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What is eCommerce UX Research?

Most often the terms like web design and web development are used with fire at will. In a general and broad sense, that is okay. But when we are discussing UX, the lines must be drawn. The term UX is an abbreviated version of ‘User Experience’. In the realm of websites or apps, UX refers to the friendliness of a website/app as experienced by its users.

In the case of eCommerce websites/apps, the efforts of UX are focused on making the digital platforms both user-friendly and customer-oriented. The logic is very simple and it is that you are making a website/app that is for users who are also your customers. So, you have to think not only in terms of general user-friendliness but also align it with the perspective and priorities of consumer behaviour.

ECommerce websites and apps are intended for use by existing and potential customers. Their priorities and prerogatives must be taken into consideration in web/app design and development. The UX determines how easily customers are able to navigate, spot the relevant tabs, interlinking elements, etc. If the UX is not up to the expectations of customers, it would be understandable if they close the site/app and halt their shopping journey.

UX research in eCommerce is an effort to find out how to make an eCommerce website/app easy to use for customers in the progress and completion of their shopping journeys. The inputs and insights gained are then used in the design and development of shopping websites and apps.

We can use the example of the Amazon shopping website here. It is probably one of the best in the world when it comes to user experience. The search bar at the top helps users spot it quickly and search for what they are looking for. On the search result page, users can further refine their search to find more accurate products. The content of the top bar remains fixed and hosts important tabs like account management, shopping cart, language change, etc. We are so accustomed to these UX features that they may not look anything unique. But it is simplicity that works with UX.

Carrying out UX Research for eCommerce

Study and Analysis of Competitors’ Websites

Studying the sites/apps of other players in the market provides a first-hand perspective of the UX levels maintained and some glance into customers’ expectations. There is always an option to use default website formats offered by many service providers. But to get a taste of how things really are in the market, it is a good practice to check out operational sites/apps. It also provides a window to gauge the contemporary standards prevailing in the industry.

There could be many players in a given market. So, how to select which brands’ websites/apps to be studied? The answer is choosing your direct competitors. Why direct competitors? This is because of the common customer base. How your direct competitors are providing UX could provide meaningful inputs for your UX efforts for the same set of the target audience. Also, these are the websites/apps against which yours are likely to be compared by customers.

Now, how to study an eCommerce website/app from a UX perspective? There are no strict rules for this. But certain practices hold up. Form a team with relevant experience and expertise that would study and share feedback. Ask them to carry out a SWOT analysis on a given set of parameters while keeping the option of open feedback. Some of the parameters are listed ahead in this blog under ‘focus elements in an eCommerce website/app’. Additional parameters may be used as deemed fit. Repeat the same exercise for a few more brands. What you will have in the end is a fair perspective of what to do and what not to do in terms of user experience. You can also go for external assistance from an experienced team of market research consultants.

Define your eCommerce UX Strategy

ECommerce UX strategy is a set of policies and tactics deployed in an eCommerce website/app towards elevating the browsing and shopping experience of customers on these digital platforms. A lot of things make candidature when we talk about ‘elevating customer experience’ over an eCommerce shopping website or app. It could be ease of navigation, easy visibility of texts and tabs, use of pleasant combinations of colours, fixed and variable components, the structure of content, etc. It is a wide-open world for trying creative ideas but without losing the essence.

By going for UX strategies, you would be putting users/customers as the focal point in the design of your digital store i.e. your eCommerce site/app. It allows you to align your CX strategies with your brand’s digital shopping platforms. There arises the option to implement your branding objectives in a curated manner. You could put in place measurable elements within your website/app for analytics. And also, by having a plan or a strategy, your digital marketing team will have something to look up to and maintain.

An overwhelming majority of customers make up their minds about the credibility of a brand simply based on its app/website design. As retail and eCommerce consultants with more than 10 years of experience in this domain, we have witnessed so many times that a high bounce rate has strong correlations with a poor website design. Only a small fraction of customers return to a website with poor UX features. Slow loading time and lack of mobile-compatibility are two other turn-offs for online customers. These points should be kept at the forefront when formulating UX strategies.

Focus Elements in an eCommerce Website/App

Here is a list of elements of an eCommerce website/application that every brand should focus on. It is not an exhaustive list but covers a wide range of areas.

Discovery Touchpoints

  • Home Page
  • Feature Products
  • Ongoing offers/ sale
  • New Launches/Releases
  • Product Categorisation

 Shopping Touchpoints

  • Search Bar
  • Customer Account
  • Membership/Reward/Loyalty
  • Language Change
  • Wishlist
  • Log in/log out

 Product Touchpoints

  • Product Image
  • Product Description
  • Filter Search
  • Prices
  • Offers & Discounts
  • Reviews/Q&As
  • Delivery Check/Details

Transactional Touchpoints

  • Shopping Cart
  • Auto-fill during checkout
  • Shipping & Delivery Information
  • Gifting Options
  • Payment Methods
  • Invoice
  • Confirmation & Thank you Page
  • Order Tracking
  • Cancellation & Returns
  • Customer Support

 Footer Touchpoints

  • About Us
  • FAQs
  • Press
  • Blog
  • Contact Us
  • Terms & Condition
  • Social Feed
  • Careers
  • Sitemap
  • Glossary
  • Terms of use

Ecommerce UX research is not absolute by itself. It relies on inputs from other eCommerce market research elements.

  •         ECommerce Competitor Research
  •         ECommerce Customer Research
  •         ECommerce Pricing Research
  •         ECommerce Demand Research
  •         ECommerce Keyword Research

Key Takeaways

ECommerce shopping websites and apps are for use by customers. At no point could their priorities and prerogatives be ignored in web/app design and development. And the UX efforts determine the alignment of an eCommerce website/app with its users-customers. If the UX is not up to the suitability or expectations of customers, they might close the site/app and halt their shopping journey within a matter of seconds.

In UX research, a good place to start would be to know how your direct competitors are doing in terms of UX. Because the target audience is the same, this awareness could provide meaningful inputs for your UX efforts.

Formulating eCommerce UX strategies is a wide-open world for ingenuity and innovation. But the essence must not be lost, which is to elevate the browsing and shopping experience of customers on digital shopping platforms strategically and objectively.

How can we help you?

For service-related enquiries on our retail and eCommerce market research services. To have a quick dialogue with one of our market research consultants please drop us a message on our website and we shall connect with you at the earliest.

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Author Bio

 Nikhil Agarwal

Nikhil Agarwal

Chief Growth Officer

Nikhil is a calm and composed individual who has a master’s degree in international business and finance from the United Kingdom. Nikhil Agarwal has worked with 300+ retail e-commerce brands and companies from various sectors, since 2012, to define their growth strategy and achieve operational excellence. Nikhil & his team have remarkable success stories of helping brands achieve 10X growth.

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    The idea of having Ecommerce Consultants on-board from the beginning itself points towards reducing the involvement of the promoters in daily operations. Ecommerce Businesses willing to be a brand reaping profits & sustaining the competition must ensure that most of their processes should be automated. The more the manual intervention, the more would be the errors.

    In Ecommerce business, you get only 1 chance to impress the customer & if you mess up there, you lose the customer for long.

    Process automation in respect to all the activities pertaining to customers from order receiving to order fulfilment is a must for a seamless experience for the customers.

    Task Management is another grey area where most deadlines fail as 90% of the tasks are assigned manually & are forgotten, unheard, misunderstood or mistaken.

    YRC Team of Ecommerce Management Consultants helps to make maximum of the processes system-driven to ensure minimalistic manual intervention.


    No matter how good your product is, the customer would know only if it looks good.

    Photography includes the following steps:

    • Cataloguing your products
    • Cataloguing your images
    • Backup your images (A few cloud storage solutions include Dropbox, Google Drive, Bitcasa, Apple’s Cloud Storage etc.)
    • Choose the right camera & lens (You may also outsource the photography to a third party agency)


    Digital Marketing includes SEO & SMM. SEO i.e. Search Engine Optimization includes activities like back-linking, meta tags, blog-writing etc. to ensure your website ranks on the 1st page on Google Search.

    Next comes SMM i.e. “Social Media Marketing” which as the name suggests including promoting your products on all the social media sites, email marketing, influencer marketing & several other BTL activities.

    These activities are going to be recurring & would decide the traffic on the website, the conversions, whether the right target market is tapped, the likes, the views, the orders, the reviews & much more. YRCs Ecommerce Consultants create a budget for digital marketing right from pre-launch to launch & for each month thereafter.

    Building digital marketing strategies in coordination with the agency, selecting them to signing them off would be the role of YRC.

    This ensures seamless coordination, detailed interactions & desired execution as it is always advisable to work with a single agency than multiple of them.


    Selection of the right software for smooth functioning of back-end operations right from production to webstore display would be suggested and integrated by YRC Team.

    YRC’s Team defines SOPs of Product Movement, maps it with the locations & people. They then create a blueprint of all the features required in the software & help in shortlisting & selection.

    IT Integration involves connecting your offline inventories with real-time online webstore so when a sale occurs, inventories get deducted real time across offline as well as online platforms.

    This helps in accurate inventory management, maintaining the MOQs, re-order levels & achieving the optimum inventory levels.

    Some popular software include unicommerce, viniculum for your front-end website management & Genisys for your entire back-end Purchase, Production, Accounting, Invoicing etc. management.


    • How many cities or countries you wish to sell in?
    • Where should your Warehouse be located?
    • Should you have one warehouse in each country or city?
    • Should you be having your own delivery team in your base city?
    • Would the 3rd party vendors be reliable? What happens when they lose or misplace your product during delivery?
    • How should I manage the logistics if my goods are coming from different countries?
    • How should the goods be stored and barcoded?
    • How much space do I require for warehouse?
    • I am sure several such questions must be haunting you while you think of starting your own fashion ecommerce brand.


    At YRC, our warehousing and logistics experts can help you devise a strategy for all of the above mentioned queries and much more.

    We design the layout of the Warehouse considering the inward, goods processing, software entry, barcoding, outward, goods return, scrap storage, goods stacking & much more.

    Logistics route plan is devised considering the manufacturer to your warehouse and from there to last mile delivery locations.


    This Step involves 03 distinct parts:

    Part 1: Choosing the right Platform:

    From several platforms available in the market right from Shopify to magento, woocommerce, prestoshop, wordpress etc. you must choose the one that fits best for your business

    Part 2: UX Designing:

    “UX” denotes User Experience, which if put in simple language is building the functional requirements of the website.

    UX Designing includes designing the features required in the website, customer journey map, website features, the browsing features, navigation features, ecommerce order management process flow, checkout cart features, catalogue management, ecommerce payment system, cross selling features & much more.

    “As per statistics, 68% of the customers abandon the carts before payment”

    An interesting UX ensures the customer sticks on to the website for a longer time.

    Part 3: UI Designing:

    UI stands for User Interface, which means designing the look and feel of the website. UI includes using the right colours, elements and the entire aesthetics of the website.

    A good User Interface ensures the user completes the task that he has come for. It navigates the user through the journey of the brand in the simplest but most effective way.

    The UX designer maps out the bare bones of the user journey; the UI designer then fills it in with visual and interactive elements.

    If User experience is the bare bone, user interface wraps it up with an attractive cape.

    At YRC, our team if experts can help you develop the entire User Journey to ensure it is engaging!


    This step follows the “Designing” Phase, whether you have an in-house design team, freelance designers or an outsourced design company. It is one of the most exciting phases, as here you see your designs turning into products & your ideas turning into reality.

    In most start-up cases, production is outsourced i.e. brands tie-up with the established manufacturers/ job-workers to get their products manufactured.

    Sampling involves multiple 04 Stages, Fit-Sample, Prototype Sample, Pre-Production Sample & the Production Sample.

    Prototype Sample is the first sample provided to the buyer. It can be in any fabric/ colour. This sample is just to understand whether the product design looks equally great in reality.

    Fit Sample, as the name suggests is prepared to check the fit of the garment i.e. the various sizes, length, width etc.

    Pre-production is made by the actual production line. Here the stitching quality and other aspects related to manufacturing are checked. This is the last stage where rejection can be accepted.

    Production Sample is made before the production which is the replica of what is going to be finally produced.

    Once you are through with all this, you are good to go ahead & get your goods manufactured.


    Product Designing or Sourcing is the heart of the Ecommerce Fashion Brand.

    Product Designing / Sourcing can be done in several ways, as follows:

    • In-house Design Team
    • Freelance Designers
    • Outsourced Design Team
    • Ready Product Sourcing (From Manufacturer or Wholesaler)

    At YRC, we evaluate your business strategy & business model to arrive at the decision, which of the above ways would be best-fit for your business. In certain cases, product sourcing may be a combination of the above.

    These are the people who are going to build your brand! Whether they are the designers or merchandiser, your brand look is going to be in their hands.

    If you are designing each garment from the scratch, the sourcing would play crucial role in developing design identity of your brand.

    Sourcing includes fabric, trims, lining & all the raw material required to build the garment.


    Branding is the “Look of the Brand”, right from logo to tagline, the colours used, the brand story, the brand communications on social media, the packaging & all the other aspects which speak directly or indirectly to the customers. Branding constitutes the look & feel of the brand & hence must be thoughtfully planned to match with the product that we are selling.

    Branding must appeal to our target audience. Example : A golden colour logo depicting finesse, art, richness, premium, however beautiful it may be individually cannot go with a brand selling affordable kids wear products. So, your logo must be in-line with your brand positioning, whether you are an expensive brand or a luxury brand or a value for money brand, it must be depicted from your “Branding”.

    It is an integral part to attract the target audience.


    Organogram is the “HR Blueprint” of the business which is created at the onset, to map out the team required across each function at various stages of the business. At the launch, only key people need to be got on board to ensure the project gets started & at this stage, all of them need to multi-task. Similarly, certain financial as well as operational goals are set for addition of the further team. Example, for the operations team, we hire 1 operations manager during the pre-launch phase & we add 1 more only when the business kicks-off & we reach a volume of selling more than 1000 pcs/ month or a turnover of more than 0.1 million USD.

    SOPs are Standard Operating Procedures, a bible to run the entire organization right from Sales, Purchase, HR, Order receiving to Order fulfilment, Inventory Management, Accounts, Warehouse, Logistics, Supply Chain, Production & all the other relevant functions for the business. Business must be organized from its first day of operations; only then the tasks can be delegated.

    At YRC, we design the organization structure, the processes, and approximate time taken to execute each process, job profile of every member within the organization, their KRAs, KPIs & the Reporting Structure.


    Critical Pathway Analysis (CPA), is a project management technique which cannot be overlooked while launching an ecommerce fashion brand. Brand launch process is cumbersome with multiple inter-dependent & time-bound tasks involved, which need to be tracked to ensure the project remains on track.

    CPA outlines key tasks across the project, their turnaround time (TAT) & the dependencies of tasks upon each other. It identifies the sequence of tasks, their interdependent steps from inception to completion, their criticalities, and their dates of onset, target dates of completion along with the key responsible person for the respective activities. Critical Pathway helps in understanding the unimportant & not urgent tasks which may jeopardize the execution of the project because of an unexpected snag! It also maps out the potential bottlenecks which might be posed because of the dependencies of tasks upon each other & cases where the next task cannot be commenced before the completion of the previous one.

    CPA detects the minimum & the maximum time involvement of a particular individual or team to execute the task, thereby arriving at the overall deadlines associated with the project.

    At Your Retail Coach, we design the Critical Pathway & review it periodically to ensure the project is on track & the progress is measurable.


    Business Strategy includes the vision, mission, goals, business model, business plan & strategy for all the functions within the organization.

    Business Strategy is a well-defined plan that outlines who, what, where, why, how & when for the company; for example, who would be the target market, how to attract the target audience, when to launch new products, where to operate from, how to handle competitors, what would be the USP, what would be long term goal of the organization & several other answers to the 5Ws of Strategy.

    Business Strategy aligns the organization towards a common goal. Business SWOT helps company to identify & overcome their weaknesses & focus to sharpen the strengths. Business strategy forecasts future risks and helps business in building skillsets to overcome the potential threats.

    YRC’s Business Plan focuses on creating a “Blueprint” of the business, thereby deriving the feasibility of the concept & gauge whether the opportunity is lucrative to invest time, energy & effort. Business Plan creates cash flow understanding i.e. building inflow & outflow cash projections from Week zero to week 60 i.e. 05 year projection. Business Plan calculates the capital investment, operating costs, one-time costs, recurring costs & all the other numbers relevant to obtain the breakeven sales, return on investment, return on capital, internal rate of return & several other ratios. Business Plan is also one of the important requirements if you are targeting the “Investor Route”. Fund raising becomes extremely transparent & channelized. With business plan panned out clearly, the business will know until what point must it be stretched & where to stop, which reduces the probability of unplanned investments.


    Starting the concept of Ecommerce Fashion brand with Market Research ensures we get detailed understanding of the industry & this research report also acts as a social confirmation for your concept. Market Research helps in understanding the target locations, their population, potential online buyers for your product, competitors for each category, and top selling products of the competitors, competitors’ price range, offers & their responses & much more. Market Research helps in thorough understanding of your brand position as compared to our competitors. It helps in identifying gaps in the market, in your category along with the scope of the said product in the desired market. This will help in validation of your concept & prevents you from making the same mistakes as your fellow brands, eventually saving your time, energy & efforts. This phase is also a make or a break phase, as the market research study may at-times come up with some eye-popping numbers & statistics which might compel you to re-think on your product or category that you are planning to sell or alter your entire concept itself!! Market Research Reports analyse the competitors’ webstore for their traffic, conversion & sales. This is extremely valuable information to derive our inventory budgets & projections, which takes us to our next phase.