Is Your Online Store Just Another Pretty Face?

You have your designer on speed dial. She makes sure that she has four to five hours to devout to you each time you call. You have had splash intro pages, cascading graphics announcing your next sales, and gorgeous models sporting your latest gear. Now your website is interactive with various cool clubs and that clean, Apple-esque design.Your website is pretty, but did you remember to put your pretty in the right place to get people to buy?The Nielsen Research Group sought and actively seeks to debunk the theory that graphics and colors convert visitors into buyers. In an eye tracking study that measured both the places users viewed and the intensity of their gaze, Nielsen researchers found that users could not find the population of the United States on the U.S. Census site even though the answer was clearly marked in bold red text with a marketing gimmick tied to it.

Why could 86 percent of users not find the answer? It is in the right column and away from the navigation section. 57% of people in the study were “Search Dominant Users.” When looking for the population, these users turned to the navigation areas at the top and at the left. The “Population Clock” marked in red was nowhere on their radar.

Not convinced that pretty put in the wrong place can take away from your sales? Check out Bryan Eisenberg’s SEMMY award winning post on how a pretty face can push visitors away. How can a girl like the one in this post take emphasis off your products? By looking at you, the viewer, rather than the product itself.

Pretty is not enough. Use pretty to guide your customers to certain behaviors and then watch your conversion rates.



Matt Winn is Volusion’s Senior Brand Manager, where he helps oversee the organization’s branding and communications efforts. Matt has created hundreds of articles, videos and seminars on all things ecommerce, ranging from online marketing to web design and customer experience. Beyond being a certified nerd, Matt is an avid college football fan, enthusiastic home cook and a self-admitted reality TV junkie.

One Response to “Is Your Online Store Just Another Pretty Face?”

  1. Steve Blackmore

    Excellent article, it’s true that just because a website looks good, doesn’t it will make sales. If that was true then every owner of all the new good looking websites that appear daily would be millionaires!


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