How To Improve Website UX For Your Skincare Brand

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Imagine an avid skincare enthusiast named Sarah. She’s explored everything The Ordinary has to offer and wants to trial a clean indie brand. She lands on your site – what should Sarah see in those crucial 10 seconds before she bounces?

This comprehensive guide breaks down the crucial steps that transform a simple skincare site into a blossoming destination that nourishes skin and sales alike. From getting crystal clear on that core buyer peering through their smartphone screen to relentlessly A/B testing product descriptions post-launch, Armed with genuine user insights, an expert’s optimization toolkit, and this guide, you’ll uncover the strategies top UX consultants use to catapult independent beauty brands into the big leagues alongside SkinCeuticals and La Mer.

Here is a practical how-to guide on how to improve website UX for a skincare brand:

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Step-by-Step Guide

how-to-improve-website-ux-for-your-skincare-brand-get-to-know-your-users

. Get to Know Your Users

Combine data collection tools like Google Analytics for demographic and behavioral analysis with more qualitative social listening and focus groups to uncover your audience’s emotions and unmet needs. Key facets to include:

  • Demographics: Collect age, location, gender data. Look into technographics like device usage and channel preferences.
  • Psychographics: What are their skincare philosophies and ingredient preferences? How skincare savvy are they?
  • Behavior: Where do they spend time online? How do they search for products and make decisions? What are their conversion paths?
  • Motivations: Understand emotional drivers behind purchases like simplifying routines, anti-aging concerns, or clean ingredient safety.
  • Pain Points: Where do they experience friction from confusing product organization to unclear ingredient safety labeling?
  • Feedback: Utilize social listening tools to monitor discussions and sentiments around your brand and products on social media platforms. This can provide raw, unfiltered insights into what customers truly think and feel about your brand.
Expert Tip
Harpal Singh

A case in point is the skincare brand, Glossier. They have built their entire business model around customer feedback. They started as a beauty blog, Into The Gloss, where they gathered insights from readers about their favorite products and their daily skincare routines. These insights were then used to develop their own product line, which was heavily influenced by the preferences and needs of their existing community. They continue to use customer feedback in product development, with their Milky Jelly Cleanser being a prime example. They asked their audience what their dream face wash would be like, and the responses directly shaped the product.

. Get Personal With Qualitative Dives

While analytics provide a 30,000 foot view of overall behavioral trends, talk directly to users matched with your core personas for more pointed insights to transform into site enhancements.

  • Run discovery calls with 5-10 existing top customers asking probing questions about why they buy from you, what they’d improve, and what delights them in the experience. Offer 20% off coupons in exchange for the valuable intel.
  • Interview skincare shoppers in your target demographics who haven’t purchased from you yet. Incentivize with $20 gift cards. Uncover breakdowns in their site experience and optimize accordingly.
  • Monitor reviews and social listening for unfiltered opinions and questions to address through UX copy, enhanced FAQs etc. Set Google Alerts for your brand name plus keywords like “reviews” for instant notifications.
  • Collect user-generated visuals like shelfies showcasing products in real home contexts and before and after imagery proving out effectiveness claims through hashtags and site prompts. Obtain permission before featuring. 
how-to-improve-website-ux-for-your-skincare-brand-customer-journey-map

. Map Out the Full User Journey To Uncover Gaps

With a clear picture of one core user and her emotional trajectory, meticulously analyze her full journey from initial awareness to loyalty and advocacy. Outline each touchpoint on-site and off evaluating current experience against ideal. This exercise bears fruit uncovering key friction points for UX focus.

Customer Journey StageTouchpointsCustomer Emotions & ThoughtsPain PointsOpportunities for Improvement
AwarenessSees social media ad for new skincare brand, clicks siteCurious about indie options, credibilityOverwhelmed by startup claims and ingredient lists, bouncesEducational brand story and values overview video
ConsiderationCompares similar products, researches benefitsEvaluating options against current favesNo guidance on best fits, generic recommendationsTailored routines for skin type and key concerns
PurchaseAdds to cart, proceeds to checkoutSome uncertainty about right regimen for herAbandons cart, no reassurance during purchase flowSkin analysis quiz, expert chat consultaion
Post-PurchaseAnticipates arrival, checks order statusNervous about products working with her skinLong delays and shipping confusion erode excitementClear delivery timelines, shipping notifications
RetentionUses products as part of routine, engages on siteBuilding trust and affinity if products workForgets when to reorder, brand goes quietTimely replenishment reminders, new launches emails
LoyaltyAchieves great results, shares with friendsSees improvements, endorses brand ethosNo seamless way to leave reviews, shareIntegrated review collection, referral rewards
how-to-improve-website-ux-for-your-skincare-brand-ux-goals

. Define Your UX Goals

With research insights and journey gaps gathered, define crystal clear user experience goals that water both user and revenue growth streams.

If delighting newbies like Sarah is key for acquisition goals, ensuring her first site visit nurtures trust could be a SMART goal:

  • Specific: Boost confidence during first site visits
  • Measurable: Improve NPS score by 15 points for new site visitors
  • Attainable: Add skin expert chat consultaion, authentic visuals proving credibility
  • Relevant: Aligns with reducing new visitor bounce rates
  • Time-bound: Complete by end of Q2

If you prioritize simplifying overwhelmed users, decluttering product pages could be another fertile focus area with its own tracked goal.

Always ground UX objectives in specific data points tied to business KPIs for maximum effectiveness.

how-to-improve-website-ux-for-your-skincare-brand-create-page-wireframes

. Harvest Low-Hanging Fruit First

When everything feels urgent, tackle quick site facelifts first to build momentum then level up to more complex architectural renovations.

Streamline Core Landing Pages

Nurture entry points like product and category pages first since that’s where you make critical first impressions.

  • Refocus above the fold content only on what users absolutely need to make a selection or add to cart before scrolling. Follow scannability best practices with succinct headings, descriptive bullet points and supporting visuals.
  • Prune and reorganize page elements based on eye tracking heatmaps showing what users actually focus on. De-emphasize decorative elements hogging prime real estate.
  • Soft launch refreshed pages to 10% of site traffic and monitor analytics for improved performance before rolling out network wide.

Beautify High Priority Templates

Beyond your home page, identify site-wide templates powering key experiences like product display, cart and account dashboard. Enhance visual design and interactions for maximum wow-factor.

  • Modernize with on-trend layouts seeing success across devices, screen sizes and context. Follow leaders within your vertical for inspiration.
  • Harmonize elements like image grids, icons and calls-to-action for visual continuity across templates. This builds confidence through recognition.
  • Elevate with subtle animation to guide users through flows and highlight interactable elements. But know when to practice visual restraint to prevent cognitive overload.
how-to-improve-website-ux-for-your-skincare-brand-information-architecture

. Plot Long-Term Information Architecture

For more complex redesigns realigning entire site taxonomy and templates, dedicate time upfront to strategically map out new information architecture and wireframes before bringing concepts to life visually.

Mirror Mental Models With Intuitive Groups

Align site organization to how users naturally categorize products in their mind for effortless navigation. Group cleansers first by formula, then skin type suitability. Breakout concerns like acne or anti-aging into separate sub-groups instead of long faceted filters. For instance, in a skincare website, you might have main categories like “Skincare”, “Makeup”, and “Haircare”, with subcategories under “Skincare” like “Cleansers”, “Moisturizers”, and “Serums”. This intuitive organization makes it easier for customers to find exactly what they’re looking for, thereby improving their overall shopping experience.

Map Out IA Visually

Bring new IA to life visually through easily digestible flowcharts showing top level categories and sub-groups. Print out and place around your workspace for reference as you iterate.

how-to-improve-website-ux-for-your-skincare-brand-wireframe-key-pages

. Wireframe Key Pages

With new IA solidified, map main user paths page-by-page highlighting primary elements and actions on each. Hand sketch wireframes to quickly explore options without getting bogged down perfecting layouts digitally too early.

  • Start the wireframing process by mapping the placement of major elements on your site pages. This step can be done using pen and paper, but there are also numerous digital tools available for this task. These include Balsamiq, Sketch, and Adobe XD. These tools offer pre-made templates, which can be particularly helpful for beginners.
  • Focus primarily on key pages such as product listings, checkout, and help centre pages. These are the areas where users will spend most of their time, so it’s essential to ensure they are user-friendly and intuitive.
  • When wireframing, remember to account for the variation across different device screens. Your website should offer a seamless user experience regardless of whether it’s being accessed on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device.
  • In your wireframes, draw boxes to represent different elements such as headings, body text, imagery, and interface elements like filters or tooltips. Write labels inside these boxes to indicate what each one represents.
  • It’s crucial to streamline your design to highlight the most critical content and actions users need to take. This might involve placing a ‘Buy Now’ button in a prominent position on product pages, or making sure contact information is easily accessible on every page.
how-to-improve-website-ux-for-your-skincare-brand-build-interactive-prototypes

. Build an Interactive Prototype

The Interactive Prototype will serve as a valuable tool for gathering feedback and making necessary adjustments before the final development begins. Let’s explore the process of building an interactive prototype for your skincare brand’s website.

  • Use digital tools like Figma, Adobe XD, or InVision for creating interactive prototypes that mimic website functionality. For the skincare industry, consider utilizing software like Sketch for its powerful vector design features, ideal for creating high-fidelity prototypes of product images and detailed skin care guides.
  • Get feedback from team members, stakeholders, and potential customers by demonstrating key user journeys on the prototypes. This iterative design process, which involves constant feedback and refinement, is absolutely critical. It ensures that the final product meets the needs and expectations of all relevant parties, leading to a more successful and effective design.
  • Refine based on feedback, enhancing areas like the product taxonomy or cart flows.
how-to-improve-website-ux-for-your-skincare-brand-user-testing

. User Test 

User testing is a method used in the design process to evaluate a product or website by testing it with real users. It allows us to observe how potential users interact with the website, identify any issues or confusion they may experience, and gain valuable feedback to improve the user experience.

  • To conduct effective user testing, begin by recruiting 5-10 participants that closely match your core user personas. This can be done by reaching out to your existing customer base or using a user testing platform that can recruit participants based on specific demographic criteria. Incentivize participation with gift cards or discounts on your products.
  • When selecting participants, consider their familiarity with your brand and products, their tech-savviness, and their demographic characteristics (age, gender, location, etc.). Aim for a diverse mix of users to get a wide range of perspectives.
  • Once you have your participants, design realistic test scenarios that reflect typical tasks users would perform on your website. These could be tasks like finding a specific product, adding items to the cart, or navigating to the help center.
  • Each scenario should have a clear goal and should be presented to the user in the form of a task. For instance, “You need to find a moisturizer suitable for dry skin. Please show us how you would do this on our website.”
  • During the testing session, observe the participants as they navigate the prototypes. Take note of any difficulties they encounter, areas where they hesitate, and tasks they complete successfully. Ask them to think aloud as they navigate, to gain insight into their decision-making process.
  • After each task, ask the participant to rate the difficulty of the task and explain their rating. This will give you both quantitative and qualitative data on the user experience.
  • Finally, gather direct qualitative feedback on what they found confusing or clear. Ask open-ended questions to encourage detailed responses. For instance, “What did you think of the checkout process?” or “How could we improve the product search function?”
  • Use the feedback gathered to iterate on your prototypes, enhancing areas like the product taxonomy or cart flows. Repeat the testing process until you’re satisfied with the results.
Expert Tip
Harpal Singh

Consider employing unmoderated remote user tests as a supplement to in-person sessions. This approach can be more cost-effective and allows you to reach a broader range of users, including those in different geographical locations or time zones. Recruit people matching target personas on UserTesting.com to evaluate flows remotely.

how-to-improve-website-ux-for-your-skincare-brand-refine-post-launch

. Track and Refine Post-Launch

After all the meticulous planning, user research, and wireframing, the time has come to finally launch your skincare brand’s website. However, the journey doesn’t end here. Post-launch tracking and refinement are crucial to ensure that your website continues to deliver an optimal user experience and meets your business goals.

  • To effectively monitor user behavior and conversions, it’s important to choose and utilize the right analytics tools. Google Analytics is a popular choice, providing comprehensive insights into user demographics, behavior, and conversion rates. It allows you to track important metrics such as page views, session duration, bounce rate, and more.
  • To set up Google Analytics, you’ll need to embed a unique tracking code on each page of your website. This code collects data about your visitors and their interactions on your site.
  • Google Analytics also allows you to set up conversion goals, which can be customized based on your specific objectives. These could be anything from completing a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a resource.
  • For a more in-depth analysis of user behavior, consider using a tool like Hotjar or Microsoft Clarity. They both offer heatmaps, session recordings, and surveys to give you a visual understanding of how users interact with your site.
  • Run A/B tests on elements like page headers, product descriptions, or calls-to-action.
Expert Tip
Harpal Singh

Use Notion to document changes made based on analytics, along with launch date and objective.

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Tips

  • Use high resolution product zoom and alternate imagery to showcase texture, shades and application.
  • Optimise page load speed. Anything over 3 seconds leads to a huge drop off.
  • Display scarcity tactics like low stock countdowns to encourage impulse purchases.
  • Allow shoppers to save payment and shipping profiles for one-click reordering.
  • Include an online skin assessment questionnaire to recommend products.
  • Utilize micro-interactions like animated visual feedback for interactions.
  • Conduct task-based user testing on prototypes using target audience groups.
  • Don’t overwhelm users with too many competing promotions or offers.
  • Don’t use misleading defaults that don’t represent most popular products/options.
  • Don’t mandate new users to create accounts initially unless clear value is provided. Support guest checkout.
  • Don’t display anything higher priority than Add to Cart or Shop Now buttons above product imagery fold.
  • Don’t open links to new tabs or windows unless absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t use dark or low contrast color palettes or stylistically unaligned imagery.
  • Don’t wait until post-launch to incorporate visual design and optimize page copy.

Case Study

Founded in 2016, Vera Skincare produces natural, organic formulations catering to a primarily female demographic with combination skin types. Core range focuses on balancing and renewal.

Main Challenge

Despite strong repeat customer rates, site traffic and conversions had plateaued 6 months post-launch. Average order value was 15% under forecasts while mobile bounce rates spiked over 70%, signaling opportunities to optimize UX.

Approach

Their first priority was to immerse themselves fully into understanding the motivations, questions and stumbling blocks of the main Vera user groups shopping the site through analytics review and user interviews.

Key Strategic Changes

  • Reorganized IA based on skin-balancing benefit rather than generic product types
  • Implemented self-diagnostic skin type tool connected to personalized routines
  • Introduced loyalty rewards program requiring user profiles
  • Migrated informative content to help centre for easier access
  • Tested new minimalist page templates focused on conversion

Results

Through a user-centric design approach, their UX enhancements facilitated seamless shopping inspiring greater trust in Vera’s products and brand mission. Within 5 months of launch, they saw:

  • Increase in AOV by 20% through routine bundling
  • Lower bounce rates to 30%
  • Growth in mobile conversion rate by 100%
  • Higher frequency repeat purchase rate

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