Imagine you enter a shop, the logo looks like it was designed by a child, there are sheets of paper stuck on the walls with hand written text on them. The tiles are all misaligned on the floor. The walls are painted in bright contrasting colours which almost hurt your eyes. The display units are huge, but the products are tiny. None of the products have clear labels or prices. You look for a shop assistant but can’t find any. After a few minutes you give up and leave.
No business owner would ever want to have a shop like that one, and no client would bother wasting time in that store. However, when it comes to the online store/website it is often forgotten that we are dealing with the same person and the same issues.
Some excellent businesses have terrible websites. Badly designed, disorganised, difficult to navigate and just not user friendly at all. The Stanford Web Credibility Project found that 47% of users make buying decisions based upon the site itself. This implies that if the site looks professional and has good graphic design it can heavily influence sales. So much so that nearly half your customers can make a buying decision without having to shop around, or doing off-site research.
This seems extremely obvious in the physical store example explained above, but for some reason it is often disregarded when creating a website. Whilst in a physical store you may have up to a few minutes, on the web you only have 10 seconds to make an impression.
In the first 10 seconds of arriving at your site many users will have already made a decision in their minds. In this time visitors gather a large range of impressions: company quality and size, product range, product offering and price. They either connect and feel they are in the right place or leave.
Website owners need to look at their websites objectively and ask this type of questions:
- Does my site look attractive and professional?
- Does my website properly reflect what we do?
- Would a complete stranger know how we can help them within 10 seconds of visiting our site?
- What is the overall message my site is sending?
- Do I have clear calls to action?
- Is it easy for someone to find what they are looking for?
- Is my contact information obvious?
In my experience I have seen some incredibly convincing results that good graphic design can positively increase sales. One particular ecommerce site is our best example of this:
The site was consistently selling around 6000USD per month before we took it on.
Without any further advertising or increases in traffic, but just by applying a totally revised look the site sales shot up to 10,000USD per month instantly.
The second redesign of the site, after extensive user testing has again increased sales to 13 – 15,000USD per month.
Don’t forget that your website can say a lot for your business. Make sure your site is saying the right things.