Footer for e-commerce – UX best practicesAlicja Masiukiewicz
5 August 2016
Reading Time: 4 minutes
A footer is an inseparable part of the website and very often it is designed without the second thought. But the footer has its own unique value and it shouldn’t be forgotten. Web design should be data driven - let's check what's best practice for footer's usability.
Let’s start from the beginning. What is the footer?
The first association is with the traditional page footer used in books. But in the opposition to the page footer web page footer has fixed content for all pages and it contains information instead of an explanation. But that’s easy.
So what information should we put there? To answer this question we should analyse our needs and users’ needs.
As it is wide known only 20% of the viewers scroll to the bottom of the page, but this value stays constant no matter of how long the page is.
What does it mean to us?
That this result is quite good and it’s another evidence that Pareto principal works. So while measuring CTR (click-through rate) in the footer we shouldn’t compare it to overall results only to that 20%.
Why should we do that? To use real data. If 80% of the viewers never scroll and quit the page it means it’s not your target (assuming you did what’s possible to get to know your users and to make a website as friendly as it’s it could be) and that’s fine.
So if 20% users scrolls it means they are interested and they become our new 100% of involved users.
Measure clicks on your footer, compare values with data that comes from involved, not accidental visitors and you will see that the footer is really important part of the web page.
But what should we put there and what do viewers expect to find in the footer?
Build the trust
Number 1 is legal information. Especially on German market impressed is extremely important.
It’s very intuitive for a customer to look for the information about the store in the footer.
Remember to be transparent here. Your customer needs to feel secure. The more you show the better. If you can show badge Trusted shops or SSL certificate for instance - do it!
This is the base you should never skip. No matter if you display that information in the header or in the content you should repeat them in the footer where they’re expected.
Ensure best service possible
The access to information should be easy so if you have helpline put the number there. If you have stationery store show the address.
Customer service is a major force in merchandising, especially in the online store. Access has to be smooth and easy but remembers access it’s not enough.
Your customer service has to be qualified and polite. Be ready for tough, upset, confused or simply annoying customer. Once you achieve that the customers will stay with you longer.
Delivery, returns and payments methods
Before you purchase you want to be sure everything will go smooth and well. You look for set of basic information allowing you to assume the store is not a fraud and the shopping will be easy and comfortable process.
Information about the prices, waiting time are as important as information about transport company. Use simple statements but don’t forget to include terms and conditions for more demanding customers.
Display accepted methods of payment if possible or at least few local or most trustworthy so the customer know their money or credit card details are safe.
Newsletter may be good idea depending on the content above.
If you have good marketing strategy and you know how to attract viewer in simple way than go ahead. There is no better place for newsletter than the bottom of the page. The customer has already seen what you can offer them and knowing how attractive your products are they may be more eager for signing in.
Social media and blog
Lots of brands build their identity in social media or using other channels like a blog. Sometimes customers prefer looking for information on Facebook better than on store website just because it’s more familiar.
It’s important to show off with every channel possible so displaying links to external content you have it’s a must.
You can add some links to the most popular categories, products or content in general.
Do it smart. There is no need to repeat the whole menu if you have it sticky on top for instance. If you don’t use that kind of a solution, the page is long and you would like to add part of the menu choose wisely. You can always add “home” link.
Most difficult to find
If you’re looking at your page carefully you should notice strong and weak points. Sometimes you could see some mistakes in your navigation that can’t be easily fixed but your footer may be a temporary solution. Use it only temporarily and never let yourself keep stopgaps for longer.
Footer is not a dumpster
Years ago you could improve your SEO by adding links in the footer. Those times are far behind us. Both Google and Yahoo can recognise the footer and give links a lower SEO value.
So don’t let yourself be tricked. Work on SEO other way and keep the footer nice, clean and readable as it should be.
It happens... even professionals get tricked with mega footer or "SEO whisperer" - be smarter
As the header footer is always there. Users are used to it and years of practice build some strong habits like an assumption that we will find contact info at the bottom of the page.
The footer is very practical, handy and most of all very important section on the e-commerce page. It contains all legal and technical information gathered in one place. Information that are crucial in merchandising.
Structure and logic of the footer should be planned carefully taking into consideration needs and behaviour of the customers.
Footer is not walk-in closet where you can stack all elements that haven’t found their proper place on the website.
It’s your business card - show off with that!