Visual elements are just one of the key elements when designing or developing e-commerce websites. Some of these visual elements are large images, background videos, and unique typography or fonts. The importance of visual elements is grounded on humans’ attraction to visual stimuli. According to a series of studies, “visual appeal can be assessed within 50 and 500 milliseconds.” This study suggests that you have about 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression to your site visitors.
First impressions matter online and offline. How can you attract and retain attention to your website? Here are five reasons why e-commerce sites should have impactful visual elements.
#1: Visuals increase users’ log time
A study shows that an average American spends more time on a visual website than any other type of site. A typical user spends an average of 1.17 hours on image-focused social network Pinterest compared to 36 minutes on Twitter, 17 minutes on LinkedIn, and 6 minutes on Google+.
If you want users to stay longer on your website, it’s important to know how to utilize visual elements effectively. Data journalist David McCandless says that our sense of sight “has the same bandwidth as a computer network,” making it the fastest of our five senses. Moreover, even minor lapses in visual consistency pour in into our subconsciousness. This means that a minimal change in line spacing can be picked up by our brains without us being aware. Thus, using visual elements entails maintaining their consistency.
Another point to consider in using visual elements is complexity. According to Google, the first impression on a website depends on the structure, colors, spacing, symmetry, amount of text, fonts, and other factors. However, observe caution in using these elements to avoid visual complexity. Google put its eloquently: “If a visual complexity of a website is high, users perceive it as less beautiful, even if the design is familiar.”
#2: Images and videos boost page ranking
Google uses about 200 ranking factors in its algorithm. A powerful website design effectively incorporates these factors. Some of these include quality and original content, grammar and spelling, and image optimization. Images, videos, and other multimedia elements are considered content quality signals.
What are the types of images you should consider for your e-commerce site? Many businesses, especially startups, use their websites as substitutes for physical stores. Appealing product images are used to help ensure customers have at least the same level of experience. Large images are recommended as these enable you to highlight parts and features of each product. Check out the websites of apparel companies Nike and Adidas, which offer images of a product in all angles (top, sides, bottom).
Working with a digital marketing agency can aid a business in successfully using visual elements not only to boost its page ranking but also to improve UX design and user experience. It doesn’t have to be too expensive either. If you rent or hire a camera for a day or two, you can make a lot of quality videos even if you don’t have the budget of Nike or Adidas.
#3: Visual elements and user experience
The future of Web browsing is on mobile. Recent stats show that 80% of Internet users own a smartphone that they use for online browsing. This rate is expected to surpass that of PC/laptops (91%) in the years ahead. Thus, many businesses and publishers are gearing towards mobile-optimized content. To improve mobile browsing experience, top tech companies introduced new innovations in online publishing. Google launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) which essentially allows web pages to load quickly on mobile phones. This project is in response to Facebook’s Instant Articles that enables users to read content without leaving the Facebook environment.
AMP and Instant Articles offer a solution for loading issues concerning visual elements. These initiatives enables images and videos to load faster, reducing bounce rates. Google vows to further improve AMP’s functionality with focus on content to help business and publishers. “Publishers increasingly rely on rich content like image carousels, maps, social plug-ins, data visualization, and videos to make their stories more interactive and standout,” the search engine giant notes.
#4: Revenue growth via visual rich mobile sites
As more users ditch their desktop computers for handheld devices, businesses are aggressively optimizing their websites for mobile platforms. Another compelling reason for this move is the promising mobile device conversion rate. Conversion rate is the percentage of site visits that result to a “sale.”
Retail businesses reported a 3.5% conversion rate via their mobile-optimized sites. Although the add-to-cart and conversion rates for desktop surpass those of mobile devices, the latter’s growth potential is undeniable. Dan Barker, an analytics expert, shares some tips to boost your revenue growth through your website. He recommends segmenting conversion rates by different types of visitors with different intent and different relationships with the retailers. Segment first-time and repeat visitors, the referring channels, the search types, the product category types, and the promotion types.
#5: Visual elements inspire action
A business does not aim for sales alone. To attain a level of sustainability, it should have a strong and loyal client base. The cost of maintaining a repeat customer is much lower than acquiring a new one. How does a business keep customers coming back? It must aspire for a satisfying e-commerce experience. Visual elements can be instrumental to this mission.
Infuse engaging visual elements into your UX design by using informative product images and videos to launch new products and services. Recently, there had been a trend of hero images which are placed in the background with engaging texts. These large appealing images can help you convey your messages without opting for lengthy texts. Similarly, background videos instantly capture users’ attention once they land on your webpage. A video can effortlessly encourage users to be your product ambassadors by sharing your content in their network.
The Internet highway hosts countless web pages. For businesses and web designers, standing out seems like an endless challenge. One way to get ahead of the game by is using tested methods in attracting attention. Humans are naturally “visual” creatures. Thus, it is imperative to know how to effectively use visual elements.