Posts Tagged ‘Web Design’

It is estimated that online shoppers abandon their ecommerce shopping carts during checkout at a range between 25 percent (Andersen Consulting) on the low end and 78 percent (Bizrate.com) on the high end. The following are among the most cited reasons for cart abandonment.

  • Lack of product and contact information
  • Prices on site too high
  • Shipping/handling costs too high
  • Site requires setting up an account to purchase
  • Site unclear about delivery times or how items are shipped
  • Shopper changed their mind
  • Shopper comparison shopping
  • Shopper saving items for later purchase

Some of the issues above are simply part of the shopping process. However, areas that you have direct control over should be reviewed. Sometimes the smallest bit of additional information can reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate. The more information you provide to make your online shoppers feel secure and trusting in purchasing from you, the more likely they’ll complete the checkout process.

What is your shopping cart abandonment rate?

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Many websites, especially those that only sell online, are not maximizing the potential that local search optimization offers. It isn’t uncommon for pure play online businesses to think that their geographical location is of little importance since they sell on a nationwide or worldwide basis. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In today’s online world where the web has become hyper-competitive, local search is a must for any online business that wants to maximize their sales opportunities. More and more, people are no longer simply searching by product or service related keyword phrases. They’re searching for product and service phrases followed by geo-targeted terms including their city or state.

So why would someone care about where you’re located if you only sell online anyway? Think of it this way, clearly stating who you are and where you’re located adds more credibility and trust to the decision of doing business with you. Also, the number of people looking to buy online from local companies is increasing due to various reasons such as supporting local businesses and a greater sense of security this provides in case service is needed after the sale.

Clearly stating your address throughout your website also benefits your customers on the other side of the country or even the other side of the world. For example, someone from New York sees that your business address is in Seattle, which immediately takes away the mystery of who they’re dealing with to a large degree, since you have established your business as being a real business with a real address, opposed to simply a mysterious website in cyberspace.

Your physical address followed by your phone number should be on a minimum of your home page and contact page. Although the best option is to have this information clearly posted on the bottom of every page of your site.

Keep in mind that simply having your address on every page of your site isn’t going to optimize your site for local search, since this may not provide enough keyword weight to raise your site in the search engine rankings. Therefore, your site must be specifically optimized for key local search terms along with your product or service offerings.

In addition to optimizing your website for local search, you should submit your site to local search services such as the following.

Every day, millions of people are searching for products and services online using geo-targeted search terms such as their neighborhood, city, state and even country. If you’re not actively optimizing your site for local search, you’re business is leaving a lot of money on the table for those that are. Is your site fully optimized for local search?

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Being successful in the world of ecommerce is dependent upon many disciplines such as merchandising, marketing and design. This being the case, often basic areas of improving conversions for an ecommerce website aren’t fully thought through or applied. The following ecommerce tips will help you to increase your conversion rates for greater sales success and make your customers more likely to return to your site.

  1. Keep things simple. Review your site to ensure that your navigation structures and link descriptions are easy to use and understand. The more your visitors have to try to figure things out, the more likely they are to leave and never come back. Also, make sure that important information such as pricing, return policies and your contact information are all clearly visible. The more obvious you make it that you’re there for your customer before and after the sale, the more likely it is that they will trust in buying from you.
  2. Think like your potential customers. If a product can fit within multiple categories, place it wherever appropriate. Simply choosing one rigid category placement and expecting your potential customer to work to find the item doesn’t work. They aren’t going to do it. For each product you have on your site, ask yourself where else it would make sense to feature the item. Also, make sure you are maximizing up sell and cross sell opportunities. For example, if you have a page selling shoes offer a link to your belt category as well. You should always be thinking of ways to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to buy more!
  3. Consider the impact of your images. Are all of the images on your site clean, crisp and professional looking? If not, you’re losing credibility with your visitors and losing sales. Review all of your images. Do they make the best impression possible? Would you buy a product shown on your site based on the image? Also, add additional images to show multiple product views and options. Take the time to make sure every image on your site is as good as it can be. Nothing can blow an online sale quicker than a poor image.
  4. Actively promote your site every day. It isn’t uncommon for many small online businesses to build their website and wait for people to come. This may have worked 15 years ago, but those days are long gone. Now that the web has grown it takes greater thought and effort to drive visitor traffic to your site. Always be on the lookout for quality ways to promote your site. Basics you should be applying include search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing (SMM), pay-per-click advertising (PPC) and email marketing. The bottom line is that you need to actively work at driving traffic to your site every day.

Now take an honest look at your site and bring in others opinions. Review your site to make sure it’s easy to understand and use and that potential customers can easily find related products. Look at every single image and change any that aren’t making the best possible impression and add additional product images as needed. While doing these things (and everything else you have to do every day) make sure you are constantly promoting your site. It doesn’t matter how well you implement the first three steps above if you aren’t driving potential customers to your site to buy.

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The web is like everything else in life; it constantly changes. This being the case, what may have worked for your business online a few years ago, may no longer be working today. This is why it is critical to choose an ecommerce platform that is highly scalable that can continue to grow with your business as your needs evolve.

If you’re thinking it’s time you made the move to a new ecommerce website, or if you’re unsure of whether you’ve reached that point. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Can my website be found in the major search engines?
  2. Do I have a high visitor-to-sales conversion rate?
  3. Is my website using the latest ecommerce technology?
  4. Is my website easy to manage and can I make immediate updates as needed?
  5. Can my website easily grow with my business overtime or is it already outdated?
  6. Is my website effectively competing against my major online competitors?

If you answered “No” to any of the above questions, you are most likely in need of a new ecommerce website for the following reasons:

If your website cannot be found in the major search engines this is often due to design and code issues, which can best be resolved with a new website. In today’s online consumer world, no business can afford not to be found in the search engines where potential customers are searching for your products and services. There is little point to having a website if no one can find it.

If your visitor-to-sales conversion rate is low, this can be due to many site related factors such as your site design, page load times, and shopping cart functionality.

If your website isn’t using the latest ecommerce technology, savvy online shoppers are aware of this and are likely to abandon making a purchase from a site that seems less than professional or outdated.

If your website isn’t easy to manage from anywhere, at anytime, you’re missing out on opportunity. Successful ecommerce companies are able to adapt and react to market changes and update site content on the fly. If your ecommerce platform doesn’t allow you to easily do this, you’re at a competitive disadvantage to your competitors that can.

If your ecommerce website cannot easily grow with your business as your needs evolve, you will either be in a position to stick with a website that is outdated, or change to a completely different platform each time you outgrow your existing website. If your current site isn’t highly scalable to grow as your needs change, it is a hindrance to your business.

If your website cannot effectively compete with your competitors, you’re doing your competitors a favor. Think of it this way, if you go to website “A” and are impressed, and then you go to website “B” which looks less than professional (and outdated), more than likely you will hit the back button on your browser and contact the company at website “A”. This being the case, if your website isn’t presenting your business in the best possible light, it is more than likely doing more harm to your business than good.

These six questions are just a small example of the many questions that should be asked in determining if it’s time for you to take action on establishing a new website. In today’s hyper-competitive world of the internet, and the state of the current economy, you cannot afford to have a website that isn’t reinforcing your brand and producing measurable bottom line results.

If you think it’s time to take your ecommerce site to next level let us know. You will be amazed by the capabilities of our ecommerce solutions and how they can help your business sell more both online and in-store.

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Increase your online sales, increase your online sales, and increase your online sales some more… Yes, we sound like a broken record. However, breaking records is what successful selling is all about.

Use the following checklist to take “another” look at your site with your eye focused on converting your site visitor’s into paying customers.

  1. Test, test and test again. How are your calls to action working? Have you tried and tested various formats to get an idea of what’s working and what’s not?
  2. Look at the quality of your content. Check your pages for misspellings, broken links, image clarity, etc. If your site’s appearance isn’t as good as it could be, more than likely you’re losing a significant number of sales.
  3. Make sure that all of your images and other content load quickly. Slow loading pages drive online shoppers away faster than you can say “click”.
  4. Maximize cross-sell and up-sell opportunities throughout your site. Think about cross-selling items that are related such as shoes and belts, and up-selling to more expensive items where appropriate.
  5. Make sure your contact information and customer service policies are easy to find with as little effort as possible. This will help your visitor’s feel more secure in purchasing from your site and ultimately increase your online sales.
  6. Review all of the products on your site to ensure that they’re optimized for your site’s search function. Example, if someone searched your site for a product such as a ‘snow blower’, do you also have the keywords of ‘snow thrower’ in the page content so the item can be found for both terms? Don’t overlook this gigantic online selling opportunity.

When selling online, the little things can make a big difference in getting the sale. If you take the time to carefully review your site for the above key factors, provide outstanding customer service, and are competitive in your market, you’re sure to increase your online sales.

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Design for Scanning

A great web site should clearly provide information to its visitors. This being the case, it’s important to remember that people don’t read web pages (at least at first) they scan them for the information they want. Since you know that visitors scan your pages, it’s critical that they see what you want them to see in the most meaningful order.

When designing your web pages for scanning, you should consider your page layout as a series of steps. The first step should be your logo placement, which should always be placed at the top left of the page since this is where people naturally look first. Some designers try being creative by placing the logo on the top right, which isn’t recommend, since it doesn’t make your brand name immediately visible when a visitor lands on your site.

After visitors see your logo/brand name, you need to direct their eyes to the most important content of your page such as a primary positioning statement or heading, followed by related images and main body text. What is most important for your visitor to be looking at is up to you, just make sure that they can look at your page and quickly digest your message with as little thought as possible.

To improve the scanability of your web site design, you have many tools available in doing so such a position and color. The position of where you place something on your web page clearly influences the order that your visitor sees. Therefore, you want your most important content immediately visible.

Colors you choose also have a large effect on how effective the scanability of your web pages are. Using bold and subtle colors is an easy way of telling your visitors where to look.

Contrast is another element that can increase the scanability of your web site design. You’ve probably seen sites before where everything is the same color tone to the point of everything blending together. Don’t do this. Use contrast to make important parts of your message different to stand out.

Size also has an immediate effect on scanability. A large image or line of text that’s front and center on a web page is going to attract more attention than a smaller message that’s off to the right. Again, if something is of major importance to your message, put it right up front for your visitors to see without them having to hunt for it.

Design elements such as graphics can also work at making your web pages easier to scan. If there’s a large red arrow pointing to something on your web page, or a line of text that’s highlighted, your visitors are sure to see it.

Contrary to what some believe, effective web site design is more like writing for direct mail or catalog content. If your message is all over the board, the number of people that will take the time to read through for the important pieces will be small. This doesn’t mean that you have to skimp on content; it just means that you have to put your most important content first. After addressing the scanability of your most important information, you can then follow it with all of the secondary content you want.

Guidelines for Good Web Site Design – Part 2 of 9

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Five questions are hardly enough to cover everything you need to address to make your web site as successful as it could possibly be. However, you need to make sure these basics are addressed. Often people believe they’ve covered the following five questions until they’re really put to the test.

  1. Is your site navigation “really” easy to understand? In other words, if a visitor has never been to your site and knows nothing about your industry, is your site navigation totally self explanatory?
  2. Does every page of your site have a clear and targeted message? Are you maximizing the conversion potential of every page by keeping your visitors focused on what the page is suppose to be selling?
  3. Is the text of your site easily scanable? If the most important things you want your visitors to know are buried within the text of several paragraphs, forget it. Make sure the most important information is easily spotted with bolding, bullets, etc. Remember, people scan web pages quickly to see if the content is of interest. Only after you’ve got their attention will they maybe read it.
  4. Does your web page content answer your visitors questions? If an item is available in other colors do you show swatches? Do you provide key product details that a potential buyer may want to know such as weight and measurements? Are you providing different image views? As the old saying goes, the more you tell the more you sell.
  5. Are your product images as good as they can be? Look at the photos on your site and answer this honestly. Are your product photos of a high resolution and do they “clearly” show the details of your products? Would you buy the product based on the images used on your site?

It’s a good idea to tour your site on occasion and to look for any weaknesses that your site may have. Even the smallest of details can have a significant impact on your conversion rates. Therefore, you want to always be thriving to continuously improve your web site in the eyes of your visitors. Make some time today to apply these five questions while touring your site. Some of your answers may surprise you!

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