Did anyone else notice that the Christmas lists received from their loved ones last year had miraculously expanded? Now containing such absurd anomalies which you can barely pronounce and other items of which you never knew existed, these lists have become ludicrous! And I think I know why. Prior to the internet, as a child, we’d maybe get the chance to sift through an Argos catalogue or witness a spellbinding TV advert in between an episode of The Rugrats and it was these few and far between opportunities which helped us dream up and conjure our wish list to Santa:
Dear Father Christmas,
Please could I have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s Battle Bus, a Swing Ball set and a Super Soaker 1000?
This sort of list is one my parents would’ve loved to receive, no doubt. Items which they are guaranteed to find in Toys R Us. So how has the modern list become so refined that the items upon it surpasses even the most knowledgeable of shopaholics? Ecommerce sites - that’s how. With their endless pages of products, which are easily accessed by the masses, nowadays anyone can log online and find things they want (trust me even my 4 year old nephew can). There are hundreds of shopping sites out there which is why the wish lists are expanding. Interestingly, when I began my online expedition to meet these wish lists some sites were exceedingly better than others for a multitude of reasons and left me begging these sorts of questions:
Do you want to secure a sale?
Don’t get me wrong, many of the online stores I visited were aesthetically pleasing and refreshingly modern but, infuriatingly, some were increasingly difficult to shop on. Once you hurt the head of a customer (like myself) by making them struggle to see, select or survey what it is they’re trying to do - you’ve lost them, I’m afraid. There are many facets a consumer wants to deliberate before hitting the big ‘add to basket’ button and restricting them by having a messy website is not the way forward.
Why don’t you showcase your product?
Personally, I knew what it was I was looking for because of my list, however, I felt that some products failed to take the consumer on a journey by detailing what it is they can’t afford to miss out on. Whether it be one off specials, new arrivals or best sellers you should try and encourage excitement around each and every product.
The organisation and the display of your products is also critical. The use of images, smart grids or drop down lists allow the casual online browsers to flirt around products and navigate from one thing to the next seamlessly. Don’t lose them! The ‘just browsing’ surfers are a marvellous market to tap in to.
Do I trust you?
I, I mean people, don’t part with their hard earned pennies easily. You’ve got to make sure that you are providing the full customer satisfaction service before they choose to purchase. It’s vital that they are not left querying or questioning anything about your product, so ensure all bases are covered in the spec. From there they’re going to want to be able to see that the payment process, delivery and returns, warrantees and guarantees are all accessible, understandable and formidable so that they can confidently commit to a transaction. If something is missing, you’ll lose them. For see these inevitable issues and provide links or tabs for them to access the information they require. This in turn should reduce the number of calls and online queries for your support team. Trust me.
Having addressed the issues above, it made me want to divulge further and prompt you to consider aspects of layout and design features too.
Pay attention to detail in your design.
It’d be ludicrous to think that there was an ‘ideal design platform’ which brings more success and sales than another but when creating an online platform there are some key criteria you must consider:
Logo – your logo is your identity. It should be clear and prominent. Recognisable and renowned logos offer a reassurance and bridge a sense of trust between your company and the consumer. These brands can therefore produce an on-trend home page with minimal clutter.
For a new organisation you must make the most of developing an iconic logo through image, video and colour in order to establish your own bridges for consumers to cross, connect to and return.
Log in, search it & add it to basket – these options are readily available across most ecommerce sites today and it’s hard to envisage one without them. It could be argued that they’re a necessity. Each one should be visible enough for simple identification and located in an appropriate place. You tend to see them at the top right hand side of most sites, nowadays. A magnifying glass icon is a popular and suggestive icon for the search method and a shopping cart for the basket or checkout. Binoculars and shopping bags have also been known to highlight these features.
Moreover, private accounts in which customers can freely log in and out of to track orders, view purchase history and the like give a real sense of belonging and help develop a relationship.
Social Media – love it or hate it…it’s a big deal. The number of purchases online which come from directly social media sites is on the rise. Therefore, if you haven’t already, you must make sure your pages are up to scratch so that social networkers can access everything they need. The likes of Facebook and Twitter are free and easy to set up and can host links directly back to your site. Moreover, social media platforms are a great tool for promoting your brand and products – it’s a perfect channel to feed directly to those particular audiences with special offers too.
Contact details and Live chat – two of the most exploited tabs on any site but arguably the two most important. If your customers have an issue, they’d much rather talk to someone directly rather than scrawl through generic problem and answer pages (trust me). Due to the fact that we are now all living on a global time frame as to when something can be purchased, 24/7 helplines and live chats are proving largely popular. If it keeps your customers happy because you can solve an issue then they are more likely to return due to customer satisfaction.
Come and find us – store locators or a store finder tab is a simple necessity. Many consumers like the physical element of buying a product and would much rather locate their local branch or retailer in order to make a final purchase decision. So let them know where you are! Maps and locators can easily be integrated into any modern website.
Trustmark’s – by promoting logos that ensure a guarantee of security from an outside source demonstrates a certain amount of safety. Such accreditations can reassure a customer and give them confidence about sharing their private details and information resulting in being more inclined to make a purchase. After all, identity theft and fraud is still something we are all cautious of.
Seek attention from your design
Now that you’ve organised your ecommerce site with the satisfactory and crucial elements, it’s time to stand out from the crowd and attract some custom.
Deals & Free stuff – Everybody loves a bargain, in fact people often buy stuff just because it’s cheap (whether they actually want it or not doesn’t come in to question). We’re all often tempted and seduced by offers and giveaways, it’s these sorts of offers that attract the masses. Free shipping, huge discounts and rock bottom prices are often the first thing a customer is distracted by. Therefore, by placing striking banners on your home page alerting and directing the hungry consumers to such marvellous opportunities is something that is recommend.
Big Brands – big brands are big for a reason: they’re well marketed and successful and people buy in to them. By displaying big brand products on your home page, first time shoppers especially will be reassured about the quality you have on offer. What’s more, by providing a filter to ‘shop by brand’ instantly opens the door to other offers and avenues for the shoppers.
Read all about it – many ecommerce sites now feature a news or blog channel, not only is that great for your SEO but it keeps your returning customers up to date and on top of any new offers, exclusive stories or new items up and coming. The idea is to entice the consumer so that they return willingly having previously read about a certain day ort time a new product or offer becomes available.
Dear Father Christmas,
All I wish for this year is a bunch of ecommerce sites to hone in the above suggestions and make my online shopping less stressful, super smooth and somehow enjoyable.
If you would like to talk websites, whether that be eCommerce, content driven or totally bespoke solutions, feel free to get in touch with myself on LinkedIn. I would be more than happy to discuss your Christmas wish list for 2016.
Submitted by Studioworx Social Media Team on 10/02/2016