In the world of ecommerce, effective site design can be the difference between catching the roving web surfer and encouraging him or her to delve deeper into your website or the split second click of a back button that takes a visitor away from your page. Whether for business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce or business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce, site design and branding make a difference in how the shopper views your company and your products, and ultimately, whether they buy from you.
To demonstrate how effective branding and ecommerce site design affects the shopping experience as a whole, check out the ThinkGeek.com website. Geared toward “the smart masses,” ThinkGeek offers a wide variety of t-shirts, desk top toys, and other geeky gifts for those who love the likes of Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr. Who, and the Big Bang Theory. Whether you are a self-proclaimed geek or not, a quick review of their website should convince you that they deserve a nod for exceptional ecommerce site branding.
Site Look and Feel
The first thing that an observer notices about the ThinkGeek website is the cohesive look and feel to the site. The whole thing screams uber-geek and this is a powerful thing. From the carousel of banners that promote specific product lines (featuring The Big Bang Theory below) to the robot-laden background image, the site tells any site visitor–at first glance–that they are in the right place for all things geek.
ThinkGeek does an excellent job carrying their geeky persona into all of the copy on their website. On-site promotions (see the image below) feature calls to action that reference geeky inside jokes (the one below uses Yoda’s distinctive speech patterns to entice the shopper to click) and a funny on-page link to your shopping cart that tells you “Your cart is lonely” uphold the nerdy image of the site.
Even the left navigation menu gets in on the geeky act by grouping the site’s products into categories that will appeal to its nerdy visitors. Plus, site visitors are encouraged to sign up for “Geek Mail” rather than a more tradtional email. (See below.)
What B2B Ecommerce Could Learn From ThinkGeek
Regardless of whether you identify as a geek or will never visit ThinkGeek.com again, the site has some clear lessons for organizations in the world of B2B ecommerce.
1. Know who you are as a company and let that guide your site design. Taking time to design a site that will be appealing to your ideal customer will ensure that you convert more and more of those customers on every visit. When you know who you are as a company and communicate that clearly on your ecommerce site, your site will be more successful.
2. Focus on your target market. Make sure that every aspect of your ecommerce site provides value to your visitor. Your site should make the visitor feel at home and reaffirm that they are in the right place. Use images that show your target market using your products and utilize copy that resonates with the reader. Focusing on your target market will allow you to successfully meet their unique needs instead of trying to be all things to all people.
3. Don’t worry about the rest of the world. ThinkGeek.com doesn’t worry about the non-geeks that visit their site–nor should they. In fact, ThinkGeek does just the opposite. They focus solely on the nerdy folk who love their products and promote them in ways that make the most sense for their target audience. The rest of the site’s visitors are just along for the ride, but they still get the full geek experience.
In B2B ecommerce, site design and branding make a difference in how the shopper views your company and your products. Ultimately, it plays a large role in whether or not they buy from you. Taking time to make sure that your branding and design reflect your corporate values, product usage, and target audience will ensure you maximize the success of your ecommerce site.
To learn more about how to design an ecommerce site that boosts the effectiveness of your B2B ecommerce initiatives, download the white paper, Sell More With Stunning Design–Increasing Conversions and Decreasing Cart Abandonment.