First impressions matter, and for e-commerce brands, first impressions typically come from the look and feel of your website. Research shows just how quickly consumer judgments are formed, with website visitors forming an opinion in as little as 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds!), and 94% of first impressions relating to design.
Therefore, designing your website and creating a user-friendly shopping experience is fundamental to your company’s success. You can have the best products in the world, but if they’re sold on a poorly designed, slow, or hard-to-navigate site, it won’t matter.
We’ve all experienced lousy web design. You land on a site to find a complicated wall of text, unsure where to click apart from the “X” in the top right corner. Maybe you spend a few minutes trying to find the products you’re looking for or maybe you lose patience dealing with slowly loading pages or intrusive pop-up windows.
Subpar websites can be a particular problem for B2B companies that aren’t consumer-facing. Most businesses have had to navigate terrible websites in order to purchase supplies. How do you organize deliveries? Does the site let you pay vendors with a credit card? What are the payment terms?
A good starting point when designing a user-friendly eCommerce website is to find solutions for all your frustrations as a consumer. Removing these irritations through excellent web design can drastically improve sales, converting more visitors into customers and reducing cart abandonment.
Listed below are three key areas to focus on for a great eCommerce website.
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Nowadays, successful websites have a clean and simple visual style, incorporating high-quality images, complementary color schemes, and appealing typography. You don’t want to overload visitors with information, but rather draw their attention to a few key areas that can progress them along the sales journey.
You want uncluttered web pages that instantly draw in visitors and deliver clear messaging about your value proposition. Ensure any copy cuts straight to the point, directly explaining your product or service and its benefits. Users don’t want to be overloaded with information or forced to scroll through long pages of information. Increase header size, use plenty of images, and border text with significant amounts of white space.
Websites filled with elements, text, videos, gifs, pop-ups, etc., can reduce conversion rates as well as increase load times. You don’t want to scare off potential customers. So think long and hard about how to effectively integrate marketing copy and other media in a visually-appealing way.
Again, when picking a color scheme, less is more. Stick to 2 or 3 colors and fonts throughout your website, incorporating slight variations to subtly differentiate products or sections of the site without it becoming jarring.
An easy way to improve your sales conversion rate is to make it easy to navigate your website. Finding products and understanding the difference between items needs to be simple.
Always consider the mindset of your website visitors, for example:
- Customers coming to you for a specific product should be able to find it in one or two clicks from the homepage or a single site search.
- Customers looking to browse should find a clear website structure with products and services separated into logical categories.
- Customers with a query in mind should find contact information and customer services details clearly linked from the homepage.
Other features that help visitors navigate a new webpage include concise drop-down menus for each section of the site and a search bar on every page (except maybe the checkout pages) that also remains in the same place.
If you’re unsure how to get started, a simple way to structure a new eCommerce website is to consider four main pages:
- Homepage: An introductory page that states the value of your products. The homepage is where most new visitors will arrive at your site. It should have clear links to the different sections of the site and the various products available.
- Category pages: A series of pages grouping together similar products. Category pages provide a simple structure for visitors to understand the scope of your business’s products.
- Product pages: A dedicated page for each product you sell. Product pages should include all the information someone thinking of purchasing would want. This includes price, features, reviews, comparisons to similar options, and anything else you feel might compel someone to complete the transaction.
- Checkout pages: The page where consumers enter their payment details and make a purchase.
Checkout pages and the entire payment process are important enough to warrant their own section. Thankfully, with some relatively simple design choices, you can go a long way to improving your sales numbers.
You want to make the checkout process as simple as possible to prevent shoppers from abandoning their carts at the last moment. This means reducing the number of clicks and the amount of information customers have to input in order to complete a purchase. Best practices include:
- Limit information and links on the checkout page: You want the only focus to be making a purchase. This can include offering other product recommendations as long as they are relevant to the existing order.
- Enable guest checkouts: Don’t slow down the checkout process by making people sign up for an account. Moving this process to after the sale can improve conversion rates.
- Offer multiple payment options: Don’t limit customers to your preferred payment method. You don’t want them to reach the final step and realize they can only purchase using a credit card or PayPal.
Read More: The Best Way to Reduce Credit Card Debt
Focusing on web design to boost sales
The design of your website defines how customers interact with your company. Focusing on the visual look and feel of your site as well as how people navigate around the different pages (in particular, the checkout page), helps improve customer experience and ultimately increases sales.
Make sure you take the time to design a user-friendly experience that packages all the essential information about your products in a great looking, professionally structured website.