How to design an online store that stands out to your customers
Your eCommerce store has a lot to offer prospective buyers, but how do you get their attention? Strong branding and excellent web design can get you noticed and draw in prospects — and then keep them coming back for more.
What is strong branding? Think of it as making a promise to your customers, and then building your site to deliver on that promise every single time. Strong brands don't just make a powerful promise to their customers – they keep it. Doing so fosters positive customer recognition and associations, lends credibility and a competitive edge and ultimately drives sales. Consider Amazon, the world's largest eCommerce company. Shoppers expect the widest variety of goods when browsing the e-tailer's digital aisles, so the company spends ample resources making it easy to search for and find products, even from a mobile phone.
Amazon's eCommerce site reflects its brand promise. Here are five ways to align your own eCommerce site's branding and design, and attract new business in the process.
- Discover what brand promises you're already making. You want to know why customers buy from you. Generally, there are two ways to do this. Review your website analytics by looking at how customers arrived at your store and what they did before clicking the buy button, or send out surveys and ask. Either way, you'll get a better sense of how customers experience your brand.
- Decide what story best reflects your promise and how you deliver. Say you sell garden supplies online. Ideally, you're aiming to be on the first page of Google results. Test your work by logging into an incognito version of your favorite browser and then conducting a search: if your site shows up on page 1 for "garden supplies"— or whatever keyword best describes what your brand promises — congratulations! If not, revisit your content with an eye towards smart SEO (i.e, search engine optimization) to get your brand in front of the right audience.
- Upgrade your site to ensure growth won't force you to break your promise. Knowing how customers find you is half the battle. The other half is creating a site that's technically capable of engaging customers wherever they may be. Design your site with a responsive template so that the branding you've worked hard to develop shows just as well on a smartphone as on a desktop. Include mobile checkout to never miss a sale.
- Include appropriate visual elements.
Good eCommerce brands are easy to identify and have a unique "look and feel." Use evocative colors, images and fonts to accomplish this online. For example, at your flower store, your blog page that includes a guide to exotic plants should also showcase stunning images that capture their beauty.
- Provide a consistent experience in every interaction.
Great brands are predictable. Make sure your website is clean and simple to follow. Providing a clear user experience will go a long way to earning you positive reviews and repeat business. A user experience with your website can dictate whether or not a visitor comes back to use it again. It plots out how prospective customers make a purchase, why they should trust you, and whether or not they'll recommend you to a friend.
Great design and smart branding go hand-in-glove, delivering a unique customer experience that's clear and compelling. Amazon does this today and your site can too. Find out how customers see you, craft the story you want, upgrade your site to deliver what you want and what customers expect, add visuals as you need them and stay consistent.
Your site — and your eCommerce business — will grow if you do, and probably much faster than you think.
Alena Courtney is a Content Marketing and Organic Growth Manager at Weebly. Weebly makes it surprisingly easy to build a high-quality website or online store with powerful eCommerce features and beautiful responsive themes.