This is a blog that I’ve wanted to write for some time now. With much of my own passion being on conversion architecture, I thought that it would be important to talk about some of the differences in designing for eCommerce versus designing for lead generation. eCommerce as a rule can be very complicated however, I’ll do my best to keep this as simple as I can! Let’s start with a quick definition of each.
Lead Generation websites are created to encourage your customers to contact you so that you can start your own internal sales process. The sale itself happens offline so the website has no shopping cart, checkout, payment processing or product options to define before buying. It’s typically an easier initial conversion as there are less steps and less information to collect.
eCommerce is a whole different ballgame. With eCommerce the website does all the selling for you. The customers shop, add to cart, checkout and even track their orders all within your website. The goal in this case is to encourage your customers to fall in love with your products and make a purchase. It has a much more complex sales process as there are considerably more steps and more things to consider. The biggest difference between the two, is that eCommerce involves the spending of money which means that it’s a much more emotional process.
Understanding the difference between the goals of each, let’s take a look at a few different ways to lay out your web pages to appeal to each of the two different goals.
Designing For Lead Generation
In this instance, there are two primary ways to complete the goal: fill out an email form, or call. With this in mind, we want to include 3 main components on our pages.
1) Your offer or Value proposition with a strong call to action: This should be placed above the fold and is most often in an attractive top banner. This is often referred to as the key entrance point to your sales funnel. With lead generation, you can have a larger header image at the top of the page because you’re trying to pull focus to it. However, don’t go too big. I usually like to stick to 450 pixels or less. Anything more can take over the screen and push other elements, like your forms, off the page.
2) Your phone number: In today’s world, the standard convention is in the top right corner of every page. While there is some flexibility in location here, it should be clearly visible above the fold on every single page. Your Contact Us page is not enough.
3) Quick contact forms: You may have noticed that we put these on every page of a website. We do this of course, because it works! Whenever your customer sees something they like, they can contact you without having to take the extra step of going to your contact page. They can contact you any time, any page.
Designing For eCommerce
With eCommerce, the website is the salesperson. Our goal then, is to make a sale and get that “thank you for buying” page to appear. Let’s look at some of the differences here.
1) It’s all about product. While many eCommerce websites do have other static pages talking about their company, they aren’t going to come equipped with a “Buy Now” button. Put your products front and center and use your homepage to sell. With eCommerce, we want to keep top banners down to a minimum because they ultimately push the products further down the page. Display your best sellers, new releases and hot deals where customers can see them and become enticed to buy.
2) Support. Make sure you offer clear support options for your customers but make sure they are immediate. Statistics have shown that 92% of shoppers who didn’t come back to buy within an hour of leaving your website, won’t. In this case, we want to leave the contact form to your “Contact Us” page and focus on things like the phone number and, if you have it, live chat. Leverage your instant contact options to get the sale while it’s hot.
3) No clutter! Get rid of the large chunks of text and 6 different offers with images designed by 6 different designers. Keep everything clean and to the point. Choose your 2 or 3 offers and leave the rest for another day. We want customers to find it easy to look at the page and see your categories, products, and tools like the shopping cart. Keep the design simple and leave your out-of-the-box design skills at the door.
A Final Word
This information is something we’ve learned from years of Analytics and testing. Make sure you clearly define the goal of your website and position elements accordingly. It can be tempting to think that your visitors need to see and read everything you have before they’ll convert, but the fact is they don’t. Keeps those lead generation websites focused on the phone number and forms and keep your eCommerce focused on moving product.
Remembering these simple techniques can have a huge effect on your conversion rates!
Chris, Your e-commerce related articles always provides good insight for fine tuning my business. You said it right, providing to many offers at the same time will not be much effective as it confuses and pulls him back in making the purchase decision. Keep the offers simple focussing to your targeted audience which delivers more results.