04 Dec 2013

Last Minute Web Site Conversions Checks Ecommerce Design

If you own an Ecommerce website, here are some conversions design recommendations for improving user experience for holiday shoppers.

Put on a New Hat

Kim and Dakota

Kim wearing her Santa hat and (the late) Dakota Berg.

Every Christmas morning when my husband, pile of kids and their significant others, pets and any family who comes by gathers together, I hand out Santa Claus hats to put on our heads. Why? A few years ago, when I bought the red and white comfy hats and passed them out for the first time, I noticed that it changed the mood for everyone. The hats made it effortless to switch from grumpy, sleepy and hungry to “Oh boy presents!”
Every custom has its rituals and objects that take us to the place we need to be to best experience a moment.
So it is, too, with reviewing your web site. There are several hats you may wish to wear to be absolutely sure your site will provide the best experience for each targeted group of customers. Better yet, pass out hats to friends and family and invite them to review your site.

Four User Paths

Every website has objectives, from the business side to end users. I have always preferred to look at “users” as visitors and guests because after all, search engine bots don’t have credit cards and certainly don’t run around with lists of things to buy, make, bake and do during the holiday season. Your guests are:

Guests who know what they want

– These visitors know what they are looking for.

  • Provide a site search near the header or somewhere in the top half of every page for fast access.
  • For sites that have huge inventories, provide alternative search options such as A-Z search, drop down categories, search by brand, etc.
  • If you are out of stock on an item, provide a way to backorder it or show when it is available again.
  • Remove distractions from product landing pages. They know what they want, came to get it and your page must let them order it without any additional nonsense. Related items are okay.

Guests who are “just looking”

– These visitors have followed a link, search engine lead, referral or arrived with a plan and got sidetracked.

  •  Does your navigation inspire clicks? Be descriptive. Add categories. Men’s what? Plus size what? Absolutely avoid mystery links that don’t specify exactly where you are taking visitors. They don’t have time.
  • Look at how Amazon does their site search in the header. Visitors can search the site or by category or with keywords. Auto-complete functionality is also helpful. The idea here is to be the salesperson who is guiding a customer by making suggestions.
  • Add related topics, related items, favorites, testimonials, customer ratings, etc. to product pages.

Guests who don’t know what they want

– These people are often found in technical sites, clothing, and general gifts shopping. They need ideas.

  • Use models of all shapes, ages and sizes for clothing sites. Victoria’s Secret is not friendly to plus size, mature women for example.
  • Review your images. Online shoppers must have help with making choices and images that provide close up details are hard to find. Show tread. Show craftsmanship. Provide step by step images of custom work.
  • Technical sites with gadgets seem to forget that how we use devices is important to know. Can your products be used in the rain and snow? What is the average life span of a battery, roofing tile, light bulb?

Guests who are regular visitors

– Visitors who have purchased from you before deserve perks and are looking to you for reminders and reasons to return.

  • Provide a newsletter with coupon codes, special deals, limited time specials, etc.
  • Offer functions such as wish list and favorites. Add a way to “Pin” items. This not only acts as a way to add to a personal wish list but advertises your products to others.
  • Membership has its benefits. Provide personalization and perks. Etsy and Amazon are examples for account history, which helps with remembering and re-ordering.

Create Confidence

Put on the hat of the frenzied last minute shopper. They desperately need your website to do all these things:

  1. Put vital information at the “point of action”. For example, on product landing pages place the return policy, shipping, warranties and detailed specs or ingredients. There is a risk to how you do this however because you want to avoid links taking guests off-task. I recommend very brief statements on the product pages such as “No hassle returns”, “Free shipping” only that are not linked. A product category landing page, however, can provide links or additional information from there.
  2. Show how your items are used and add a call to action button to how to order it. Make a video with landing page, step by step images, draw pictures, make a podcast for listening, etc.
  3. Always provide navigation for “sense of place” – where they are, where they came from, where to go next.
  4. Answer questions at the point of action, point of sale, and landing pages. The moment you force a visitor to go hunt for information is the click of death for revenue.
  5. Avoid bright red font colors. Tests show color blind men don’t see it as red and the color increases the heart rate. Create a soothing browsing experience by using blues and greens.
  6. Add content! I hate to yell but everyone ignores this one. Add key features to image captions. Don’t just provide “click to enlarge”. Add content on the larger view by describing what is shown, why it is a benefit, how to care for it (think fabric), etc. Add bullet points for benefits and features.
  7. Create confidence by providing thinking of every possible concern a guest could have and respond to it with your site. How many days are left to ship? Can you rush it? Provide proof of expertise and skills. Communicate that you are available anytime, anywhere (and you won’t sleep until January 2, 2014.)
  8. Put your BEST specials, offers, products and promotions on the top half of every landing page and the homepage.
  9. Kill your sliders. They don’t convert. Replace them with one or two static images, with a killer offer and big juicy call to action button to go buy it now.
  10. Test, test, test. Run load time tests, link checks, and mobile display checks.


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