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It’s happened to all of us: an online ad piques our interest in an item, and suddenly we’re debating a purchase.

Then, you link to the product’s e-commerce store, only to find that it’s slow, unresponsive, or just bad. You refresh a few times and pray for a digital miracle. Maybe you browse a bit, holding your nose. But if you’re like many people, you give up and head to a competitor's site.

Many outside factors can impact an online purchase decision. Even if an item is lucky enough to make it to a cart, it’s frequently left for dead. You could chalk some of this up to pre-buyer’s remorse or other real-world distractions, but a new study from Storyblok – a headless CMS provider – suggests that poor website design could be the culprit.

According to the company’s survey published this week, 60% of consumers estimated that on average, they abandon five purchases per year just due to poor website performance.

Five purchases may not seem like a lot, but collectively it adds up to billions in unrealized revenue, all due to a less-than-stellar website experience.

Bad websites mean big business losses

As Einstein once theorized, time = money. Or was that Gary Larson?

Time is indeed the enemy of all websites, particularly those with transactional e-commerce experiences. It starts with performance, and according to the Lighthouse keepers at Google, pages should ideally load on mobile and desktop in less than three seconds.

Storyblok’s study takes the time conundrum a step further, digging into a user’s behavior on a web page and how the design experience might further impact their likelihood of sticking around. Based on the survey, 42% of participants said they decide whether to remain on a page in less than 10 seconds, while 20% decide in less than five. That means websites don’t have a lot of time to impress shoppers and convert interest into purchases.

And what about those “extra” features some sites make a point to have? Well, put earmuffs on those chatbots because ease of navigation, faster loading speeds, and a simple web design matter a lot more to shoppers.

“Consumers want easy-to-navigate, intuitively designed, and fast-loading websites,” said Storyblok CEO and co-founder Dominik Angerer. “However, a lot of e-commerce websites are falling short. Five purchases per shopper in missed sales may not seem like a lot, but when you scale this up to the number of potential new customers businesses are missing out on, it becomes a very significant amount of money.”

Avoiding “website embarrassment”

A great UI/UX can significantly impact a website’s trust and credibility. That’s why leading brands invest significantly in design and usability testing, as well as enhancing accessibility to ensure digital equality.

Still, getting the digital gum off your shoes can prove daunting in a world littered with bad UX. Let’s say a consumer actually decides to proceed with a purchase on a poorly functioning website. It turns out that experience still gives them the “ick”– and they would rather forget about it.

According to Storyblok’s survey, 42% of Americans and 18% of Europeans revealed that on at least one occasion, they were too embarrassed to say where they purchased a product – all because the website was so poorly designed.

Maybe we call this… digital shame?

Kudos to Storyblok for uncovering this data point, which is both entertaining and alarming. All jokes aside, any company that might be the target of this shame isn’t just missing out on sales – it's damaging the reputation of its brand.

Leveraging headless CMS and composable commerce to improve website experiences

As talk elevates around a looming economic recession, online shopping continues to be the gem in an otherwise rusting crown of retail. Outlooks are still trending upward, with 23% of those surveyed anticipating more holiday purchases online this year. Meanwhile, 51% of respondents are planning to make the same number of online purchases as last year.

To meet the shifting demands of online consumers, Storyblok sees technology as a key activator for improving the digital experience in an omnichannel world. This is crystallized by the rise of composable commerce and the need to meet consumers anywhere, anytime, on any device or form factor.

“Additional functionality is still an important factor in attracting customers, but it’s critical to get the basics right first,” said Angerer. “For example, by investing in a headless, composable commerce tech infrastructure, companies can set the foundation for a great, fast-performing user experience.” 

Shopping in a metaverse marketplace

The metaverse has become all the rage in 2022, with leading brands investing heavily in AR/VR strategies – particularly when it comes to e-commerce. According to Storyblok’s survey, transactions in virtual and augmented reality environments might be gathering more attention.

In fact, 42% of respondents said they would be encouraged to make more purchases with an AR or VR experience. Surprisingly, that percentage rose to a whopping 57% when filtered to the U.S. market. That’s big news for retailers who are struggling to find new opportunities for growth.

The results of this study echo what we’ve heard over and over for years: consumers don’t just want products. They want experiences – and giving them what they want isn’t as hard as it might seem. New features aside, brands that provide a great UX with an easy-to-use, easy-to-navigate website and an abundance of payment options will make it hard for shoppers to say no, even if the storefront is in a virtual world. 

If e-commerce sites can KISS (keep it simple, stupid) and make up with shoppers, they’ll likely feel less “ick” at the bottom line. And investing in quality design and the right technology stack – including composable, MACH-ready solutions – can help keep the gum off everyone’s shoes.

About Storyblok

Storyblok is a headless CMS that enables developers and marketers to deliver powerful content experiences on any digital platform. Developers create flexible components that are independently managed by content teams through a collaborative visual editor and customizable workflow. Published content is delivered through an API, so changes are made once and will appear everywhere: websites, mobile, IoT, the metaverse, and beyond. This approach reduces maintenance and makes content management more efficient. Leading brands such as Adidas, Renault, and Marc O’Polo use Storyblok to manage and share their content with the world. Storyblok was named the #1 CMS for 2022 by G2.


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