The following is a guest post by Michael Dean.
Modern customers have an e-commerce attention span, which makes capturing their attention your number one priority as an online proprietor. Your website has to make customers react as soon as they land, lest they move elsewhere.
Creating an attention-grabbing e-commerce website is not an easy task. It is a careful balancing act between making the site functional, attractive, and informative. If you go too far in any direction, you will end up frustrating potential customers, and lose sales in the process.
Fortunately, with the expansion of the e-commerce sector in recent years, e-commerce website owners have learned quite a few lessons through trial and error. As a result, we now have a pretty good idea about what customers expect from a website in terms of design and functionality.
If your e-commerce website is not bringing in as many customers as you would like, you should work on optimizing its attention-grabbing potential. And if you’re unsure where to start, give the following eight tactics a try.
1. Minimize Loading Duration
The first few seconds after a visitor arrives at your site are crucial. In this short span of time they will decide whether to stay on the page or bounce back to the SERP that lead them to your site. And if they spend these precious few seconds waiting for your site to load, they won’t be harboring any goodwill towards you. So make sure that your website loads blazingly fast by using dedicated hosting, image compression, and script minification.
2. Use Eye-catching Colors
Humans are creatures of vision and color is the first thing our senses notice upon arriving in a new environment, such as a website they haven’t visited before. The color scheme you use for your site will make an immediate impression on visitors, and if they find jarring, they will bounce. To create an attractive color scheme for your site, you need to keep the principles of color theory in mind during the design process. Choose colors that complement and/or contrast each other, fine-tune their hue and saturation, and leverage the psychology of color.
3. Create a Functional Layout
If you treat your website visitors as passive observers, you stand little chance of turning them into customers. A website is a tool for interaction, its layout will determine whether these interactions are frustrating or enjoyable. There are two things to keep in mind when designing a functional layout: logical placement of interactive elements, and responsiveness. Buttons and links that perform similar functions should be highlighted and grouped together, and they should respond to user input without delays or distractions.
4. Use High-Quality Images
Familiarity is essential for keeping customers focused on your website, and images are instantly recognizable even to someone who doesn’t know how your website works. Use images to show off your products, to provide information in a condensed format, as well as to introduce the people behind your brand. Provide them in different sizes to suit devices with different screens, and don’t forget to add alt-text to help the visually impaired.
5. Add Style through Typography
When you strip away the images and interactive elements from your website, what remains is mostly plain text. And you can do a lot with text through the effective use of typography. Fonts are useful for setting the tone of your content, as well as for making text more readable. The four main types of fonts are serifs, sans-serifs, slabs, and scripts. Limit your choice to one of each at most, or try using a single one in its different variants (bold, italic).
6. Use a Greeting Chatbot
Ecommerce websites have many advantages over brick and mortar stores, but one major drawback: they lack the element of human communication. There is a world of difference between reading a welcome heading and having the store proprietor greet to you in person. However, thanks to chatbot technology, you can now replicate the feeling of talking to a store greeter. Once you set up a greeting chatbot, they will be ready to welcome customers to your site 24/7, in addition to providing other useful services such as customer support and product suggestions.
7. Highlight Deals and Promotions
The purpose of an e-commerce website is to sell products. And customers will be more inclined to buy if they come across a good deal. So instead of having them browse through extensive product lists to find something they might want, you should highlight your top deals on the front page. Add a dedicated deals section above the fold, where you will post limited-time offers, flash sales, and deep discounts on popular items.
8. Provide Testimonials and Reviews
Scams are rampant in e-commerce space, so visitors will be reluctant to buy unless they feel safe using your website. One way to signal that your website is trustworthy is to provide reviews and testimonials sections. By highlighting select reviews and testimonials, you will show your willingness to listen to customer feedback. Reviews can also work in your favor by providing useful information such as delivery times to specific countries, novel use scenarios, or recommendations for other products on your site.
Attracting customer attention is one of the oldest business problems in existence. It remains pertinent with the transition of commerce into online space, and we are no closer to solving it permanently. However, you can still make incremental improvements by using tactics we have outlined above. Try them out, and start attracting more customers today.
Want to learn more about customer engagement? See what the iQmetrix integrated partners do to help shoppers pick your business, every time.
Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.