10 eCommerce Marketing Design Principles for the Digital Age
Ecommerce websites have become a cornerstone of modern business, and no matter how big or small your online shop is, you need to stand out from the crowd.
Simply put, eCommerce has become an essential part of our daily lives. The world wide web has made it easier to purchase everything from coffee and wine to clothing and computers.
More than 55% of US consumers prefer to shop online, representing an almost 10% increase over the past two years. However, this growth has led to a big problem: many small businesses and startups struggle to compete in today's market.
To make matters worse, many businesses are utterly oblivious to the digital marketing needs of their customers. If your eCommerce business struggles to make sales, these design principles are for you.
Design is the first impression. It's how your customers see you and your brand in an instant. And when it comes to eCommerce websites, design makes the difference between a customer loving or hating your site. So what can you do to make sure your online storefront is not only pleasing but also practical?
1 – Content is King
Content is king for eCommerce marketing design as it is the key to building trust and credibility. The most successful eCommerce businesses are those that build trust in their brand. In other words, they're the ones that provide information and answers to customers' questions. They also ensure they provide high-quality content and offer products and services relevant to customer needs.
If your content isn't relevant, it has no value, and no one will want to buy from you. In the same way, if your eCommerce site isn't easy to navigate, your website lacks personality, and your product pages don't communicate the benefits and features, you'll lose business.
High-quality content can be created using a variety of approaches, including the following:
- Blogs – These can be written by you or someone else and posted on your eCommerce website. They allow you to provide valuable and interesting information and insights about your products and services. This can include how-to guides, videos, product reviews, product comparisons, special offers, and more.
- Videos – Videos can be created by you or someone else and uploaded to your eCommerce website. They can also be embedded on blog posts, social media pages and emails. Videos provide information about products, services, and customer service. They are also helpful in creating a sense of intimacy and authenticity.
- Infographics – Infographics are visual representations of text and data. You can use them to provide information clearly and concisely. You can use infographics to explain a concept, product or process and create the opportunity to showcase beautiful images.
- Podcasts – Podcasts are audio or video content recorded and published to a website or podcast app. They allow you to provide valuable and informative information and advice on various topics. They are beneficial if you're looking to reach a younger audience.
- Images – Images are one of the best ways to showcase your products and services. They can be used to highlight different features of your products and can also be used to add interest and texture to a page.
These types of high-quality content are just some of the ways you can create a more engaging and relevant eCommerce site.
When you're creating content, remember to use your voice. There's nothing worse than reading a long block of text. It's much better to use language that's natural and engaging. This is particularly true of blogs. Try to write in a conversational style and keep sentences short and punchy.
Also, you should keep your content fresh. A blog that updates once a month is fine, but you must consider how often your eCommerce website needs to be updated. It's a good idea to create a content calendar to plan.
Ask yourself what you want to say. Are you writing to inform or persuade? Do you want to encourage or convince? What's the purpose of your content? Think about what tone you want to adopt and try to write in this style.
2 – Visuals are Key
If you are starting a new business or redesigning an old one, you might need to rethink your marketing strategy. It would be best if you rethought your entire business plan. The internet has changed the landscape for businesses of every size, from small startups to big corporations.
The digital world has brought customers closer than ever to the products and services they want, and consumers can find and compare pricing and reviews online easily.
To stay competitive, you must develop a clear marketing strategy. Without one, you will probably be overwhelmed with the vast number of options available.
Before jumping into this challenge, take a moment to think about what makes your product or service unique. For example, how would a shopper find you online? This is particularly important when thinking about visual design, as there are several options for how your product or service can look.
What are some of the ways you can get more customers to see your business through the eyes of a potential customer?
First, focus on your brand.
Brands stand out from other businesses because they represent a specific experience. As such, you must create a brand identity easy for your customers to remember. Your brand should be instantly recognisable when they see it. You should use colours, fonts and logos that reflect who you are, what you offer, and why your customers should choose you over other businesses.
The second step is ensuring your brand is evident across every aspect of your business. Don't assume that your customers will know exactly what your business offers. If they have to read your website to find out, then you need to change it.
Once you have an idea of what your brand is, you can start thinking about your design.
One of the easiest ways to get started is to use stock photography. Selecting the right images can highlight what makes your product or service different while remaining consistent throughout your website.
For example, if you sell kitchen appliances, the best way to show off your shiny stainless steel appliances is to use a photo that shows a white kitchen with a range of shiny, gleaming appliances. If you use stock photos, the chances are high that someone else has already chosen an image that best represents your brand. You won't have to worry about copyright issues either.
You can also use your images to create a consistent look and feel across your site. One great way to get started is by using “hero” photos. These photos will show off your best features and help your website appear more attractive to potential customers.
To get the most out of your eCommerce marketing design, you need to think carefully about how you want your customers to interact with your business. Visuals can be a powerful tool for making sure that they do. Once you've figured out what you want your customers to see, you can begin working on your unique brand.
3 – Mobile is Important
When we say mobile commerce, we mean that online shoppers use their smartphones to browse, search, compare, buy products and complete payment transactions. And they are doing this while travelling, commuting, shopping with other family members or alone in a quiet place.
They are more likely to engage in mobile commerce than any other type of commerce. Mobile users spend more time browsing than any other shopper and spend more money per visit.
Mobile shoppers are using their smartphones to complete purchases in various ways. They do product research on their phone, compare prices, read reviews, rate products, and make purchase decisions. They also use their phones to complete payment transactions such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet.
The shift to mobile has led to an increase in sales. More consumers are engaging in mobile commerce, and most eCommerce revenues now come from mobile shoppers.
4 – Video is Essential
Video content is a powerful tool in marketing, and it's no surprise that this medium is widely used by eCommerce businesses today.
Video content is especially effective because:
- It allows users to consume video content on their terms – they can watch it whenever and wherever they want.
- Consumers expect video content to be high quality and entertaining and are much more likely to enjoy the content than other formats.
- Video content gives the impression that you are a trustworthy company with a strong brand and more likely to gain consumer trust.
- Videos are more memorable than text and can deliver a message in less than 3 seconds!
- A large amount of research shows that viewers tend to spend more time on websites with a video on them.
- Most web browsers support HTML5 videos, meaning you don't need plugins or software to view videos.
- Videos provide an excellent opportunity for social sharing, allowing users to share your content easily with their followers.
- Videos are also one of the few formats that can be created quickly, so it's straightforward to produce and share videos.
There are many different types of video content available for eCommerce sites, but here are some of our favourites:
- Product demonstrations
- Customised video tours
- Short video tutorials
- Informational videos
- Customer testimonials
- How-to guides
5 – Email is Still Relevant
Ecommerce has been around for decades, and yet we still see new ways of email marketing, as most of us now know how to use it. However, email has been around for longer than the eCommerce industry itself. As a result, there are still a lot of people out there who aren't familiar with the use of email marketing.
But if you think about it, even though the eCommerce industry did not invent email marketing, it is still the primary method businesses use to communicate with customers.
That is why eCommerce marketing experts have used it for ages, in various forms, as they know its effectiveness.
The question is, why is email still relevant? Well, it is relevant because of the following reasons.
Email Marketing Helps You Build a Solid Customer Base
You may need a customer base if you are thinking about starting your own online business. This means that you will have to sell to people. How will you sell to them? Will you use social media? Or maybe you will put an ad on Craigslist? Those methods have their advantages and disadvantages.
If you want to build a solid customer base that you can nurture and grow with, then email marketing is one of the best ways to achieve this. By reaching your current and potential customers, you can establish relationships with them and let them know more about your business. They can see the value in your products and services, and you can learn more about them, too. This helps you establish trust and rapport with your customers.
When you find the right email marketing strategies, you will be able to build a solid customer base and have a better chance of selling more to them.
Email Marketing Helps You Communicate
Many businesses today, especially small ones, cannot afford to use social media. However, email marketing allows them to communicate with their customers and let them know what they are up to. Email marketing is a great way to send regular updates and promotional information to your customers, stay in touch with them and help them learn more about your business. It also allows you to send them discounts, coupons, offers, and special promotions.
It's a Cheap Way to Market Your Business
The point is that email marketing costs less than other marketing techniques. It is also a great way to engage and interact with your customers. If you are thinking of starting an online business, consider using email marketing as part of your overall eCommerce marketing plan.
6 – Social Media is Vital
Social media marketing allows brands to connect and engage with their audience through sharing, content creation and commenting. In eCommerce, social media helps eCommerce store owners connect with their audience through sharing product recommendations, customer reviews and other content.
Here are the top 5 reasons you need to incorporate social media into your eCommerce marketing strategy.
1 – Customer Reviews
It is a known fact that customers love reviews. It helps them find out about the products before buying; it enables them to compare prices and helps them decide whether to buy or not.
Social media channels, particularly Facebook, have made it easier for consumers to share their product opinions with other customers. Review sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google, and Amazon all provide their users with the ability to rate the quality of products. This benefits both the consumer and brand as it allows brands to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
Social media is a great channel to use when you want to encourage your customers to share their feedback. You can use the “like” button to provide customers with the option of “liking” your business. The more positive reviews you receive, you will have more positive exposure.
2 – Increase Brand Awareness
With the ever-increasing number of social media users, brands are gaining an increased reach with their target audience. By interacting with social media users, brands can create relationships with their target audience. This relationship is compelling as it gives the brand a chance to influence its audience's opinion of the brand. This is essential as studies have shown that people are more likely to trust companies with close relationships.
It is also important to note that the more people interact with a brand, the more they will buy from it. According to a survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), social media users spend more money on digital advertising than users of any other form of media.
3 – Enhance Trustworthiness
A study by the IAB found that 92 per cent of consumers said they would trust a product reviewed by someone they knew. With social media, where people can freely express their opinions, consumers will trust brands with active and engaged social media presences more.
4 – Improve Website Traffic
Incorporating social media into your marketing strategy will increase the number of people visiting your website. Since most social media users are searching for information, they will be attracted to a website that offers valuable content. This will then lead to more website traffic.
5 – Social Media Is a Great Channel for Brand Promotion
It is vital to have an effective social media presence to promote your brand effectively. Allowing users to interact with the brand allows customers to ask questions, get answers, and even get suggestions.
7 – Engagement is Critical
Engagement with your audience and customers is critical to a successful eCommerce marketing strategy. Your eCommerce website aims to engage your visitors in a way that generates a conversion response. A conversion response is an action on your eCommerce website that leads to a sale.
Engagement is typically measured by the number of visitors who take the desired action. Examples of actions include:
- Filling out a form.
- Clicking a link.
- Completing a product purchase or signing up for a newsletter.
How do you measure engagement?
There are two primary ways to measure engagement: tracking data and measuring responses. For example, you could track the number of clicks on your eCommerce website, which indicates the number of people who visit the site and then click on a link. Tracking data helps you determine the success of a particular eCommerce website design.
Another way to measure engagement is by measuring responses to your website. For example, suppose you've created a website that offers a free eBook as a promotion. In that case, you can use an email tracking tool to see how many people are opening the email, how many people are reading the content and how many are purchasing the eBook.
The number of people responding to your website is a good indicator of engagement.
To determine if your eCommerce website is engaging your audience, it is necessary to examine the following aspects of your website:
- Pageviews – The number of pages that visitors view on your website.
- Bounce rate – This is the percentage of visitors who leave the website immediately after viewing a single page.
- Bounce rate concerning pages – Bounce rate with pages is the percentage of visitors who leave the website after viewing a page within the first five seconds.
- Pageviews per visitor – The number of pages viewed per visitor.
- Click-through rate (CTR) – CTR is the percentage of visitors who click on a link on your website.
- Landing page views – The number of times a landing page is viewed.
- Pages per visit – The number of unique pages viewed per visit.
- Time spent on site – The average time spent on your website.
8 – A/B Testing is Essential
A/B testing can inform your web design decisions and provide a real return on investment.
For any kind of online business, web design plays an essential role. Nowadays, it's no longer a case of just putting a website together, getting a business card, and hoping for the best. Every aspect of your business needs to be taken care of to compete in this highly competitive market, including web design.
The first step to creating an effective eCommerce site is understanding what works and doesn't. Web design is the most crucial part of any online business, so you must get it right.
A/B testing is a tried and tested way of identifying what is working and what isn't, and it's the perfect way to make decisions based on scientific evidence.
A/B Testing allows you to compare two different designs or variations of one design. This allows you to identify which performs better by comparing two versions of a single or two designs and measuring the results.
A/B testing can save you valuable time and money. By using A/B testing, you can easily decide which of the following elements of a website are working and which ones aren't:
- Design – How many products should you have on the homepage? What should your ‘call to action button be? What size should the images be, and how should they be positioned?
- Navigation – Which is more user-friendly: your navigation menu on the left or the right? Should there be a link to the contact page?
- Images – Should you use large or small images, and where should they be placed?
- Call to action – Are your customers ready to buy or leave your site before they even reach the checkout?
- Search – Does your site include a search box, and if so, what words should you be searching for?
If you were designing an online store, you would need to test these questions. A/B testing will let you know which answers are correct for you and which ones are not.
Once you know which design works best, you can implement the changes you have decided on into your main design. The best web designers are always looking for new ways to make their websites look even more attractive; this is where A/B testing comes in.
With a bit of practice, A/B testing is something anyone can learn. It's a great way to help you make informed choices about the design of your website. And best of all, it's an entirely free and confidential testing method!
9 – Multichannel is Great
Multichannel marketing is a great way to promote your business, attract new customers and build brand awareness, but creating a solid online presence can be difficult, especially if you're just starting.
What is Multichannel Marketing?
The multichannel approach combines various channels – print, online and mobile – to promote your business. This means using advertising and marketing strategies and activities to reach different audiences and drive traffic to your website.
For example, you might advertise in print to reach those who read magazines, promote your product through social media and your website, and use email to target potential customers.
Why Multichannel Is Important for eCommerce Marketing Design
The most successful businesses are always looking to increase their customer base, whether expanding their products and services or generating more sales from existing clients. To do this, they need to provide a broad range of marketing opportunities for customers to explore and choose from, such as:
In addition to traditional email, online tools like Gmail allow you to send emails from within Google's platform. You can also integrate with other email marketing services, including Mailchimp. Email marketing is a powerful and cheap way to communicate with current and potential customers and attract new ones.
Social Media Marketing
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been around for a while now, but they still go hand-in-hand with the internet. Whether selling products or offering services, you must be active on social media platforms.
Advertising on social media networks can be a good option if you're selling physical goods. But social media advertising can be more cost-effective and less intrusive if you sell services like a photographer or a tutor.
Social media marketing works best for businesses that sell a physical product or service, as these companies can upload images and video directly onto the networks. However, if you're selling a digital product, such as an app or ebook, you'll need to host the files on your website or a third-party website.
To help you generate more sales, you need to create an eCommerce website that can help customers find and buy your products. A website should include a clear call to action so that customers know where to click to buy and how to navigate your site.
An eCommerce website doesn't have to be expensive to create. Many free eCommerce solutions can help you create an attractive site that you can update easily. The primary consideration here is that your site should be easy to use and make it clear where to buy your products.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of your website in search engines, like Google, for keywords relevant to your products and services. This includes ensuring that the text on your website is SEO-friendly, that the website content is relevant to the keywords you want to use and that your website has the correct tags.
In addition to helping customers find your products, a good SEO strategy will help you build links to your website and attract backlinks that can boost your ranking.
While online marketing is often the preferred method, you must remember that not everyone uses the internet or has access to it. So you can't rely solely on digital marketing alone; you need to do some offline advertising too.
If you're selling a physical product, you may want to sell it via the web, but if you're selling digital products, like apps, you can use online advertising to get your name out there.
10 – Analytics Matter
Analytics and design go together like peas and carrots. I believe in analytics and use it daily in my design process. The reason is twofold: firstly, creating beautiful, engaging eCommerce designs is a must. And secondly, it ensures a successful eCommerce experience for customers.
There are many tools available to help you manage your analytics data effectively. They can provide you with critical insights that allow you to make data-driven decisions on a range of topics, including:
- Customer behaviour and shopping patterns
- Key trends that are affecting your audience
- Marketing campaigns
- Performance issues (which pages are giving you trouble)
- Conversion rates
- Website issues (broken links, poor usability)
Analytics can also help you measure how you perform against other online stores in terms of conversion rates and if you are losing customers through poor conversion rates, for example.
In addition, analytics will show you where your store is gaining traction and where it isn't. This is vital information to inform your content strategy and overall design. It allows you to make design and content decisions based on accurate data.
The key to using analytics is to keep your eyes peeled for any changes that need to be made to improve your site performance.
Your site performance can be improved by:
- Optimising your SEO.
- Improving your site speed.
- Reducing the number of 404 errors that are displayed.
- Fixing any broken links.
- Adding new calls to action.
- Making your checkout process more intuitive.
It's important to realise that your analytics data doesn't have to be perfect to be helpful. What is important is that you monitor your store closely and review your site regularly. That way, you will notice any issues sooner and have a chance to take corrective action.
The key to analytics is knowing what works, what doesn't, and why. Analytics will help you improve the success of your website and drive the sales you want.
In conclusion, eCommerce is still a relatively new industry – for many online retailers, it's still not a well-established platform. For others, it has been established and is growing exponentially every year. In either case, eCommerce is one of the fastest-growing industries.
More than ever, businesses are using eCommerce to grow their business and brand. In addition, many other platforms allow companies to sell online, which means you can use them to your advantage. These are ten eCommerce marketing design principles for the digital age.
Learn more about the design principles I've used to make my website work for my customers and grow my business.