Cyclists, runners, hikers, fishermen, hunters, skiers, rock climbers, and other outdoor enthusiasts—who used to purchase their gear exclusively from brick and mortar shops—now turn to online stores to help fuel their passions. This shift in consumer behavior puts pressure on outdoor retailers to optimize their eCommerce experience, which starts by building a seamless and engaging website.
With solid user experience (UX) design, your online outdoor business can maintain a competitive edge, improve customer engagement, increase conversions, and boost revenue. For inspiration, take a look at some of the most successful outdoor eCommerce sites online today:
So what do all these sites have in common? What are the signs of a quality online customer experience? And which UX design elements should outdoor brands pay close attention to?
Here are some helpful UX design tips to keep in mind when building and optimizing outdoor eCommerce sites:
Implement a responsive design
Outdoor enthusiasts are constantly on the go, and therefore do a lot of their online shopping via mobile devices. Like most consumers, they expect the mobile eCommerce experience to be just as responsive and intuitive as the desktop version. And if your site falls short of this expectation, customers will almost certainly bounce to a competitors’ site, rather than having to navigate through a slow and complicated UX. Some best practices for achieving a responsive, mobile-friendly design include:
- Displaying less content on smaller screens to keep pages from looking cluttered and chaotic.
- Limiting pop-ups, as users often have trouble exiting out of them when on a mobile device.
- Optimizing all images and videos for mobile pages. High-resolution images can often cause mobile sites to slow down since they take up a significant amount of bandwidth.
- Resize fonts appropriately. Users don’t want to read large headers and paragraph text that forces them to repeatedly scroll left to right.
- Make links and buttons larger, as larger clickable areas are known to improve the usability of mobile devices.
Emphasize visual elements
The images and videos on your website play a key role in telling your brand’s story and inspiring your customers to pursue their extreme passions. All of the outdoor eCommerce sites listed above have visually rich homepages with images and videos that show their products being used in action. Moreover, many outdoor companies are investing in 3D technology so that customers can digitally interact with product pages like never before.
Integrate social media
Marketing and selling your products on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube will allow your brand to expand its digital footprint and extend the customer experience—given the likelihood that a large portion of your target audience is regularly active on social media.
Many outdoor enthusiasts learn about a product on Instagram, then make a purchase on the brand’s website or through an online marketplace like Amazon. Or perhaps they want to stay in the loop on the brand’s new products, so they follow their brand’s social media accounts. All of this is to say that being active on social media plays a huge role in eCommerce success, especially among outdoor retailers. You can establish a smooth user flow between your brand’s site and social pages by including buttons that link to each page in the header or footer of your site.
Invest in email marketing
A well-developed email marketing strategy can help enhance the customer experience and boost revenue for your outdoor gear business. Sending regular emails about upcoming product launches, promotional offers, and general company news keeps customers engaged with your brand in real time. Plus, you can easily measure the success of your campaign by tracking open rates, click-through rates, unsubscribe rates, and so on. If you’re still not sure about the effectiveness of email marketing, check out these recent statistics:
- “Welcome emails” sent to first-time customers can increase long-term engagement by 33%.
- “Thank you emails” sent to customers after making a purchase have an average open rate of 42%.
- Customers that receive personalized emails have a six times higher transaction rate.
- Adding video to email can increase click-through rates by 300%.
Add call-to-action (CTA) buttons
CTAs enable users to move on to the next step of the customer journey, whether that means browsing products, adding items to their cart, or proceeding to checkout. But there are many questions that arise when designing and implementing CTAs for your site. What is the most effective messaging? How big should the CTA buttons be? What colors should be used? Where should the buttons be located on each page? The best way to optimize CTAs is by running A/B tests to see which method results in the highest conversion rates.
Team up with Codal for superior UX design
When building a website, web application, or mobile app for your outdoor brand, you’ll want to employ a team of certified eCommerce designers and developers to help guide you through the process. That’s where Codal comes in.
Our award-winning team designs, develops, maintains, and optimizes customer experiences for all kinds of eCommerce businesses, including those in the outdoor recreation space. Take our client, GOREWEAR, for example—an outdoor retailer that provides innovative apparel for cyclists and runners. Supported by market research, user interviews, and other relevant data, Codal redesigned the brand’s entire UX, resulting in greater customer engagement, higher conversions, and an overall stronger digital presence.
In addition to cutting-edge UX design, we can assist with usability testing, platform migrations, ongoing website maintenance, and much more. We’d love to learn all about your outdoor brand and its goals for the future, then plan and execute an online experience that exceeds your customers’ expectations.
Ready to get started? Reach out to Codal today!