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How a Bad UX Can Ruin Your Online Business

by Adedolapo Olisa

August 28, 2018


From onboarding new users through very long sign-up forms, non-responsiveness, and websites, to poorly created information architectures, a bad user experience (UX) can lead to a negative brand perception of an online business.

According to a 2016 study by Forrester, a well-designed user experience could boost your conversion rate by up to 400%. Hence, investing in a good UX is imperative to improving brand perception, retaining users, and ultimately increasing revenue.

Now that we know the essence of a good user experience, below are ways a bad UX can ruin your online business:

Website Abandonment 

According to Webopedia, a webpage abandonment is:

A term used to describe a visitor on a web page who leaves that page before completing the desired action. Examples of abandonment include exiting before signing up for a newsletter or downloading an incentive.

Depending on your industry, booking abandonments, form abandonments, and cart abandonments are various kinds of abandonments that a bad UX could instigate. While various marketing reports have shown that bad UX, price comparison, customer indecision e.t.c are reasons a customer could abandon your website, the numbers hover around 15–30% for a bad user experience.

Your online business aims to attract, retain, or engage users, creating an experience that turns them away is certainly not the right step in that direction.

Negative Brand Perception

People spend more time on other websites than yours, so once the experience with yours presents them with a cognitive load that differs from their mental model, they end up perceiving your brand negatively.

Opinion science and dynamics play a huge role in what a current customer gets to say about your business or a new customer gets to see/hear about it. These perceptions usually decide whether a sale could become the last or a new one will ever come your way.

According to research, 91 percent of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. And they make that decision quickly: 68 percent form an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews.

Customer loyalty is extremely important for your online business, and having a bad UX is not a way to get such. In this case, you do not only lose business, but your reputation could also be damaged.

Low Search Engine Rankings

Google recently announced that beginning in July 2018, content that is slow-loading may perform less well for both desktop and mobile searchers.

With the advent of machine learning, search engine algorithms have become more complex, and are now bringing user experience considerations to the same level as content quality.

A major philosophy of Google has always been delivering the best UX to searchers, and this could be said of other search engines too. Website UX issues such as performance, accessibility, mobile friendliness, page speed e.t.c all constitute a huge component of ranking factors.

Having a bad user experience could therefore prevent your online business from maximizing its full potential in organic search results, which then reduces your conversion rates. Should you decide to acquire users via paid search ads? A bad UX could also lead to a low Quality Score which then increases the Cost Per Click of your ad, causing you to spend more in getting users.

Competitive Disadvantage

A great way to keep users engaged is by providing a stellar user experience while they interact with your business. Users will not think twice before abandoning a product or app which causes them frustration. In most cases, they will even consider moving to a competition, even if it costs slightly more.

From a business angle, you could be giving your competitors an edge, since your attracted users have a high chance of moving to them. The demands for a great user experience have grown so high that customers are now more impatient than ever in dealing with a frustrating product experience. A good user experience is no longer an icing on the cake, but rather a major ingredient of the cake itself.

According to Marc Hedlund, the founder of Wesabe, his company lost to Mint because Mint had a better design.

The way users interact with your website online is equivalent to offline interactions with your customer service team. If customers get a bad impression of your business online, their reactions would be similar to how they would if they had encountered a bad customer representative of your business.

In conclusion, user experience is closely linked to how much you spend trying to convince new users or keep current users. A bad UX simply makes you spend more in both cases, with a resultant increase in customer acquisition cost (CAC) (in the former) and a decline in customer lifetime value (in the latter).

What overall experience does a user derive when they interact with your online business?

At Charisol, we conduct UX audits for brands to understand where they may be losing out, if you are unsure of what steps to take to mitigate what a bad UX can cause, request for a free UX audit here.


Picture of Adedolapo Olisa

Adedolapo Olisa

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