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Does the quality of a company's web site affect your decision to purchase a particular product or service from them?
Has the look of a company’s web site ever discouraged you from making a purchase from them?
I firmly believe that good design make a difference, but there are many variables here. Sometimes one page/site converts better than another not because it's actually more effective in and of itself, but more because the luck of the draw in the search engines is sending better prospects in the first place. When you're comparing results from various approaches, remember to check your logs to see if there are any noticeable differences in how people are finding you that should be taken into account.
I presume your talking about the site in your profile in your post. i had a look and cant find anything to buy. The site is lovely, the discussion boards are very good and have loads of really good info to get punters coming back and staying sticky, but though the design is super, its not revolved around the purchase of goods nearly as much as it should be. Remember that you provide the other stuff to keep them there and enteratin/inform them so that they trust/fidn attachment to the site in order to get their money...
make the buying side a whole lots more obvious. on my very first visit to the site i thought good things...i enjoyed my visit, and if confronted with the right product may well have bought it...but i was never confronted with the option of buying anything...so i didnt, and there lies your problem...sort that out and you could well be onto a winner,as the rest is spot on...
good luck, i hope this ramble helps!
I agree that design can enhance trust.. in various ways. Also a "quality" site also suggests what you are selling is quality
The key thing is not so much quality overall, but what is the parts of the quality that sell.
The key is not to get too tied up with "looking good", but have quality through fast loading, a nice smart functional design and navigation.
RcJordan I am sure will tell you that one of his sites is one of the UGLIEST on the web (sorry yet again RC, but yours is such a great example!) but it is also one of the most successful in makeing sales.
Most design specialists have to be reigned in. Sometimes its even better to not use external design specialists but to give some quick web design training to sales guys and then get them to design one!
But before I get my fellow web designers here all riled up may I add that the good ones realise that sales is what matters, not quality design per se, but they know how to create a quality design that optimizes sales or leads short term (immediate sales) and long term (branding and repeat sales) and treats that as the ONLY criteria of a good design.
Thats why most flash sites make awful e-commerce sites...
I think we should also distinguish between "graphic design" and "site design". Whilst the look of the site is obviously important ("graphic design"), I think it is of seconadary value to the structure and flow of the site in most cases.
One client of mine recent went through some upheaval in the business, leading to a requirement for a site redesign. Whilst we were at it, we (finally!) persuaded them to let us do some restructuring work.
The site is for a local recruitment firm, and they are using an ecomm package as a cheap'n'cheerful way of getting a database of jobs online. The way they had made us set it up last time, you could take 7 clicks to reach the product level (ie actually viewing job details).
Now its 2, or 3, depending on which route you take. I confidently predict that the new site will be more successful, as it is no longer a chore to use the site. The look is also much improved, and should appeal to the target audience more.
So, not only should the new site appeal more visually, but it should be possible to actually find information on it now, as well. This may be considered a good thing
I think it is very important to give your visitor a feel of professionalism on your site. Try use live sales/support software to response your visitor's questions too.
Remember that a internet store front is no different then a 'real' store. You have to adjust your site to whatever you're selling.
[edited by: TallTroll at 1:05 pm (utc) on Aug. 1, 2002]
[edit reason] URL drops [/edit]
Usability has two (related) components - preference and performance. Site aesthetics fall under the heading of "preference" - a user likes the colours on one site better than on another, hence they "prefer" that aspect of it. However, what if the user finds it easier to perform their task (searching for products, selecting products for purchase, navigating the site, looking at the shopping cart, checking out) on site2? Then, their performance is better on the second site, but they also "prefer" the second site because their performance is better.... it's cyclic. IMHO, increasing performance aspects on a site should be a priority over preference.... see above slogan.
The single most important factor IMHO is download time. If people don't wait for the site to load that is the weakest link and nothing else matters. Same with Flash intros for the most part.
From there its not so easy to pick out the next weakest link, but traffic logs, or other tracking can shed some insight.
Colors make a diffeent, content makes a huge difference. Just like a Hollywood producer may storyboard a movie, it may help to do the same with a site. In addition to keywords, draw out how you think people will use the site, the paths people would logically take to accomplish the tasks you want them to accomplish.
Calls to action are very important. Make it so easy to figure out how to put something in the shopping cart your dog could do it, make it easy to see what is in the shopping cart. Reasuring words are very important - secure, risk free, safe, toll free, satisfaction guaranteed, we value your privacy (only if you really do) help to reassure visitors.
When they are buying, let them know where they are in the process, show an order confirmation complete with price with tax and shipping, all items being purchased before they press the submit button. Amazon is great at this type of thing. Wouldn't it be nice it YAHOO!/LookSmart would show you the title, description, URL, and category along with the submission fee all on one screen before you submit? It's not fun when you have to appeal to the editors because you made a mistake that could have easily been caught had they provided a confirmation screen. No only does this type of thing improve the sales process and satisfaction but it can cut returns, customer service, and labor costs.
I just uploaded a redesign of the first site(FP98) I ever did and the difference, in stickiness, so far is amazing. The percentage of time spent on the site per visitor has increased. Now I'm waiting to see what the converstion rate is going to look like.
The changes: New color scheme
change in site page layout(from fluid left justified to fixed centered)
change in navigation
cleaner layout( much better use of whitespace)
The site as it was was really just functional it did not take in to account asthetics or trying to build customer confidence at all and the conversion rate told the story....:(
The redesigned site is faring alot better. Sales are up and I noticed that 160 people have bookmarked the site in the last month.
I don't have any exact statistical figures, but we are getting lots of compliments from users.
I added some new features such as input forms for users to request customization and they seem to like them very much.
This site actually belongs to my mother and she informed me today that she made three good sales over the phone that originated from the site to go with a few online sales. So considering she was lucky to get a few sales a week before the redesign, it's looking up:)
a design that made sales truly better than their old design? Does Design matter?
In this case, most definitely!