Skip to content
Home » SaaS vs Ecommerce UX copy: FIGHT!

SaaS vs Ecommerce UX copy: FIGHT!

  • by

Yesterday I got an interesting question from one of you (thanks Andres):

CleanShot 2023-01-13 at 10.21.24

How should you deal with your UX copy if you’re a SaaS and if you’re an Ecommerce business?

First, it’s important to clarify what UX copy is, as I know there’s some confusion around it.

UX copy is considered any copy/text that’s designed and written to help users interact, as they should, with a platform.

Interact is the key word there.

UX copy is about engagement and it’s directly tied to the UI (user interface).

Reason why UX copy is critical when it comes to SaaS in-app experience or Ecommerce navigation, filters, cart and checkout.

But if UX copy is about engagement, an engineer or developer could totally write it, right?


Or, let’s just say, it’s rare.

Because engagement is also about the context around it.

How you set expectations, how you motivate users to accomplish an action, how you prevent them to run away in frustration when an error occurs or when they make a mistake, etc.

All of these are reasons why we consider UX copy still to be part of copywriting.

Psychology, human behavior and decision making are still at the foundations. A developer might know how to communicate it to someone who built the platform or who’s working on it, but it’s rare that they can communicate it clearly to a stranger. And that’s fine, it shouldn’t be their job.

So now that we cleared the air on UX copy, let’s go back to our initial, more nuanced question:

What’s the difference between UX copy for SaaS vs Ecommerce?

The way I see it is:

  • SaaS UX copy is high in “story arc value”
  • Ecommerce UX copy is high in “usability value”

Let me explain…

Prospects need story arc value when they’re highly invested (money, time, energy, reputation) in the buyer journey and efficiency is not top of mind.

And they need usability value when their level of investment is lower, but need efficiency.

Efficiency is about practicality and repeatable outcomes.

Think about it…

When you’re about to sign up for a SaaS product (B2B or B2B), you’ve likely been doing your own research for a couple of days or weeks at least. There are competing solutions out there, each one highlighting their own features and benefits.

You’re about to commit to a monthly or yearly plan…

You might have to go through a demo, or maybe you want to try the product first, instead…

And “seeing” the product in action or reading reviews doesn’t really help until you play with it and make it yours.

There’s a lot involved.

A lot you have to invest.

When it comes to buying on an Ecommerce website on the other hand, you know pretty clearly what you’re looking for.

Most of the time it’s a physical product – often you’ve already used it (or a very similar one)…

The reviews tend to be pretty straightforward, even including photos or videos…

Sure you need to know about shipping, returns, taxes and all, but a quick look at the FAQs or a guarantee could help you overcome those hurdles.

My point is…

SaaS UX copy, is usually very much tied to the customer journey and should focus on matching and expanding the story and conversation you’re having with them on your marketing website. And it should take that conversation further to prevent churn and increase retention.

This means:

  • Using more hover/tooltip copy to help them overcome their objections
  • Using more click trigger copy to set clearer expectations
  • Using copy in your tutorial to guide users through the first steps
  • Using engaging and motivating copy in your automatic chat messages
  • Creating more of a long term journey and keeping consistently in touch via email, especially in the first few weeks
  • etc…

Ecommerce UX copy, is more tied to the usability and should focus on guaranteeing a consistent, efficient and repeatable outcome – checking out with the product prospects wanted when they landed. It’s more about helping them find what they want and getting out of their way (even thought some SaaS products could use some of it too).

So you need to use it to:

  • Clarify specific product terminology, policies or details
  • Help them find the right product with specific and clearly organized filter naming
  • Guide users through checkout effectively
  • Re-assure them whenever they are met with errors (and to prevent them if possible with “hint copy”)
  • Point out the information they need to know before adding to cart
  • Make them feel like you’re there to help but are not stalking their every move
  • etc.

Makes sense?

Do you have another take on it?

I’d love to know.

Speaking of ecommerce and UX copy, I just dropped a new weekly website teardown. We’re looking at a very cool and mission-driven coffee company from the US. Lots they’re doing well on the branding side, but also lots they could do better on the copy and usability sides.

Check it out (and as the influencerzzz say – smash that Like button and Subscribe). Or not… or just let me know what you’d like to see on the channel by replying to this email!

Quote and reflection of the day:

“Your Life’s Task does not always appear to you through some grand or promising inclination. It can appear in the guise of your deficiencies, making you focus on the one or two things that you are inevitably good at.”

  • Robert Greene, The daily laws

Learn to identify and appreciate your weaknesses. Give meaning and importance to them because they filter out what you should pay attention to or not. Then let them go and double down on the strengths that emerge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

brain dump?

Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

Let’s nerd about decision making, persuasion, habits, and conversion optimization.