10 Simple Ecommerce Website Updates to Implement Now

Published January 14, 2013 by Alvinl+ in General Interest

There are hundreds of ecommerce website updates you could make. Anyone who’s managed an ecommerce company has a list of things to change on the site.

The biggest issue as a manager is determining the priority list. It’s hard to know what can be done easily and what really should be done.

We’ve got some help. The updates listed below are ones you can make right now on your website. Together they’ll make a difference in terms of user experience and conversion.

Let’s begin.

1. Make All Calls To Action A Consistent Color

Consistent Call to Action Color: Amazon

Amazon uses consistent colors for its calls to action for the most part.

One of the most confusing things for website visitors is the color of the calls to action. It’s not all about being contrasting. While that’s important, it is actually more important to have a consistent call to action color.

If you look at the Amazon example above, you’ll notice that the color orange is used on nearly every call to action. When you hover over text links in the left navigation area you’ll see that they even change to orange.

Creating consistent coloring for your calls to action gets visitors programmed. When people go to Amazon and they see the color orange they automatically know that it’s something they should click.

Amazon still has a few exceptions. The Add to Cart button is yellow and the search button at the top is black. The search button could easily be changed to orange, but overall Amazon does a great job of keeping things consistent.

2. Have One Main Action For Each Page

One Main Action: Overstock

The Overstock website is very focused with prioritized calls to action on each page.

A good way to go into design discussions for your website is to have one main action for each page. This keeps things easy for the visitor, which leads to more conversions. It also gives you more control over the pathways people take on the site.

The tendency on ecommerce sites is to put as many calls to action as possible on every page. We naturally want to give people all the possible options they can think of when they’re browsing the site. The problem with that is too many options is too confusing. It’s better to limit those choices to just a few things.

Look at the Overstock example above. There is one main action on the page that stands out – Shop The Sale. The action is in bright yellow and it’s probably the first thing you noticed on the page. Yes, there are other actions on the page, but they are secondary and in the background. Keep the focus to a single action. Make all other necessary actions secondary.

3. Add Search Suggestions

Search Suggestions: Zappos

Zappos helps visitors by providing search suggestions.

Search is likely in the top three actions visitors take from your homepage. That surprises some people. Sure, visitors may look at your feature image, but they’re more likely to start searching right away. This usually means they have something in mind already, but even those people need some help refining their search.

You can see in the Zappos example above that there are search suggestions. These are subtle hints to get the visitor started. You want the search experience on your site to be as fuss-free as possible. By offering suggestions you’ll help people find the right words. They’ll be able to find what they want easier and that makes them happy.

A happy shopper is one that likely converts.

4. Add Reinforcement Messages on Product Pages

Newegg Free Shipping

Newegg reinforces their offer with “Free Shipping”

You probably offer free shipping on occasion. Maybe you even offer 20% off or 25% off from time to time. These are great offers. Yet when a visitor gets to the product page they still have that final moment just before they hit the “Add To Cart” button when they wonder if they really need this item.

Reinforce your offer at this point. You can see in the Newegg example above that Free Shipping is reinforced. Now the shopper can see the free shipping notice and make the final commitment to make the purchase. It’s the last little push they need to make a purchase and become a happy customer.

5. Consider Adding Lightbox Forms to Interior Pages

Lightbox Email: LL Bean

Don’t be afraid to use lightbox forms.

More companies are using lightbox or popup forms for different reasons.

Even LL Bean, a traditionally conservative company, is using the lightbox form. You can see above that LL Bean is reinforcing their free shipping offer.

What is interesting about the LL Bean example is they have this popup occur on an interior page. A new visitor is not shown the item on the homepage, but once they get to an internal page like the Men’s Shirts page they are reminded.

You can use a lightbox on internal pages to reinforce a message like LL Bean or you could use it to get more subscribers to your email address. It’s a great way to get a little more aggressive without scaring off every new visitor that comes to your homepage.

6. Use Branding To Your Advantage

Branding: Edwin Watts

Edwin Watts knows that golf is about brands. They put a brand drop down in their top navigation.

Branding: Edwin Watts

Further down the page Edwin Watts includes logos of the brands they sell. Branding matters.

Brands are usually important in ecommerce. It depends what industry you’re in, but chances are good that people recognize the brands you sell.

Take for example the Edwin Watts site from the examples above. At the top of the page you’ll see the drop down option to shop by brand. At the bottom the site includes the actual logos of the brands.

The company realizes that brands are important in the golf industry. Amateurs see their favorite golfing pros on TV with logos plastered on their shirts and hats. They want to golf like those players so they buy the same brands.

From Edwin Watts’ perspective they know they need to show the brand logos right away so a new visitors can immediately find what they’re looking for on the site.

If your industry is influenced by brands be sure to make it evident on your site.

7. Images Trump Text

Images: Ebay

Ebay has huge images on its website.

People notice images before text when they visit a site. Just look at the Ebay example above. You looked at the image of the red mixer first. From there you noticed the blue call to action buttons (see: Call To Action Colors above).

Images trump text when it comes to shopping. People are visual and they want to be able to see every aspect of the item they’re considering for their purchase. You can include large images to make this easier for your visitors. You could also add videos to the site. More companies are doing this and finding it increases conversion.

Just because images are important, however, does not mean you should limit text. The content on the page is still very important. After someone examines the images on the page and become interested, they will dig deeper. They’ll read the content in detail. You want to make sure there is enough content on the page to satisfy any question a shopper might have. Text is also good for SEO purposes.

8. Use Reviews Everywhere

Reviews: JCP

JCP takes reviews and puts them on multiple pages.

When customers visit a site they’re looking for validation. They might see something they like on your thumbnail page, but they want a little more than just something that’s interesting. People want confirmation that an item has potential.

Reviews are a great way to prove that items on the page are great. Check out the JCP example above. You can see that product reviews are pulled in and used on the thumbnail page. Not only do the reviews make the product stand out, but they also validate that these items are popular and well-liked.

Use reviews throughout your site. Add them to thumbnail pages. Add them to the feature image on your homepage. Also use them in emails and in social media.

Reviews are one of your biggest assets. They convert visitors.

9. Add a Top Line Banner

Top Line Banner: Target

A top line banner is becoming popular.

This is an interesting trend in ecommerce. The trend dates back maybe a year or two, but it must be working because it’s everywhere.

The trend is the top line banner. Notice where it says, “Clearance 70% off top designers” at the top of the Target example. A few of the other examples above also include something similar.

This is a new trend and it’s really a good way to share a message with your visitors. The top bar really stands out from the rest of the page. If you have something interesting you want to promote, this is a great way to accomplish it with every visitor.

It will be interesting to see how long this will remain effective. For now, it seems to still be working really well, and will probably be around for a while.

10. Focus on the Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

USP:  Walmart

Walmart knows they are all about low prices and they show that to every visitor.

When you think of Walmart, you think about low prices. The company has spent years beating customers over the head with this USP. The reason people shop at Walmart is because they know they can get just about any product at the lowest price possible. What you need to do is figure out what your USP is, and then feature it on your website.

You can easily see the prices in red on the Walmart website. Maybe the USP is nothing about your company, but something about your product. Showcase that feature or benefit next to the product image when your promote it on the homepage, or in an email campaign.

It’s a simple concept, but it’s overlooked way too often on many sites.

Conclusion

None of these items are extremely difficult to implement! Put them high on your website revamp priority list. They’ll improve conversion and ultimately they should improve sales, which is really what matters.

Do you think anything missing from the list?

Share your ideas in the comments below!

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Alvinl

Alvinl is the marketing and customer happiness guy at www.ReferralCandy.com, the refer-a-friend app that increases your sales through word of mouth. In his spare time he loves geeking out on technology, psychology and economics news.