The first quarter of the year is the perfect time for reflecting on the successes and opportunities of the previous few years and looking at your site with fresh eyes. One of the things everyone should look at each year is their site’s design. You don’t have to have a major overhaul every year — you still want your branding to be consistent — but keeping up with current design trends and evaluating your site’s effectiveness on a regular basis will ensure your customers have an amazing experience each time they shop with you. We’ll go through a few small housekeeping items to review, and some larger trends that you’ll want to take advantage of.
Clean Up After the Holidays
Don’t wait until spring to clean out all areas of your site! Many brands forget to swap out their holiday graphics once the holidays are over, and you don’t want to look like you’re not keeping up with your site. Fresh, timely graphics indicate trust to a customer; if you can keep up with your site and social profiles, they can trust you to take the same care with the product they’re going to purchase from you.
Fresh, timely graphics indicate trust to a customer.
First, check your homepage slides. If you have a slide indicating a holiday sale or wishing your customers a happy holiday, be sure to replace or remove it. The same goes for your social media profiles. You don’t have to remove old posts, but if you changed your cover photo, be sure to change it back or upload a new one.
Transition those holiday images to cold weather photos, especially if you use lifestyle imagery; matching the season makes it easy for customers to relate to your products and picture themselves using them.
Also start thinking about upcoming holidays like Valentine’s Day and the Super Bowl!
The experience customers have on your site should drive all of your design decisions, and one of the best places to make improvements is with your site’s navigation.
With the rise of the use of mobile phones, certain navs are going to be utilized less and less.
If you use a left-hand navigation, we strongly suggest rethinking its use. Left-hand navs are still very useful for industries that require lots of categories and the ability to filter, but if you don’t fit into that description, it’s probably not necessary for your site. With the rise of the use of mobile phones, those navs are going to be utilized less and less.
One way you can use customer behavior on your site is by displaying your most popular categories in a grid on your homepage. This gives customers a quick and easy way to find what they’re looking for when they land on you site, and it also looks clean and professional. Not sure what categories are the most popular? Install Google Analytics, which will show you how people arrive on your site and what pages they frequent.
Design Around Value and Clarity
Simplicity and clarity are incredibly important to online shoppers. You may want them to know the 5 different things that make you stand out from the crowd, but the problem with trying to put all that messaging into one spot on your site is that the message will get lost in the noise. Really focus on what you do best and what makes your site unique.
What’s the one reason your repeat shoppers keep coming back to you?
What’s the one reason your repeat shoppers keep coming back to you? Anyone can compete on price alone, and free shipping has become commonplace, so really think about why someone should shop with you over the competition. Do you have out-of-this-world customer service? Do you include a note to each of your customers? Do you support education about how to use your products on your site? Designing around your unique aspect will ensure potential customers know exactly what benefit they get when they shop with you from the moment they land on your site.
Clarity also extends to the colors on your website. We’ve discussed how to use colors in your design before, but when choosing your main colors, be sure to think about how those will come across on both a desktop and a mobile device. Websites are starting to favor white backgrounds instead of dark backgrounds because it’s easier on the eyes and because “clean” designs are simpler to navigate. Unless you have a specific branding reason for a dark background (for example, you sell concert lighting equipment), consider going with a light background to get that clean look that customers are expecting.
A site design can impact every aspect of your site, especially when it comes to online marketing. It makes all the difference for getting those coveted conversions, and a well-designed site makes your brand more trustworthy and relatable to your customers. Make a resolution to clean up that dated design for a successful 2019!
What changes are you making to your store next year? Let us know in the comments!