Prestashop: An interview with Léa Mendes

Black Friday passed not long ago and so has the festive season where people bought gifts for their loved ones before Christmas and have treated themselves in the sales after, so it’s only right that we delve deeper into eCommerce. I spoke to the lovely Léa Mendes, who’s a Product Designer in the PrestaShop core team. 

Lea Mendes

I’m currently a Product Designer and have been responsible for the user experience and interface design of the PrestaShop software for a year now. I have mostly been working on the 1.7 version of the software.

Lea Mendes.png

Following my degree in event decoration and visual merchandising, I worked in retail companies and department stores as a visual merchandiser. The visual merchandiser status changed after the French Crisis so I went back to university in 2013 and obtained a degree in graphics and web-design. Ecommerce was the future and I wanted to be part of it! I started working for Lucca, learning all about product design, agile methodologies and brand experience until, 2 years later – PrestaShop found me!

What are the main mistakes people make when designing websites for online retail?

The main mistakes that come to mind are:

  • Ignoring standards and best practices: I often see e-merchants building their website, navigation, checkout, etc. with a very personal point of view in mind. They choose a user flow that seems logic to them without applying the standard practices of the web. This can be costly as it complicates the customer experience and the customer potentially could just leave and not return.
  • Giving too much information: this is very frequent in e-commerce, as well as in physical stores. Some merchants think they have to display their whole catalogue in one place in order to sell. The problem with too much information, is that you pollute the customer experience and your products will look cheaper. Make sure your presentation is appropriate to your image.
  • Forgetting the stress factors: People make mistakes and it’s no different when filling out a contact form, making an online payment or creating a customer account. Searching for a specific item and ending in a 404 error page, or having to enter an address multiple times results in people losing patience, getting stressed and abandoning their purchase.

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What is a top tip you have for improving UX?

The main advice I could give is: build your online store for your final customer target.

You must take into account:

  • Their habits
  • Their needs
  • As well as the context in which they buy. A mother with two young children at home on a Saturday morning will be less available than a single person on their couch in the evening for example.

A few essential points for a better user experience:

  • Quality visuals
  • Clear pages
  • Concise messages, which go straight to the point
  • Capturing users’ attention on strategic points like the “add to basket” button

Don’t forget:

  • People are emotive and sensitive to stress
  • People make mistakes
  • Frustration is synonymous with a bad customer experience
  • Customers don’t know the site as well as you do.
  • Some people are not at ease with technology and buying on the Internet
  • Others do not always have optimal buying conditions (bad Internet connection, doing several things at the same time)

I usually suggest to merchants to buy products on their own website. They need to feel the kind of user experience they offer to their clients especially for a first-time user.

ecommerce

What do you think of personalisation of UX in ecommerce?

I think personalisation of UX in ecommerce can be powerful if it’s well done. You can optimize merchandising, simplify the checkout, build a real relationship between your user and your brand and create an amazing customer experience.

How do you think ecommerce will develop over the next couple of years?

Ecommerce is always changing. People buy from social networks. They order from marketplaces for delivery in 24h with the possibility to return their product in a physical store. Physical stores start to bring technology to their customers’ experiences with connected mirrors, virtual reality and so on.

You can buy the same product in many different ways and the way this connects with physical stores and VR are the next big things in eCommerce.

The number one issue merchants will have to solve in the coming years is: how can I consistently cope with the multiple touch points my customers interact with while growing my service over multiple locations. Ecommerce is just one variable in the always evolving digital commerce landscape.

prestashop

Merchant success has and always will be at the heart of Prestashop’s efforts. By delivering the world’s most powerful and fully-featured ecommerce solution completely for free, PrestaShop enables people everywhere in the world to create and run a profitable online business. Data8’s shopping cart validation service extends the power of Prestashop by validating key information such as address, telephone number, and email in real time.

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