When designing an eCommerce site, there is usually one goal in mind: to lead visitors down a sales funnel. Having a great product will help with this goal, but the best way to ensure a sale is designing a site that converts.
Learn how to make it happen by providing your customers with a positive, effortless experience.
1. Make Your Value Proposition Visible
It only takes two-tenths of a second for your visitors form an opinion of your site and decide whether you fit their needs and whether what your offer is of value to them. Your Value Proposition must be highlighted, so visitors can quickly identify it and understand what makes your business a better option that competitors, what value they can get from doing business with you.
Read our post from last May on how to craft a quality value proposition.
2. Use Visual Hierarchy and Simple Navigation
Visual hierarchy will help your customers know what to do next, and will help you guide them to do what you want them to. Use sizes and colors, images and layout to create a “shopper flow” which leads them ultimately to the “Thank you for your order” page.
There are 5 building blocks associated with visual hierarchy:
Ever heard of Fitts Law? One of its principle basically states that the bigger the object the easier to engage with. If we think about call-to-actions (CTAs) this can have a very practical use, but don’t think it’s as simple that the bigger the better. Making a “Buy Now” button 10x larger will not bring more conversions. Coherence, harmony and well balanced design is key. Size does not only affect CTAs, text and images play the same game here.
We won’t go deep on color psychology now, but it´s important for you to acknowledge that different colors have diverse psychological connections. Colors do have its own hierarchy, blacks and reds draw more attention than fade yellows or pastels. That hierarchy can be manipulated with a good understanding of contrasts, primary and complementary colors. See this Kissmetrics blog post on how colors affect purchases.
Layout defines your site`s interface and with it you can control your visual hierarchy in a very direct way. Usability must always be in your mind whenever you are implementing your site´s layout.
Hand in hand with layout, spacing will allow you to control visual hierarchy with negative space and proximity. The latter refers to unconscious thought process where you will assign similar purpose to grouped elements. Elements need to “breathe” and the negative space around them play a very important role. Also bare in mind that that negative space (or white space) help to draw attention to elements correctly placed in that space.
Better looking websites convert better, but style and design are, by definition, subjective concepts. Web design trends evolve faster than slower, and although keeping up it’s not an easy task, its always good to have your own identity, but in your own time, so being alert to current web design trends is always a good practice to implement. Remember that in web, design trends are defined as well by best converting or performing websites analysis.
Whenever you hear about an “intuitive navigation” it’s nothing but simplicity. There´s an amazing UX book by Steven Krug called “Dont Make me think” which makes it really clear that intuitive and effective navigation, is simple navigation.
3. Provide an Optimal Search Option
Either your customers know exactly what they want or they need to search for it, that’s why optimizing your site with an effortless search experience will contribute on a cleaner and effective UX.
Put the search bar in an accessible place on the page. This is a general best practice but even more for sites that offer a large amount of products and SEARCH is the best approach customers take to find what they are looking for.
Also, customers will have a better experience finding the products they want if the items and descriptions are rich with keywords.
4. Product Filtering Relevancy
By adding filters to the site, it will be easier to match the customer’s needs. Some filters could include brands, materials, prices, and sizes. The most relevant the filters with your site the better the users experience will be. Make sure your different product categories have specific filters to that category.
Keep the checkout process simple. Let the customer perform each step of the process one page (or one step) at a time. Also give them the option to check out as a guest, rather than having to register for an account.
6. Build Shopper Confidence
This can include having a page that showcases customer testimonials or reviews and ratings of each product. Trust seals are very effective reducing anxiety and friction during the shopping flow.
An example of personalizing the customer’s experience could include offering product suggestions based on their previous searches and purchases, or offer content based on geographic criteria. Tailored shopping experiences can lead to more engagement and sales.