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for a year, i scrapped our logo (didnt like it) and put the freephone number in its place. Sales & conversion rate increased massively.
i think "branding" has more to do with colours, navigation & overall usability than your logo. after all Coke is associated as much for its shaped bottle as for its logo.
So I'm thinking if a good logo is even something visitors notice or not.
Also, as far as branding and returned customers, I noticed that the most loyal customers are the ones you have problems with. Weird. I know. But those are just my stats.
If a customer orders something and it arrives broken and you replase it without asking questions - the customer feels safe and appriciated.
My most loyal customer (placed 9 orders on separate occasions), had problems with 7 of those orders: items broken, items missing, packages arriving later and missing birthdays and other events.
So now, he calls me and we start joking about it.
And he still keeps buying.
I think that's more important than a good logo, but I just wanted opinions on that topic. If I can do something to my site that makes the first-time buyer place an order (besides an efffect of branding) - I would like to do it.
Absolutely, could not agree more.
We have found the same, ability to correct problems quickly is a great sign of aptitude. Also makes customers feel that you care about them.
They then tell all their friends that you are a good company that can sort out problems, so it snowballs
The same effect happens in reverse if you cant correct problems quickly - smacks of disorganisation.
I actually have some test data about this. A few years ago, before I had any idea what I was doing, I had a site that had an almost exact mirror. Both sites had different links pointing to them and somehow ranked very close to each other.
They had a major difference though. Thinking that they would be seen as different sites, the mirror's "logo" was just text with an H1 tag. The real site had a very good logo.
The conversion on the mirror was almost nonexistant. I can only attribute it to the logo.
My general feeling about logos is that, just like the rest of your site, when they look professional they lend the site credibility.
I used to get many real estate and shopping center mags. Most developers (often big ego guys) and malls had logos consisting of cryptic squiggly lines. Many looked alike. Probably most came from a handful of pricey "branding consultants." Few were clever or related to the company in any way.
I used to refer to them as "Corporate Squiggles" Often there was a lofty sounding tag line such as "Innovation in Real Estate," while their squiggle just proved they went along with every business fad...no innovation at all!
Then there were the logos with oak trees or soaring birds. (get it!)
Yeah I can think of one good logo showing a "thing": TransAmerica's logo with their huge building inspires confidence. (hard to beat a 70 story building!)
A couple of years ago I read a critique of internet logos. An enormous number showed a world thingie.(like WebmasterWorld's) Or squggles (See Alta Vista's new cryptic, but attractive "A V")
Will a good logo help web business? I think so. Make sure to keep it small and heavily optomized for fast loading.
I had to do some searching though. Some companies may not give you many choices. Mine gave me 6 rough designs then ammended the chosen one again and again until I was happy. Plus it only cost about £180, which is pretty good.
If you want a professional site then I think a logo is a must. Of course the rest of the site has to look good too.
In our experience, with very few exceptions, "cool" graphics and "pretty" visuals do not convert surfers into prospects, or prospects into customers. Some of the most successful web-based retailers have deliberately primative branding. A few we could name have no logo at all, yet receive hundreds of repeat orders a day.
Yes a logo can be "good", just as it can be "bad", but again there is very little a logo can do to guarentee customer confidence. Bottom line we give to all our clients is, there just ain't a magic formula based on the time and money spent creating any logo (or not).
<SARCASM>Fortunately for the glut of web graphics designers, the majority of online startups don't know this! Be sure to do the enthusiastic head bob whenever a website customer asks you if a more expensive logo is always a more effective logo!</SARCASM>
Seriously, there is one very simple design element which many web-only businesses deliberately, and foolishly, overlook. Again this is entirely our opinion based on experience, offered here only to rescue victims of the "logo hype" siren song.
Putting a contact address and telephone and fax on the front page of the site automatically establishes a higher degree of trust than any logo could ever do. If you're not willing to use your own address / phone / fax info, there are plenty you can rent by the day / month / year, just ask Google.
PS: Thanks to the mods for keeping this on-topic thread alive and kicking :)
[edited by: engine at 11:07 am (utc) on Jan. 14, 2005]
[edit reason] formatting [/edit]
If you want to a return on investment on these costs within a 6 month period,
here are the monthly sales you need, based on a 2x product mark up.
Sales: $2000.00 per month
Sales: $4000.00 per month
Sales: $8000.00 per month
Sales: $10000.00 per month
Sales: $20000.00 per month
My opinion is that until you are doing at least 25k a month, redesign costs saps away your advertising dollars and actually decreases the rate you increase your profitability.
A full site face lift can give you at 5% increase in sales at the higher end.
After split-testing hundreds and hundreds of attributes, I found 6 elements, when combined, _doubled_ (I kid you not) the conversion rate of the site I was talking about. So 5% increase is nowhere near the higher end.
Btw, the logo _itself_ was not one of those elements.
I don't think the logo is important if your not selling your own products.
I would say it does not matter what you sell. As long as you don't have $50mil+ advertising budget for proper branding, logo is not the most important thing in the world.
And those 6 elements were...?
ROFL! Maybe, in a really expensive e-book, sometime in the future, when I'm no longer paranoid about my competitors finding them out.
That is not to say that a bad logo on a good site won't lead to sales, but a good logo can help.
Also, logos are pretty cheap. They can be had for somewhere around $200 and if you do it correctly, can build out the rest of your site and what is on it.
The hard part is not getting swamped testing things that simply don't work and never will. That's where I spent most of my time :)
One of the key ingrints is to keep a site simple and uncluttered. Unless a gimmick or link is vital, (which means adding dollars to the bottom line) drop it.
Too many gimmicks such as wish lists, registration, "share this page with a friend", stupid disclaimers, mission statements (worthless junk), gift registries, gift certificates etc. etc. etc......etc.
(will vary with the product of course)
Amazon got so cluttered awhile back that I couldn't figure out how to buy a best-selling book.
That's where the art of UI design comes in. ;)
Re: logo. It's not a requirement. It may or may not improve sales. The sole purpose of a logo is as an easily remembered attention getting device. Anything else it does is secondary.
Look at the two original brand identity campaigns: IBM & Westinghouse. Remember the striped IBM logo? It was an attention getting device that suggested efficiency and speed and also managed to tie together three hard to use letters.
Now think about the original W used for Westinghouse. The vertical arms ended in distinctive ball-shaped knobs and the W was enclosed within a circle. Both of these logos are still in use some 50 years later and are recognized the world over.
Logos and brand identity are not something that directly influence the bottom line but they do have a significant role to play. Some of the other factors have been mentioned above. The point is that if you want your store to be as successful as possible you should be looking at all of the components available to you.
And logos are only a part of brand identity. A well designed logo will stand out and gain attention when used in advertising and marketing materials - especially when placed right next to a poorly design competitor's logo. A former head of British Rail is quoted as saying "Design is intelligence made visible."
And brand identity goes beyond just a logo. In the mid-fifties IBM officially decided that a certain color blue was to be used throughout their company literature and marketing materials. This earned them the moniker "Big Blue" through a constant and widespread application of this policy. As a former employee of IBM I can attest to just how far they took this idea even within the corporate halls.
The choice of colors, typeface, and stylistic applications of photography and design all work to build an identity. None of these affects the bottom line directly, but all of them are vitally important in establishing an identity seperate from the competition.
My design method mostly consists of copying the big boys
Big boys often have great ideas, but you always need to test them with your audience.
For example, Google recently added a "More>>" link for Adwords ads.
One site I manage has a list of featured categories on it's left panel. This panel lists about 10 out of 200 total categories.
It's always bugging me that only a fraction of people actually know that the site has more than 10 categories.
So I was trying different things to get more people to click to the "site map" for a very long time.
Seeing the new adwords thing gave me an idea.
Now, I'm testing a right-aligned "More>>" link under the last category of the left panel as opposed to the current control, which is a sign in small font
"Need more _widget_ ideas? Click here to view our complete selection."
So far, more people click through to the site map, more people visit different categories after seeing the site map, more people add to cart, and more people buy.
I don't have the stats on the average number of items in order and average total amount yet.
The results of the test are not final, but so far it looks like it's going to become the new control. At least if I don't see a decline in the order total for that group.
It's great and all, but I think the last 5 or so ideas I borrowed from the big boys failed to work for me. So if we simply apply what we see on other sites - we'll do more harm than good.
This line of conversasion is great
Especially the quote above.
For years now, this business of design has been a rather darling, and an elusive creature.
Back in the old days, I had just one site, sold 3 different things and had no logo. Business was okay for what I had. Pretty spooky stuff....my first hand made website, built on an old 1gig with 200mgh processor, but I got it done.
As time went along, I got a logo made by a good mate of mine in Melbourne and I put it right up. Bright and Blue and Flashy it was. Reminded me of the orange carpet and the gold countertops of the 70's.
Had that logo for quite a bit of time, oh, I'ld say about 3 years. Got rid of it last year and went back to text for a bit. Not much of a difference.
Cost of site development drove our growing company to develope our own IT and design department. Now, with many sites, selling many things, I look back and notice the days of the text as opposed to the logo, and for the traffic turnover end, I've found a comfortable spot with a new logo that looks like text, very simply but easily copied for linking or advertisement purposes.
Yes, people do like it simple for the most part, easy to shop that way I guess. Navigation and readily available information is the rule of the day around here then, anything else I've found, just doesn't work well for us.
Though we use Dreamweaver MX and Flash MX and Photoshop and Swish and WebEasyPro for our site development purposes (and our clients), I just can't help but to think that with all of these big gun programs, I built our logo from a 29.00 dollar logo making program that I bought online a year ago.
Some of our sites have logos, while others don't, but personally, I don't think it matters much to an online shopper. It's the simplicity of it all that makes the difference I think. A website that is easy to navigate, clean and uncluttered, and provides good information, is the kind of site that sells things these days, logo or not.
Ideally a logo should be mostly a slightly stylized version of the firm's name. Such as Coke's. Or IBM's. Or Microsoft's.
Or Google's :)
Apart from lending some credibility a logo is not going to bring in the bucks. Here's a way to test it. Get someone to make up a list of say 20 companies that you know (not the obvious ones like MacDonalds, IBM, Coke, etc.) Now try to describe their logos. Then give yourself a mark out of 20.