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So your site has fantastic color use, great aesthetics, it looks downright fabulous. But for some reason, and you’re not sure why, people just don’t seem to be buying. Maybe it’s stock, maybe its target, maybe it’s market, and maybe not enough people are seeing it. Or maybe you’ve got usability problems, maybe your pretty graphics aren’t the right ones to convince people to buy, maybe your visitors simply don’t like your style of “fabulous”.

Stop. Think about the questions that lead to what you have now. If, in the process of building out your site, you made any of these comments then perhaps it’s time you change the way you think about ecommerce design.

1. “Great design is great design, offline or online”

This might be true of aesthetics, but aesthetics don’t make sales. Many ecommerce sites make the mistake of thinking that their online design should function as an extension of their offline design–both visually and by creating static non-dynamic sites–creating an often poorly converting online sales process.

2. “Usability? Isn’t that what we pay our web designer for?”

Sure, your web designers can whip up a pretty interface that your staff can tear through at lightning speed, but that doesn’t mean that your customers aren’t having problems. Even with trained usability staff on hand, often the route from landing page to conversion goal can get blocked by non-technical, non-usability hurdles. Testing lets you see which decisions are making that extra difference for your users, and can verify or nullify even the most educated of guesses.

3. “The expensive solution is the best solution”

Maybe a carpenter is only as good as his tools, but online even great tools are cheap–often free. Thus the cost ultimately lies in the quality of the testers that you decide to enlist.

In fact, expensive tools will often hinder entry level or beginner users with added complexity and “information soup” interfaces.

4. “People are abandoning their shopping cart because they don’t want (or are unsure that they want) what’s in it”

Maybe. But more frequently people abandon their cart due to frustration with your checkout process. By studying the aspects of your checkout process that might be hindering your sales you can improve checkout rates and fight back at that “indecision”.

5. “People go to our website to buy stuff offline”

That is frequently the case, but just as frequently they are there for another reason. Some times they want to research a product, some times they are want advice on what to buy, maybe they want advice using a product, some times they want to connect with other users using it. Designing your site as an information hub now only allows you a chance to convert users who may not otherwise buy, but it provides you with valuable SEO content that will bring in even more users.

6. “We don’t need comments because we don’t need people saying negative things”

It’s common to fear comments. Comments take away your ability to control your message. However, comments have been shown time and time again to actually improve conversion rates–even negative comments! With a robust comment system you increase the perceived legitimacy of your products, and thus people’s trust.

7. “We should redesign our site in order to keep it fresh”

Redesigns can have great results–if you redesign correctly. However they can be plagued by designers with poor knowledge of usability and marketing, marketers with poor knowledge of the overall website conversion process, and web developers who don’t have time to implement full fledged changes.

With small, tested, changes you can be sure that each improvement is implemented correctly, and use each to not only improve your websites conversions, but to gain a greater understanding of your customers, which in turn will make each successive test more effective.


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