The point of having an online store is to sell. Right? To be successful, think of every online transaction like a first date. She lands on your home page and either decides she wants to browse your store, or she leaves. The problem you want to solve here is how to improve the chances that she stays and clicks through to make a purchase.
Let’s wingman your website! If you were helping a buddy get ready for a date, first things first. How does he look? Is he shaved? Is his hair primped? Are his clothes clean? Wrinkle free? You are definitely not going to let him walk out the door in his Saturday loungewear! He needs to look his best to impress.
Same with your website. The design needs to look clean and “well-dressed.” Optimize your use of white space to make it easy on the eyes and to draw people’s attention where you want it to go. Your calls-to-actions (CTAs) need to be visible and understandable (more about that later). Use high quality, professional photos that are insta-worthy, an appealing font that is legible, and consistent branding on every page. Whatever colors, font, and design styles you choose to use, be sure to use them everywhere. Branding is key!
Also, most importantly, keep your customers’ needs and preferences in mind when implementing design elements. Are they older? Do they appreciate complete sentences and perfect grammar? Would they prefer to have access to more information and less clutter (i.e. too many photos, bold text, etc.)? Or are they younger and have a shorter attention span? Do they prefer to get their information via videos and short text snippets? Are they looking for a specific emotion or feeling from your product or company story?
You need to consider all this in order to create an attractive site.
Your man is now primped and ready for his date. That’s the first step. Let’s say she sees him and obviously approves. Now, for step two…conversation. Can he talk the talk?
The concept of usability is more than how fast your website loads. While that is extremely important, of course, you also need to consider HOW a customer moves through your website. Your website may look strapping, but if they have to bumble their way around trying to figure out how to maneuver through the darn thing, they won’t. They will leave. Attention spans just aren’t what they used to be, as I’m sure you know very well.
Your website must be intuitive, guiding the customer through the various pages and through the checkout process without having to write out a step-by-step manual. If your website is “clunky” or frustrating in any way you will lose your audience. If the verbiage is confusing, they might not know where to go next.
Try doing practice runs with third parties to find out where a person might get stuck. You should also look at your data analytics to identify exactly where people tend to drop off.
Want to Learn More?
In addition to design and usability, you should learn more about purchase flow, purchase recovery, and payment experience. When you are able to optimize these four concepts together, you will have a website worthy of attention (and maybe even a second date).