The significance of first impressions online, for retailers and service providers alike, cannot be understated. After all, how easy is it for customers to click ‘back’ and find an alternative? Recent statistics have shown that, on average, 97% of visitors will not ‘convert’ during their first site visit but 20% will go on to purchase from a competitor.
The Devil is in the detail
Imagine, for a moment, walking into your favorite shop. You’ve come to expect a quality experience, but this time, it’s hard to find the things you want. The assistant is completely ignoring you and the place is a mess. Does that fill you with confidence? Or, would you sooner leave and try next door?
The smallest of details are capable of stirring our emotions, positively or negatively. For instance, elements of a brand’s visual identity – such as a font or a colour palette – can help to encourage behaviour akin to muscle memory, promoting a sense of trust and reliability through consistency.
Every interaction between brand and customer demands a considered – often bespoke, even – approach, continuously blurring the lines between design disciplines to meet customer expectations.
Do’s and Don’t’s for online retailers
- The basic ‘old style’ web design from the naughties – yes some sites still look like they’re run on dial up.
- Hidden and secret navigation (unless you’re a gaming site)
- Illogical internal linking
- Broken links
- No images
- Low resolution images or wrongly sized increasing load time
- Too much text (ain’t nobody got time for that)
- Consider user generated content in the form of:
- Comments and testimonials
- Optimise high resolution images
- Clean up and SEO long URLs and content copy
- Have a logical top navigation, leading to each page directly
- Be a representation of who you are offline
You will need a full audit to make sure that your pages are well laid out. There are a lot of great tools out there to analyse this the same way Google does, to determine how likely people are to find and enjoy information on your site. Depending on the results, you may need a complete restructure, content updating, image resizing, delete pages with redirects or just a fresh new site.
Your online representation should be as it is in ‘real life’. Design a slick new site for a researched range of users to interact with your products and everyone to enjoy. Time is money, as we all know, so the right items should be found effortlessly.
Demonstrate your credibility efficiently
Carefully designed features such as User Generated Content (UGC) which is growing in popularity can be used to your advantage. Although sites like Tripadvisor are built ready for that purpose alone, they are increasingly being incorporated into sites like Uber and AirBnB.
At the moment, people tend to research on their mobile but buy on desktop. Does your mobile responsiveness encourage people to buy? Do you have or need an app to secure checkout? Does your homepage feature any testimonials? What about your social assets? Social proof is defined as a phenomenon where people reference the behavior of others to guide their own actions. People like what and whom they trust.
Show off in product pages with ratings / reviews incorporated into the design. Enhancing consumer trust can enhance sales.
A quick and secure process from discovery to payment, requires a solid host and platform, along with fewer redirects and caching to ensure that the actual site speed is up to standard. That way votes (or clicks) in your favour provide value to your customers and on to you.
People trust people; enable reviews
Sites like Amazon, AirBnB and Bla Bla Car rely on safety and trust and give people the ability to feedback on hosts, making sure that the next person knows exactly what they’re letting themselves in for. Even dating apps have been blamed for giving singletons bad reviews if they did not click! Would you buy a product that you know doesn’t live up to claims, or get a lift from someone across country who is a real talker with a different taste in music?
Positive reviews help convince people that they will also like the product and that it will work well or look great. (Given that anything online is a big popularity competition.)
Look at the rise of social only ecommerce brands, using transparency in product images and comments and likes to build trust. There are so many ways to do it and sometimes it is difficult to decide when you’re swimming in options, but stay focused and true to who you are.
Even negative reviews are helpful as well for people and brands. Giving the opportunity to collect feedback and adapt for the better. Reviews and testimonials add further validation to the positive ones and can even be converted into brand advocates, increasing reliability on the long run, keeping you, front of mind.
Online experiences need to feel natural and authentic. Stay tuned for another blog on the best technical user experience practices.
Replicating the human, personable and relatable aspects of the offline experience online can encourage positive engagements.
Demonstrate your style, values and code of conduct to create credibility for your customers. Ultimately, meet and exceed expectations to meet and exceed your online objectives and people will click to trust.