Attracting traffic to your online store is a high priority. But the experience consumers encounter once they reach your site is just as significant to your success.
Thousands of visits to a website are meaningless if those visitors don’t make a purchase.
Persuasion strategies can help, but the actual design of your site may be the most important part of the conversion machine.
The look and functionality of your website immediately affect how people interact with it. These traits also affect consumers’ buying decisions. You’ll want every page to be intuitive and easy to use.
Keep it simple. Keep it clean.
When visitors land on your site, they should immediately understand what to do.
Conversion rates can suffer when a web page has too many clickable links or feels messy. Poor design choices often obscure calls to action and navigation. Customers will even leave a site if it looks disordered or feels unprofessional.
The speed and responsiveness of a website can also affect a visitor’s decision to stay or go. Visitors won’t sit around and wait for your site to do its thing—make every second count.
Lay It Out
Designers describe everything visible on a web page before scrolling as being “above the fold.” It’s a good goal to have every page function as intended without the user needing to scroll down.
For instance, it’s ideal to have the following things above the fold on your main page. Items marked with an asterisk (*) should be above the fold on all pages:
- Brand identity*
- Distinguishing traits about your company or products*
- What kind of products you offer
- Featured products
- Navigation to all product categories*
- Navigation to relevant information (contact, company story, customer service)*
- Shopping cart link*
- Link to account sign in*
- A call to action
All these points may seem like a lot to cram into the top of a web page. But if you use space wisely, it’s no problem at all. Check out the main page over at cbdMD. Everything you need to use the site as intended is above the fold!
For product category pages, images should be clear and large enough for the customer to view comfortably. Along with the pictures, provide the name of the product, price, and available variations (e.g., sizes, color). A call to action for each item on the page is also useful.
For product pages, make sure the following attributes are above the fold:
- Large, clear images of the product
- Concise points of interest regarding the product
- Variation choices (utilizing check boxes, drop-down menus, or similar)
- A call to action
If you need to explain the product in greater detail, you can add that below the fold.
Make it Pop
Color, contrast, buttons, typography, and text all work in concert to make the user experience simple.
Color can play a major part in evoking emotion. Neil Patel of Kissmetrics posted some interesting statistics on the topic. It could be very helpful in making difficult color decisions.
When choosing the palette for your website, think about the emotions you want your customers to feel. Do you want them to feel excited or a sense of security? Maybe you would rather create an air of luxury.
Contrast draws attention to certain parts of your website. Look at web pages from major retailers, and you’ll see it everywhere. This technique is most evident in buttons used as calls to action.
These devices are an integral part of an online store. Buttons and their accompanying text beckon the customer to take action. Adding an item to the shopping cart or signing up for an email newsletter are some examples. They’re designed and placed strategically to demand attention.
On the topic of buttons, text is as important as color and contrast. It’s crucial to use the right phrase for your audience. If you want to create a sense of urgency, you may want to use the words “Buy Now” on product listings’ call to action. If your sales environment is a little more subdued, something as simple as “Add to Cart” may be all you need.
Typography refers to the general appearance of text on your site. Clean, simple, legible fonts are your best bet for communicating what you need to say. Other aspects of text presentation include font size, spacing, color, and proportion. Designers approach these attributes of a site with careful consideration.
What about the text itself?
Use as few words as possible to communicate accurately and effectively. Brevity can be difficult, especially when you are passionate about your business. But being concise in product listings, category pages, and main page text will likely work to your advantage. You can always write long-form pieces on your blog or with other pages if you wish.
One thing to remember is that you can always change things. One of the best ways to find out what changes to make is to use “A/B Testing.” This method tests different versions of your site against each other to find out which works best.
A/B tests can help determine which colors work best, how people respond to different button shapes and a variety of other variables. The possibilities are limitless.
It’s a Lot to Think About, Isn’t it?
Yes, it is.
Optimizing your online store to make the most out of your traffic is difficult. It’s also essential to your success. Modern, e-commerce platforms often make some adjustments easy for the user.
Other changes will require a professional’s touch, and that can be expensive. But fine-tuning your online store can turn everything around for an underperforming site!
Terence Mann is a content writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He’s worked in the ecommerce sector since 2001, primarily focusing his efforts in online retail and on-demand services. He currently works as a content contributor to the cbdMD blog.