The look and feel of an e-commerce store is fundamental to its success. Obviously, factors such as excellent navigation, a user-friendly layout and glossy images are going to make a huge impact, but what about the other smaller details?

From colour to white space and even the amount of choice – every single element collectively has a psychological effect on visitors. But why is this? What is it about a well-chosen typeface that makes an e-commerce store more appealing to shoppers?

The importance of web design

A survey by Bargain Fox revealed exactly how important the visual appearance of a website is. Incredibly, it’s the key factor for 93% of users deciding whether or not to make a purchase, with 42% basing their decision solely on a website’s design.

Similarly, the finding that 52% of customers will ‘abandon the site and not return’ if they don’t like an e-commerce site’s design is alarming. So…

…how can you make improvements?

Hundreds of different features affect the psychology of your website’s visitors – here are three for starters:

1. White space

Want less stress and more sales? Free up some space on your site. Long gone are the days where designers overload a site with content to make it look busy and exciting. Want to improve conversions? Your website needs to be organised.

Organising how your content is spaced out so that visitors aren’t overwhelmed is very important. White space – the space with no content – is calming for website users. It lets them know where to look, guiding them around your site. It also helps to make virtually any site look organised, less daunting, and more aesthetically pleasing.

2. Colour

Your website’s colour scheme is important because it’s part of your brand. We all know the obvious psychological colour inferences – red is danger, green is fresh, pink is calming. What psychological reaction do want from your customers? If it’s trust, try blue. If it’s excitement, try orange.

No matter which colours you choose to represent your brand, you should select a neutral colour for your site’s background. If red is the main colour of your brand, it’s not a good idea to select a red background for your website. Instead, a white or grey background with some red features to make it easier for visitors to browse your site without straining their eyes in the process.

Top Tip: Does your target market read the Financial Times? Employ similar colours and type as FT and they’re more likely to trust your website a little bit more. Although, they probably won’t know why…! Does your target market use Microsoft Outlook day in, day out? Dark cyan might be the brand colour you’re searching for.

3. Content

The attention span of web users is short, so you need to expose visitors to your site with important information in a way that’s easy to read and absorb. A simple way to do this is to split content into small, easily digestible chunks. Opt for long, dense paragraphs and there’s a risk that some visitors will lose focus and be less likely to buy something.

The appearance of your content is important too. The font (or typography) you use can contribute towards a customer’s impression of your brand. Unless you’re going for a vintage or classic look, it’s best to stick to a simple, clean sans serif font.

4. Choice

Intuitively, we’ve been programmed to believe that more choice is a good thing. Surely if we have fifteen options to choose from instead of five we’re much more likely to be able to find something that suits our needs aren’t we? That’s just logical, isn’t it? Surprisingly, no.

When customers are confronted with too many options it can often result in the decision-making process being thrown into paralysis, which leads to frustration and avoidance behaviour – choosing to walk away and buy nothing, for example.

In her book, The Art of Choosing, Professor Sheena Lyengar explores this phenomenon and explains how offering consumers a smaller selection can dramatically improve conversion rates. For e-commerce stores, a simple way to prevent avoidance behaviour is to offer people choices in steps. For example, a site may sell 200 styles of jeans, but it’s best to give people a choice of five fits as a starting point in the browsing process as this won’t be as overwhelming. Shoppers can simply select the fit they like and be taken through to the twenty pairs of jeans the site carries in that particular style.

Bespoke e-commerce websites

If your e-commerce store needs a facelift, Bing Digital can help. For more information, check out our e-commerce services. We can provide all of the technical solutions to store’s needs, including design, consultancy, development and much more! Not sure if Arial or Comic Sans is the one for you – get in touch now!

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