The world changes, and business changes with it. The most urgent challenge is about attracting visitors and converting them to paying customers. We live in the digital age when your content is snackable, your website responsive and your strategy cross-channel.
In this post, we are going to talk about tips & tricks that can optimize your online shop.
1. Great Web Design & User Experience
The best top web design trends in 2017 are listed below with references to the Quora answers and Google (company) search.
Animation is In
Yes, it’s been around for ages. However, the freshness of this tool is astonishing in its potentiality. This trend is growing and is unstoppable that it offers the users an extremely enjoyable experience. Animated visuals and videos have now turned into a basic requirement as opposed to the added feature that it used to be before. With immense capabilities to create special effects, animation can be applied towards various uses.
Having fun with designs creates endless possibilities and the sky is the limit. It even eliminates the usual grid conditions by being replaced with creative structures. Why leave this just to the world of cinema. Designers are now putting every effort into web design to make it come alive in more ways than one. They are slowly turning into the central narrative of the website. Quite a leap from just being used for added effects. We predict that this trend will remain durable across the forthcoming years.
Drop Shadows Rise
Yes. The drop shadow effect has been around for ages. Its popularity, however, consistent. Some design elements withstand the test of time and this is one of them. With its unique variations, the drop shadow design element is here to stay. Just a small technique, but it goes a mile with its effect.
Disorder Creates Order
Think of that one person who stands out due to a unique dress code or hair do. This is just what we mean but in the web world. Broken images, texts that overlap with each other, asymmetrical structuring, unconventional layouts, images and texts with blurred boundaries – there is a method to the madness. It is a designer’s way of expressing freedom. These unconventional methods are going a long way to making a particular brand stand out from the other, through the clever use of space and boundaries. Another advantage of this design styling is to make a certain section of the web page stand apart from the other.
The most innovative way to cut down on tedious navigation – welcome to the long scroll! It’s simple, it’s innovative and it makes for a better-looking website. The scroll originated as a means to move from one end to the other of a page, but today it has evolved into so much more. With increased variations in types and fonts, a scroll is a tool for enhanced creativity. The versatility of it allows room for every kind of requirement. For content rich websites, this is an incredible way to infuse creativity with better visual spacing. No need for extra clicks, no need to load new pages. Just scroll and get what you want.
Mobiles Come First
With the increasing dependency on mobile devices as a means for browsing, the trend of 2017 has evolved to accommodate the increased need for web designs to function effectively across multiple devices. Considering the 1.2 billion plus mobile device users across the globe, designers are working to fit into the smallest type of screen first through hamburger menus and vertical flows. The larger screens are now lower on the priority list.You can be sure that the most views of the website will be on the smaller screens.
Play with Cards
The more personalized the user experience, the better. This is why designers are moving away from the mundane page phenomena to the Cards strategy. Cards work as rectangular boxes that either carry an image, or text, which leads up to further information. A designed tool that contains a small area, aimed at providing more information, thereby considerably enhancing user experience. They even readjust based on the size of the screen.
Interaction is Key
Remember those static websites of the days gone by? Well, not only is that history, but we have evolved to the other end of the spectrum with the micro interaction strategy. This tool is a subtle way to keep the viewer engaged. Micro-interaction examples include dimming the brightness, adjusting the volume, closing certain sections of a website, reducing and enlarging content sections, etc.
Opt for Videos
Cinematographs are the in thing. These are high-quality videos that run smoothly across the website. A good image is useful, but a video is incomparable. This is what makes the website speak its own language. A high-quality video is a sure shot tool to convert viewer glances to long attention spans. Infused with movement, high definition colors, and gripping visuals – cinematography is here to stay.
No More Monotones
Static is out and so are monotones. The majority of designers are now adopting the two tone strategy for websites. What it does is simply make it more attractive. Adopting a kaleidoscope gradient is gaining momentum and we see its presence increasing steadily. A fresh look with a contemporary feel is exactly what the dual tonality offers
Cutting the Clutter
Every designer believes in one thing only: to make the website unique, yet user-friendly. Toward this end, a straight forward website with minimal visuals, color variations, and added features works like a charm. Just give the message up front and clear and let that speak for you. Basically, it offers you the bare necessities and nothing more.
Hear it from the expert’s mouth itself,
‘’The arrangement of design elements within a given structure should allow the reader to easily focus on the message, without slowing down the speed of his reading” –Hermann Zapf
While it may not stand out visually, it stands out as the web design that is free of clutter and offers it to you like it is. Some viewers find that refreshing. There is also a deliberate reduction of navigation links. Web sites are now emerging with fewer links and more simplistic lay outs. You get what you want, without the unnecessary frills. Take it or leave it.
Merging the Horizontal with the Vertical
2017 is all about defying and here’s just another way to do it. A mix and match of horizontal and vertical texts is a tried and tested method to grip viewers. Use it imaginatively and you’re all set. Not only does it stand out, but it stands out in style.
Who cares about the convention? Nobody in the design world. This is the way they do it. The message is clear. We’re going different, whether you like it or not. Albeit, most of the viewers love it. We predict that this one is a keeper up the designer’s sleeve.
2. About Page
So how do you balance your remarkable content creation with your web design needs? It all starts with the “About Us” page.
For a remarkable about page, all you need to do is figure out your company’s unique identity and then share it with the world. Easy, right? Of course, it’s not easy. That said, the “About Us” page is one of the most important pages on your website, and it can’t go neglected. It also happens to be one of the most commonly overlooked pages, which is why you should make it stand out.
Here are 3 awesome examples:
1. Yellow Leaf Hammocks
When you have a great story about how your product or service was built to change lives, share it. The “About Us” page is a great place for it to live, too. Good stories humanize your brand, providing context and meaning for your product. What’s more, good stories are sticky — which means people are more likely to connect with them and pass them on.
Yellow Leaf Hammocks tells users about its product by describing how the hammocks empower artisan weavers and their families. The company breaks down different pieces of the story into sections that combine words and easily digestible graphics, painting a picture instead of big chunks of text. They’re clear about why they’re different: “Not a Charity,” the page reads. And then: “This is the basis for a brighter future, built on a hand up, not a handout.”
Every company has a story to tell, so break out your storytelling skills from that random English class you took years ago and put them to work on your “About Us” page. Using descriptive and emotive copy and gorgeous graphics, an “About Us” page with a story works harder for your business than a generic one.
Why the “About Us” Page Rocks: It skips the business babble.
We know — no industry jargon. If you think it makes you sound super smart on your “About Us” page, think again. People want and appreciate straight talk about what your business does. After all, if people can’t figure out what you do, how will they know they need your product or service?
So, skip the industry lingo — that’s what Apptopia does on its “About Us” page. The startup’s simple but polished language effectively communicates the company’s offering while still allowing the Average Joe to understand it.
The moral of the story — again: Try to get rid of jargon on your “About Us” page whenever possible. Use short and punchy sentences to explain complex products and ideas in a way that isn’t patronizing, but rather, is empathetic.
Why the “About Us” Page Rocks: It’s unique and visually interesting.
Instead of following the classic “About Us” script and writing a few paragraphs about the company’s mission and origins, try something different — there are plenty of ways to make it more visually compelling.
Take Moz, for example. A lot has happened since it was founded in 2004 — the company chose to share those milestones using a timeline, using a fun and clean design that incorporates clear headers, concise blurbs, and little graphics to break up the text. We love how humbly they preface the timeline, too, with a thank you to their community: “We owe huge thanks to our community for joining us on this awesome journey, and we hope that you’ll continue to be a part of our story.”
Visual content continues to be on the rise — people like it for a number of reasons, including its ease to skim and absorb. Think about the ways you can use more visual formats to stand out from the typical “About Us” page style of paragraph text.
3. Payment Methods
Money and payments are a very sensitive issue for consumers, so one person’s preferred payment method may be different from someone else’s. With so many payment methods in the market today, it can be very hard as a merchant to know which payment methods to accept on one’s website. And because payment is such a personal subject, offering the right payment methods is critical for providing a positive customer experience and for encouraging conversions.
To make matters even more confusing, the number of payment options increases for each international market a merchant sells in. For example, Alipay is a leading e-wallet among Chinese consumers, Klarna is a popular European payment method, and PayPal is a globally trusted payment option, as well. Merchants can encourage international customers to complete the checkout on their sites by offering the ability to pay in their local currency with the methods of payment that make them feel comfortable – i.e. the ones they’re accustomed to using on a regular basis for online shopping. Just as consumers are more likely to buy products they are used to using and which they trust, they are more likely to pay for these products with payment methods they are accustomed to using and trust.
The problem most merchants run into is that supporting multiple payment methods is complicated. It takes a lot of time and resources to integrate each payment method, so it is important to research which methods are actually critical to your business before integrating them.
Firstly, it depends on where your target market is and what languages your customers speak. Let’s say, most people in North America, UK, Germany prefer credit cards and PayPal while people in Asia, other regions of Europe, Latin America, Africa and MENA may not even have an account.
Secondly, the industry your business is in can decide what types of payment methods may be needed and favored by your customers. For example, if you sell consumer goods, bank transfer, online banking, credit cards may be the most frequently used ways of payments.
Last but not least, the average price of products for sale also decide what kinds of payment channels you should take and what fees you could accept.
4. Use a Powerful Headline
The thing about headlines is, there’s way too many of them. So you need to dig deeper and find out exactly what makes your intended readership tick.
Previously, a limited number of mediums captivated a vast audience. Now, a vast number of mediums scramble to captivate a limited audience.
The key to successful headlines is reaching deep inside the mind of your potential audience, and understanding what makes them want to click/read what you have to say.
The first and most important element of working with text for headlines is understanding your target audience. Without an idea of who they are and what captivates them or makes them open their wallet, you’re essentially guessing and simply adding to the ‘noise’ they’ll be bombarded by. By understanding what their pain points are, you have a clear idea as to how to succinctly word a headline that you can test for measurably higher attention.
I’d say the next most important element is to be more human. Your potential audience wants to know you’ve been on their side of the fence before, you’ve had the same pain points, and that’s why you’ve got the best thing for them to click on and contribute their time towards.
You can increase the potential of the conversions by playing with the fear of missing out (FOMO). Creating a sense of urgency always appeals to people’s desire to get in before the opportunity disappears.
3 Great Templates for Writing Value Propositions That Work
#1 Geoff Moore’s Value Positioning Statement
Probably the most popularized – in his seminal book Crossing the Chasm – Geoff Moore suggests a specific template for outlining your value positioning. In addition to the first part below, Moore also introduces a second statement focused on competitive positioning.
For ____________ (target customer)
who ____________ (statement of the need or opportunity)
our (product/service name) is ____________ (product category)
that (statement of benefit) ____________ .
For non-technical marketers
who struggle to find the return on investment in social media
our product is a web-based analytics software that translates engagement metrics into actionable revenue metrics.
#2 Venture Hacks’ High-Concept Pitch
In Made to Stick, Dan and Chip Heath point to how high-concept pitches such as ‘Jaws on a spaceship’ (Alien) and ‘Die Hard on a bus’ (Speed) convince movie executives to invest vast sums of money in a project on the basis of almost no information.
In Pitching Hacks Nivi and Navel from Venture Hacks share examples of this technique applied to startups.
[Proven industry example] for/of [new domain].
Flickr for video.
Friendster for dogs.
The Firefox of media players.
#3 Steve Blank’s XYZ
Steve Blank writes that a Value Proposition is a ten-dollar phrase describing a company’s product or service. It’s the “what are you building and selling?” He suggests the following format for creating a value proposition statement that other people understand.
“We help X do Y doing Z”.
We help non-technical marketers discover return on investment in social media by turning engagement metrics into revenue metrics.
5. Talk About Benefits
Think about your last few marketing campaigns. Look over some of the emails you sent to prospective customers or the social media updates you made promoting your brand-new product or service. Read over some of the blog posts you published. How much of this promotional content focused on what your product does?
Features vs. Benefits: What is a Feature?
A feature is something that your product has or is. For SaaS companies, this is typically functionality offered by a software program that enables users to do something. Other examples of product features might include razors with five-blade heads, power drills with interchangeable bits, fridges that can make crushed ice etc. You get the idea.
Going back to web design, a feature of Bootstrapbay, for example, is the huge variety of Bootstrap themes. Product features have to be planned, built, and executed.
Features vs. Benefits: What is a Benefit?
Benefits are the outcomes or results that users will (hopefully) experience by using your product or service – the very reason why a prospective customer becomes an actual customer.
A feature is what something is, and a benefit is what users can do or accomplish with it.
6. Product Reviews
Tips on how to create great reviews:
General Review Tips:
- Do not post photos or videos of other copyrighted material that you don’t have permission to use.
- Do not post photos of people without their permission. If they are children, ask the parents before you post.
- Opinions are almost always protected as free speech except in the case of defamation (a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone’s words or actions), true threats, solicitations to commit crimes, incitement to imminent lawless action, blackmail, fighting words and obscenity).
- Please omit excessive exaggeration and do not lie.
- Deliberately sabotaging the viability of a business is strongly discouraged.
- Be honest and truthful in your reviews.
- Please be accurate, avoid embellishment and broad generalizations, and to relate only to your first-hand experiences.
Video Review Tips:
- Please keep the video review short and to the point.
- Be sincere.
- Please be aware of the video light and sound quality and upload videos that people can clearly see and hear.
- Make mental notes ahead of time of what you want to communicate.
- Record and review your video and re-shoot if necessary.
- When recording, use smooth movements rather than quick camera moves.
- Think about ending with your final wrap up thoughts.
You can follow this template if you are a beginner. But, you can change your style of writing when you get more advanced/experienced at it.
Normal template for writing a review goes like this:
WHO IT IS FOR(Who benefits from this product? Is it a good program for beginners/intermediate/advanced?)
TRAINING/TOOLS OVERVIEW(Education platform)
SUPPORT(contact number/email address)
7. Great Product Photos
Photography is an art and product photography is all about knowledge and experience. You can gain knowledge from blog, tutorial, audio, magazine but experience comes with time and ya everything takes time.
Here I just try to mingle up some of the hacks to get the best result in product photography.
- Background: Go for a white background.
- Product Placement: Place the product accordance with the frame and light source.
- Lighting: Nothing can give better results than images clicked in the natural light.
- Light distribution: Uneven light distribution can totally ruin the image.
- Camera Angle: Go for angles that reflect the accurate size, shape, and quality of the product.
- Avoid using Filters: Avoid filter and take a clear and well-lit image of the product.
- Click: A steady camera will help you in clicking a crisp and clear image which adds to the beauty of the product.
- Scaling: Scaling in product photography refers to providing a scale to the product which creates a realistic image of the product in the minds of customers.
- The product uses: The product uses convinces the customers in a reasonably good manner to buy the product.
- Image editing and retouching: Hide the unwanted flaws with the help of image editing and retouching.
8. Excellent Copywrite
Copywriting can crazily increase the conversion rate of nearly every piece of marketing you ever post. How can you get better at copywrite? By practicing it, of course! Here are 2 awesome exercices:
Copywriting Exercise #1: Mental Ad Re-Writing
This is a mental exercise where you see ANY ad, and think to yourself: “How can I make this ad better?”
So if you’re walking by a billboard, you think in your head what ways you can get people to crave that burger even more.
When I started getting really into copywriting, my favorite outlet to practice on was SkyMall (remember that magazine that used to be included on every flight)??
It would have all these funny inventions and gadgets, and then the most boring descriptions. I would frequently rewrite them in my head, or directly into the SkyMall whilst sitting on a plane. Or if you see a Google AdWord Ad that could do better, you can do the same exercise.
Copywriting Exercise #2: State the benefits, not features
Whenever people try to explain what their company does (especially engineers), they tend to brag about the FEATURES of a product.
This sounds like:
“Our software can handle multiple core structures of data at the same time which means during increased load times the server will be stable.”
This is a FEATURE description. However, customers are generally more interested in what the feature is AND it results.
This would sound more like:
“Even if your site gets featured on the front page of CNN and brings in 300,000 visits per hour……your site won’t go down.”
You need to show the feature, but also explain WHY it helps the customers (because sometimes it’s not so obvious to them).
Here’s an example of Southwest Airlines promoting their membership program. If you signup to their mileage credit card, you get 50,000 points. That’s great….but what does 50,000 points TRANSLATE INTO?
You see how the “Benefits” side also explains what the customer will actually get with those 50,000 points? That’s a good example of explaining the BENEFITS rather than features.
Make sure to practice stating the benefits of what you’re selling, not just features.
9. Fantastic Customer Support
How to improve the customer support?
Adding a ticketing system is definitely a great way to improve the customer service experience. If you don’t have a ticketing system, you could be facing a lot of issues that are making customers unhappy with their experience.
It’s possible you’re losing issues in email. If you have a shared email inbox, you’re likely not tracking customer correspondence, so a different agent who works with the customer in the future wouldn’t have a record of past issues that customer has had. This definitely causes issues with how the customer service agent deals with a customer and could prevent them from having crucial information about the customer’s needs.
Your agents may not be getting to issues in time. This is especially likely if you only have one person doing the majority of your customer service – people tend to use the “mark an email as unread and get back to it later” technique, but this can lead to days or even weeks going by with issues going unresolved, especially if you have a lot of customers. Without a ticketing system or some other helpful software, your customer service experience isn’t great, and your customer service agents are likely to feel overworked and unhappy. Unhappy agents don’t provide the same customer service as happy ones. A ticketing system helps organize customer issues and makes it easier for agents to respond in a timely manner. Things like canned responses and a knowledge base can save time for redundant questions.
Without the ability to track issues, it’s much harder to track how quickly agents are getting to issues, and reporting is crucial for improvement. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” A ticketing system solves that for you.
Previous bad experiences of your customers are a good indicator of what you can do to help future customers. By getting rid of the customer pain points that caused these bad experiences, you are able to remove it as a possibility from all future encounters with customers.
For example, if one customer had a problem with a complicated credit card validation process, it will probably mean that more customers will have a similar problem.
A pain point on your website is basically something like this:
It is possible to get around it, even if some help is required, but it’s definitely not helping with the experience.
What you can do to get rid of pain points in your business:
1) Monitor customer service channels – You keep a close eye on all your customer service channels (email, chat, phone, social media and so on) and quickly respond to cases where the customer may need some help. The trick here is to find the situations where a customer is about to experience a pain point and to step in before it happens. This kind of proactive customer service will help you avoid bad customer experience instead of simply trying to fix it.
2) Use every opportunity to collect customer feedback – Whether it is a survey on your website or an NPS survey, you should use every chance you have to collect more customer feedback. The more you know, the better your ability to detect and react to bad customer experience will be.
3) Keep a score – If you have the ability to tag your customer service interactions with specific labels (e.g. labels in Gmail), you can monitor how many of them happen at any given time period. If you notice that a particular type of pain point is trending up, you should check if something didn’t break on your website.