|How Important is the look and feel?|
does a stores overall appearance really affect the sales more than prices?
I'm really green when it comes to ecommerce so i'll give you a real quick history. i'm a computer consultant (very little to do with the web) and i just sort of inherited an active web store that sells professional widgets (products geared toward businesses rather than home users.) when i say inherited i don't mean that i have the whole thing and it's 100% mine now. Rather, the guy that owns it has been brick and mortar for a long time and the website is just a facet he just added. well he needs help running it and while i'm not an ecommerce guy, i'm much more prepared to handle this then he is. so my payment is essentially commission based.. he's giving me 15% of all profits through the site. so i really want to kick this things ass - it has the ability.
so far i've been running ads and fine tuning those (at least i think i'm fine tuning them).. he's given me a good budget to rank high on google and yahoo so our keywords are putting him 1st and second most of the time. all of that is great and the ads are getting clicked. it's too soon to be upset that there haven't been a lot of sales, but the real question is this:
when i go to his store and then i compare his store to others selling the same products, there are sites out there that just look SO much better. have more features, they just look more intact. his is good, don't get me wrong, but if i was picking and choosing based on appearance alone, i (and this is just personal) wouldn't go with him. i know the bottom line is almost always price (sometimes he's higher, sometimes he's not) but is the look really affecting the sales much or am i just being paranoid. because his looks a bit more dated i'm thinking that might, MIGHT, give the look of experience - like we've been around longer.. but maybe that's just wishful thinking. how much is the look affecting retention and conversion?
You have to target the people your selling to.
Id love to see his customers sites, I bet youd find a similar 'home made' thread running through theirs.
let just leave it at he sells electronics.. and some of his competition is looking very pro. that's why i'm worried. he doesn't look unprofessional.. just less.
and the electronics are being sold to business professionals not to home consumers.. so..
[edited by: iFixSolutions at 12:04 am (utc) on July 21, 2007]
|all of that is great and the ads are getting clicked. it's too soon to be upset that there haven't been a lot of sales, |
Perhaps you have to consider what the objectives of the site are? Is it to raise ad revenue or to sell widgets? Remember that every time an ad is clicked someone is leaving the site.
I think you answered your own question with this statement
|if i was picking and choosing based on appearance alone, i (and this is just personal) wouldn't go with him. |
Appearance in the cosmetic sense is unlikely to be an issue if you are price competitive.
Does the site actaully function efficiently?
Is it fast? remember corporate networks are handling a lot of external internet traffic and the individual buyer probably has a comparitively slow connection.
Is the navigation obvious and easy?
Can customers find products both by manufacturer / product number and by function or description?
How easy is it to order? Talk to some of your established customers and model their purchasing procedures. Does your site's operation support those models?
see.. (i'll send links if anyone is curious to see Us vs. Them).. it's built on bv 2004's cart system. he did find a good designer and they did a good job (though for being brand new it already looks a bit dated.) but i just look at the competition (one in particular) that has a much more clean look (menu's, layout, color scheme.) not so much web 2.0 shiny, just more, well, pro. i've been using the web and buying things online since that became an option. i know what I like.. but i read a lot of posts saying that it really comes down to price and a facelift just isn't worth it. in fact in some instances it hurt the site. well it can't really hurt us as we only get about 5-10 orders a week so far.
The thread about face-lifts is mostly about things that affect only the looks of the site. If the competitors "have more features" that are truly helpful to the customer, and cleaner navigation (and maybe more streamlined check-out?), that goes beyond looks to useability, which is a whole different thing.