Posts Tagged ‘eCommerce’
Jacob Nielsen recently posted an interesting article on how to improve the usability of website search, given that users are typically so poor at using search effectively. In order to design for mediocre searchers, he cited the example of Costco, where for general search terms, such as “television”, instead of returning search results, users are redirected to the appropriate category page for that product type.
For some reason, not many websites do this, particularly within the ecommerce world. To my mind, it makes perfect sense, and is what we do on Supercircuits.com. Most of the time, I would imagine that users don’t even realize they are not looking at search results any more. As long as they see relevant content as a result of their search — i.e., the scent of information remains strong — they don’t care where they are in the site, just that they are closer to their goal.
As a Magento user, despite having a poor search overall, it does have redirect functionality built in (along with synonyms). So, it’s just a matter of reviewing your most common high-level search terms and redirecting them to the appropriate product category.
Magento edit search term screen
This also works well for content searches on ecommerce sites. Often, an ecommerce site search does not even return non-product related results (such as blog posts, or your location or contact page), or it hides them away in a separate tab on the results page. If a user is searching for your contact page, better to send them directly to that page than make them hunt for it, even if you do provide it in your search results.
I set myself a weekly and monthly task to review my top search terms (which I track in Google Analytics), which ensures that I can see if any new redirects need to be created.
Unless you’re reading this from 1995, you’re probably aware that most websites have a large visual element. Amazon, Play.com, eBay, Apple Store… open any of their homepages and you’ll instantly be bombarded with tasteful product shots designed to lure you in. Clearly, photography is a big part of online product marketing – and why shouldn’t it be?
For decades, creative photography has been used to sell us everything from watches to waffle irons. So how do you make your small-business website stand out against a horde of well-funded competitors? While no-one can guarantee instant success, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you’re at least headed in the right direction. Here are 5 of them:
It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed how many websites still hawk out goods beneath photos that seem to have been copied and pasted from an old Geocities website. No matter whether you’re a small business operating out the back of your bedroom, or a high-street juggernaut eyeing up new avenues for expansion, the golden rule of product selling is to make the product look desirable. And the first part of that is to use a sharp, clear image that screams quality. That means, high-res, professional images shot by a bona-fide photographer. For a good example check Apple.com, a business model founded on making products look sleek and desirable.
The Human Factor
A good rule is, if you’re selling something to go on someone’s body – show it on someone’s body. Most clothing retailers wouldn’t dream of putting their products up sans model and neither should you. Seeing a gorgeous girl or handsome stud sporting your merchandise is not only far more visually arresting, it sends unconscious signals to the customer’s brain about how the product may look on them. Also, it’s practical: stores like Forever 21 include the sizes of their models along with the photo, allowing potential customers to judge how the clothes will fit them.
But it’s not just clothes and accessories that can benefit from the human factor. Check out the Amazon.co.uk Kindle front page. Of their five product photos, 3 show the Kindle interacting with someone – even if you can only see a hand. Aside from letting you judge the size and weight of the product, it gives the buyer an emotional connection. Instead of an antiseptic image, you’re giving them something to relate to that may entice them in.
What fills up the space behind your product image is perhaps the single most important aspect of the photograph. This is where you need to be certain of your business: are you minimalist, utilitarian – allowing the product to speak for itself – or are you marketing a lifestyle choice? Both have their advantages, and both require you to make a decision about your backing image; even if that decision is whether to have it plain white or light grey. The trick is to use your chosen mise en scene to enhance the product without totally obscuring it – or in the case of minimalist backgrounds, making it look boring. We recently ran an article on websites using blurred background photos, just one example of the millions of striking ways you can utilize that otherwise empty space.
Do your bank-balance a favor by getting a designer onboard. A great photo should be complemented by a great layout, one that represents a harmony between product, photo and website. It’s easy to think of bad examples, so instead let’s take a look at a few that got it right. Louis Vuitton, Made, Tommy Hilfiger and Storyville all excel at getting that balance just right. Shapes, colors and texture all flow together to create one enticing experience that leaves you wanting to browse the site forever, even if you’re already up to your ears in boat shoes and coffee grinders. Sometimes, finding that right designer can be the move that takes your business from ‘stable’ to supernova.
In our frenetic digital society, we’ve come to expect all engagement, all the time. If you stumble across a blog with no comments function, or a brand without a Twitter, you’re out of there like a shot. Same with retail sites – if you can find a way to break down the barriers between your customer and their purchase, go for it. Many clothing websites now include a separate window allowing you to examine your purchase at all angles, in great detail, simply by moving the mouse across it. A more obvious approach is to add in a video element. It may take time and cost money, but probably less than you think and the results can be immeasurable. Toast are one of the retailers that now offer video as standard – thanks, in large part to the 34% sales boost associated with video. Flash too has its place, just make sure it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the page, or make your website hard to navigate.
About the Author:
This guide was brought to you by Ally Biring a freelance design and tech writer with the ConranShop.co.uk.
Your ecommerce site is a great tool for selling your products and services online. If your business is growing there are chances that others might want to make a copy of your website or some of its features to cash in on the popularity. There is also the added risk of your online store being accused of unauthorized use of other people’s intellectual assets. The perfect solution for this is to get a trademark. In the United States you can easily get a trademark for products and servicemark for services. Before we learn about the process of ecommerce trademarking let us understand a few basic things about the trademark.
What is Trademark?
A trademark is a recognizable sign that can include a word, name, symbol, or design, or combination of any or all these items that is intended to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others. It indicates the source of the goods. Similarly servicemark differentiates between services provided by two different businesses. Most ecommerce sites try and register a servicemark whereby they can protect their logos, taglines and slogans along with the brand name.
When we are talking about trademarks and servicemark we need to understand that they are of two distinct types – registered trademark or unregistered trademark. Let us take a look at each of these in detail.
To make use of these trademarks all that a business needs to do is to simply place the trademark symbol (™) anywhere on the brand name, advertising slogan, or graphic design. The business can easily display the unregistered trademark on letterheads, emails, invoices or packaging items. There is however one major downside to it, the same logo, brand name and slogans might be used by other businesses. And in case of a dispute the company that can prove to have used it first wins rights over it.
As the name suggests a registered trademark is one that is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The biggest advantage of having a registered trademark is the fact that in case of any legal dispute over the trademarked items you can easily claim ownership over the registered items. It also allows you to file suit against the copycats and claim compensation. A registered trademark can easily be extended to other nations. This type of trademark is represented by the symbol (®).
Why Ecommerce Sites Need a Trademark
It is quite an irony that most ecommerce startups don’t think they need a trademark. But it is important that you at least make use of an unregistered trademark symbol (™) next to your logo, brand name and taglines. There are several advantages of owning a trademark (®) and some of them are:
- Your business might be small at present but has the potential to grow in the future.
- Your business model is niche and might be copied.
- If you want to seek investment in future or apply for a business loan a trademark adds to your advantage.
- Trademark can also add to your advantage if you are planning to sell your ecommerce site.
How to Make Use of a Trademark
The process of using a trademark in the United States is very easy. It hardly takes time to make use of an unregistered trademark (™). Registering a trademark (®) isn’t difficult as well. Let us take a look at the steps involved in getting a trademark. The first two steps are common for both registered as well as unregistered trademarks. Step three is meant only for registered trademarks.
Step 1: Choose a Trademark That Is Eligible
Before you select trademarks make sure it is eligible for trademarking. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) usually restrict trademarks that are generic, descriptive or can cause confusion among the customers. For instance you can’t register a trademark ‘Microsft’ as it can lead to confusion with ‘Microsoft’. Similarly you can’t register ‘ecommerce store’ as this term is generic. To choose trademark make use of the USPTO Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). Also Google to find out that your potential trademark isn’t being used by some other brand as an unregistered trademark.
Step 2: Use A Unregistered Trademark
As discussed earlier all that you need to do is add the unregistered trademark symbol (™) on your logo, tagline or in the footer section of the online store to make use of the unregistered trademark.
Step 3: Use A Registered Trademark
To use a registered trademark you can file an online application using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). There are several forms in this system and you will have to choose your class from around 1400 classes of business. Online stores fall under the online retail businesses which is class 35. You will have to upload the logo, slogans etc. during the registration process. You will have to pay fees of 5 to 5 for the registration process and your trademark will be registered within a period of 6 months.
About the Author:
Mark Wilston works with PixelCrayons.com, an India-based outsourcing and consulting firm. PixelCrayons offers extended teams to its clients, helping them to reduce Time To Market (TTM) and enhance Return On Investment (ROI). With services such as eCommerce development and B2B Portal Development, PixelCrayons helps clients define and leverage their offshore strategy, offering them “value for money”.
Been having it rough lately? Well we might have some good news for some of you. A while back, we ran a second template giveaway, offering responsive eCommerce templates to 6 lucky winners.
To recap, courtesy of TemplateMonster.com, a full range of eCommerce responsive themes from the Magento, Prestashop and Jigoshop platforms were up for grabs and all you had to do was comment in and name the template you want.
Without further ado…
It was a tough choice, but there can only be six. Here are the winners for:
A free eCommerce theme/template of choice
- Clive Cleaves
- Slavi Kb
- Regina Muller
50% off eCommerce theme/template of choice
- Andy Feliciotti
Congratulations to our winners. If you see your name here, drop us a line here and we’ll hook you up with instructions on how to claim your win. Thanks to the rest of for your participation. We’ll keep the giveaways coming so stay tuned.