When business owners try to think of new strategies to improve sales, chances are, thoughts immediately go to promos, lower prices, and gimmicks. While these factors do play an important role in the decision making process, it’s important to know that in e-commerce, there’s so much more at play, and that there’s another major factor in the process. This factor is quality web design.
So how does design affect buying?
Online users don’t hold the record for longest attention span, and one quick look at a website is enough to tell them if they’re willing to make a transaction or not (a mere 50 milliseconds apparently). In such a short period, it’s crucial you get to show the potential customer just how legit your business is, and that they shouldn’t have to worry about transacting with you.
It’s sad when the customer is up for buying an item or is interested in checking out more information about it, only to be discouraged by the website’s messy background that makes the text and buttons hard to read, or maybe a checkout button that they just can’t seem to locate because it’s hidden at the most bottom part of the page.
You invest a lot into your website’s content: quality videos, photos, and witty write-ups. There’s no way you’d want to waste all that effort you put into the materials, right? Moreover, your content is the greatest chance you have at achieving that personal connection with customers that businesses need in order to encourage loyal patronage.
Basic design principles aside, such as text readability and color psychology, here are some tips web designers should keep in mind.
Before anything else, setting up a branding guide that sets parameters as to what colors, fonts, types of images, and even what kind of tone used in the text, helps keep things coherent and uniform, which is important for sending a strong branding message.
A website that goes for one aesthetic is a lot more pleasing to look at, and the established branding that goes along with it helps reinforce your business with the lifestyle of the demographic you’re going for.
Apple, for example, has established an aesthetic of simple yet advanced technology that represents a certain lifestyle, so when consumers of their target demographic who identify with the branding, say, young professionals who value simple, understated luxury in their technology, are in need of gadgets, they almost automatically turn to Apple.
As much as you probably want to amaze visitors with exciting graphics and interactive buttons with every page, know that this can be more of a distraction, or even worse, can turn off the user completely.
For one thing, incorporating too many different elements into each single page may contribute to longer page loading time, and with the attention span of most internet users nowadays, it’s essential that things load quick.
Apart from quicker loading time, a simple design, particularly with navigation options, is more likely to help users get things done. How is this accomplished? Simple: if you have two or more thoughts or functions that basically aim to achieve the same thing; simplify them into a single option.
Similarly with your actual page content, don’t overdo it with the text and images. Minimal sections with concise headers, just enough photos, and simple yet accurate text/descriptions are best as to not overwhelm the user.
In relation to making things easy for the customer, it’s crucial that your calls to action are incorporated within buttons.
Invites to “shop now” or “contact” are a lot more inviting when the invite is placed on a button that lets the customer do it directly. Also, if there are any forms to be filled out by the customer, say to encourage them to subscribe to updates, then providing the form then and there, rather than having them go to another page can spell a big difference as to whether they’ll go with it or not.
One of the best ways to entice the customer is to show them they’re special, and that your business caters to their specific tastes. With that, including features such as “recommended items” or “based on your previous purchases” makes the shopping experience more personal, fun, and hassle free.
More importantly, it helps encourage the user to buy more, and since it’s based on what they’re already interested in, they’re likely to be actually interested in the items. So it’s a win-win situation for both you and the customer.
You probably encounter this tip often, and now it’s here again for the crucial reason that more and more people are doing their shopping online, and a website that doesn’t load too good on a mobile device could mean plenty of lost sales.
As with anything else in business, adapting to the changing tastes of customers is an automatic part of any strategy, and should definitely be part of any quality web design.
There are definitely a lot of things that go into quality web design. And while it’s not as simple as one may initially think, it truly pays off when you see your sales improving. Conversion, after all, is the main goal. So that investment in web design services you ruled out, may just be the thing your website needs.