website conversions and sales

Aka – Be Seen in Twenty-Seventeen

I started my first business as a designer, then when the web started, as a web designer. I was never really that good at it, but I could definitely sell. After 5 years or so, I was certain I would never be as great as the ‘real’ designers and started directing, only handling overflow and relegated to pitch layouts. 20 plus years in, selling is still my number one priority. Designers who talk about design purely on aesthetics; black and white – it looks good but will not sell.

So what is great design? It’s difficult to land on a more subjective topic. I’ve settled on “be-seen in seventeen (2017)”… Basically – Design Tips for Conversions – What to start thinking about in order to be seen more and to sell more of anything online in the next year. Lets start high level and drill down.

 

Thought 1. Add Whitespace

Chat to any decent designer, I have worked with my fair share of them; they talk about design and balance as an art form. Balance between the space on a page and allowing for plenty of “Whitespace” which any perfect design needs.

A huge challenge facing designers these days is to de-clutter and free up the page to allow for whitespace. Numerous pictures, walls of text, hundreds of buttons, too much interactive functionality, responsive and mobile display variations… So how do we make a busy page, good-looking? User Experience (UX) is the supposed answer to this, but this somewhat vague yet buzzword sounding topic alone does not mean you’ve actually involved someone that will help get it right. A common misconception is that just because someone knows more jargon on a topic than you, they are the “expert”. Kids these days can use computers better than baby boomers but that doesn’t mean you would hire them to design your site.

 

Thought 2. Design with Social Influence

These days everyone is hooked on Social Media. People are now their own advertising channels and are influencing big media in big ways. In the ‘winding up’ age of printed magazines, newspapers and traditional TV we are now on a staple diet of online content re-posts, all vying for your interest in a few seconds or less. Those securing their chance of survival are already well down the path of digital (or have obtained platforms that have taken large chunks of traditional media). Social media and marketers evolve quickly and are fast paced – this impacts design significantly. You must be across products in your space doing well in social to help direct your visual store both in style and connected marketing.

Right now, the stores who are succeeding are picking up on the style of integrating marketing-design from social influences. This is responsive to what people like. If you translate this into store terms – this is what people are buying.

 

Thought 3. Optimise your Design

Advertising and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) is massive. If you are not utilising CRO you are just designing for yourself (or worse your designer is designing for themself) and not the market. CRO determines iterative improvements and tests what works and what doesn’t. It cuts through leads, not just design, but products and sales. Examples for Offsite and Onsite:

  • Offsite, test different variations of ads for the same product to see which are preferred and perform better.
  • Onsite, change up your product page to de-clutter it and make it easier for the user to purchase – simplify the page and see purchasing go up.

 

Thought 4. Mobile First.

Picture what would have been a standout newspaper ad 20 years ago; A car, with a big bold headline and some small accompanying text. Creative is designed for our clients by replacing that text with a clear call to action button – eg. Browse Now. Hopefully it is now becoming abundantly clear in this article that you need to simplify the design. One of the main reasons is – Mobile First – this design methodology should be the main driver of everything you create for online use. If people had smaller fingers, yes we could put more buttons on a mobile phone screen. These days we like to scroll down and hit big buttons and images. By the time you scale up to a desktop without hopefully adding anything additional, you will still have a great looking interface that people will engage with.

 

Thought 5. Become a Pro

I love this line, “Be quick to fail”. It works in business and also applies to design. If I take this a step further to fail small and fast is the trick. Every professional has gone through training and failed numerous times. If you put together the information I have provided above, you get simple design, which involves thinking about mobile first. When you think about it, it’s not hard to do. If you then add CRO to this and optimise, you’ll get enhanced results sooner. Design with CRO in mind and influence which products should and should not be positioned on your website. Borrow from the quick moving pace of social media and absorb yourself in the modern-day marketing marketplace.

Legends in the design and user interface space you may not have heard of, but of which you have seen and would recognize their work. One of my favourites, Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini designed Apple’s interfaces and took fine-tuning to an art form. Once you start thinking and acting upon these thoughts I’ve left you with in this article, you will find where your refinements should be. Then your store designs can expect to positively drive up your sales.

Overall, Social with Mobile is a light switch moment in design history; people want simple, easy to understand content on their screens that they can make a choice on quickly. For all the work you are doing to get traffic to your store page – Make sure they are leaving with a product!

 

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Michael Simonetti
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