It’s natural and understandable to want your e-commerce to look incredible. However, people often get so caught up with the designs of their sites that they overlook the most important thing of all: making sales. If you really want your e-commerce site to succeed, you need to flip things around. The design and appearance of your site matters, of course, but profitability is of the utmost importance. While designing your site, you should continually ask yourself whether a given element will increase sales and conversions or do nothing at all.
By keeping the following six marketing considerations in mind, you will be able to design a stunning e-commerce site that actually converts visitors into customers.
1. Have a Unique Brand Idea
Website designers usually ask customers what they have in mind in terms of the style and branding of their websites. All too often, people point to well-known examples like Amazon and Apple. Sure, those sites have terrific designs. If you emulate them too closely, though, your site isn’t going to stand out. It will look like another knockoff.
Furthermore, you need to think about your target audience and the nature of whatever you’re trying to sell. If you’re selling to a fairly upscale audience, for example, your site should be designed with that demographic in mind. They have money to spend, so they shouldn’t feel like they’re in the bargain basement of the Internet.
The style of your site should immediately inform visitors of what you’re trying to do. They should instantly know that you are selling high-end products, antiques, handcrafted products or whatever else it is you’re trying to sell. Your site should make sense.
2. Use High-Quality Images
One thing you don’t want to skimp on is the quality of the images that you use on your site. Nothing can draw in a visitor more than a large, crisp, stunning image. Use high-resolution images, but make sure they don’t result in long load times. You should also get on board with Pinterest, which is a great place to market your best product images.
3. Give Equal Attention to Internal Pages
It’s easy to exert a huge amount of effort on the main page of your website and on the most important category pages and to treat the other pages as afterthoughts. That doesn’t mean you should do so. People land on your homepage, but they should ideally work their way through your internal pages too. If they’re not up to snuff, you’re going to alienate your visitors.
You should put as much effort as possible into all of the pages on your site. If you must prioritize some over others, though, you should focus on the shopping cart and the category landing pages.
Like many e-commerce site owners, you may think of the shopping cart as little more than a means to an end. It needs to be functional, of course, but it should be just as attractive as the rest of your site. Don’t drop the ball here. You don’t want to leave people with a bad impression of your company right before they make a purchase. Host the cart on your own site so that it coordinates with everything else. Avoid third-party shopping carts; they make a site look pieced together and shabby.
It’s also crucial to pay close attention to your category landing pages. Ideally, qualified traffic will be funneled to these pages from the major search engines. Like the shopping cart, these pages need to match the rest of your site. Include elements like featured products, first-rate content, a compelling headline and even a rotating banner to show visitors that you’re on top of things.
4. Don’t Forget Contact Information
This may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many sites either omit contact information entirely or bury it to the point that no one can find it. Don’t you want your customers to be able to get in touch with you? Create a highly informative contact page and include a prominent link or button to it at the top of every page. It should be in the upper right corner for best results. Don’t get cute with it. Make it clean and simple. It will make a world of difference.
5. Include Plenty of Trust Symbols
There is a lot of fear out there about identity theft and other online crimes, so you need to show visitors that your site is safe and secure. A great way to do that is by including trust symbols. You can start with the homepage. Include logos for industry memberships, clients you’ve worked with in the past and awards you’ve earned. Include trust symbols for McAfee, VeriSign, the BBB and other trusted organizations on your shopping cart page. Make sure your security policy is readily available as well.
6. Don’t Forget to Include Calls to Action
You can’t expect visitors to know what to do. That’s not to say that they’re incompetent in any way; it just means that they don’t naturally know how your site works. You can resolve this issue with ease by including calls to action. Whether they’re links, buttons or other graphics, your calls to action should provide direction and tell people what to do.
Make sure your calls to action are obviously clickable. People should feel compelled to click them. Use shadowing on buttons to make them stand out and look clickable. When using text links in your content, make sure they are underlined. Don’t try to be creative by using different colors or other visual cues. Underlining is the universal sign of a hyperlink.
You should also make your calls to action stand out visually. Use contrasting colors to ensure that they don’t blend in with the background or the other text. Set them apart whenever possible and surround them with white space. Make links larger than the rest of the text. Use different colors for the fonts too.
By keeping these tips in mind, your e-commerce site won’t just look great. It will be a lean, mean selling machine.