The design and customer experience of a brand site can create or kill sales. A site’s design can cultivate a sense of trust in a brand’s product quality and create a compelling consumer experience, or it can foster frustration and uncertainty. It’s that important.
Here’s how to avoid designing an online sales minefield:
Don’t Fight a Losing Battle, Prevent It
How things look and how they work aren’t separate in the mind of the consumer. Online or in a retail store, it’s all the same to the consumer.
Solid visual design and experience creates trust. If that trust is broken (or never established in the first place), the barrier to overcome is significant, forcing all other areas of a brand’s site have to work that much harder to build trust.
A brand site’s visual design and experience must reinforce authority, trust, and service. Don’t crowd the homepage with jargon and marketing, fill it with products customers are buying, images that inspire, and content that is actually consumed.
When faced with a poorly designed site, customers likely won’t give a brand a second chance, thus it is best to invest in creating a great experience than fix a broken one.
Over Designing is Not The Answer
Good design is not the same as over designing, also known as pushing an overly branded experience on a consumer. Good design is the key to success in gaining trust.
Good design involves creating a human experience that meets the specific goals of the site’s consumers. It is design that captures the handful of seconds a consumer grants to establish trust and converts it into an action that starts them down the path to purchase.
Bad design is a site with a glut of branded content and messages forced upon the customer, a site that ignores the customers’ goals (to research and purchase products) reinforcing mistrust instead of building it.
Brand sites that champion the torch of bad design emphasize video of sponsored athletes pulling off X-Games worthy tricks on a half-pipe, a wad of blog posts on industry news, or rotating banners of brand campaigns front-and-center on the homepage – all instead of honing their site around it’s primary goals: to serve customers and sell products.
Poor Experiences Lead to Poor Sales
Poor design creates poor interactions, poor interactions lead to a poor customer experience, a poor customer experience results in lost sales and conversions.
The design of the site should be defined by the look and identity of the brand, but the experience must reflect the goals of the consumer.
The gap between design and experience is where many brands fall and the 98% failure rate of nearly all e-commerce sites is a testament to the need to fill the void.
To do this, brands need to stop over designing their online experiences around branded content and instead focus on designing sites with clean, user-friendly paths to purchase and lead generation.