It wouldn’t be an Online Optimism blog post if we didn’t start off with explaining the benefits of running and marketing your business online. It’s what we do, and it’s what you should be doing. If you’re in the commerce business, that advice is even more true.
E-commerce is the practice, or as we’ll learn today the art, of selling your products online. Whether you’re a clothing retailer, gourmet cheese salesman, or jewelry reseller, if you have a product and people who want to buy it, you need an E-commerce website. The only problem is, more often than not, it’s not done well. Designing E-commerce sites with your end goal of driving sales requires a bit of technique and a bit of finesse.
Studies have shown that customers are more likely to be brand loyal based on websites rather than brick and mortar shops, so what is it about E-commerce that keeps them coming back?
The first principal of E-commerce sites, as with any aspect of business, is that the customer comes first. With websites, however, the focus more is on the front end of getting customers to see your site, and immediately decide whether or not to do business with you.
Despite doing most of their shopping online these days, most people looking to purchase goods or services are still a little bit skeptical about websites. It hast to look just right to earn that ever-so-important trust factor that’ll get them to the checkout page.
So, first impressions count. A lot. Your homepage should have a clean design. It should be straightforward and should immediately show what you’re selling. Steer away from sliders, but definitely showcase large pictures of some of your best products. What you intend to sell should be front and center, with a few for-sale or featured items featured underneath. Your logo should be prominent, but not too large. The menu bar needs to scroll with the page and shouldn’t be cluttered (so use those sub-menus.)
Once you get them in the door, you need to seal the deal. List your prices large, and include shipping costs so customers can know how much money they’ll really be spending on this. Resist the urge to make the “Add To Cart” button blend in with the rest of the site. It has to stand out. If it sticks out like a sore toe, you’re doing something right. You want the customer to see the large product images first, and then the purchase button.
The magic in the whole process, however, is making the customer feel like they’re doing slightly more than just clicking a button and receiving something in the mail a few days later. Since they can’t touch and feel the object right then and there, you need to make them feel included in some other way. Here’s where the magic plays in: you need to make them feel special. Whether you do that through a great web design that makes them feel unique or if you do it by thanking them after the purchase, make the whole process as human and real as possible. It’ll keep the customers returning, and will make your overall site so much better.
So, let’s recap.
- If you half a brick & mortar store, you need an E-commerce site.
- It must be clean and effective.
- It should be highly visual, but not distracting. Don’t put a call to action in a slider!
- Your website design should never be concrete. Test, test again, and optimize forever.
If the whole process is user focused, you’ll be making your E-Commerce dollar in no time.
Sound like a lot of work? Well, that’s because it is. If you’re busy with the thousands of other tasks running a business requires, we’re here to help. Just call 504-521-6222 and we’ll be at the other end of the line ready to assist you with any of your digital marketing questions.