An ePublication from Ecommerce Partners

Web Usability and Branding – What Are Your Customers Really Looking For?

By | March 8, 2009 5:47 pm

When people talk about how to increase their website conversion rate or build branding, a lot of research, time, money and work go into things like the page design, sales copy, checkout process and a host of other factors. Of course all those points are important but one of the biggest factors you can use to improve your conversion rate is your website usability.

But how exactly does usability affect conversions and branding? Here’s a closer look at just what conversions mean for your website and how to increase them.

It’s Not Just About the Content – It used to be you could build a website and have people come to it automatically. Then more sites cropped up and the mantra became “content is king” — have good quality content and people will keep coming back. These days, with search engine optimization becoming so refined as a business in and of itself, businesses and customers alike are realizing that good content alone just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Now, the focus is not so heavy on attracting people to your website, but getting them to stay AND buy or perform another action such as subscribe to your newsletter or tell a friend. Good quality content should lend itself to your call-to-action but don’t hope for it to pull the customer through on its own.

Give Me a Reason NOT to Buy – Deep down, people are searching for reasons why they shouldn’t buy from you. It could be your site’s design, navigation, how well you’ve optimized for certain keywords (or not), product photos, shopping cart or any combination of these things. Once you work toward breaking down these barriers and focusing on usability conversion – the ratio of visitors to orders becomes a lot smoother.

Track Changes Over the Long Term – If you compare your conversion numbers day by day, you’re liable to make sudden changes on account of how well or how poorly the site performed that day. Instead, track changes long-term to get the larger picture of how your website usability is doing. See where people drop off – is it the landing page? Product page? Checkout? Test and refine to figure out what’s causing them to abandon the page.

Go Beyond Usability and Enhance Credibility – According to a study by Princeton Survey Research Associates, four out of five users say that being able to trust information on a website is important to them. Compare that to a study done by UCLA which shows that only 52.8% of people think online information is credible! That’s just slightly over half and it’s a dangerous statistic when it comes to your ecommerce site’s conversion rate.

Look at ways to enhance your credibility with testimonials (including videos, photos or audio clips), research or guides you’ve written and details that show your company is growing and worth doing business with. Don’t just expect people to trust you right from the start! Show them charts, graphs and evidence that you’ve helped other customers achieve outstanding results.

The bottom line is this – to improve website conversions, you’ve got to go a step further than useful content and great design. Consider the entire “flow” of your website — not just the technical side of things, like how easy it is to find information and place an order, but also the intuitive, credible site. The end result will be greater customer loyalty, increased brand recognition and a high probability of repeat orders and recommendations!

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About Ecommerce Partners:

Founded in 1998, ECommerce Partners is a full-service, ecommerce and interactive agency headquartered in New York City. Best known for our unique process methodology, we combine Internet expertise, creative talent, and business know-how to help clients across a variety of industries achieve rapid, measurable online marketing results.

True to our motto, "We build businesses, not just websites," we provide large and mid-sized companies with a full range of Internet marketing, website design and ecommerce solutions geared to maximize online revenues.



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