Have you ever wondered why e-commerce businesses set up their websites the way they do? Perhaps you’re a business owner and you’ve noticed that most online retailers have a similar structure to their pages. There is a reason why internet retailers set up their sites the way they do — and data behind their decisions.
The design of websites still matters greatly. In a survey, researchers found that businesses that are self-described as being “design-driven” are 69 percent more likely to exceed their business goals. They outperform other businesses that lack a focus on creativity. However, the design needs to have a purpose if you want to take site visitors and convert them into customers.
There are several ways businesses collect data and then structure their websites based on that information.
1. Using Intel on Current Customers
Every business has a database of current customers and loyal fans. Most have basic information in their files about the customers’ locations, past ordering behaviors and how frequently the people order. In addition to the basic information, if the company uses salespeople, they may have picked up more personal details. It can be from favorite colors to names and ages of children. Some even have when birthdays and anniversaries occur.
From the basic information, companies create a buyer persona. It represents the typical customer for that business. The persona has interests, hobbies, and even a name. When the brand changes anything on their website, they can run the changes through the filter of the buyer and see how they might respond.
2. Understanding Basic Psychology
In addition to specific data, designers use general data such as psychological behavior patterns and emotional responses to colors in order to create designs that drive sales. Do you remember the last time you visited the website of a financial institution? You likely noticed that most tend to use a dark blue. People view dark blue as reliable and trustworthy. It makes sense that banks and investment firms would use that particular hue to draw in new customers.
You must also look at why people make the decisions they make, though. For example, did you know that 79 percent of people say they trust online reviews as much as a face-to-face recommendation from someone they know? Once you realize how certain things impact most buyers, it’s natural to include reviews on your website or tap into a color evoking a specific emotion. Buyers also can benefit from this knowledge by looking past the psychological triggers and studying the company more in-depth.
3. Surveying the Target Audience
Another way companies use data in design is by surveying a specific group of people and getting feedback about concerns and preferences. When targeted to the right audience, such information is invaluable in creating an e-commerce site that meets the expectations and needs of consumers. If there is a missing piece of data you’d like before you redesign your site, then a survey may fill in the gaps.
A big part of marketing to consumers is figuring out what their pain points are. Then they must solve those problems with your product or service. A survey can ask questions meant to draw out the exact pain points so you can offer an alternative.
4. Personalizing the Experience
Data can also be used to help personalize the user experience and create a stronger bond with the customer. There are several ways this occurs. For example, you might ask a few simple questions when the user lands on the page so you can guide them to the right area on your site to meet their needs. As a user, this seems almost seamless but gives you a much more personalized experience.
Some brands also have retail stores and might offer an app that pings the customer as they near a storefront. Apps can also send out reminders about sales, let the user know when an item they previously looked at goes on special, or invite people to look at new arrivals before anyone else sees them. Since data drives the app, the business can personalize the experience by only sending items a particular user is most interested in.
5. Going Mobile-Friendly
Smartphones make up 63 percent of all retail website visits. One way website owners have used data is by looking at trends in mobile device usage. Thus, moving toward more mobile-friendly designs. Gone are the days where there were two different website addresses depending upon the method you used to reach the site. Instead, businesses have one site and that site is responsive to the screen size of the user. Whether or not your site is mobile-ready may also impact its ranking in mobile search engine results.
6. Stand Out
Another bit of data that business owners sometimes forget to look at includes studying the competition. Today’s consumer spends about 33 percent of their day engaging with some type of digital content. People see so many things, and the same types of things over and over, that it becomes difficult to grab attention and keep it. The only way businesses have a chance of engaging consumers is by studying the competition and finding a different way to present the same old thing.
This requires attention to detail. Businesses study their own internal data and then try out new features and designs others aren’t yet using. For example, the rising popularity of voice-assisted devices such as Alexa and Google Home may drive a brand to add voice search to their website features.
Small Changes Equal Big Profits
Surveys, customer data and studying the competition lead to little changes that turn into large profits. Companies that study the different factors which might impact a user’s experience on their site tend to convert better with customers and grow steadily. If you haven’t dug into the data you have on hand, that’s the best place to start. You can then expand on that information by studying keywords commonly used, figuring out customer pain points and surveying your target audience.