Easy Web Design Tips to Boost E-Commerce Sales

Online Shopping Rules!

E-commerce website design tips including the 3-second rule and others. We serve Philadelphia, PA, Reading, Berks County, Lancaster, Allentown, Harrisburg, York and surrounding areas with web design, development, and marketing services. Contact us for a free consultation.Everyone knows that more people are taking advantage of the convenience of online shopping.  In fact, a record 66 million people shopped online on Black Friday, 2013. Americans enjoy shopping in the comfort of their own homes, and they expect a pleasant experience on your website.  They want your website design to catch and hold their attention, to be easy to navigate, and to be organized in the way they expect. 

So how did your e-commerce site do this past holiday season? Was it a pleasant experience for your customers?  Did it help increase sales?  Or, did it frustrate your customers?

The 3-Second First Impression

Consumers evaluate your website in the first three to five seconds.  If it doesn’t appeal to them immediately, chances are they’ll move on and you’ll lose a sale. Here are some web design tips to ensure that your ecommerce website passes muster in that first three to five seconds and beyond.

Make sure your pages load quickly
If your site takes longer than 2 seconds to load the primary text and graphics, you’ve lost your customer.  Two seconds is a long time to watch a frozen page. Plus, website speed and page load times can impact your position in search engine result pages.

To ensure your pages load quickly, scale your images to size before uploading them (use file optimization software to reduce the “weight” of your images).  GIFs work best for images with just a few colors, such as logos.  JPEGs are best for images with lots of colors and details, such as photos.  PNG’s are best for high-quality transparent images.

Create an attractive design
Your website’s design is the first thing they’ll notice.  Make sure the images are high-quality, your site has a nice layout, and your text is concise and easy to read.  

State your unique value proposition in your headline
With only a few seconds to capture your customers’ attention, if your value proposition is buried, they’ll never see it.  Don’t make your headline something generic like “Welcome to our site.”  Instead, immediately tell them how they will benefit from your products and/or services.  Again, be concise – go for the quick connection.

Use relevant images
Your images should support your message and be unique to your site (like the one included in this post!), not generic or familiar-looking stock photos. Don’t confuse your customers with images that don’t match your message or the accompanying text.

Make it easy for your customers to get around your website
If your customers get lost in a maze of pages, they’ll quickly go somewhere else.  All navigation bars should be clearly labeled.  A top navigation bar can show general categories for your pages, while a side menu allows your customers to find specific products and/or services.

Focus on your customers
Use “you” and “your” instead of “we” and “us.”  Prove that you’re the expert in your product or service, but do it in a language that is easily understood.  

Make your landing pages match your ads
If you’re using banner ads or pay-per-click (PPC) ads, make sure that what your customer sees in your ad is consistent with what they see when they land on your site.  If they’re looking at a pair of boots in your ad, don’t take them to your “product categories” page; take them directly to the boots page.  

Prove you are protecting their information
Identity theft, computer viruses, and credit card fraud is a concern for many people.  You need to demonstrate that you are keeping their information safe by providing security certificate seals, customer reviews and testimonials, and a detailed privacy policy.  

Place your most important information “above the fold”
This is an old journalist’s trick that places the most important stories at the top of the page, above where the newspaper is folded.  The fold for your site is the point where your customer needs to scroll to see more.  The Nielsen Norman group reports that web users spend 80% of their time above the fold.

Provide effective calls-to-action (CTA’s)
It’s best not to overwhelm or annoy your customer with too many buttons, forms and other CTAs.  Limit it to the most relevant CTAs that will take them to the most important next step. Make sure it’s clear where that click will take them and keep the CTA above the fold.  If you have too many CTAs that interrupt their experience, they’ll quickly abandon your website.

Make your website design mobile friendly
According to the Pew Research Center, 45% of American adults use smartphones and 25% use tablets (and those figures are rapidly growing), so if you don’t want to lose those customers make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices. Keep text concise, use a single column, and make sure your forms are simple.

These ecommerce web design tips will help make your customers’ experience on your site more pleasant, which will keep them there longer, and help increase your sales. If you need help in developing an ecommerce website that meets all of the above guidelines, please contact us at 484-297-6395.

This post is summarized from an article by Greg Wise – “12 Tips to Ensure Your Ecommerce Site Passes the Blink Test.”   http://blog.hubspot.com/ecommerce/does-your-ecommerce-site-pass-the-blink-test


Can’t Beat ’em? Join ’em! Design Your Own ECommerce Website

$1.4 Trillion in ECommerce by When?

Ecommerce web design tips for Reading, PA and beyond. From PMI, serving Philadelphia, Lancaster, Allentown, York, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.E-commerce is projected to become a 1.4 trillion dollar industry by 2015, according to Daily Deal Media, with $144 billion of it going to websites that sell electronics. More and more shopkeepers are becoming frustrated to learn their brick-and-mortar stores are turning into showrooms for customers, who then run off and order the product from an e-retailer.

Let’s say you’re that frustrated store owner. What would you do? Instead of grumbling and watching your profits go down, why not jump into the ecommerce game yourself? Here are some web design tips to create a niche electronics site, which, by the way, can be applied to most any online shopping niche market.

Go for Repeat Sales and Hard-to-Find Items

You’re not going to turn into the next Newegg.com overnight. So instead of focusing on a broad range of electronics for your e-commerce store, try focusing on a specific category that you have extensive knowledge about. Do you have a knack for computer monitors, or are you more of an accessories kind of person? Determine the market that you’re most familiar with and use that as the basis for your product selection, your niche focus. Shopify recommends that you take the time to pick a market that generates repeat sales, such as consumable items, and go for products that are difficult, if not impossible, to find at your standard brick-and-mortar store.

Set Yourself Apart

Once you’ve determined your niche, get as much information on your products as possible. You don’t want only cut-and-dried technical descriptions. You also want to give your site a personality that sets it apart from the online megastores like Amazon or Newegg. Let the customers know exactly what type of solutions they get from a particular piece of equipment. This is where your specialized electronics knowledge comes in, as you can provide extensive information in the product details section of a listing. Not only does this increase confidence in your consumer, it also helps to answer basic questions to avoid a phone call or email from the customer.

Responsive Social Networking

After you’ve set up your e-commerce store, associate a few social network profiles with it. This is standard marketing operating procedure. Don’t set it and forget it, however. Engage with your customers to find out what they’re most looking forward to in the electronics world, what they think about your company, and to quickly address any issues that customers may bring up over social media channels. If you’re lucky enough to have one of your social media marketing efforst go viral you’ll want to be sure that your servers can handle it, as the traffic spike can cause some issues with lower-grade servers, according to  WebHostingBlueBook.com.

Accessible Design

There’s nothing more frustrating than searching for a great product and then not being able to navigate your way through a poorly designed site. Aim for simplicity when it comes to ecommerce design. Unlike a spy novel, mystery is not a plus when it comes to completing an ecommerce transaction, so make your shopping cart and check out processes simple and intuitive.

Another important design factor (especially in the electronics niche) is to make sure that you create a truly mobile-friendly website. Your tech-savvy customers are likely to use a smartphone to comparison shop or make a purchase, so you want to avoid any issues with a mobile site that would prevent them from doing so.

ECommerce Web Design Assistance is Just a Phone Call Away

Do you need help in designing an intuitive, compelling, and mobile-friendly ecommerce website to build your online business? If so then please Contact Us today.

We’d like to thank Albert Lester for contributing statistics for this post. Al teaches economics and business at his local high school. He blogs about business, finance, teaching and the economy in his spare time.

Mobile Website Design: See the Difference for Yourself

You know your business needs and deserves a mobile-optimized website, right? Given the ever-increasing pace of website traffic from smartphones and other mobile devices, it’s only a matter of time before your non-mobile site will share all too many characteristics with the dinosaurs of ages past: outdated, cumbersome, and extinct!

Test Your Website for Mobile Viewing

To prove the point, we invite you to test your patience with any website that is not yet optimized for mobile (perhaps your own?). Here’s what you’ll encounter:

  • Text that is too small to read, even when you turn the phone sideways, especially for 40-somethings
  • Menu buttons or links that are difficult, if not impossible, to use unless you first expand them
  • Frustration over not being able to navigate and view the site with one hand

 

Look in the Mirror

Now ask yourself: if you were your customer, would you put up with this if the next competitor offered a mobile-friendly experience? Is your mobile website design sending the right message to your potential customers? Can you afford that?

 

Here’s Proof

Here’s proof of the difference a properly designed mobile website can make. Take a look at the before and after mobile views of the website below.
live demo of the mobile experience
We designed both the original website and the mobile version. The “before” view shows the “desktop” website essentially as it would appear on a mobile device, with everything crammed onto that little smartphone screen. Although it looks nice at first glance, when you try to use it the frustration begins.
Compare this to the mobile website design on the right:
  • The navigation buttons are clear and large enough to be accessed easily with one hand
  • The text is pleasantly large
  • The calls-to-action practically jump off the page: Call Us, Find Us, and Buy Tickets (found further down the page)
  • Some of the content has been rearranged to make it more intuitive for mobile users

 

Take it for a Test Drive

To take the mobile version for a test drive, simply click on the smart phone on the right (from a desktop or laptop device). It contains a live demo of the mobile experience and allows you to navigate the entire site. Next, click the non-optimized version on the smart phone on the left. Compare them page by page if you like. Now ask yourself which one is likely to hold your interest as a mobile viewer.

Need Help?

If your mobile website experience currently projects an image that is frighteningly similar to the dinosaur, then contact us today to discuss a mobile web design upgrade. It costs less than you think, and your customers will thank you!

Web Design for the Touring Industry

We are pleased to announce web design and online marketing services catering to the unique needs of the touring industry.

Web design for the touring industry is now available from PMI in Reading, Pennsylvania. Our touring industry web designs address the unique needs of the touring industry, including online ticketing in real time for accurate availability.Touring industry websites may include an online ticketing function, and are keyword optimized to achieve maximum search engine traffic for touring company operators.

Unique Web Design Challenges

Touring companies face some unique challenges. Their customers are often new to the area, have little time to spare, and frequently use search engines to find, research, and book tours. Our touring websites are designed to include an interface to Zerve that provides instant online ticketing and reservations in real time, so customers can instantly book their tours without the need for time-consuming phone calls or a trip to the touring company to purchase their tickets.

Touring websites designed by PMI feature compelling graphics designed to impress customers and to entice them to spend additional time on the website, time that often leads to ticket purchases. Website pages typically include one or more calls to action to book a tour immediately to ensure availability.

A Hilton Head Island Touring Company Website Design Example

We recently completed a touring website for Sonny C Charters, a dolphin and nature touring company based in Hilton Head Island, SC.  According to company president Sonny Compher, PMI exceeded his expectations:

“My website was 10 years old and in need of an upgrade. PMI was recommended to me by Zerve, the company providing my online ticketing service. I emailed Al at PMI and immediately heard from him. Al worked closely with me on every detail, and we went live within two weeks. He also promoted my site using a press release and through search engine optimization. My website is now at the top or close to the top on every search for my type of activity. Some searches have my site completely dominating the first page. He returned every phone call and email promptly, and I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Here are some screen shots from Sonny C. Charters’ new website:

Touring Industry Website Design – Home Page

Websites for the touring industry by Power Marketing International, Reading, PA, featuring online ticketing, stunning graphic design, and clear calls to action.

Zerve Online Ticketing Interface

Real time online ticket purchase interface for touring websites. Contact Power Marketing International in Reading, PA for details.

Customer Comments Page

Web design for touring companies: Customer Comments page. Note pleasing graphics and clear call to action to buy tickets online. For more information please contact Power Marketing International.

If you know someone in the touring industry who could benefit from a website redesign featuring online ticketing and first-rate search engine rankings, then please contact us. We’d be happy to help, and grateful for the referral.

If you’d like to take a closer look at Sonny’s dolphin touring website, go to www.hiltonheadtours.com. While you’re there, consider giving him some feedback on his website. Come to think of it, we’d also like to get your feedback on this post! And by the way, if you’re ever near Hilton Head Island, look up Sonny C. Charters for possibly the best dolphin tour on the east coast!

4 Easy Ways to Achieve Consistent Branding

4 Keys to effective branding and marketing for Reading PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Allentown, York, Harrisburg and beyond.Branding, or the art of achieving a positive and consistent brand image for your business, is more than just a nice idea.  In fact, branding is a key pillar of an effective marketing strategy, and applies as much to online and social media marketing as it does to traditional marketing and advertising such as print media, outdoor advertising, radio, and TV. It’s a pillar because great branding essentially multiplies your marketing and advertising efforts and dollars by providing a hook to make your message live on in the minds of your target audience.

Just getting your new business off the ground? Don’t be fooled into thinking that an integrated logo, business card and letterhead are sufficient to create a great brand image, even for a low-budget one-person operation.  There are many things to consider, all of which work together to reinforce your brand image and to remind potential customers of who you are and how you stand apart from the competition.

Here are four easy ways to achieve positive and consistent branding: 

#1. Use Taglines:  Make Them Short, Memorable, & Relevant

A good tagline is a memorable phrase or one-liner designed to remind customers of who you are, what you offer, and how you stand apart. Just as a picture can paint a thousand words, so a tagline can help customers recall your advertising campaigns, presentations, and value propositions in an instant.  Who can forget Nike’s “Just Do It”, Ford’s “Ford Tough”, or Wheaties’ “Breakfast of Champions”?  When you hear those lines you know immediately which company is represented, and experience an instant visualization of their products or logos. Strive to make your tagline short, memorable, and relevant to your core products, services, and mission.

#2. Create a Style Guide for Consistent Branding

Creating, a style guide is a fairly painless way to ensure that your basic branding efforts share a consistent look and feel. Your style guide, which should be created by a professional graphic designer, will define the colors, images and fonts to be used in your advertising materials and presentations, as well as logo placement, and details like the amount of white space to be included around your logo, as well as other guidelines. A thorough guide may even include examples of what is not acceptable in an effort to avoid common errors by your well-intended sales and marketing staff. Your guide is also valuable when outsourcing new advertising and promotional materials, and may help reduce the cost of such efforts while helping ensure consistent, high-quality branding.

Your style guide will make it easier for you to achieve visual consistency in anything and everything that represents your brand whether it’s a flyer or brochure, a blog or social media page, a TV commercial or PowerPoint presentation, a pen or mug, or virtually anything that can reflect or reinforce your brand image.

#3. Brand Your Social Media Experience

Branding includes creating a consistent visual experience wherever your brand is encountered, including on your social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and any others your business may use.  Some social media platforms provide less graphical design flexibility than others. Nevertheless, those encountering your brand via social media should experience a strong sense of familiarity and consistency across all social media touch points.

#4. Create and Use Branded Templates

Take the grunt work out of branding by providing your sales force and others with professionally created templates that adhere to the branding guidelines in your style guide.  Your graphic designer can create effective templates for letterheads, PowerPoint presentations, signature lines within email messages, sales receipts, customer quote forms, and virtually every type of printed or electronically transmitted customer-facing communication. Using templates will save time and money while consistently reinforcing your brand image.

In Summary

A great brand can multiply the results of your marketing efforts while building brand recognition and loyalty. The more you get a clear and compelling brand image in front of others, and the more consistently you present it across your marketing and advertising channels, the quicker people will recognize it and become more likely to choose your brand over others. There are many aspects to effective branding beyond those mentioned here, but by following these 4 principles you will be well on your way to a more effective branding strategy.

If you would like additional help in forming an effective branding and marketing strategy for your business, then please contact us.