Retail Experience Design: Introduction

Over the years, online shopping has become more and more user friendly. Ecommerce brands have optimised the retail experience design (UX) of online shopping. This has led to a change in how people shop in the real world as well. How will this impact the future of shopping? How has the UX design in retail evolved in the past few years? Let’s take a look.

  1. What is Ecommerce User Experience
  2. How UX Design in Ecommerce can drive conversion
  3. How automation is influencing the future of retail
  4. COVID caused a surge in online purchases
  5. Few Case-studies
  6. Conclusion

What is Ecommerce User Experience?

The concept of Ecommerce UX means to understand the mind of a user and try to find out what will give them a simple, logical and enjoyable work experience. It is about what a user feels after interacting with a shopping website. Does it leave a positive feeling, or is the other way round? 

In fact, it has been observed that about 76 out of every 100 visitors abandon their shopping carts. This obviously indicates the respective websites didn’t leave a positive impression. 

To draw parallels with a physical store, one can imagine running into rude staff or a salesperson who’s more interested in playing on his phone than talking to you, the customer. This could leave a bad aftertaste and even after picking things to buy, one can ultimately decide against it.

The growth of the business is entirely dependent upon customer experience and it can be achived by ensuring better user experience. How easy the after-sales experience will bring more traffic to the retail business website. E-commerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart and more are continuously elevating their websites by offering discounts, coupons etc; and putting more effort into customer experiences.

– Priya Kavdia

This often happens in online stores and cart abandonment is a source of major revenue loss amongst many online retailers. 

How Good Ecommerce Navigation UX can Drive Conversion

Retail Experience Design with Ecommerce Platforms
UX Design in Retail with Ecommerce Platforms

It’s the age of social media and people constantly discuss their positive and negative experiences with each other. Word of mouth is more powerful today than ever before. So if a retailer builds a great experience for users/customers, people talk about it. In this way, UX Design can be make-or-break for any ecommerce activity. Some of the more important factors which play a part in this are as follows –

  • Simplicity of Operation
  • A design that complements, doesn’t dominate the website
  • Product promotion
  • Security of user data
  • Visual elements that are actually helpful
  • Make it easier to purchase your products

How Automation is Influencing the Future of Retail Experience Design

The ease of online shopping has gotten customers used to a seamless and user-friendly experience. Considering how much time most of us spend online, this has become part of a regular human experience. This is translating to similar expectations at physical stores as well. Though queues are the norm in most retail chains, nowadays many customers choose not to buy, just to avoid the hassle. They just walk to the next-door retailer which is less crowded. In short, customers opt for the retailer with a better “UX Design”, whether offline or online. 

More and more, buyers seem to prefer the convenience of digital shopping than to get into the hassle of the old-school retail experience. The sooner retailers understand this, the better. While most people still like the human interaction involved in offline shopping, the bad (UX) retail experience design becomes an obstacle. With automated solutions like digital, self-checkout counters to avoid queues, unpleasant user experiences can be avoided. Automation can also go a long way in cutting costs by building efficiencies. This will shape the future of the retail industry in the coming years.

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COVID Caused a Surge in Online Purchases

Despite the digital revolution, buyers in some countries like India have been conservative in their choices. They still preferred the offline experience of purchase. In fact, many offline retail chains have been offering discounts for shopping online. Enter COVID-19.

The emergence of coronavirus fundamentally changed people’s lives in many ways. One of the more noticeable changes is the shift in favour of online purchases. People were stuck at home, not daring to step outside to buy things. This caused a major surge in online shopping. In India, it has seen a dramatic rise in the number of FTUs (first time ecommerce users), /those who always avoided online shopping. It was so massive that some online retailers experienced major downtimes. There are many who are depending on online shopping for essentials like groceries. Now, with these FTUs who are exposed to the improved UX of online retailers – what are the chances they will get back to their old habits of buying everything offline? 


For instance, major online retailers like Amazon are known to be constantly working on the UX of their website, and experimenting with new changes aimed at making the lives of their customers easier. The “buy” button is highlighted with a different colour, making it easier for the customer to act on it. Whether it is product listings or customer reviews, there is an emphasis on showing the most important information on top. 


Skullcandy, an electronic retailer of personal audio, makes it extremely simple for potential customers to discover their products on their website, and buying is as simple as 1-2-3. The idea is to make the purchase so easy that it’s easier to buy than to avoid it. 

Walmart, Target, CVS and Kohl’s

Since the beginning of the pandemic, online sales in the United States have risen by about 49%. Many customers opted to order online instead of stepping out and putting their health at risk. In a post-COVID world, such concerns will be paramount in people’s minds and this trend will continue further. In fact, the World Economic Forum stated in a paper on 2020 that while departmental stores are going to degrow by 60%, ecommerce will rise by 20%. This trend has also led retail giants like Walmart, Target, CVS, and Kohl’s to adopt omnichannel methods to take care of these changes. 

Wanna Kicks and SneakerKit

Omnichannel is a type of retail which integrates online and offline shopping experiences. While the brands mentioned above are available on physical stores, they are also available online. They are made available in such a way that replicates the physical experience of shopping. Two great examples are virtual try-on shoes by Wanna Kicks and SneakerKit apps. AR and deep learning technologies are utilised to make users feel they are trying the shoes on. This helps them decide whether they want to buy or not. Similarly, TryOn is a virtual mirror app which lets users try various kinds of clothing virtually. 


Between lockdowns, the world opens up and life seems to go back to normal again. Stores open up but customers are cautious, and rightly so. Many retailers are implementing in-store digitisation to help this transition. Zara, for example, offers an optimised mode of checkout via the app. This frees the customer from the hassle of standing in line, waiting to conclude a purchase. 

Croma Retail

Croma Retail wanted its customers to have a unique experience at their new portal. They wanted users to have an experience that would transform their view of conventional online shopping. They gamified the website to make it more interactive and fun for customers to go about their purchases on the portal. They also innovated an in-store app which allows one to explore and buy a range of Croma products merely by scanning a QR code and moving your phone back and forth.

Gamification in UX Design for a well-known electronic retail store : Croma


Irrespective of whether it exists online, offline or both, it is crucial for a retail brand to deliver the most excellent UX to its customers. As we have seen, the customers are getting used to world-class, buttery smooth and convenient UX while buying online. And it is happening now more than ever before. 

FAQs For Retail Experience Design

What is UX in Retail?

UX in retails ensures that customers are able to complete their purchases without hassle. Good UX in Ecommerce prioritizes the user’s needs to achieve a good user experience.

What is the Role of Design in Retail Store?

In retail, the customer experience is everything. That’s where UX design comes in. The role of UX design in retail store is to create an enjoyable and easy to use shopping experience for customers. This can be achieved by ensuring that the store layout is clear and easy to navigate, the products are displayed in an appealing way, and the checkout process is quick and efficient. Creating a good UX design for a retail store can help to increase sales and encourage customers to return in the future.

What is User Experience in E-commerce?

User experience in e-commerce is the overall experience that a customer has when interacting with an online store, from the time they first visit the site to the time they checkout. It includes everything from the design and layout of the site to the way the customer can navigate and search for products.

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I have spent a good amount of my working career trying to become a better designer. I look for design inspiration beyond websites and apps since designing an experience is not restricted to digital softwares. Apart from designing I like to spend my time learning and growing as a dancer. I am a ballroom dancer, I have learned styles like Salsa, Bachata and a few more. Lastly, if we are having a conversation I can make you laugh…………..mostly………....sometimes