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How to make your retail site more user-friendly

How to make your retail site more user-friendly

By Julian Hall, MD of PureOnlineGenius.

Many online merchants believe that the price in e-commerce is the most important thing for a purchasing decision. Studies show that the price is indeed important, but user-friendliness and ease of use of the store is really the decisive factor.

Due to these two factors, customers primarily decide for or against certain stores – before they have even seen the price of a product.

You should thus make it as simple and pleasant as possible for your customers to get information in your store, to find and order products – one of the basic rules for successful online marketing.

You should look for a store that comes with all the vital features and elements for shopping conveniently and easily on the ‘net – thus laying the foundations for successful online marketing in the long term.

Attractive and sales-promoting design

Basically, the same rules that apply to a conventional store apply to the design of a virtual store: The goods offered should be attractive and induce shoppers to buy. But this product presentation and the store design should not distract from the actual purpose, selling.

Via design and layout it is important to impart a pleasant and secure shopping feeling and induce the visitor to buy. It is essential during implementation to take into account some internet-specific peculiarities:

Unlike selling in a brick and mortar store, your customer can’t test or try out the product or check the material.

For this reason, you should make his buying decision easier with meaningful, but not overly long, product descriptions and high-quality and free-form product images. Detailed images of the product or individual product attributes facilitate the choice and buying decision of the potential customer.

The customer should be guided from the product presentation/information quickly and with as few detours as possible to the actual purchase. Don’t distract the customer from shopping with meaningless design elements or information not related to buying. Give him the opportunity of placing the selected product directly into his basket and then getting to the basket without having to take a roundabout route.

Broadband is indeed on the advance, but ISDN and analog connections are still widespread, especially for private users. Unnecessary gimmicks and large-size images lead to longer page loading times and test the patience of your customers.

The graphical elements should not result in an extreme slowdown for images being displayed. Because prolonged waiting increases the readiness of the user to leave the web site.

Your shop should provide a set of powerful design tools you can use to quickly, easily and flexibly customize your store according to your own personal ideas or your corporate design. In doing so, no knowledge of HTML or assistance from external service providers are needed.

Most ecommerce platforms provided a powerful design editor and a tool for creating images that automatically creates different sizes and views of product images.

Finally let’s not forget once essential ingredient...?

Well it’s quite simple and it brings us away from the technological side of online to the subtleties of doing business. That is, people do business with people they like. Now it’s a mean feat today to get people to have an affinity to a code filled website but sprinkle some elements of ‘human interest’ in there…?

In an online world which changes by the second how are you going to keep up with it all? The answer is you’re not, and unlike individuals like me and the rest of the team here it’s probably not in your job description to either. So, why not go around the problem and install that killer application on your website – personality.

Talk to your customers, let existing customers talk for you, show your human side and cut through the cold faceless online delivery mechanisms you’ve been told would do the trick.

Today’s consumer is far too aware of tricks and have lost a lot of trust in the ‘company’ but still have a lot of faith in the ‘human’

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