So, you think you can just throw up an ad-hoc web store and call it good, huh? Just use a generic template. Put up a few product pages. You’ll be golden, right? I didn’t think so. You wouldn’t be here if that were the case. Building an e-commerce website is like learning to ride a bike. You need training wheels at first, but you will eventually want to do it on your own. You’ll need some help getting there. Most of the people who visit your site aren’t going to buy immediately. You’ve gotta lead them by the hand to the sale. And sometimes they will run away no matter what.
Here are ten ways to design your e-commerce store that will help customers get to the shopping cart.
1. Color Matters More Than You Think
What’s the difference between red and green? Stop signs, stop lights, all use universal colors to communicate.
If you’re trying to get people to click on a button, you’d think that green is the best choice. Maybe it’s our curiosity or our propensity for self-destruction. But oddly, people want to push the red button more than the green one.
It’s easy to repel customers with colors. You can’t always predict how customers will react to various colors. Everything from culture to region to personal experience can influence how someone reacts to a certain color.
If you know where your audience lives you could reasonably predict how colors will affect customers. Instead, work backward from product to customer. What do your products do for your customers?
Are the products used in exciting and explosive ways? Red and orange might be the colors you would choose.
Are you selling a product meant to soothe? Try blues and whites. Certain yellows and greens might be effective.
2. Video Killed the Radio
Video landing pages could make you a lot of money. 70% of professionals agree that video seems to convert better than regular content. Now, how accurate their perception is depends on a ton of factors.
People are watching a lot of video online. More than 70% of users prefer video over written content.
While this pains my English major’s heart, I have to agree that video is probably superior in this visual media age.
Be sure to code the embedded video to play automatically on your landing page. You have to capture their attention immediately.
3. Include “Trust Symbols” on Your E-Commerce Site
When you go to a site and there is no verification that your payment is secure, would you buy from that website? Of course, not. So, why would you expect your customers to do the same?
First, you will want to choose a trusted checkout service like PayPal or Square to care for your customer’s financial transaction. Then you will want to use whatever code those services employ to verify their service is legit.
You can use customer testimonials in a similar fashion. If customers see others have had a positive experience, they’re more likely to buy from you.
4. Animate Those Calls to Action
I always say animations should be kept to a bare minimum on a website. So, I’m hesitant to even mention this one. But sometimes your customers just need that slap in the face to act (please don’t take that literally).
Something as simple as a quick arrow pointing toward an offer or even just toward the comments section could be enough. You could reward completion of tasks with animation. If someone puts something in the cart, a thumbs-up or an exclamation mark might be enough to spur people to a transaction.
5. Highlight the Free Things
An MIT professor once did a study. He told people to choose between a Hershey bar that cost 10 cents and a Lindt chocolate bar that cost 50 cents. Of course, people chose the better chocolate. When he lowered the price of the Hershey to zero and the Lindt to 40 cents, people chose the Hershey bar.
The “free” option hijacked people’s reasoning. The price difference was the same in both cases, but the perception of zero cost compelled people to choose the lesser option.
The same thing happens when you attach free things onto something that costs money. Anything that involves a quantity could always have a certain percentage more than another option. Call that certain percentage more “free” and people will be more likely to buy it.
6. Boring Typography Kills Babies
There is no excuse for bad typography today. Anyone who just uses the default typography from Microsoft Word needs a brain transplant.
Right now, simple, bold sans-serif is fairly popular. Don’t go overboard on the flowery stuff. You want people to be able to read your content.
And it’s ok to layer and overlay your type font with images as long as you’re able to distinguish the words.
7. White Space is OK
Some people feel the need to squeeze every once of space out of their website. It’s like some newspaperman from the early 20th century took control of their website design.
But it’s really OK to leave space on your website. Why? Because you want to maximize a customer’s attention span.
I suffer from attention deficit disorder. If you throw a billion options in my face, I’ll get overwhelmed and hide in a corner (or on a weird subreddit).
Most people will feel the same way if you don’t use white space in your web design.
8. Parallax isn’t Just for Astronomy
You’re gonna need a super fast host server for this one. But if you can use this effect without slowing down your site, then, by all means, use it.
It’s a simple concept. Overlayed images move over underlayed images as you scroll. You can immerse people in more content in less time if you use parallax scrolling.