This is a very, very basic article. If you understand the concept alluded to in the title, feel free to move on. But for those who are just venturing into the wonderful world of E-Commerce, there are so many temptations to skimp on site design that someone needs to explain the reasons why it should never happen. So here goes:

Studies show that you have seconds to convince an online shopper your business is not only legitimate, but  secure. Let me emphasize that: SECONDS. If anything about your site makes them feel insecure, they will leave and likely never return.

A good example of people following this gut reaction in the non-digital world could be the different types of ice cream trucks that drive down our streets. Imagine for a moment that the two ice cream vans below sold the exact same type of ice cream.  If both of these vans drove through your neighborhood, which one would you buy your ice cream from?


The answer is pretty clear, and it took you seconds to decide. Even if you know it’s the same ice cream being sold by both, you will always go for the nicer van. Your customers follow that same instinct when it comes to your website. They assume that if it looks trustworthy, then it is trustworthy.

Your customers’ perception then becomes your financial reality–whether you deserve the judgment they hand down or not.

I’ve been in this industry for years now and I’m always amazed at how many online business owners don’t really understand how crucial a well-designed website really is. They believe that if they have a quality product to sell, the customer will put up with a poor site layout.

Perhaps a quick allegory will illustrate the problem with this line of thinking.

Suppose you’re shopping for a bicycle.  At the end of your street, you see two clearly marked bike shops. One is a little closer to you, so you decide to visit that one first.

Upon entering the store, your ears are assaulted by loud, obnoxious music. Annoyed, but determined to buy that bicycle, you continue into the showroom… or at least you would, if you could get to it. As you move forward, a movie screen suddenly drops from the ceiling in front of you, blocking the doorway to the actual shop. To your horror, you realize that anybody wishing to view the merchandise must first endure both the music and a video advertisement–for the store you are already shopping at.

It’s tough to imagine a store like this ever gaining a single customer. It’s as though the business owners went out of their way to make the experience as unpleasant as possible. Unfortunately, countless business owners create a similar experience for their online customers without even realizing it.

Keep your site’s design clean, focused, and easily understood. Skip the autoplay option. Don’t add music to your site unless it’s your product–and again, it should never play automatically. Make your menu intuitive, not flashy, and keep your graphics clear, professional, and related to your business. The addition of social reviews, if used correctly, and third party verification, such as news articles or trust seals, will also help to put your visitors’ minds at ease.

In short, follow the same principles when designing your website as you would a brick and mortar store: keep it simple, professional, comfortable, and well organized.  Ask your friends, family, or, perhaps most importantly, total strangers for their honest opinions of a planned site well before you launch. Watch them try to use it and take notes on what they have issues with. With practice and experience, you’ll learn to see your site in the most important way possible: as your customers see it.

This Article Was Brought To You By, Andrew Brandley

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