ACN ECOMMERCE SHOP
Following the site redesign and addition of the free resource library, the owner of A Cultivated Nest asked me to design a brand new feature for the site- an eCommerce shop through which the company could sell downloadable products.
UX researcher and UX designer
A Cultivated Nest- ACultivatedNest.com
- Women, primarily aged 40-60 years old
- Stay-at-home moms
- Child-free or empty nester homemakers
The project took 4 weeks to complete:
- Competitor analysis: 1 week
- Ecommerce shop design: 1 week
- Sendowl setup: 1 week
- Launch: 1 week
I began by speaking with Manuela, the owner of the site, about her vision for the shop. This was a completely new feature for the website, and needed to reach a couple of goals and fit within some constraints.
- The shop needed to use the same system as the free resource library so it could share the same cart.
- The shop needed to allow for categories.
- The shop needed to be able to support both hosted sales and products that were links to affiliate sites.
- The shop needed a way to block international customers and only allow US-based customers, for tax purposes.
- The shop needed to be able to share the same visual styling as the rest of the website.
- The shop needed to have a minimalist style, to allow room for the visual noise brought in by banner and sidebar ads.
With these goals in mind, I began running a competitor analysis to see what other members of A Cultivated Nest’s niche were doing with their shops. That meant reviewing DIY websites, parenting websites, organizing/cleaning websites, and personal finance websites. I knew the shop needed to use SendOwl, as that’s what the free resource library I designed for A Cultivated Nest used, and they needed to match. But SendOwl only handles the hosting, sale, and delivery of products. It doesn’t provide a storefront, so I still had to decide how I wanted to design the user-facing part of the shop.
- The grid system I used in the free resource library was not uncommon for a shop, but became hard to navigate when a shop’s catalog grew.
- Some websites hosted their shops on subdomains, but that requires extra maintenance and users may find it hard to figure out how to get back to the main site.
- Some websites hosted their products in long pages, with just a bit of text and an “Add to Cart” button. But this is visually unappealing, and doesn’t provide enough space to really sell a product through text and images.
- Products with several preview images seemed more appealing.
- Products with reviews seemed more appealing.
- WooCommerce was the most popular ecommerce platform for WordPress, and its buttons could be customized to link to products hosted via other services.
ECommerce Shop Design
With this information, I spoke with Manuela about what I had learned. She agreed that hosting the shop directly on the site and not on a subdomain would be ideal. And she liked the idea of using WooCommerce, as that would provide the design with space for text, a way to show multiple preview images, and a review system.
So using the staging site that had been built for the original website redesign, I began building the shop. I used WooCommerce for the main framework, but linked the products to SendOwl’s cart or to affiliate sites when appropriate. One of the site’s writers came in and wrote up the product descriptions and a help page. While they worked, I set up SendOwl to only allow US-based transactions, and linked products together to create upsells in the cart. I also linked related products together in WooCommerce to create “You may also like” product suggestions, to improve discoverability. Then when everything was done, I collaborated with Manuela’s WordPress developers to push the changes from the staging site to the live version of the site.
Launch and After
When the shop was finished and launched on the main site, it was just a matter of checking the analytics and monitoring for any issues. A few sales trickled in that week as people found the new shop section. No users had any issues. Many more sales came in after the shop was mentioned by the newsletter team in the weekly email newsletter, and again there were no issues. So the launch was a success, and the shop has continued to grow as the A Cultivated Nest team develops more products for it.
Shortly after the shop’s launch, I suggested that A Cultivated Nest take advantage of Sendowl’s upsell feature and link free products to paid products. The goal of this was to help convert free customers into paying customers and to help users find more of the type of product they were looking for. This was implemented and successfully increased sales 15%.
I then suggested creating a cart abandonment discount, for users who click to checkout, but then change their minds and click the X to close the cart. This reduced cart abandonment by 20%.
Next Steps and Recommendations
For something with as many user touchpoints as an ecommerce shop, I would love the chance to do some user research to find any pain points or missing features. I would recommend:
- Running a user survey to find why users have not made a purchase, and if they have, what they thought of their experience.
- Running a few remote moderated interviews with users, to better understand any pain points discovered in the survey, and to better understand what users think and feel as they go through the process of making a purchase.