The look and feel of a retailer’s website can make the difference between inspiring a shopper to stick around and browse or leave to find a better-designed, easier-to-navigate ecommerce website. But developing a well-designed site can be complicated. Retailers have to balance sometimes-competing priorities to provide clear product visuals, seamless navigation, engaging content and a design that works for mobile shoppers.

In a web design consumer survey conducted by Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights in November 2019 of 1,035 online shoppers, 66% of consumers said they were satisfied or very satisfied with shopping online on desktops. That’s not bad, but it means there is room for improvement. 35% of respondents in the survey said being able to quickly find products is the most important factor when shopping online, followed by a simple overall user experience (31%) and an efficient checkout (7%). Respondents could select more than one choice.

In a similar vein, 44% of shoppers ranked relevant search results as the most important factor when browsing products and navigating a retailer’s site. Other important factors included: getting a quick view of the product details by hovering over the product images or links (19%), filters for sorting products (15%), a limited number of clicks to the product from category navigation (12%) and search results that auto-populate as the shopper types (10%).

On product pages, 26% of online shoppers in the survey said product reviews are most important, followed by 25% who enjoy the ability to zoom in on photos and 17% who highly value alternate views of the product.

These results show that many consumers now expect the features retailers have added to websites in an effort to give shoppers nearly as much detail about products as they can get when shopping in a store. Thus, adding even more such visual elements, including 360-degree product images, videos and augmented reality technology, can help a shopper visualize how furniture might look in her home and how a dress might look when she wears it.

But the clincher is the checkout. If checkout is confusing or requires too many steps, a shopper may abandon her cart and look elsewhere. In the survey, 18% of online shoppers said the most important checkout feature was express checkout, followed by 15% who said a limited number of clicks (four or fewer) to make a purchase was most important.

Site design can also inform mobile app design, marketing materials, customer emails and advertising campaigns, allowing shoppers to get to know a brand. All these elements combined can substantially lift a retailer’s conversion rate.

5 tips for better conversion using web design

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For more tips and 55 specific ways on how to boost conversion rates, download Digital Commerce 360’s 2020 How to Boost Conversion Rates Report.

This article is based on analysis from the Digital Commerce 360’s 2020 How to Boost Conversion Rates Report. This first-ever, 112-page report offers tips on boosting conversion rates using strategies across 11 broad topics: Mobile; checkout and payments; live chat and customer service; marketing; marketplace selling; merchandising and promotions; site search; user-generated content; website design; website performance; and website personalization. You can learn how to purchase the 2020 How to Boost Conversion Rates Report here.

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