Getting into e-commerce today is a remarkably simple way to gain additional income. You don’t even have to manufacture your own products or be technically skilled to set up a website and start earning. But this accessibility also means that there’s a lot of competition out there doing the same thing. It’s possible to succeed, but only if you’re doing the right things to stand out. Here are three tips for improving online visual merchandising to get you started.
Design for ease of use
Good visual design for an e-commerce website tends to be clean and simple. The average user may not know (or care) much about design, except when it starts to get in the way of their navigation and use of your website. The best sites for online shopping don’t just feature the products people want or dish out discounts to all comers. People choose one site among a dozen alternatives and stick with it; they do so because it’s designed for maximum ease of use. If a user looks at your website and can effortlessly navigate it, with a minimum number of clicks required to place an order, then you’ll enjoy increased conversions based simply on having a well-designed interface.
Use images effectively
The e-commerce industry has matured rapidly over the years, and technology has kept pace with it. Any new startup knows better than to use low-resolution images of their products. But even though smartphone cameras are more than capable of taking finely detailed pictures, there are other factors to consider when deciding how best to utilize the power of images on your website. For instance, a high-end necklace may require expert retouching to do justice to the product. New or innovative products may not sell as well if you simply take pictures against a plain white backdrop. Consumers would want to see the product in action, so showcase them with images that depict how they fit into a particular lifestyle. Go above and beyond the technical specifications, and you can effectively use images tailored to your product.
Balance the display of information
Online retailers can’t dodge the issue of trust. One of the most frequently cited reasons consumers still go out for the brick-and-mortar shopping experience versus the convenience of ordering the same product online is that they can try out a product, interact with it physically, and avoid the hassle of returning something they don’t like.
E-commerce can’t offer that experience, so retailers compensate with things like consumer reviews and friendly returns policies, which increase trust. However, going back to the principle of simplicity, you also need to avoid displaying too much information—this can lead to elements visually competing with each other for the user’s attention. Icons are visual shorthand for trust-building elements such as the FAQ, contact details, or SSL certificate badges.
Another way to streamline information on the website is through the implementation of filters, which let the user quickly narrow down the product catalog to a handful of relevant items.
When it comes to online shopping, appearances certainly matter—you’re asking consumers to pay for a product they won’t get to handle until later on. Use these practices to polish your website’s visual effectiveness and offer a standout e-commerce experience.