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.

Web Design Tips for E-Commerce Success

e-Commerce strategies and tips for small and mid-sized businesses. Serving Reading, PA, Berks County, Lehigh Valley, Allentown, Lancaster, York, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and beyond.Certain web design principles apply specifically to e-commerce websites. While some web stores may be clean and pleasant to look at, and may even attract a select group of visitors, if they suffer from poor usability or an inappropriate or weak marketing signal, then their owners are leaving money on the table.

A well-designed e-commerce site is vital to selling your products online, and key to a strategy that does not needlessly leave extra money on the table.  Here are a few web design principles to increase sales and foster long-term customer relationships by providing a positive online experience.

Clean User Interface

A cluttered or confusing interface drives potential customers away. On the other hand, a clean, well organized, and visually attractive interface draws the viewer’s attention to important calls-to-action, which, in turn, drives conversions and profit. A clean, carefully planned website design communicates both efficiency and professionalism. Instead of trying to impress viewers with bells and whistles, turn their attention to the shopping path you wish them to follow.

Creating a clean interface also means limiting the number of calls-to-action on a page, keeping category and navigational elements structured, and using readable fonts. These elements can work together to hold the viewer’s attention and focus the browsing and shopping process.

Speed and Uptime

E-commerce thrives on 24/7 demand and availability, allowing customers to conveniently shop any time of the day or night, and, with smart phones and other portable devices, from virtually any location. A great user experience requires fast information retrieval, including text, graphics, and videos.  Find a reliable, high-speed e-commerce web hosting provider and hosting plan. You’ll save time and money by avoiding server downtime and slow website performance, both of which can drive customers away and harm your search engine rankings. Your web design and e-commerce strategy should include providing the best possible customer experience, and speed is a critical element of that strategy.

Visible Sign Up and Checkout Process

Easy-to-understand and well-placed call-to-action buttons and boxes are also important considerations. Your sign-up, “buy now”, and add-to-cart buttons are perhaps your most important calls to action. A results-oriented web design plan includes forms and buttons that elicit a positive response from shoppers and visitors, so make them clear, convenient, and direct. Avoid requiring customers to fill out long sign-up forms when all you really need are a few basic details and an email address. De-emphasize phrases like “more details” and “learn more” and place greater emphasis on  “buy now” and “add to cart”.

Effective Use of Colors

Another important web design element is the use of colors that work well with your web design theme, yet emphasize your calls-to-action. Use contrasting colors for you calls-to-action to help them stand out. Consider using standard colors like “Amazon yellow” for your “Add to Cart” and “Check Out” buttons, as they are likely to feel intuitive and familiar to your shoppers.

An Intuitive Product Page that Lets Users Control Their Shopping Experience

Personalized shopping drives the growth of many e-commerce websites. Offer your visitors tools that allow them to customize their shopping experience. Let them search for and sort products by category, price, feature, release date and other relevant variables. It’s also important to provide a large, detailed product image (typically as a separate click), description, and product availability.

SEO Counts for E-Commerce Too

A winning e-commerce web design strategy includes a smart search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Besides optimizing the visual aspect of your website for your customer, it’s important to optimize your content (text, video, images, etc.) for the search engines. High-ranking websites feed the search engines with content that is well defined and well structured from the headings down to the footer links. Use proper heading tags and meta data and, most importantly, do your keyword research for each product and product category, and use those keywords in your page, category, and item descriptions, and in your other meta-data.

Create a Positive Experience for MOBILE Shoppers

Shoppers are increasingly turning to mobile devices to perform their online shopping, and trend-watchers are predicting that that m-commerce will overtake desktop and laptop e-commerce in the near future. Suffice it to say that your website should be designed to automatically reformat the navigational buttons, images, shopping experience, and check out process specifically for the small screens common to mobile devices. For more on this topic, please see our m-commerce blog posts.

In summary, it’s wise to leave no part of your e-commerce web design plan to chance. Everything must be well planned and executed if it’s online business success you’re after. Following these steps will increase your likelihood of creating an experience that rewards your shoppers with a pleasant experience, and rewards you with repeat business.

If you would like to stay abreast of these and other issues to help your business succeed in today’s online world, please subscribe to our blog (see column to left). If you would like help in creating an online marketing strategy for your business, with our without e-commerce, please contact us.

Web Design WARNING: 61% Fleeing Mobile-Unfriendly Websites

Survey Says …

Based on survey results reported on Google’s Mobile Ads Blog, we can conclude that customer expectations for mobile-friendly websites are sharply on the rise. The results may surprise you.

Mobile web design tips to impress and retain customers. Critical information for mobile media marketers.Here are some highlights of Google’s mobile web design study:

 

  • 2 out of 3 consumers are more likely to buy from a mobile-friendly site
  • 61% abandon poor mobile sites
  • 96% of consumers report discovering websites that were obviously designed for mobile
  • 74% who have visited a mobile-friendly site are more likely to return
  • Per Google, “The fastest path to mobile customers is through a mobile-friendly site. If your site offers a great mobile experience, users are more likely to make a purchase.”
  • Non mobile-friendly websites damage a company’s reputation: almost half surveyed felt that a site that functions poorly on mobile devices suggests that the company does not care about their business

 

Google sums it up this way: “Having a great mobile site is no longer just about making a few more sales. It’s become a critical component of building strong brands, nurturing lasting customer relationships, and making mobile work for you.”

We can only conclude that mobile web design formatting has become a must for those looking to create or re-design a commercial website. Is a mobile website in your plans? 

For Google’s full post, click here

Is Your Website Optimized for Mobile Media?

No Time Like Present to Start Building or Optimizing for Mobile

If your business web site is only viewable in the standard display formats used for desktops and laptops, then now may be a great time to upgrade.

Consider the benefits of creating a pleasant experience for those viewing your website on smart phones and other mobile devices. Consumers and business people alike are purchasing and using mobile devices at an unprecedented rate. Your business is in danger of being left behind on this tsunami-like web marketing trend unless you get on board and get ahead of your competition.

Mobile media marketing and mobile website design by PMI, serving Reading, PA, Berks County, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Bethlehem, Lebanon, and beyond.On the Go and No Time to Waste

Mobile shoppers and viewers are often on the go, with little patience for a viewing experience that slows them down or makes them work too hard to find the information they are seeking.

The primary goal of formatting web pages for mobile media centers on creating a pleasant user experience that does not require the user to manually expand pages to view information, to navigate the menu system, or to fill out online forms.

It also includes not forcing the entire page width of the standard website onto the mobile version, but instead breaking it down into smaller, more readable chunks and single columns suited to smaller mobile viewing formats.

Goodbye Yellow Pages, Hello Search

Ever since the de facto death of the Yellow Pages caused by the ease and power of online searches, a solid website design has become a prerequisite for doing business, or at least for getting found by those unfamiliar with a firm’s services and products.

Instead of operating in relative anonymity, even small businesses today can become global concerns by leveraging the power of web marketing in its various forms. And now the website prerequiste is expanding to mobile websites.

Take the Right First Step: Hire a Pro

When creating a mobile web site for your business you have two main options: one option is to create a stand-alone mobile version, the other is to modify your existing website to detect mobile devices and to automatically re-format each page for mobile viewing. The latter spares you the hassle of maintaining two versions, which can otherwise become a considerable long term cost.

For the stand-alone option there are off-the-shelf packages that allow the do-it-yourselfer to muddle through the process of creating a mobile website. In many cases that is a serious mistake because most novices lack the online marketing and graphic design skills needed to create a well-designed mobile version.

High Stakes

When it comes to optimizing your site for mobile devices, the stakes are high because your business is competing with others for the time and attention of a rapidly growing number of mobile viewers and shoppers. Therefore, hiresomeone with true mobile media marketing and web design expertise, saving you lots of time and effort, and providing a much greater chance of yielding impressive results.

The Future Belongs to Mobile Media Marketing

Today’s trends are clear: mobile media marketing and formatting websites for mobile viewing are among the keys to online marketing success. Still not convinced? Take a moment and look around you when in public or when picking up your teenager after school. Chances are you will see lots of people engrossed with their smart phones (and we’ve all seen distracted drivers as well, further proving the point that people are driven to use their mobile devices!).

The Biggest Players Have Adapted Their Pages for Mobile Media, and You Can Too

Some Smart Small Business Have as Well. Check out the popular social media sites like Facebook, Google Plus, Linked In, Twitter, and others — they all have mobile versions. Want to see one of the best mobile shopping sites? Check out Amazon from your mobile phone, then download their mobile app – it’s flawless. The best part is that the technology to accomplish this is now within reach of even very small businesses, thanks to website technology leaders like HubSpot, so there is no reason to hold back if you think it may be right for you.

The Bottom Line

The list of social sites and other mobile sites from informational to e-commerce that are ‘must-be-ons’ will only continue to grow.  All these sites and many more are optimized for mobile media marketing, and the trend is growing rapidly by the day. Now is the time to develop your mobile media marketing plan, including your mobile-optimized website.