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Online Shopping 101 – Part 4: Designing your online store for success

Posted on: January 20th, 2014 by Walid Abou-Halloun
Categories: Marketing and Online Store. Tags: Design and eCommerce. Releted Products: Online Store.

Online Shopping 101 – Part 4: Designing your online store for success

“Don’t you want to take my money!?”

We’ve all had that frustrating experience of trying to buy an item from an online web store only to have it send you in circles or not update quickly enough. After you’ve successfully integrated a functioning shopping cart, it’s time to transfer those customer experience skills over to the rest of the work you are doing in building an online store to ensure products actually land in it! These tips are also useful if you’re using an online store software program.

Also check out our previous tips here and here for supercharging the effectiveness of your website. Just because we’re always full of great ideas, here’s a few more tips to ensure your online store attracts and keeps customers buying your products.

  • Ensure ‘add to cart’ buttons are clear and easy to use
    It sounds simple but it’s so often overlooked. Make your ‘add to cart’ or ‘buy now’ buttons a different colour to everything else and big enough to be clicked on easily without thought. Don’t be shy about wanting the person to buy your product… remember they want to buy it just as much as you want to sell it!
  • Merchandise your online store
    When you build an online store, you need to think about it like a physical store. Throwing all your products into a pile is not going to get them noticed. You need to plan out your online store just like you would a bricks-and-mortar one. What are your most popular items? Put them up front on the landing pages. How do people navigate through your products to find the one they want? Make it clear and simple to use. What products naturally work together and are likely to be bought together? Place a link to the sister-product at the bottom of the main product and see a spike in retail sales. Good conversion rates are planned out to the last detail.
  • Create logical categories
    You may think you know how your customers are perusing your product. The reality is though, you don’t. The best way to find out the most logical categories for your product is to show your brand to someone, then show them the product. Ask them, if they were to walk into a store with that brand, looking for that product, what signs or groupings would they expect to see that would help them find it. Ask them to choose different types of groupings (age, colour, style, gender etc) in order of preference to see which differentiating characteristic is most important.
  • Quality photos for your products
    You wouldn’t let stock sit on a shelf gathering dust and looking worn out… so why would you risk putting a photo of a product on an online web store that makes it look not so good? Customers will judge the quality of your product by the quality of the photo, it is as simple as that. Make sure your products are presented in the best light with quality photos.
  • Clear product descriptions
    Don’t try to be fancy here. Your customers want to know what the product does and how it can help them. Keep it as simple as possible but don’t be afraid to give them the specifications they want. Many websites are so caught up in trying to make their products sounds as amazing as possible that they forget to outline important stuff – like size, colour and materials.
  • Use standard fonts
    Ensure your website is easy to read and not confusing by using standard fonts that everyone is used to. You may think it makes your online web store stand out and perhaps it does – but you don’t want to stand out for being bad and difficult to read. Reduce stress of the buyer as much as possible by keeping it to fonts they know and understand.
  • Avoid complex backgrounds
    White is the best background for product displays and also your website shopping cart. Any other colour may work with your website a little better but it may also confuse your customer. If you must create an online store with a solid colour ensure it is a light one and that your white boxes for entering details are large and inviting rather than small and numerous.
  • Include help elements
    For many people, ordering online is a new experience. You can keep the process flowing without having to man a phone and talk someone through it with quick help ‘hover over’ or ‘pop up’ boxes. Position these at various stages of the buying process where your customers might get stuck because they’re unsure. Popular hotspots are: delivery price explanations, how to remove an item, when an item will arrive and at the various payment options. Ask someone to walk through your website and note where they ask you questions.

These are just some of the things that go into a great ecommerce web design – for the rest, you need professionals on your team like Complete Cloud! Check out our ecommerce website design packages.

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