Digital transformation is one of the defining trends of our era, as businesses and customers are increasingly shifting their activities online. Today’s businesses cannot survive without an internet presence. While brick-and-mortar is not dead and will never die, businesses need to have an ecommerce platform because a meaningful part and in many instances, a majority of revenues, will come from online sales. However, that is just the bare minimum, with digital transformation so widespread, business owners have to ensure that their web design is geared toward making their customer’s experience seamless, and converting as many users into customers as possible.
The Purpose of an E-Commerce Platform
Management guru, Peter Drucker once said that the purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer. Well, e-commerce platforms exist to do just that. A “customer”, after all, is a person who pays for your goods and services. It’s not enough to have people walking through your store, or to have traffic going through your ecommerce platform. This sentiment has been echoed by companies such as SERPninja and others in this space who believe that having an e-commerce platform is not enough: you have to convert that traffic into customers.
What is Web Design?
Conversion is defined by the quality of your web design, or broadly, the design of your ecommerce platform.You can see this in full effect on the Mystic Owl Tattoo website. .Now, web design refers to how your ecommerce platform’s content is organized, planned and arranged. Despite the name, the phrase “web design” refers not just to the design of your website, but the design of all your ecommerce platforms.
While it’s important for your website to look good, attractiveness is not the sole function of web design. If it is possible to separate attractiveness and functionality, and it was a choice between the two, I would say that functionality, that is, the seamlessness and usefulness of the ecommerce platform, is more important that attractiveness. Thankfully, there is no trade-off between attractiveness and functionality, but it is important to keep in mind that your ecommerce platform is supposed to provide a seamless and useful experience. Regardless of the nature of your ecommerce platform, whether it is responsive, or adaptive, web design encompasses the actual design of your ecommerce platform, the style of the website, and the user experience.
The Importance of Web Design
Creating and keeping the customer is the focus of your web design. Although it’s common to talk about the “customer”, the customer is only a customer when the customer pays for your goods and services. Unless you convert traffic, or the user, you do not have a customer. You have to convince your ecommerce platform’s users that you have a powerful value proposition. People will assume that the quality of their user experience is a reflection on the quality of your goods and services. And why shouldn’t they? If you can’t get the web design right, it’s not their job to assume that your goods and services will be incredible. It’s also important to work on web design because you want to remove obstacles from the creation and keeping of a customer. If a user finds it difficult to use your ecommerce platform, they will become frustrated and leave. You want to give your users a frictionless user experience.
First Impressions Count
People form their first impressions within seconds of visiting an ecommerce platform. If you don’t form a good first impression within those first few seconds, you will lose that user. You need to hit the ball out of the park in those first few seconds. That is a function of the attractiveness of the web design, but also of the usefulness and ease of use of the design. For example, if the user wants to search for something, it should be easy to find the search bar. Those are low hanging fruits that every web design has these days. The point is that you have to figure out what your users are most likely to want to do when they land on your ecommerce platform, and then make doing that a frictionless experience.
Content is Everything
One of the best websites in the world has a really basic web design: Berkshire Hathaway’s web design is as basic and primitive as you can have. It does the basics right. You can find all the information you need about the company. The website is popular with many students of finance because the content, the letters to shareholders written by Warren Buffett, are so good.
Your content is what will ultimately drive your rankings on Google. You also have to organize your content in a helpful way. The quality of your content and how it is organized, are the two key things that will determine where you end up on Google’s rankings. To achieve the right organization, and to enrich your content, you need to use search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO helps you help Google figure out how useful your ecommerce platform is for the universe of potential users. Google crawls through the web’s universe of content, and ranks it according to how useful that content is, and how easy it is to discover that content. This is why we said that functionality is more important than attractiveness, if you had to choose. Google doesn’t care how beautiful your ecommerce platform is, but it does care about content and ease of accessibility. Attractiveness does not make a web design great.
How you treat your customers across the customer journey, will either enrich their experience, or, poison it. It will either help you create and keep the customer, or, it will make you fail in that aim. Sometimes, things go wrong. No business is perfect. There may be information a user or customer can’t find, or a service delivery failure. Whatever the situation, when you are interacting with customers, you have to make sure that customer service is at the highest possible level.
The style and design of the ecommerce platform communicates your values and your approachability to your customers. You want to communicate your approachability, your willingness to engage with your customers, and your readiness to accept responsibility for any failings, through your web design. Integrity and trust are so important and these are things that are communicated in the web design, and the customer service process available to your customers.