Enterprise Ecommerce Site Design The First 10 SecondsToday I read a thought-provoking blog post by Andy Sernovitz about removing the obstacles from the first ten minutes of a customer’s interaction with your brand as a way to improve customer satisfaction.

Now, Andy was talking about first ten minutes in a real-time business, but the article got me to thinking:

What would happen if you focused your attentions on the first ten seconds a visitor spends on your ecommerce site and removed all the obstacles in their way?

  • Would your site’s bounce rate improve?
  • Would the amount of time a visitor spends on your site increase?
  • Would your conversion rate increase along with sales?
  • Would your customers be happier?

I’m guessing that the answer to each of these questions is a resounding, “Yes!”

So, how do you go about removing the obstacles from the first ten seconds of your customer’s experience with your website? In a physical business, customers start their experience with the front door or parking lot. In ecommerce, typically a customer starts to engage with your brand on your home page, so that’s where we’re going to start.

On your home page:

  • Use clear branding. Let them know right away that they have come to the right place. Don’t make them second guess where they landed. Second guessing = leaving your page.
  • What’s your message? Distill your brand message into one concise statement. Now, evaluate everything you see on the home page against that message. Does each element support or detract from your key messaging?
  • Keep it simple. Design for design’s sake will overwhelm your visitor. Make your sure any cool design features make it easier for your visitor to find what they want or make a buying decision.
  • Lead the visitor to the next step. What do you want your visitor to do? Test drive your product configurator? View a product demonstration video? Read your blog? Your home page should guide the visitor to the next step in the sales cycle.
  • Put the good stuff where they can see it. The rule of thumb is the important stuff goes above the fold. Just remember that not EVERYTHING can be important at this point in the process or you risk losing your message. Give the critical calls to action and information prime real estate above the fold.
  • Ask the visitor to convert. There’s nothing worse than a website that doesn’t ask for the sale. You search and search and can’t find a way to engage. Make sure your home page includes one very strong call to action. You might have secondary calls to action, but if there was one thing a visitor could do to propel themselves into the next stage of the sales cycle, what would it be? That’s your main call to action.

Thinking in terms of your customers’ experience, clearing the obstacles from the first 10 seconds of a customer’s experience on your website will reduce your bounce rate and increase conversions. What other obstacles would you suggest removing from your home page?

To learn more about how to design a B2B ecommerce site using industry-proven best practices, download the white paper, Sell More With Stunning Design – Increasing Conversions and Decreasing Cart Abandonment.

Photo credit: smaedli on Flickr