Five short years ago, if your business had any kind of website whatsoever, you could boast an advantage over some of your competitors. Now, in 2014, online business is practically ubiquitous throughout all retail and services businesses. In order to stand out from the crowd in this day and age, you don’t just need to have an acceptable website, you need a slick site that’s not only aesthetically pleasing and easy to use, but well marketed too!
Getting the look
Much as all business owners operating physical outlets must consider every level of the appearance of their business in the customer’s eye, from brand identity down to the way the shelves are stacked in store, we must now ensure that the online arms of our businesses are meticulously maintained to create a positive aesthetic impression on the customer.
Visit the sites of your larger or closest rivals. What do you see? The aesthetic details of the website right from the typography to the quality of digital images used will define the lasting impression created by the website. Would you trust a tacky-looking website with your credit card details whilst shopping online? We think not. It’s tempting to wade in there yourself and tailor the aesthetic of your site to your own personal preferences, but if you wish to properly invest in the online side of your business then we’d recommend consulting with a creative branding agency, whose graphic design professionals can make a supermarket site like Tesco’s spotless or bring the mobile fruit machines at online casino sites come alluringly to life.
It usually follows that the higher the usability of your business’ website is, the more easily you’ll convert hits to sales. The first step towards making your site more usable is to de-clutter it – quality trumps quantity in web design for e-commerce. Get rid of unnecessary banners, promotions and other digital tat and instead give precedence to high quality images of your finest products and the actual mechanics of e-commerce transactions – user log-in fields, basket buttons and so on.
By encouraging users to interact with your business’s website, you can greatly increase engagement with your products, boosting sales as a result. Consider adding a sign-up field for an email newsletter which can regularly offer news from the business (whilst avoiding excessive, spammy messages). Other interactive features such as rich media like videos or flash games can also help your site to engage the customer, depending on your target demographics.