There’s no underestimating how important design optimization is for an eCommerce website. Leaving any of the most important elements of web design to chance for an eCommerce website ends up costing in terms of lost revenues and profits. The concept of design optimization is actually simple. A fully optimized eCommerce website will deliver the maximum amount of positive results.
Simplified Navigation Results in Increased Sales
If you’ve ever been to a big box retailer to find one item in a hurry, you understand the need for simplified navigation for an eCommerce website. Shoppers are the same, whether they’re looking for products offline or online. The faster they’re able to find what they want, the more satisfactory they find the shopping experience. Happy clients come back for more and spend more per visit.
Modern eCommerce websites employ these navigation aids:
- Menus – Menus are the bread and butter navigational aids on a website. Take your time when deciding on the type of menu you want to use. Hidden (or Hamburger) menus have grown in popularity, along with mobile device usage, because you will probably hide many items unless a visitor specifically requires them.
- Filters – Filters add real power to your navigational system. They allow visitors to sort your inventory based on the criteria that’s most important to them. Giving website visitors the ability to filter their results based on type, price, or any other selection criteria they deem useful are rewarded with increased sales. Customers who land on your website have a good idea about their budget and other requirements, so it pays to make it easy for them to sort your results fast.
- Search – Search is a standard navigational aid that allows a visitor to bypass traditional menus in favor of directly finding a product. Search allows your visitors to quickly find the exact product they’re looking for, which is exactly what they want to happen.
All of these navigation aids have been added for the sole purpose of making products easy to find. For eCommerce websites with enormous inventories, this is amazingly important. One nice thing about managing an eCommerce website is that you have control of all the analytics that are generated. Review your log files and analytics programs to gain a deep insight into how users navigate your website. Discover which pages are most popular and change your navigation as necessary. This gives you the ability to “double down” on early successes. Your navigation is a powerful tool for making sales. Continue to monitor and improve it whenever possible to maximize sales.
Put the Spotlight on Your Bestselling Products
It’s no secret that customers are motivated by popularity. They figure if a product is already highly rated and popular among a large group of people, chances are high they’ll like it themselves, too. That’s why savvy eCommerce website operators tend to highlight bestselling products on the home page. It also helps to offer best sellers in categories. People who are researching products appreciate being exposed to items that have proven their worth with a large variety of people. Out of gratitude, they tend to buy.
Implement a Content Marketing Strategy to Boost Sales
Using content marketing strategies to boost your sales is a smart idea. Your video, images, or text content is usable in a number of ways, which helps inform and persuade your visitors to make purchases. How you use content is up to you. Creating content that is to be used on the website, as well as content that is placed externally, are both viable methods to improve engagement. These days, video content is extremely popular, especially when it’s used to clearly communicate key points of product differentiation. Some marketers have also found great success using content that shows customers “how to” solve specific problems using their products. The extent of your content creation strategy will rely heavily on your budget.
Keep in mind that the concept of “content saturation” is proliferating. People have seen many of the same types of articles and videos many times before. You probably are better served to try to take as unique of an angle as possible on any subject you attempt. If you create content for external marketing purposes, you’ll want it to be the type of content that is shared widely. This rarely happens with dry or repetitive material. If you don’t feel you’re up to the task of creating this type of highly engaging content, but your budget supports its, outsource it to talented creators.
Be as Detailed as Possible with Your Product Views
Imagine a potential customer who lands on a product page on your website. Have you provided this person with the absolute maximum amount of information you’re able to muster? The answer better be “yes!” Landing on a product view is the “moment of truth” that will either make the sale or break it. Customers who are distracted by the need to do additional research off that page are likely not to return. It’s likely that they’ll be poached by a rival site that satisfies their query. As the old saying goes, “you never have a second chance to make a first impression.” E- commerce is highly competitive, and you’re always best served to help customers buy from you by providing them with everything they need to know.
Populate your product views page with pertinent information, such as:
- Specifications – Detailed product specifications are a must. Customers need to know about size, voltage requirements, and other important specifications to make informed purchasing decisions. If they’re unable to find a crucial bit of information, they won’t buy. Supply them with everything, and, by doing so, get the sale more times than not.
- Ratings – Ratings from other customers, and awards from industry leaders, are information that people want to know about. Highly rated products do better than ones that are unloved. Provide all positive and negative information you have and let the buyer decide.
- Reviews – Reading reviews is a passion for millions of online shoppers. Reviews reveal insights into products from existing customers. For example, a person who is larger than average may say that a mattress is fit for heavier people based on her personal experience. For someone who comes along later, this type of information is absolutely golden. It saves them having to contact the company to answer a question that has already been answered with a review. People who give negative reviews also explain exactly what it is they didn’t like. Customers may decide those factors are not as important to them, but the additional information helps inform their decision.
- Terms – All terms of the sale should be clearly displayed on the product’s view page. All information about shipping or other important policies has to be included to make a complete page.
- Extended description – Descriptions should contain crisp, clean copy that details all the reasons people should purchase the product, as well as containing an accurate description. Extended descriptions are valuable real estate that allow you point out all the benefits incurred by buying the product.
Product view pages are the last destination before a purchase. Consider these as your last, best chance to persuade visitors. If you have any pages that already do quite well, pay careful attention to how they’re structured and what details they have. Don’t be afraid to use the same type of details going forward. If you have product pages that do poorly, bulk them up and track conversions. Keep tweaking until you start seeing the kind of numbers you salivate over.
Large Responsive Designs Are Great Assets
It’s no secret that mobile devices have taken over from alternative access types. People using tablets and phones to visit your website are now the majority of visitors. Bold, large responsive web designs have been proven to capture visitor attention and create an engaging experience that is conducive to making sales. You’ve probably noticed the proliferation of wide, full-screen responsive designs on sites you visit. There’s a reason for this design movement. Conversion tracking shows that larger designs with crisp typefaces do very well with modern web browsers who tend to visit using their mobile device.
These tips should be used to help you deliver an awesome responsive eCommerce website design:
- Build from a proven template – There are many template repositories that you can build on top of. There are many free CSS templates that are easy to modify. They serve as great beginning points for a full-fledged design. Bootstrap is a robust, mobile-friend framework for frontends that is used by many popular websites. Standing on the shoulders of giants will help you reach the stars with your eCommerce website design.
- Use flexible images – Context-aware image sizing solves the problem of making sure your images always display correctly. A few lines of CSS code, and your images will snap in place on all sizes of devices.
- Jquery is an awesome helper – Jquery is used on many websites because it delivers an awesome level of functionality through many “helper” classes that take care of a lot of the heavy lifting that make responsive websites look and function perfectly.
- Use background images that are scalable – The CSS3 specification makes life easy for web developers who want to use a background image that scales correctly. The “cover” element delivers this functionality easily.
- Test your design constantly – Test all elements of your design constantly. Test using different devices so that you’re sure everything is displaying and functioning just as it should. There are quite a few services online that allow you to check your site across all browsers. Use them so that you’re confident your site is always working just like you expect.
Site design is a hugely important component of the success of any e-v website. Sites that make billions of dollars in sales are functional and good looking. Use sites you admire as inspiration to create your own. Nobody builds designs completely from scratch. Incorporating elements you enjoy from popular websites is a great way for you to design a site you’re proud of.
Web Design and Conversion Optimization Are Intimately Linked
As you build your website, it pays to keep the needs of your users in mind at all times. What’s good for your visitors will be good for your business. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) always remains popular, because businesses use this method to gain more revenues without incurring extra expenses. Any time you’re able to convert more of the existing visitors to your site, you increase your profitability. Make it a goal of yours to use CRO as a guiding principle during all phases of your website’s lifecycle.
Conversion rate optimization has three distinct goals:
- Convert a larger percentage of site visitors into customers.
- Improve overall user experience for site visitors to generate increased repeat business.
- Increase both profits and revenues.
Combining CRO with your digital marketing efforts is the perfect way to gain more sales. Testing your traffic sources and conversion pages has never been easier than it is now. Avail yourself of all the various types of tracking that are available, and test everything without harboring any preconceived notions.
Don’t Neglect the Important of Great Customer Service
Making it easy for customers to contact you is always a way to improve their experience. A simple form, live chat, or a toll-free phone number are all assets that allow customers to ask any pre-sales questions they have. It also proves to them that you’re around once the sale is made. With so many scams online, it pays to assure people that you’re not one of the bad guys. When a potential client knows that you’re around and easy to deal with, it alleviates many of the worries they may have had. Excellent customer service is always a point of differentiation for eCommerce providers. If all other elements of the comparison are equal, customer service breaks the tie!
Don’t Forget the Power of Social Media
Integrate your website with social media as much as you possibly can. There’s no doubt that social media channels are now the primary drivers of revenue for eCommerce websites. Represent yourself across as many channels as you can, and make it easy for your visitors to share your content when applicable. People have come to expect friction-less experiences across multiple channels, so be sure to give it to them. You need to monitor your social channels for questions and feedback. Many customers want to speak to you on their favorite networks. Social media marketing requires that you are available to your fans and followers to answer their questions and engage with them on a regular basis.
You should also keep in touch with your customers through email and social media. Collect email addresses and send them offers and news. Make timely updates that let them know you’re still doing business and that you have something they may be interested in. When these efforts are performed consistently over time, they have a major impact on sales. Your customers will forget you if you don’t reach out to them periodically. It doesn’t take much time to update your social media or newsletter. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do it, hire specialists who will do it for you. eCommerce is all about growing your business over time by satisfying as many people as possible. Once you do that, you’ll develop a rhythm that’s literally unstoppable.