Are you dragging your feet when it comes to a site redesign? Like many other brands, you may know you need to update your website, but feel as if you don’t have the budget or time for it. However, if your site is outdated, you may be driving away potential customers.
Brands have really only used eCommerce for the past two decades. The first big eCommerce sites (like Amazon in 1995) were started in the early 1990s, but it wasn’t something the majority of brands jumped on right away. Slowly, more and more brands climbed on board. Now, digital migration has become a bonified buzzword.
The changes have ramped up every year since those early days. The algorithms, design trends, available features, formatting, analytics capabilities—everything has improved. And, because of those improvements, the customer’s expectations have increased.
Customers now expect intuitive design that doesn’t stall or glitch. They want value. They expect the marketing to align with their needs. They expect mobile-responsive layouts that adjust based on what kind of screen they are using. They want eCommerce sites that clearly display the product and define its details.
A website is not a luxury—it is a necessity for doing business in today’s market. Your website should handle customer questions and convert new leads.
Modern e-commerce stores look fresh and offer all of the bells and whistles that people expect in today’s savvy online consumer market. If your site is in need of a facelift, then this blog post is for you.
Chances are, you already know the answer. But, if you are wondering if you need to update your site, then here are some surefire signs that you need to make the move.
Your site design may look outdated with an old theme. Outdated themes may make it very hard to make little changes. When you want to change the wording or images, you may run into issues. Fixes may require billable hours from your programmer or developer who knows old coding.
Your website needs to adapt to any screen size. From various smartphones to tablets and laptops, a one-size-fits-all design just isn’t going to cut it. If your site doesn’t adapt to make it easy for users to browse on their phones, they are going to bounce. No one wants to pinch and swipe just to get to click a link.
Doe anything on your site flash or blink? That’s so 2001.
If you are sitting behind the times with an old site, it’s going to show. The trends are changing fast. Drop-down navigation menus and social sharing buttons are just a couple of newer (but expected) design trends that every site should have.
A quick and easy design trick is to fill in the template by using stock images. The only problem? They look generic and cheap.
It’s difficult to differentiate your brand if you aren’t creating a cohesive look. Stock images won’t showcase the realities of your team, product or brand. Stock images also can’t have a branded look that remains consistent throughout and typically won’t be unique to your site.
If users are struggling to navigate your page, your bounce rates will be higher. Users won’t naturally take the step towards conversion if your site isn’t built for user experience (UX) with the right user interface (UI) . Older sites weren’t built to naturally appeal to the tendencies of users because we didn’t know as much about browsing behavior as we do now.
The more hoops your user has to jump through, the less likely they will stay focused and dedicated to the task of navigating your website.
If you only have one or two payment options on your site, that is a sign things are severely outdated. Now, people use a wide number of payment options. PayPal, Apple Pay, Venmo, Amazon Pay and Square are just a few of the options beyond credit cards. Then, there are also the companies that make it possible for your customers to buy now and pay over installments—like Klarna and Sezzle.
Too many pictures and text without a structure for solid visual design is a sign your site is outdated. Old designs had visually loud text to push sales, block copy to explain details and images that didn’t add a lot of value to the site.
Websites today look like mini magazines—they are sleek and crafted to direct the user to the right place. Your design should be branded by focusing on moving your users to the right place with what they want and not promoting what your brand wants.
If you are struggling to get organic traffic, it may be because you don’t have a lot of pages on your website. Newer sites are trying to appeal to the search engines, so successful designs are going to have a lot of content spread across a large number of pages to increase indexing.
Not only do you need more pages to cover more content that is relevant to your brand, you also need the pages created in a way that Google and other search engines can appreciate them. This is called SEO (search engine optimization) services and it’s how you get organic site traffic.
Do you know your stats for bounce rates, growth and unique visitors? Do you know how much each lead is costing you or how successful your conversion strategy is? Data is a huge part of a modern eCommerce site and can’t be ignored. You will learn a lot about your customers when you have the right metrics and reporting systems in place, which will make it easier to put your money towards the right strategies.
You shouldn’t be embarrassed by your website. It should reflect your brand and appeal to your consumers. Here are some tips to quickly improve your eCommerce site.
Looking at the competition will show you what’s being done. It will also help you start seeing the places in the market where you can fill the gaps.
As you look at competitor sites, ask: How are you different? What are you missing?
Consider a brand overhaul—colors, imagery and messaging can all go out of date. You may want to do a complete redesign and create a new logo to refresh your look and clearly define your brand. Make sure your logo conveys what you are trying to communicate to your audience, and that it is unique and memorable enough to foster brand recognition.
Don’t let your site get cluttered. Narrow things down to only what’s extremely important. Stop pushing a brand-centric message. Your customers want you to give them the things they value—not push things you want to sell.
If you haven’t already set up buyer personas to know your audience, now is the time to do that. Don’t assume you understand their motivations and pain points.
Your website message needs to align with what your visitor is on your site looking for. If your messaging isn’t clear and appealing, the visitor will bounce within seconds.
Look at what you read first when you first load the site and before you scroll (considered “above the fold”). Is it clear what value you offer?
You can certainly outsource content creation, but your content should be your own. From the site copy and product listings to the blog posts and images on your site, you should have a wide range of content that will increase your search engine ranking and encourage social sharing from your audience.
Changing your theme is easy if you use a platform like Shopify. Usually, you just need to purchase a new theme from a designer and swap it out for the old code. The apps and platform will fill your content into the correct places (as long as the theme is compatible) and you will only need to do some tweaking.
Your eCommerce site is an extension of your brand. Whether you grow or flop with online sales is going to largely depend on the effectiveness of your site design. Update your site to meet the current expectations of your customers.