. Successful merchants anticipate people’s behaviors before they occur, eliminating possible pain points and facilitating a smooth experience throughout.

Design Thinking: Anticipating Consumers’ Needs

There are a number of areas in which to apply design thinking to an online store. Econsultancy suggests focusing on these five areas when you’re assessing your site:

  • People: Who uses their site? What do they want from it? What do they like? What do they find frustrating?
  • Products: Is your product lineup meeting expectations? Are products presented in the most conducive way?
  • Place: What channels does your brand utilize? What does order fulfillment look like?
  • Process: What does your funnel look like from start to finish? Are there any points of friction?
  • Performance: Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. How does your site perform? Can shoppers accomplish their on-site goals? How does your site perform from a back-end point of view?

Asking these tough questions ahead of time will help you capture conversions and drive brand loyalty. On the flip side, expecting consumers to overlook negative aspects will only lead to disappointment when your bounce and cart abandonment rates are higher than they could be.

How you address potential improvements depends on your website. Modern cloud-based ecommerce solutions aim to simplify navigation, checkout and design elements as opposed to websites coded from scratch. Either way, the key is making changes based on genuine user experience. Instead of making assumptions about what visitors want to see, conduct A/B testing and surveys. Design thinking should be grounded in tried-and-true tactics, rather than assumptions or subjective creative decisions.

Harnessing User Data for Design Thinking

The good news is online user data is more available and usable than ever. We live in an era rife with advanced analytics in ecommerce. As one Forbes contributor points out, artificial intelligence and machine learning can help “understand and predict a customer’s buying choices.” It behooves merchants to track on-site behavior patterns closely. Where are you losing customers in your funnel? As an example, you may discover your search tool is not yet optimized to make similar product selections based on search queries.

Always Design for the User Experience

Design thinking drives better user experience (UX), which, in turn, drives better business outcomes. The most effective sellers understand what makes shoppers tick. Where do people’s eyes go when they arrive on your home page? Is your navigation bar intuitive enough to help people along on their shopping journey, or does it hold them back from finding the products and pages they need? Are your CTAs obvious in a font and color that pops compared to the background? Do your content and images engage and inform website visitors? Does your checkout process contain the right number of steps with the most conducive language?

The power of design thinking in ecommerce is that it places user experience above all else. The smoother the UX, the more likely people are to stay on your website, add products to their cart and finish transactions.