It’s no surprise to most businesses that trying to function without a website in this day and age is an exercise in irrelevancy. In order to compete, companies large and small have turned to the world wide web in order to capture both awareness and sales. For many of these businesses, a simple site is all they require; an online brochure to showcase their company and its abilities. Very few look to e-commerce examples for inspiration on these simple sites; much to their determent. Brochure sites can learn much from their more robust e-commerce sites in terms of driving awareness and qualified leads. The savvy businessperson would be wise to tune in.
Applying Ecommerce Methods To Drive Conversions
It is worth restating, simply because it is so important to understand, younger generations have come to rely on the internet for so much. In fact, it is estimated that people spend an average of 14% of their day interacting online. In the past 10 years, e-commerce has been chipping away at the brick and mortar shopping behemoth. E-commerce accounted for 2.6% of all retail sales in 2005. Over the last decade that number has increased to 7.5% and is only expected to grow as younger demographics, having grown up with the internet, slowly increase their purchasing influence. This only goes to show that companies that aren’t optimizing their online presence are truly missing an opportunity.
- Less is sometimes more
It is really tempting to want to load your site down with all the reasons people need your service, but a lot of text can turn off potential customers; sending them off in search of a simpler solution. While Fitbit offers an array of fitness trackers, it keeps its home page simple and easy to navigate. When designing your site stick to two or three main points and show them, rather than tell them.
- Look at things from your client’s perspective
User experience is crucial for e-commerce. A well-designed site considers how people search for a product and offers easy ways to find exactly what they are looking for. A savvy retailer, like ModCloth, makes it easy to search by all of these factors knowing that is what the customer wants. This brand places items in categories of style, event, season and more to guide customers to exactly what they are looking for.
This is a question that every company should ask itself as it begins to design their site, what is it that my potential customers want? Then find the simplest way to give it to them.
- Exude credibility
E-commerce sites have to appear credible and safe, after all, they are asking for someone’s credit card information. In the digital age, consumers are warned more and more to be careful with their personal information. In order to garner online sales e-commerce site must incorporate strategies that showcase their legitimacy. Zappos (zappos.com, should we add a pic from the site or twitter page?) does this not only with simple design and secure checkouts, they also make it very simple to contact the company with multiple options across the page. Listing their phone number at the top and offering live chat is only one way to do this. This is an option that is easily duplicated on even the simplest brochure site.
- Make it simple to convert.
Everyone knows the old cliché, Keep It Simple Stupid or KISS. It is a cliché, in part, because it is so true. The more barriers you put in front of consumers the less likely they are to purchase. E-commerce sites, like Diapers.com, make it very simple to purchase. The online baby products store has taken this ease of consumption one step further by allowing customers to reorder a previous order with the click of a button. No muss, no fuss. This is a lesson that every webmaster should keep in mind. While it is tempting to load your contact form with tons of options, know that these may prevent users from filling them out.
- Use visuals to help sell your site.
You wouldn’t buy a shirt without knowing what it looks like. Every e-commerce site use a bevy of pictures to show off their wares, enticing people to buy. A brochure site can do the same by utilizing imagery to tell their story. A few well-placed pictures will entice consumers to learn more and convert than the thousand words you would have to use instead.
These online retail sites are growing because they are answering a need in the market place. There are plenty of simple sites that are picking up on their lead. We noticed one such site, an enclosed auto transport company, that seems to be using a lot of these elements. In addition to following the above steps, JP Logistics has taken the e-commerce example one step further; adding online scheduling and payment options for their customers.
So what lessons can your site learn from its e-commerce cousins? How can you give them the instant gratification they seek? Is it through better imagery or online scheduling? Could your site be more credible? If you want to see greater conversions on your site, take a lesson from some sites that are doing it well. You might be surprised that small changes can yield big results.