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Customer Happiness Circle 1: Perfect usability in an online store

Customer Happiness Circle 1: Perfect usability in an online store

To the German article

Welcome to the Customer Happiness Circle! In this blog series, the focus is on how you can make your customers happy and ensure long-term ecommerce success. To kick off the series Customer Happiness expert Johannes Altmann explained why the subject is so important and outlined the building blocks you can use to inspire your customers. Today, he looks in detail at the first building block: Usability. 

People are always asking me whether all this talk about usability is still relevant. It puzzles me every time, so I’ve tried to work out the thinking behind it. The conclusion that I’ve reached is that people who buy a Shopware store assume that with an optimally mature software suite like this, there’s no more need to worry about usability errors. That’s partly true... but it’s not the full picture. Find out here, in the Customer Happiness Circle, why usability errors still happen and what impact they have on shopping happiness

Why usability makes customers happy  

In his bestselling book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, US psychologist Daniel Kahneman explains how our brain works. He shows that, when faced with a choice, people typically tend to choose the easiest way and like to solve problems intuitively, without major effort or deliberation. This effortlessness is also known as “cognitive ease” and leads to happy behavior. So, deep in our DNA, we humans love the easy life and are therefore positively inclined towards undemanding products, undemanding news and, it follows undemanding online stores 


A classic problem when shopping is being “spoilt for choice”. Twenty years ago, sales psychologists carried out studies that showed that a vast choice of products leaves customers feeling overwhelmed and ultimately frustrated. Stores that don’t manage to structure their range in an orderly fashion that facilitates quick decision making, therefore, end up frustrating their customers. As I see it, this is a usability issue, because making the range accessible and helping the customer make product and buying decisions are key responsibilities of any online store owner. The “paradox of choice” phenomenon always needs to be resolved in order to make customers happy.  

A basic principle of good usability is: A store must be easy to understand and its functioning easy to learn. Users need to understand instantly how the store works. Using a standard store system makes absolute sense in this regard because it offers users familiarity.  

You’ve got a great Shopware store but customers are still not happy – why is that? 

It’s fair to say that your Shopware store is pretty user-friendly in “default mode”. But that’s unlikely to make you a shoo-in for the Shop Usability Award, send your conversion rate through the roof, or make customers happy. The issue of product navigation alone is, in my view, one of the most complex issues for a store. The navigation will determine whether customers feel at ease in your store or find it all unnecessarily complicated. 

Read the countless studies on the subject of abandoned shopping carts in online stores and it becomes clear that...

  • users are impatient, 
  • purchases are not premeditated,
  • they have preconceived ideas when it comes to prices, payment, and order processing. 

If these expectations are met, the customer will buy and will be satisfied. They may even give your store a 5-star rating but still never come back. The only explanation is that they don’t remember your store. When it comes to customer happiness, there is one central factor that determines success: 

Always give the customer more than they are expecting!

You need to overdeliver on expectations. When finding products is easier than expected, when descriptions are more detailed than expected, when checking out is more straightforward than expected, etc., the customer will be surprised at the cognitive ease – and their lazy brain will rejoice. 


The brain is always busy and enjoys it when certain things are simple and uncomplicated. 

Your Shopware store meets customers’ expectations of an ideal store system and is easy for them to navigate. But the store system alone can’t overdeliver on customer expectations – that’s your job! So, with a standard store system, your first question should be: “Does the customer really need XY or can we ditch it?” Often, we’ll remove the Sort function from list pages, because it doesn’t enhance usability and customers don’t tend to sort T-shirts alphabetically. 

To meet expectations, you need to scrutinize every on-site touchpoint and decide whether you really need that particular page or function, or whether you could even enhance it to make things simpler. For that, you need consumer insights – we’ll explore those in more detail in a few weeks’ time. 

Check the usability of your store now! 

Download the Usability Checklist now and discover how you could fine-tune your online store’s usability. Just complete the contact form and we’ll email you the checklist as a PDF.

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