It’s not just about looking good
A well-designed website is obviously important, but getting there isn’t always easy. It’s often not until we see a particularly bad website that we realise how much design is taken for granted. But good design is about more than just looking pretty - designing for conversion means bringing intention into the way your e-commerce website looks and is used by customers. We know that first impressions happen within seconds, and a first impression often comes straight from your landing page. How does your website encourage people to learn more about you, or to buy your products? Here’s a closer look at a few design elements that are important for making sales.
Focus on the user
Good design is part of the idea that the user experience is the most important thing about your website. Instead of thinking “what do I want to say,” start by asking “what do I need my customer to understand about us?”.
Websites that are confusing to navigate, distracting and too busy, take too much time to figure out, are offensive or even just boring mean you’re losing people rapidly. Anything you put on your site should have an intention behind it that’s related to what the viewer sees and does. Why do you have your phone number where it is? What does this photo make the user feel? What does my menu layout do to help someone find what they’re looking for?
Answer the most important question
One of the very first things you should see when you open your website is the value added that your products or services provide. It should be clear with concise text and relatable photos that your products are providing something very specific. That specific thing is almost never an object - it’s an idea or a promise.
Pinpaper Press, for example, writes “Be A Giving Legend”. They sell custom gift-wrap using social photos - but their first line isn’t about what they sell; it’s about how you’ll feel about yourself once you have their product. Their landing page immediately answers three questions.
- What do I get from this company (Value Proposition text)
- What do they sell? (Gift box image)
- Where do I get it? (strong CTA)
Prove you’re legit
Besides proving your company’s added value on the landing page, you need to show a few more things. Why should people trust what you’re saying? Are you going to stick around, or tank in a month? Do you seem like you know your audience and can offer them what they’re expecting?
You can add testimonials, credentials, partner brand logos, ratings and reviews, links to press or action shots to give you “social proof” -- the fact that someone else besides your own company is vouching for your abilities.
A well-designed webpage should implicitly guide you through your company with a narrative in mind. That means there is a clearly-marked starting point that catches attention, then flows into a few more details about your company, then leads directly to a call to action. Whether you give directions through a scroll or with actual arrows, it’s important to think about what order you want your customers to see things.
Take a look at Hello Fresh’s landing page. See the little green and white arrow that leads from the value proposition (a super snazzy meal) to “How You Could Cook Dinners That Look Like This”. The arrow is a little visual cue that helps guide the viewer in the right direction.
Create a visual hierarchy
Colours, contrast, and the use of white space are important parts of designing a website that evokes an emotional response from your customer. You should have a clear hierarchy, with a first, second and third object to look at. Size, density, texture, proximity -- these elements all go into creating a clear hierarchy of what you want to appear most prominent.
Look alive, people
Your website design also includes how it flows and functions -- menu navigation, scrolling, pop-ups and media. You can use a carousel of images instead of a stagnant one to show more of your main products within just a few seconds. You can have a video start up when someone visits or an interactive menu. Even having your landing page scroll through in different segments brings more life to it than one page with everything crammed in.
Narrow the options
One aspect of good design for conversion is how you arrange your products. Keeping products in the same category horizontal makes it easier for your viewer to know what they’re looking at, with subsequent categories being stacked vertically. Too many options at once can be overwhelming, and make customers feel like they’re not making a truly informed decision.
Test out where people are looking
A really good place to start is HotJar. You can use their Heatmap service to see where on your website people are actually looking, and use that kind of information to rethink what is important to your customers (or what is deadweight that isn’t actually helping you out).
HotJar also has other analytics that can help with design, such as their Conversion Funnel and Recordings features, which track where people spend their time on your site.
Once you have enough traffic coming to your website, a big part of designing for conversion means testing out what works. You can use A/B testing with Google Analytics to make incremental changes that help turn more people into customers. This is called Conversion Rate Optimisation.
Want a beautiful website that gets you sales?
That’s what we do. Elkfox is a Shopify Expert, meaning we know how to make attractive websites that work for e-commerce companies. Interested? Talk to us.