How often have you engaged a client who's not quite sure what they want from their website? A lack of clear direction leads to a website that's a haphazard mish-mash of content, images, ads and navigation menus that's a nightmare for the user and doesn't convert because it bounces visitors.
To counter this problem we need to think with the end in mind when designing for a client. We need to guide them through different strategies for different types of sites. This post kicks off a 6-part series where we're going to carefully and concretely examine each of the 6 Online Business strategies in action using live BC Partner Designed sites as showcases...
Part 1 - Selling Online"To reach sales targets and reduce shopping cart abandons, you'll need to focus on an all-in-one eCommerce site complete with catalogs, products, shopping cart, shipping and a payment gateway and that provides an immersive and seamless shopping experience." - taken from the BC Blog, last October.
Catalog and Product LayoutsAre featured products being displayed on the homepage? When designing online shops make sure you put a large gallery or catalog of featured products on the front page (just like a department store front window display) - it entices customers to click through and makes the intention of the website clear, this is an online shop and I'm here to buy. Furthermore, it's a good idea to have catalog-subnavigation on the homepage as well so browsing products is only 1 click away. A great example is Designer Mum by GloobleWeb.
Shopping Cart DesignOne of the most overlooked elements of online store design is a clearly accessible 'Checkout' button that's accessible from anywhere on the site (not just the catalogs/products subsections) - Pretty Pollution show us an elegant solution by putting a customized checkout button in the page template header for ArtCoolMad.
As for Shopping Cart customization, iBingz by Click2IT takes the prize here with their very simple summary of products you've ordered and their 2 calls-to-action - you can either checkout or continue shopping. I like this approach to limiting options for the shopper (less thinking).
Checkout DesignFinally we go to MidoriRideShop by MoultonStudio for an example of how to customzie a Checkout form. They've made it easy to fill out by segmenting it into 3 distinct bite sized pieces and asking for the minimum information they need. There's less fields, it's less daunting and a nice touch is the final order price in large font at the bottom with the 'Place Order' button underneath.
Common Themes across Different ShopsWe might've chosen 4 different sites to showcase different features but the recurring theme we glean is that each site is a laser-focused online store that's easy to use and navigate from end-to-end in the online shopping process. We're presented only with as much information as we require, and we only need to make a minimum of mouse-clicks to make the purchase. It's an integrated and seamless experience with no speed humps. These are excellent examples to follow when you design your online shop.
In the next post of the series, we'll be looking at how BC Partners have built Online Communities to attract traffic.