Friction – anything that makes the user experience or buying process more challenging or painful for shoppers. Friction is bad for conversions. Friction costs you money.

And while you can never completely eliminate friction from your site, you can take steps to identify the biggest culprits and make changes to mitigate their effects.

Friction can be anything from slow loading time to confusing product description. Points of friction aren’t always easy to spot. Sometimes the problem is obvious. But other times, what’s preventing your customers from converting or making them abandon your site is more subtle and less identifiable.

It’s good to start with the most obvious issues, though, as they’re likely costing you the most in terms of your e-commerce conversion rates and sales.

So which parts of a website cause the most friction and turn buyers away? And what can you do about it?

Let’s take a look. 

1. Poor Web Design

Nothing causes friction right out of the gate, especially for new visitors, like poor web design.

There are many factors that can make a website’s design poor. But a few of the most common issues that lead to poor user experience are a site that’s cluttered, unorganized, or difficult to navigate.

To fix these problems…

Use a grid: A grid system gives your site effective and consistent alignment, making it appear clean and organized.

Show contrast between elements: Especially with your page’s background color and text color, you should use colors that contrast and don’t clash. (Also, use a font that’s large enough.) Otherwise, the text will fade into the background, impairing readability.

Make navigation clear and eye-catching, preferably at the top of the page: You should limit the number of navigational elements to the essentials and use concise menu names. (Making visitors scroll horizontally is a big no-no.) Or, if you feel like you need additional items, create categories with drop-down options.

2. Too Many Hoops To Jump Through

You mostly see this being an issue with registration pages and forms. But you see it happen with checkout processes as well.

Registration Pages: Requiring visitors to register or create an account is asking for their time and energy. And if you are going to ask this of them, you need to convey a recognizable purpose and the value of doing so.

Alternatively, you could provide an option to continue as a guest instead of registering.

Forms: When it comes to forms, you should ask for only relevant information. Visitors shouldn’t have to share their life stories to buy a sweatshirt.

Additionally, you need to make sure your forms are easy to fill out on all devices, especially smartphones. When applicable, use open predictive search fields, drop-down lists, or collapsible menus. These come in handy when asking visitors for things like their country of residence or preferred language. You should also make your ‘submit’ buttons large enough and bright enough to stand out.

Checkout: Your checkout process also needs to be as simple as possible, without any irrelevant steps (you might even want to allow visitors to track their progress. But in addition to that, you should offer multiple payment options and be transparent about your return and exchange policies.

To identify points of friction, either look at specific areas of your website, especially where your most important e-commerce conversions should be happening or start at the top of your sales funnel and work your way down.

What do you think of these tips for reducing friction? Share your thoughts!