Increase online sales using 5 UX principles applied by the inventor of eCommerce


ASOS, ClickMechanic, Lovehoney and Schuh increased sales with sites that are ...


“It was 1984 and you were doing online home shopping, it was amazing and she loved it.
— Michael Aldrich on Jane Snowball’s reaction to using his online shopping system

“I think it’s wonderful
— Grandma, Jane Snowball, after using the Videotex online shopping system


“How much do I enjoy using your website?”



What do you get when your site is dead-easy, super-quick, time-defyin’ and smooth-sailin’?

An endorphin-releasin’ user experience, of course! When everything works so well that nothing makes you reconsider the decision to buy, all that’s left is the pleasure of shopping.

But we’re not talking about “pleasure” in the sense of “cool” graphics, flashy design and techy gimmicks. We’re talking about the enjoyment that comes from helpful little touches.

When online shopping was invented, it made life much easier for disabled pensioners and complex multinational businesses – that’s why they loved it.

Which helpful little touches do you offer on your site? Do you offer any?


What can only users tell you about being “endorphin-releasin’”?

Well, this one’s obvious – only your users can tell you what they like or don’t like.

No guides, experts or competitors can speak on behalf of the specific people who use your website to buy things.

Google Analytics can’t show you that John, from Northampton, smiled when he saw the option to send a handwritten note with the bag he bought his mum from your site.

Surveys can’t show you that in the moment when Sarah saw all the possible discounts she qualified for at checkout, she thought, “I’m definitely going to come back to this site now!”

Don’t go the long way round, trying to figure out what will delight your users, when you can simply watch them and see where they most appreciate a helping hand.


Case studies:

The power of endorphin

Mad props to all the eCommerce sites we’ve used as case studies in this project. They’re great examples of how to run your business in a user-friendly way and get amazing results.

Even though, so far, we’ve only used insights showing areas where they could improve, there are lots of areas where they were already delighting users.

ASOS made this user feel like a million bucks by showing her videos of the clothes she wanted being modelled on the catwalk:

“That’s pretty good… that’s really good!” exclaims this user when ClickMechanic  automatically generates a quote for the repairs he needs:

Schuh made this user feel like she was walking on sunshine by showing pictures of what her chosen sandals like on a person’s feet:

Lovehoney showed this user a good time by having such an excellent mobile site, he didn’t even miss his desktop:

Satisfaction isn’t about feeding your design vanities, it’s about bringing joy to users by making their lives easier. They’ll notice and keep coming back for more.

ASOS, ClickMechanic, Schuh and Lovehoney improved their sites and online sales with user experience testing

In previous sections we’ve already gone over the results these eCommerce sites achieved with remote UX testing. But just to remind you, here are the highlights:


  • Conversion rates increased by 24.55%, despite a 60% increase in mobile traffic
  • Overall revenue increased by 115.34%


  • Conversion rates increased by 50%, rising from an average of 1.6% to a peak rate of 2.4%
  • Volume of calls into ClickMechanic's call centre fell by 14.2% —despite an increase in site traffic


  • Increased smartphone conversions


  • Improved the user experience across 6 international websites

When you watch users in action, you know exactly what keep, ditch or improve. You’ll know how to give them a bigger hit of endorphins than summer sun on the beaches of Seychelles.