With all the eCommerce platforms available to use it is tempting to think that there is no need to use a professional design agency to create and deliver your eCommerce experience. After all, they do seem to provide all the tools you need to do it yourself such as design templates and even stock images. However, there are 5 crucial factors that demonstrate how essential good design is for your eCommerce offer and they are tough to implement without an agency.
1. Good design means brand consistency
Many people underestimate the importance of a consistent visual and editorial language that comes from the long experience of design provided by an agency. You have less than 50milliseconds to make a good impression when someone hits your eCommerce site. Think of your favourite online shopping brand: the pixel-perfect positioning of their photographs, the way that each product is described, the colour and the font of the editorial have all been meticulously put together to deliver a consistent brand experience for you that runs from the time you see their header, to the moment the product is in your hands. Even the way that the checkout copy is written and positioned will have been done to ensure that you get the best impression of the brand from start to finish.
Design agencies are experts at delivering on the small yet important factors that make your brand unique, rather than implementing generic templates that make you look like everyone else.
2. Good design means good user experience
Good design is more than beautiful digital experiences, it is frictionless user experiences. When you are creating an eCommerce offer, the journey that your customers take as they move from product to purchase is essential in ensuring that you convert visits to sales. Using the wrong colours, wording or calls to action can result in a dip in sales. Enabling and using features such as chasing up abandoned carts or providing personalised promotional opportunities all require an understanding of effective UX design that good design agencies have spent long years honing.
While you can get some of the way with common sense, there are some surprising enhancements that experts use to help increase conversion, for example, adding a call to purchase button at the top AND at the bottom of a product has an 84% median effect for conversion on a product page. Agencies make it their business to learn and understand tweaks like this and incorporate them with great visual design to make your site work harder and better.
3. Good design means efficient design
The speed with which your pages load is crucial to ensuring you are reaching customers before they click away. As mobile becomes ever more embedded in our shopping habits this need will increase. You will have to be able to deliver an effective experience for mobile as well as for laptop/desktop and then data becomes more crucial – so images must be both beautiful and not too large to download, otherwise, users will bounce from your site before you even get a chance to present them with your products. The way that you prepare and serve images within your site is a crucial design element that can make all the difference, using a content delivery network tool can significantly increase the speed of your store.
4. Good design means accessible design
The cultural sector has historically been much more committed to accessibility and inclusivity than the commercial sector but the commercial sector is becoming more and more alert to the importance of accessible and inclusive eCommerce design. If you don’t understand the implications of your design decisions it is all too easy to create sites that are hard to navigate or even unusable for differently-abled visitors. The use of lines, fonts, colours and white space to name only a few design elements, can all impact the usability and legibility of digital experiences for your audiences.
On the plus side, accessible sites tend to be more easily indexed by search engines, which means that ensuring your site is accessible is essential for discoverability and for building traffic. The many small edits, inclusions and design decisions that agencies are used to taking every day, mean that you need not worry about good quality, inclusive design if you use an agency partner rather than adapting a generic shop template yourself.
5. The final analysis
You will need all these elements of good design if your eCommerce offer is going to return your investment. Including such elements can make the difference between bouncing from your content or sticking around and following a path to purchase. The best way to get good eCommerce design is to employ an agency that will bring to bear all the different design skills needed in one package together with the final design element – good project design, that makes your project run smoothly and ensures that you receive a beautifully designed, efficient eCommerce site that will drive both sales and brand consistency.