- You have 0-8 seconds to make a compelling headline and landing page. After 8 seconds, the majority of visitors leave.
Ecommerce website launch guide step 2: The Recipe for an Amazing First Impression:
1. Start With a Custom Design or Customize “Theme”.
It’s not wrong to start with a theme, in fact, with Platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify it’s necessary; meaning you have to start with a core theme and make customizations to create your brand’s personalized shopping experience. Your goal should be to make your site look and feel custom and not just another templated solution.
Key Design Elements to Pay Attention To for Ecommerce:
1. Your Logo – This is the first and most essential step in launching a successful online store. Why? Because it’s the cornerstone of your brand and a logo is THE graphic representation of your online business.
2. Simplicity – If you had any idea how many times I’ve heard, “I switched from my custom web design to a simple theme and my sales skyrocketed.” Custom doesn’t always mean good and good designs typically aren’t the most complex. In fact, the best designs provide simple and effective solutions to a problem. With Ecommerce the BIG problem is getting someone to buy, thus a good design is going to get someone to the product they want and through checkout as quickly and cleanly as possible.
3. Unique Value Proposition – A unique what? A unique value proposition is simply the ‘thing’ makes you different than your competition. What it truly means is; The experiences customers have with your products and services that are worth remembering and sharing the marketplace.
How Do I Come Up With a Unique Value Proposition?
Having a unique value proposition is worth spending a little time researching further and to do so, I would recommend the following resources:
5. Clear Navigation – Here’s a PRO Tip, Don’t get too creative with your navigation.
Do yourself a favor and make a short list of your favorite Ecommerce websites. Now. Take a look at those sites and I’ll bet you see some similarities in the navigational architecture, don’t you?
There’s absolutely no need to reinvent the wheel so-to-speak. It’s much better to stick with common conventions that online shoppers expect to see.
There are definite expectations when it comes to online shoppers and your site’s navigation.
In 2013, the Baymard Institute conducted a survey of ecommerce sites, ranking sites for user experience on the home page and category pages. One of the survey’s findings was that shoppers expected the top level of a dropdown or flyout menu and any headings in that menu to be active links.
This is exactly why Enterprise Level online stores like Macy’s use labeled links to category landing pages. When a shopper clicks “Juniors,” that shopper gets the expected result, a juniors’ landing page.
6. Functionality – Many of these items such as design, navigation and checkout are a part of your site’s functionality and user experience, but the core of your ecommerce website’s functionality is how it works across multiple devices.
Ensuring that your website is responsive and mobile friendly give you the advantage by delivering your website’s core content, features and business logic in the same manner across every device.
With 70% of mobile searching leading to an action in under an hour, ecommerce sites should have a strategic plan to conquer this market as well. If customers end up on an unresponsive site, 40% of them will go to a competitor site.
7. Good Product Photography – Good product photography is more important than many store owners think. People are drawn to sexy, striking, emotionally jarring, and downright beautiful photography. People love quality imagery and the success of Instagram and Pinterest proves that point.
We can also use Apple as an example. (We, here at Pixel, love using Apple as an example to illustrate many design issues.) We get clients who say “we want a site like Apple” but they don’t realize the main reason they are drawn to Apple’s website isn’t the typography and it isn’t the layout; it’s the images. Apple spends a lot of energy editing their image selections and making sure only the most sleek and sexy product shots make it onto their site. The images make the site. Swap them out for shoddy at-home product shots and you’ve just replaced their beautiful smile with a hideous duck face.
When you integrate good photography in your web design, especially if you have an e-commerce site, your images will sell your products for you. They champion your brand and inspire your customers to keep coming back to you. They will lend credibility, legitimacy and professionalism to your web presence. If you want your business to be taken seriously, take your photography seriously. And please, no more duck faces.
How To Take Good Product Shots?
Here are some great online resources for boosting your product shot game:
8. Customized Landing Pages – When it comes to Ecommerce the devil is truly in the details and those details are the landing pages. There’s a reason why so many people start with a ‘template’ or ‘free theme’ and then quickly call a professional to customize their website.
Landing pages create the sales funnel; which is one of the most important design considerations for any ecommerce site. The funnel generally consists of a home page, a search results page (or browse/category page) filled with products, individual product pages, and the checkout process.
The point of the funnel is to usher shoppers from one part of the site to the next, closer to the point of completing the sale.
Stores that convert more definitely pay attention to their customers and it’s reflected in the design of their site.
Your home page is often the start of your sales funnel and is prime real estate to entice shoppers to buy from you — especially new customers. Oddly enough, the goal of the home page is to get people off of it quickly. I know that seems weird, but what you want to do is direct them to the product that they want and a great way to do this is by offering a deal.
Most ecommerce websites use a homepage carousel or image slider making it easy to create simple graphics that display your special offer. The example above hits on multiple levels for effective (call to actions) CTA’s. If the offer is a percentage off items in a certain category, make sure you link to that category right form the promo image so shoppers know exactly what they can get the discount on.
Portable Oxygen Solutions has a great example of a product landing page optimized to convert. These products are definitely not an impulse purchase and 99.9% of their customers require assistance with the purchase due to the nature of the product. Portable Oxygen Solutions does everything possible to not only present essential information above the fold, but takes every opportunity to encourage their customers to call; where lead conversion skyrocket for this client. You will also notice that they cover all of their bases to encourage trust in the sale through the use of ‘trust signals’ and purchase incentives such as free shipping and price match guarantee. This is a product landing page designed to convert.
9. Streamline Your Cart and Checkout – Over the years ‘speed’ has become such a significant factor in all things web related; from the speed of your website in general to how quickly someone can checkout and pay for a product. The design of cart and checkout pages are critical when it comes to abandoned carts and lost sales. Don’t give your customers any additional reasons to leave.
According to Statistia there are 14 main reasons why shoppers abandon their carts.
We’re going to look at a few factors that will eliminate multiple barriers on this list.
Checkout usability expert Christian Holst found 30% of users abandoned their cart when asked to register upfront.
Barrier 1 – The Checkout Process
The first step is to make checkout as hassle free as possible by adding guest checkout. Or even going so far as to creating a ‘one page, one step’ checkout like the one below.
It turns out people don’t like filling out a bunch of information to buy their products. Online purchases are entirely driven by ease of use. If you start thinking of ways to make the purchase experience simpler for your customers your sales are going to increase.
Another helpful tip: have your customers enter their shipping information before entering their billing information.
Barrier 2 – The Shipping Process
56% of shoppers said that being presented with unexpected costs is the reason they leave without completing their purchase.
Shipping – Shipping can make or break your business in multiple ways. Choose the wrong shipping partner and your customers may suffer a poor experience. Don’t plan out your shipping strategy and you could end up unprofitable.
Determining the shipping strategy that’s right for you is no easy task. In fact, it will be much easier to start by determining what type of shipping will be appealing to your customers.
The Number 1 Most Appealing Shipping Option is FREE Shipping, hands down.
Offering your customers free shipping is an absolute no brainer for increasing conversions and reducing shopping cart abandonment. However, as you might suspect, shipping is never free. Someone has to pay for it, right? Don’t worry you have a few options to help ease the pain.
- Increase product prices to cover costs for shipping (customer pays)
- You pay the full price of shipping out of your margins (you pay)
- Increase prices of products slightly to cover partial costs of shipping (you and your customer pays)
The second most appealing method is Flat Rate Shipping.
Choosing an up front shipping policy for your store will increase your conversions and get more sales. But, how do you do it, especially if your shipping cost varies dramatically for the products you are selling?
Cart 66 published a nice strategy for $5 dollar flat rate shipping:
Once you know the cost to ship your product, take $5.00 off that price and increase the price of your product by the difference. Here is an example, suppose you have a nice set of noise reduction headphones that you were planning to sell for $85.00 and you discovered the average shipping cost was $9.00. Assign $5.00 of that to the flat rate shipping and bump the price of your headphones up $4.00 to $89.00.
As many of you will find, shipping is a very hard thing to manage and master for your ecommerce store. Every shop is different and there is no “one-size-fits-all” shipping strategy. Many of our customer have very dynamic and complex shipping needs as you may too.
If you find yourself going beyond the constraints of free and flat rate shipping, then I highly recommend checking out a shipping management program like ShipperHQ.
According to Yahoo Finance;
“a 2014 survey of online shoppers,1 28% of respondents said they will abandon shopping carts if presented with unexpected shipping costs, making it critical for online businesses to provide customers with transparent, accurate pricing for their orders. However, due to constantly evolving carrier fees and a wide variance in shipping scenarios, proactively providing this information to customers requires businesses to determine shipping rules and rates in real-time or risk sacrificing margins.
“Since its release, ShipperHQ has had significant impact in the world of ecommerce shipping by providing merchants with the tools, information and customization they need to adequately account for all of the variables associated with fulfilling online orders.”
More Resources for Ecommerce Shipping and Fulfillment:
Barrier 3 – Trust and Security
Of consumers who dropped out of a purchase, 17% mentioned “concerns about payment security” as a reason.
In some surveys, as many as 61% of participants said they had decided not to purchase a product because it was missing a trust seal.
Ninety-two percent of consumers say they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising, according to Nielsen.
Seventy-two percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to a study.
There are literally dozens of factors that play into whether or not a consumer will trust your site or not. In fact, going all the way back to the design of your website even has an enormous impact on potential customers.
Here are some visible trust factors that can easily double your online sales:
- Security Badges, certifications, and awards from recognized third parties.
- Clearly displayed direct contact details.
- Reputable payment options (if applicable).
- Authentic and real-time reviews.
ConversionIQ found in their studies applying McAfee Secure trustmark to ecommerce websites that new visitors responded positively to these added trust factors.
Another internet retailer measured a 3% lift in conversion rate for all traffic and a 12% lift in conversion rate for new visitors and another McAfee Secure test with a major off road parts supplier measured a 6% increase in average order value for all traffic and a 23% increase in average order value for new visitors.
4. Social – Maximizing Potential for Growth
We’ve all heard that social networking is important, but how important is it?
- 37% of consumers have recommended a business on Facebook, up from 32% in 2012
- visitors greeted by a video stay 2 minutes longer on a site and are 64% more likely to buy something
- Facebook, Vimeo and Youtube are the highest converting platforms
- The highest average order value is $66,75, reached by Polyvore
- 30% of twitter users gear up in holiday shopping mode before October
- 71% of online shoppers are swept into buying something based on social media advices
- 48% of consumers like a brand on Facebook because they want to benefit from their discounts and promotions