Underwhelming performance in the basket? Let’s talk about SUX… The embarrassing talk ecommerce pros don’t wanna have

Let's Talk About SUX


68% of potential customers abandon during checkout (representing $3 trillion worth of sales for the ecommerce industry). Yet, everyone pussyfoots around the issue instead of talking about it bluntly.

In a way, it’s understandable – egos are fragile things and we don’t like to think we’re a disappointment to people. We don’t like to think they’re considering moving on to someone else.

But screw that. Today, we’re going to talk about SUX – Sucky User Experience – and how it leads to underwhelming performance in the basket.

At the end of this post, I’ll tell you the one, easy fix to every relationship problem you have with customers, that will also heal the abandonment you’ve been feeling.

But before that, here are 5 ways you ain’t been treating your customers right.

1. Being vain

Justin Bieber SNL

“Being beautiful is such… a burden.”


Not necessarily, you vacuous peacock (customers’ sentiment… and actually mine too) – you’re all flash, no substance. Just because your website has award-winning design, sideways scrolling and 150 accordions doesn’t mean it satisfies your customers’ needs.

Take a long, hard look at yourself (and don’t you dare enjoy it) if your website:

  • Uses cryptic or unfamiliar navigational cues because they look or sound “better” (keep it simple)
  • Hides essential information behind calls-to-action that are “pretty” but don’t look like calls-to-action
  • Convolutes the flow and coherence of copy on a page so it can showcase complex design concepts
  • Uses huge files or complex gizmos that slow your site so much, your customer’s eyeballs dry out before it can load

There’s nothing wrong with looking good – but don’t get so into yourself that you forget form follows function.

In the mundane but true words of J-Biebs, “If you like the way you look that much, maybe you should go and love yourself.” All alone… with nothing to show for it.

2. Being controlling

Facebook wants to love

“But I wanna!”


The whiney anthem of the devil spawn who won’t let customers get what they need until they do as it demands. Don’t let your website be the devil spawn that:

  • Will recognise people’s addresses/card details/dates of birth only if they enter it in one particular format
  • Forces people to use a squished up version of your desktop site on their mobile devices (FYI responsive design ≠ mobile optimised)
  • Doesn’t let people checkout and buy an item unless they create an account first
  • Wipes previously entered details if people use the “Back” button while checking out

Sure, you’ll get your way in the short term… but how long do you think people will keep coming back? Especially when there’s someone else out there paying attention to their needs.

You’ll tell yourself they’ll regret it but they won’t. They’ll post a picture of the necklace they bought from a competitor using one-click checkout and you’ll try to pretend it doesn’t hurt. But it will hurt – especially in your wallet.

3. Being deceptive

“Liar, Liar, bank’s on fire.”


That’s what the saying would be if it were written about eCommerce – lie to customers and you might as well be burning your money. Does your website:

  • Hide essential product details because you think they might hinder a sale?
  • Sneak in added costs as customers progress through the booking flow?
  • Publish reviews that are false or written by employees?
  • Bury the terms and conditions because they read like they were drafted by a cranky dictator battling drug withdrawal?

You think customers won’t notice? They will. Or you think they’ll be in too deep to back out by the time they do? Even if they go through with that one purchase or come back occasionally, they’ll still tell everybody else how awful the experience is each time.

That’s basically worse than if they never came back at all.

No one will trust you. Slowly but agonisingly, numbers will dwindle until eventually, Beelzebub turns up to claim your withered husk. Maybe that’s a bit dramatic but seriously… don’t do it.

4. Being bad at communication

Air France Can't Decide

“You know I love you… why do I need to keep saying it?”


Well… because you don’t act like its true. Talk is dirt cheap and buying from you isn’t. So if you want people to believe they’re getting a good deal, your actions need to constantly remind them that they are.

Good communication is about way more than just what you say. What are the signs you’re bad at communication?

  • You have jargon-filled, grammatically incorrect, error-strewn, vomit-inducing copy on your website (please invest in one or several content specialists)
  • You don’t test hand-holding content/walk-throughs to see if it helps customers convert better
  • You have a “Help” section but bury it deep in the parts of your website the light never touches
  • You trade internationally but don’t have optimised, international versions of your website (¿Por qué?)

It’s easy to get complacent but it’s also very costly. If you don’t bother to convey how you feel about your customers, they’ll assume you don’t care and find someone who does.

5. Not spending enough quality time together

Healthcare.gov Fail

“What do you mean? We have Stir-Friday once every month!”


Ah… the slow, suffocating hand of routine. It makes you feel safe – like you’re ticking all the boxes –  while chipping away at the foundation of your relationship with the blunt hammer of tedium.

You’re guilty of this if:

  • You send out periodic, generic surveys but never carry out deeper research on specific issues
  • You never or don’t regularly watch customers trying to use your website
  • You have lots of data or analytics tools giving you an indication of how customers are behaving, but make no effort to understand why they’re behaving that way
  • You do watch customers using your website but don’t bother applying the insights gained from doing so – you’re hearing but not listening

Customers can tell when you approach time together like it’s a chore, so they respond like it’s a chore for them too.

You need to make an effort if you want to find out the kinds of deep feelings that can make your relationship richer – and I’m talking cash-wise too.

In the words of Jakob Nielsen, “UX without research is not UX.” 


So how do you fix your relationship with customers and basket performance?


Just freaking ask them.


The beauty of remote UX testing technology means regularly watching people use and give feedback about your website has never been cheaper, faster or more insightful.

And we’re offering you 3 FREE videos of users doing just that. I mean, it’s a free trial – you really have no excuse to ignore your customers now…

Get Your Free Trial Now!


Unless you’re underperforming in the basket… and just don’t care.

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Timi is a London-based copywriter and full-time marketing sceptic – there are now more unvalidated opinions out there than ever.

He became a UX testing enthusiast after seeing its power while working at TUI – the world’s largest travel, leisure and tourism company. He then joined WhatUsersDo to sharpen his UX knowledge and work side-by-side with the field’s best and brightest.

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