A few posts ago, I presented three excellent e-commerce principles to help your site convert. I’m pleased to offer three more. This topic is of such importance to clients that it’s worth a good follow-up. Not only is e-commerce a thriving industry, it’s also a rather complicated universe, full of do’s and don’ts. Designers are often called upon to fully use creativity as well as a sound perspective on the financial aspects involved. This means that conversion is a hot topic and will likely remain that way.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the more technical principles of e-commerce design: A/B testing, streamlining the sign-up process and properly setting your type.
1. A/B Testing
A/B testing is the way of comparing two sites side by side to see which one performs best. It’s a simple test that helps designers determine whether the design features of design A, such as headlines and buttons, work better than those of design B.
The tests are useful because they allow a design to refine the site design to reflect the actual behavior and perspectives of the customers. Google currently has a free tool called Google Website Optimizer very easy to use for A/B testing. Simply load the optimizer with the various assets you’d like to test and the tool will track which features lead to better conversions.
Google Website Optimizer
2. Streamline the Sign-Up Process
The sign-up process is vital for keeping in touch with customers, put it also carries with it a very high potential for getting in the way of the shopping experience. Increasing conversion rates has a lot to do with breaking down such barriers and making sure that customers are not inconvenienced with difficult forms.
The first step in streamlining the sign-up is to keep the form short and succinct. Go straight to the point and avoid unnecessary fields and optional information. Customers shouldn’t have to work hard to complete the form.
Furthermore, important is making sure that the sign-up form doesn’t take up to much of a visitor’s time. If customers are force to fill in information again and again having made mistakes, they may simply end the shopping experience in frustration. Instead, use AJAX to validate fields. This will allow a user to correct any problems before submitting information.
Last but not least consider that the user should focus on the sign-up process rather than other aspects of the site so that forms are filled out completely. Eliminate extra navigation features that might tempt a visitor to abandon the form prematurely.
3. Set your type properly
Products are sold with more than just great design and usability. Copy plays an important part in engaging the audience, and setting type properly can give copy what it takes to do its job well. Here are few simple steps to ensure that your type is an effective feature of your site.
Create sufficient contrast between the text and background color. Sites that fail here convey a lack of professional design. Use higher contrast for scannable features such as headlines and lower contrast for details. This will direct a visitors focus and make the most important information stand out prominently. Moreover, make sure your font is the right size and think in terms of your target audience. For instance, older demographics will enjoy the large type because it’s easier on the eyes. Again, the main objective is to present the page in a way that catches the eye and holds the attention.