Website design is critical for any website. However, for a ecommerce website it’s more than critical. It’s often the difference between a business surviving or thriving, as so much of the business revolves around the website and it’s ability to influence a sale.
We love ecommerce websites because we can ‘see’ and influence the whole customer buy cycle. Online activity is ‘trackable’. We can therefore track and influence:
- New visitors as they first come to the website,
- Return visitors, who have never purchased before,
- Return customers who have purchased before.
We measure and monitor every step of the process, continually improving the system and driving up sales.
The customer buy cycle can be summarised as follows:
Awareness -> Consideration -> Purchase -> Repurchase
As with any website, it’s important to be aware of these different phases and design the website so that it connects with visitors accordingly.
For example, depending on the product being sold and it’s price, the website will identify visitors in the ‘Awareness’ phase and funnel these visitors into the ‘education’ section of the website. In this section we build trust by educating visitors on matters related to your product.
Avoid the ‘hard sell’. The focus with these guys will be to feed them pictures, videos and descriptions so that they can better understand the benefits of the product(s). The goal is to capture their interest, as well as their digital profile, so we can re-market and email market to them over the next few weeks and months. This is similar to the strategy used on non-ecommerce websites.
However, the heart of an ecommerce website is how we connect with visitors in the ‘Consideration’ and ‘Purchase’ phases. This is where website design becomes very important. When designing an ecommerce website we favour:
- Clean and simple layouts focusing on the product(s) being sold. The best way to do this is through the use of photographs and/or video.
- The removal of any obstacles to purchase. It’s very important to move seamlessly between the website visitors landing page, and order completion. In order to achieve this we need to minimise the number of clicks, the number of intermediate pages, and the amount of information the purchaser needs to enter in order to make the purchase. Let’s make it as easy as possible for them to make the purchase! If you desire extra information then consider asking them to enter details after they have completed the purchase.
- Information rich websites with an appropriate use of explanation videos and ‘how to’ videos. There are strengths and weakness to every medium. The strength of shopping in the real world is that you can touch and feel the product. One of the many strengths of online shopping is that you can provide more detailed information about the product being sold. The best way to do this is through video. Play to your strengths and include videos of the products being sold. Consider using a video for every major product being sold, and put the video on the products purchase page. You’ll see a big increase in “Buy Now” clicks.
We’ll finish with a very short mention of some of the products Google has on offer which are designed to help ecommerce companies. When setting up your ecommerce website you should seriously consider:
- Google Shopping – Automate the listing of your products, with their prices, on the Google Shopping section of the Google Search Engine Results Page. A Google Shopping click is much better value than a standard Adwords SERP click.
- Dynamic Remarketing – This is a great tool if you detect people are abandoning your shopping cart before entering their details or making the purchase. You are able to advertise just to these people, and when they click on your advert they will be taken directly back to the partly completed shopping cart page. It’s perfect for the customer that was distracted during purchase and has every intention of purchasing your product (i.e. baby crying, can’t find my credit card, doorbell rings, etc..)
- Customer Segmentation Using Google Demographics – This little known strategy can be a huge money earner for many ecommerce businesses. The re-purchasing habits of your customers can make for interesting reading. On average 20% of your past customers will be responsible for 80% of future re-purchases. It’s therefore a very sensible strategy to identify those 20%, and dedicate an appropriate amount of resources to encourage their re-purchasing habits. Google has an extraordinary amount of data on people including their age, their gender, their interests, their travel plans, their interests and much much more. The good news is that Google makes all this data available to you. When you combine the customer information you have gathered with this Google data, you’ll be able to identify the 20% and increase sales dramatically.
We would love to discuss your unique requirements. Get in touch with us so we can learn more about your business and identify how we can help you generate more revenue.