Most ecommerce websites have a very low conversion rate, often only about 2%. It’s a fact of life, of course, that not everyone who comes to your site is going to buy, at least on that occasion, but the site’s job is to give customers every possible encouragement to find themselves at checkout and then go on to make the purchase. The better designed the website, the more conversions you’ll get — assuming your products fulfil the site’s promise — and even a 1% increase in your conversion rate can mean substantially higher turnover.
So what kind of things should you look for to give your site the advantage?
Be clear what you’re selling
If the customer can’t see very quickly that you’re selling what they want, they’re likely to go elsewhere. Be sure you feature large, clear images of your products as early as possible in the journey, and don’t crowd too many images on the same page. If you can’t get enough information on the page without squeezing it all up, just show a clear image with a link to its full description.
Think about the colours
A lot of research has been done on the psychological effects different colours have. It’s not that one colour is good and another bad, more a matter of how you want to influence the mood of the viewer — for instance, red tends to create energy and urgency, whereas blue evokes feelings of security and trust. Consider how you want the site to make customers feel, and pick colours that will promote that.
Think about where the customer is looking
People who look at a website tend to go from the top and the left. A well-thought-out visual hierarchy can take advantage of this, by leading them through each page in the order that will make them most likely to click on the button to the next stage. The button should always be the last point on the journey.
Make the call to action clear
If you ask the customer to carry out too many actions on a page, you risk confusing them so that they never reach the checkout — which is, after all, where you always want them to end up. Ideally, include one call to action on each page, whether that’s “sign up” or “buy”, and make the button stand out from the background by its position and colour.
Don’t take anything on trust. There’s software available that allows you to test customers’ reactions, setting alternative design elements against one another. It’s unlikely you’ll discover that your customers are reading from the bottom right, or that blue is energising them, but if you do, then so be it. Results are what matters — the theories are just a means to an end.