At Blue Fountain Media, we do web development and web design for many different kinds of sites: some of our clients want to build a purely informational, brochure-style site. Some of our clients build web applications or online communities. And an increasing number of our clients are building ecommerce sites, which are able to sell products more cheaply and efficiently than traditional physical stores.
But just building an ecommerce website is not enough. There are several key elements of ecommerce website design that can bring in more visitors, and turn more of them into customers.
The key is to Optimize your site's layout based on where users are coming from. Where your visitors come from will determine what they're thinking when they get to your site.
- If your visitors reach your site because they saw search results or search ads for specific products, your main focus for ecommerce website design should be on showing off product specifications and listing features. Once someone is in the market for a specific product, your goal is to answer all the questions they have before they'll buy.
- If you're aiming for repeat visitors, you can use information you gathered earlier to know how to target them. For example, early adopters will respond well to content highlighting the latest new features. Price-sensitive visitors can be drawn in by highlighting discounts.
- If your visitors find you through entertaining content you've created, you'll have to make a transition from entertaining them to selling to them. One of our clients has a New York clothing blog that they use to bring in visitors interested in reading about fashion trends. How does R.A.G appeal to them? By maintaining the same graphical and textual style on both the blog and the main ecommerce website. Design stability gives readers a smooth transition from news and entertainment to shopping.
- If you're getting visitors from a social campaign, you'll do most of the convincing offsite. On the site, your goal can be to aim for a zero-clutter, zero-hassle experience.
Ecommerce website design isn't easy, but keeping in mind where you're getting your traffic will give you a good idea of how to proceed. There's a balance between optimizing for one audience and optimizing for every audience, but it's always possible to create several tweaked versions of the same content, either as a temporary test or as a long-term strategy. A good online marketing strategy can leverage your site design to maximize the value you get from every visitor.