How to Bring Customers Back to Your Ecommerce Website
 
Previously on this blog, we shared 5 top tips for instilling trust in first-time customers and encouraging them to buy from your ecommerce website. Today, we'd like to look at the next step: enticing those customers back to your website for a second purchase.
 
Converting one-time customers into repeat customers is arguably an even bigger challenge for ecommerce retailers than securing that key first transaction. According to Entrepreneur, only 32% of ecommerce consumers placed a second order with an online seller within a year of their first. However, it's well worth making an effort to clear that second-sale hurdle; once a customer has made two purchases from your website, there's a good chance they'll make a third...then a fourth...and so on.
 
But how can you magically transform your one-off buyers into regular customers? Below are five useful tips from the ecommerce experts and marketing specialists who work here at Designer Websites - read on to learn how to bring customers back to your site time and time again!

1. Marketing Emails

The most obvious and most popular way to bring customers back for a second purchase is simply to email them. If the customer entered their email address at the checkout (and opted in to receive correspondence from you in the future), it's definitely in your best interest to stay in touch with them, and services like Mailchimp have made it easier than ever before to do this.
 
When constructing an email marketing campaign, it's important to strike a balance between silence and spam. If you don't email your past customers often enough, they may well forget all about your brand and the service you provided for them; send too many emails, however, and your customers may get annoyed and unsubscribe from your list altogether. Think carefully about how often you'd want to hear from a company like yours - once a month is usually a fairly safe starting point, although the ideal frequency will depend on the industry you're in and the actual content of each email.
 
Rather than including your entire customer base in every generic email campaign, you may get better results if you split your mailing list into segments (e.g. 'People who bought shoes', 'People who made a purchase near Christmas') and send tailored mailers to each of these segments.
 
Here are a few ideas, with specific examples given in bold:
 
Arrival of a new product that's similar to one the customer bought previously.
We know you love Adele - her new album is available now!
 
Special offer on a type of product the customer purchased previously.
25% off all perfumes and fragrances

One year on from a seasonal purchase the customer made previously.
Autumn is here again - do you need a new coat?
 

2. Social Media

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are perfect for keeping in touch with past customers and making sure you stay on their radar. Once a customer has followed your company on Twitter, for instance, all you have to do is tweet regularly and your brand - your logo, your company name, your latest news and updates - will keep appearing in their feed, reminding the customer that you exist and that your online shop is still very much open for business.
 
Of course, the tricky part is actually persuading people to follow you on Twitter (or Facebook, Instagram, etc.) in the first place. Here are a few ways to accomplish this beyond simply asking people to follow you when you send them the receipt for their order

Be easy to find.

Display recognisable social media icons prominently on your website and in emails, and make sure that these buttons actually go to the right URL when clicked. Far too many companies put the Twitter logo in their website header but forget to actually link it to their Twitter account!

Post well and post often.

In order to make your social media page an appealing prospect to potential followers, you need to demonstrate that you're a) active, and b) interesting. You'll have a hard time attracting new followers if your last post was six weeks ago, or if every single post is just a link to a product on your website.
 
You - or your social media manager - should be aiming to post frequently, and to post a good variety of content that is nevertheless consistent with your brand and the wants and needs of your customers. It's a bit of a balancing act, for sure, but get it right and you should find that your customers are far happier to follow you online.

Make your company's brand compatible with the customer's personal brand.

Individuals have their own 'brands' just like companies do, and if a person considers their social media account to be an integral part of their personal brand, they won't follow anyone who is inconsistent with that brand. Someone who sees themselves as being glamorous and trendy might be reluctant to follow, say, a pest control company on Twitter, even if they frequently use that company's services.
 
With this in mind, here's a useful exercise. Ask yourself who your customers are and how they perceive themselves; now, ask yourself how your business fits into that perception. If your customers are serious, no-nonsense business owners, then present yourself as a serious, no-nonsense business on Twitter. If your target audience mostly consists of stay-at-home parents, then tailor your social media posts to stay-at-home parents.
 
This isn't just a question of tone (although that's certainly part of it). Think of it this way: if, every time you liked a Facebook page or followed a company on Twitter, you had to put a bumper sticker on your car saying 'I ❤ [Company Name]', which companies would you follow? Which brands fit your personality well enough that you'd be happy to endorse them to the driver behind you at all times?
 
This may sound like an odd comparison if you don't really play the social media game yourself, but a lot of people curate their 'following' list very carefully as they consider it a reflection of their own personality. Your goal is to be the sort of company they don't mind associating themselves with.
 

3. User Accounts

Allowing your customer to register an account on your website will make it a little bit easier for said customer to come back sometime in the future and place that all-important second order. If, while finalising purchase #2, Mr Jones can simply enter a username and password instead of typing in all of his personal details from scratch, this will give him a better overall experience, thus increasing the chance that he'll both complete this order and use your website again the next time he needs a present for his mum.
 
A word of caution, however. While some customers will happily create an account in order to save time in the long run, others will resent you for forcing them down this route instead of just letting them check out as quickly as possible. The best idea is to let people decide for themselves: many of the ecommerce websites we've built let people register an account if they want to, but also offer an 'Express Checkout' option for people who want to go straight to the payment screen.
 

4. Personal Notes

If you want to turn a one-time customer into a customer for life, it's crucial that you do whatever you can to endear yourself to that customer. The most important part of this is just providing a solid service, both while they're on your website and afterwards; in other words, you need to make sure that your website is easy to use and that your courier delivers the goods on time and as described.
 
Ticking those two boxes lays a good foundation for consumer loyalty, but in order to really seal the deal, you need to go the extra mile - do something that will set you apart from the competition and make sure the customer remembers you fondly. The easiest way to win hearts? Include a personal note in package you send to the customer - not a generic form letter, but something genuine that's specifically for that one person.
 
There's no need to write an essay here, nor to hunt down your customer's Facebook page so that you can include specific details about their personal life. Simply thank them for their custom in a genuine way that makes them feel like a valued part of your business. Here's an example:
 
Hi Edward,
Just a quick note to say thanks very much for using our website. Hope you enjoy the book - I read it myself when it first came out and I have to say I couldn't put it down. Fingers crossed you find it just as compelling!
 
If there's anything else we can help you with, please don't hesitate to ring the office or drop me an email. You can also find us on Twitter, so feel free to say hello if you're on there too!
 
Best regards,
 
Signature
 
Georgina R. Owen
Managing Director of Great Reads Online
 
A note like this shows the customer you care and gives them a glimpse of the real people behind the company - often a sticking point for retailers who sell exclusively through an online storefront as opposed to a bricks-and-mortar shop that's staffed by smiling faces.
 
As an added bonus, these letters also give you another place to plug your social media accounts (as in the example above) and/or offer the customer another little incentive to revisit your website soon. What sort of incentive, you ask?

5. Loyalty Discounts

Here's another version of that note from Georgina R. Owen, the fictional boss of fictional company Great Reads Online:
 
Hi Edward,
Just a quick note to say thanks very much for using our website. Hope you enjoy the book - I read it myself when it first came out and I have to say I couldn't put it down. Fingers crossed you find it just as compelling!
 
In case you fancy exploring the rest of our crime section, here's a discount code for you to use next time you're on our site. Just type this into the box on the basket page and it'll knock 15% off the total cost of your order:
 
GR8RDZ123
 
If there's anything else we can help you with, please don't hesitate to ring the office or drop me an email. You can also find us on Twitter, so feel free to say hello if you're on there too!
 
Best regards,
 
Signature
 
Georgina R. Owen
Managing Director of Great Reads Online
 

Not only does this letter endear the company to the customer and encourage him to follow the company on social media, it also gives Edward an extra reason to go back for another purchase. Once he's finished his book and needs something new to read, he'll know that he can get his next page-turner for 15% less if he goes back to Great Reads.

 
If you need an ecommerce website that functions flawlessly and keeps customers coming back time after time, we at Designer Websites are the people to call. Click here to request a quote, or telephone 01446 339050 to discuss your requirements.

It’s one thing having to crisis-manage when your brand comes under fire for its own mistakes, but when your product is referenced without your permission, in a politically provocative and offensive tweet? Well, that’s a completely different ball game.

That’s exactly what happened to Skittles this week, when the son of controversial presidential candidate, Donald Trump, shared a meme comparing Syrian refugees to ‘poisoned skittles’. Cue pandemonium and uproar on Twitter; not to mention the fact that the original tweet received over eight thousand retweets and thirteen thousand likes (and counting)…

Yes, this is what the PR team at Skittles had to deal with when they noticed their brand name trending on Twitter, without warning, and with little time to prepare a response. In fact, there were even jokes trending about their unwanted position in this highly risqué, and ludicrous political statement:


It even brought up memories of another controversial, political event which the brand became unknowingly associated with; the shooting of Trayvon Martin:


With their brand name swirling around on social media as the butt of racist jokes, political rants and PR memes, it isn’t difficult to imagine the awkward position that camp Skittles found themselves in – so how did they navigate their way out of it? Well, their approach to this predicament actually highlighted the undervalued art of subtlety in social media, along with the importance of knowing when and where to place your comments. 

Of course, a tactfully witty response would have earned praise from some, but this also runs the risk of being seen as offensive, adding fuel to an already raging fire. A more sober statement, would also clash with their highly light-hearted social media strategy, which usually stays far away from the political sphere. Vitally, it’s also fully understandable that they’d want to avoid being overly provocative to the Trump social media machine, particularly during an election period that has seen its fair share of social media controversy. Trump calling on his supporters to boycott Skittles – is it really that hard to imagine in the current political climate? 

It all boils down to a desire to stay out of the news, without promoting a political agenda, and without being seen as milking any free publicity. It also has to be done with a view to maintaining their playful, adventurous social media brand, without it also looking like their business is completely ignorant. 

Skittles solved all of these problems in two simple steps.

Step 1 - Respond to a journalist from a high-profile news site, who makes a private, formal request for comment on the situation:


Step 2 - Watch as a screenshot of the comment earns thousands of likes and retweets, gaining a swathe of positive feedback in the process:


Even prompting people to profess their love for the product:


Just like their decision to remain respectfully silent in the case of Trayvon Martin, Skittles were able to preserve their reputation, without getting directly caught up in any high-profile arguments, or revealing any strong political leanings. They also managed to voice their disapproval for the statement in question, without overtly criticising Trump and his supporters, avoiding the possibility of an inevitably nasty comeback from the notorious Republican nominee.

All politics aside, this is a great example of intelligent brand preservation in the face of unwanted attention and appropriation. It also shows that while it may be impossible to prevent your brand from gaining negative associations, it is possible to take control of the situation and voice disapproval, without being a source of negativity yourself.


As far as brands are concerned, Twitter is one of the best “all-round” platforms for expanding your audience. It’s fast, easy to use, and is highly community-driven. While the user-base may be skewed towards the under 50s, it still counts for a large portion of social media opportunities for the vast majority of business, with a 100 million daily active users.

Regardless of how modest or ambitious your aims may be, Twitter provides a number of free promotional opportunities for brands, regardless of your market or area of interest. Whether you simply wish to give your business a more informal, human face, or have a larger set of plans for implementing a marketing strategy on the platform, Twitter gives you instantaneous access to a huge audience that is ripe for cultivation.

Part of Twitter’s great appeal is its ability to provide instant interaction and feedback, which is what makes it such a great tool for building your brand awareness and following, in a very organic, conversational way. To help you benefit from these attributes, and build an active Twitter feed which meets your goals, here are some easy-to-implement ideas for building an audience, and driving communication:

Reach Out to Industry Influencers, Enthusiasts and Experts

Wherever you fall in the pecking order of your industry, whether you’re a seasoned expert or a new face on the scene, interacting with fellow influencers can be a great way to position yourself as an engaging contributor, while also elevating your profile within your industry.

This could involve everything from a simple follow to more regular interactions, in which you make an obvious effort to share content, and get involved in conversations which relate to your area of interest. The most important thing to remember, is to keep things naturalistic, by avoiding robotic and repetitive behaviour. When introducing yourself, commenting or retweeting, always try to inject some personality into your language, and convey genuine interest.

*Tip* Think beyond the obvious in terms of who you connect with; could there be an untapped audience for your brand on Twitter?

Run a Competition

Whether you’re looking to increase the desirability of your product, reward your customers, or simply grow your follower count, running a competition can be a great way to boost your audience and interaction rate. 

The most important thing to remember, is to get your competition tweet seen, as there’s little point in running a competition that only circulates amongst your existing follower base. While you could run the competition outside of Twitter, I would suggest a simple ‘follow and retweet’ formula, if you want to earn the highest level of interaction. The truth is, many people will find it a hassle to fill in a form or navigate outside of Twitter, particularly those on mobile. Allowing them to remain on the platform and perform a few simple actions is more likely to encourage them to enter, and will help your competition circulate at a faster rate for further entrants.

Of course, if your aim is to get people to sign up to a newsletter or take another form of action outside Twitter, then perhaps this format alone is not suitable for your aim. This approach, like many, has its pros and cons, which you can weigh up when planning your competition. The fast and easy route is more likely to earn a higher number of low-value follows from serial competition participants, but on a positive note, it will also get more attention in general, increasing the likelihood of it reaching someone with a genuine interest in your industry.

Once you’ve thought through your format and aims, conduct a bit of research into the optimal post time for your audience (geographic/age/industry factors), and make sure to include #competition in your tweet, to give it the best chance at success.

*Tip* Hold on to your followers! Of course, you’ll always get a few people who are “just in it for the free stuff”, but a competition can still bring in lots of engaged followers who are interested in your products/niche. Maintain interaction with your new followers, keep posting quality content, and you should see the benefits of your newly extended audience

Watch the Trend

One of the things that makes Twitter such a great way of tapping into conversations, is the fact that it has a constant stream of trending topics, along with an array of commonly used and time-specific hashtags, which allow you to tap into collective moods, and keep up with relevant hashtags. 

Whether it relates to news, popular culture or simply a specific time, keeping an eye on the trending topics on a daily, even hourly basis, is the easiest possible way of keeping your Twitter feed active and engaging. This may seem fairly obvious as such a key element of the platform, but it’s surprising how underused the hashtag is in many instances, particularly by those who are new to the platform. 

While each individual account may have a tone and approach which relates specifically to their brand or following, it’s almost always a good idea to weigh in on popular topics, even when it comes to something as simple as the weather. Relatability and affinity are the arguably the driving forces of Twitter, so it’s important to keep this in mind in order to boost activity.

*Tip* ALWAYS check the hashtag! If you see a hashtag trending, don’t presume to know what this relates to, without checking the posts attached to it first. While certain hashtags won’t relate strictly to a particular use, others will be used specifically in connection with a certain movement or development, making their misuse blindingly obvious. Using a hashtag that has nothing to do with your content can not only appear irrelevant and somewhat desperate, it can also be deemed insensitive and offensive in the worst instances.

Be Visual

Countless studies have shown how visual mediums can enhance social media posts, so be sure to take advantage of this benefit wherever possible. Even without the statistics on how many more likes and retweets can be gained from a post with an image, it doesn’t take a social media expert to understand that these enhancements are bound to stand out in your Twitter feed. 

We’re by no means suggesting that text-only tweets are incapable of creating a significant impact, but it’s important to realise how useful these additions can be for boosting initial attention, as well as the appeal for further promotion. Social media has made us a generation of meme-sharers and gif enthusiasts, who are able to communicate using nothing but a set of emojis, making it a vital aspect of social media culture. Again, it comes back to the point of relevancy, combined with the ability to communicate clearly, and impactfully.

In fact, it’s about to get even easier to share images in your tweets as of September 19th 2016, thanks to the fact that these will no longer count towards your 140 character limit. This means that you won’t have to sacrifice words for visuals, or vice versa, so you can share infographics and vine clips to your hearts content.

*Tip* Know when to let an image speak for itself. In some cases, a brief caption can be more impactful then a longer, accompanying explanation, so keep this in mind if your visual content is the main aspect of the tweet, as opposed to an addition. This is also particularly true if the image itself contains text. 

Make Great Use of Third Party Content

Naturally, it’s imperative that you keep your Twitter original, but you should also consider how an efficient use of third party content can enhance your feed, and build interaction within your community. 

It may seem vital to have a steady stream of your own content, and of course that’s true, but a fully original Twitter page can become just as boring and repetitive as a constant outpouring of retweets. If your Twitter makes the mistake of becoming too focused on your own ideas, products and opinions, it runs the risk of being seen as overly self-promotional, which may alienate your audience over time.

Just as we mentioned in our first tip, engaging with fellow influencers is a great way to build relationships, and can also show your willingness to take an interest in your chosen community. If you’re pointing at a particular content creator as a good source of information, it’s likely that you may also receive some positive attention in return, as part of Twitter’s reciprocal spirit. The most important thing to remember, is always to @ your source in the tweet (if possible).

*Tip* Always read the content and understand it fully before sharing! Oftentimes, titles can be misleading, so don’t just share content without actually engaging with it. No cheats or quick fixes here I’m afraid!

Provoke Reactions

Although controversy sometimes has its place in online marketing when used intelligently, we aren’t talking about making your followers angry. What we mean, is starting up thought-provoking conversations, and encouraging your community to share their opinions with you.

In recent times, Twitter has made this much easier for users, thanks to the introduction of the Twitter poll last year. Perhaps it’s the anonymity factor or the element of curiosity, but Twitter polls hardly ever fail to drive engagement levels, making them a great way to improve activity on your page, whilst also learning something new about your audience.

In its most simple form, this could start with addressing a question to your audience, which is a great way to get community members interacting with your page. This could be employed in a casual way to inspire debate, but could also be used by businesses to involve their customers in the creative process. For example, you could post a preview of a new product, which could not only help you gauge its popularity, but could also help to generate a sense of anticipation ahead of its launch.

*Tip* Always treat public opinion/engagement requests with caution. If you think your conversation is at risk of bringing negative customer experiences to the fore, or could possibly be hijacked in a way that would reflect badly on your business, then stay away!

Pin it!

If you’re not using the pinned tweet feature on your page, then you’re missing out on an opportunity to show off your latest news and best moments to followers, along with any potential followers that you could be missing out on! Not only is this a great way to give an extra boost to a tweet you want noticed, it’s also incredibly useful for making a strong impression on those visiting your page for the first time, giving them a clear impression of your brand identity straight away.

From competitions to appearances at important conferences, pinned tweets can give an extra boost to posts you want prioritised, or would like to lend some additional exposure to. As the first thing a visitor sees when they click on your profile, you’ll want to make sure that you double check your tweet for any mistakes, and be extra discerning about the wording before you post. Once you’re confident, however, this makes a handy promotional tool, and gives you some additional control over the shelf life of your tweet.

*Tip* Don’t let your pinned tweet get out of date! Once you’ve pinned your tweet, don’t just go away and forget about it, or you could completely defeat its intended purpose. If your tweet is an expired competition or a piece of news that has long since passed, you run the risk of looking like you don’t check your profile regularly. Like all other parts of your profile, pinned tweets should be considered and updated regularly when required.

Be Helpful!

Another important aspect of your interaction with your followers and online community, is to provide useful information, and answers to any questions they may have. Of course, if a follower comes to you with a question directly, it’s more than evident that you should respond promptly and politely, but this should also extend to your wider social media strategy.

In fact, questions can be a great way to introduce yourself to a community member, and can also be used to promote a useful piece of content you may have written, if executed correctly. Keep your eye out for people on your own feed who are looking for solutions or advice, but also actively use the Twitter search bar to look up specific queries that people may be making. As with any social media interaction, you should always be cautious about making the response too self-promotional, and should consider whether your answer is appropriate to the situation before positing. You could even share a third party solution with them, providing that they are not a direct competitor.

*Tip* Use your insights gained on Twitter, to influence your wider content strategy. If you notice a pattern of common problems arising in your Twitter community, it could be time to address these. This could be as simple as creating an advice piece, or, if this relates directly to your business, it could mean making more impactful changes.

Post at the Right Time

While avoiding any cliché statements about being in the right place at the right time, Twitter posting should be carefully considered if you want to make the most of your opportunities. For the best results, you need to consider the data collected in your Twitter analytics in combination with general user insights, in order to plan your most important posts to go out at particularly active times of the day.

While it’s a good idea to post on Twitter over a variety of hours, in order to maintain activity, you should always ensure that your most important tweets are posted at points of peak activity, to avoid losing out on potentially valuable interactions. Naturally, this approach should be employed sensibly, and shouldn’t interfere with the impulsive nature of Twitter, which could even have the opposite of your desired effect. If a topic is currently trending, or there is an important event occurring, of course you should avoid this approach, which we will discuss further in our final point.

*Tip* If you have a good idea, but don’t think your timing will help you get the most from your tweet, you can use a tool like Hootsuite to help you schedule your posts. This way, you can prevent yourself from forgetting an idea or missing an opportunity, whilst ensuring that your tweet has the best chance of gaining attention and generating interactions.

Interact and React: Make the Most of Real-Time Events

Picking up from our last point, our final piece of advice concerns the value of interacting in correlation with real-time events, which is one of the most common uses of Twitter as a whole, but is perhaps one that could be adopted more by businesses. 

Naturally, the Twitter buzz surrounding high-profile conferences and business events is well-known, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be capable of hosting one such event, in order to make the most of the hype generated by them. In fact, this rule doesn’t just apply to events which have their own manufactured hashtag at all, but rather to the general live-reaction spirit of Twitter as a whole. It could relate to a television programme, popular culture, or even politics, but as long as you’re sure that it relates to your community, go ahead and make the most of these opportunities for extra exposure.

Naturally, some events and developments will relate clearly to your usual content and brand, but this doesn’t mean that they are the only events that you should be paying attention to. Think about your target audience, along with subjects that are closely related to your field, if not directly so. For example, a brand targeted at students would naturally be tweeting during high-profile events such as exam results, but could also benefit from tweeting about other events that would interest their audience, perhaps during the coverage of a music festival, for example. As always, the main aim is to strike a balance between being overly specific and focused on a single subject, and losing focus of your direction by jumping on every Twitter bandwagon that comes along.

*Tip* Always proofread your hashtag, and make sure you’re using the right one. 


If you'd like our help to create a thoughtful and engaging social media strategy, that will allow you to enhance your brand following and build relationships with your customers, simply get in touch with Designer Websites today!
Which colours should I choose for my website design?

Selecting a colour scheme for your company's website can be a tricky business - you ideally want something that not only looks good but also accurately reflects your brand and the work that you do.

In order to select the right combination of colours for your business, you need to have some understanding of colour meanings and the feelings that different hues evoke. Here's a rough guide to some common colours and what Western audiences tend to associate them with - which of these descriptions most closely resembles your organisation?

Red

Commonly associated with: love, passion, intensity, aggressiveness, action, danger

Red is the colour of danger - motorists see it every day on road signs and traffic lights, and it usually serves as a warning or an urgent instruction. Yet it's also associated with love and romance: think red hearts and red roses.

Red is a very attention-grabbing colour, and many websites use red sparingly to make one particular element (such as a call to action or a key piece of information) stand out above everything else. It is also commonly used in our neck of the woods to emphasise the company's close ties to Wales.

Blue

Commonly associated with: calmness, clarity, relaxation, understanding, imagination

Blue is a calm, relaxing colour that may be a good choice if you want people to feel at ease while browsing your website. It also carries implications of knowledge and an absence of limitations (you may be familiar with the phrase 'blue-sky thinking').

Blue is reportedly the most popular colour on the Internet. Famous blue websites include Facebook, Twitter, and Wordpress, and many companies from all kinds of different industries use blue in their branding to suggest efficiency, clarity, approachability, and connectedness.

Yellow

Commonly associated with: happiness, energy, warmth, light, success

Yellow evokes sunshine and summertime - it's the colour of happiness, so if your company is all about making people happy then this could be a sound colour choice for your website design. One of the most ubiquitous logos in the world - the McDonald's 'M' -  is yellow, and that particular brand is entirely built around themes of joy, happiness, and customer satisfaction (just think of their motto: "I'm lovin' it").

Yellow's other connotations include energy (think yellow lightning bolts) and success (gold medals), so it's perfect if you want to present your brand as energetic, customer-focused, and determined to succeed.

Green

Commonly associated with: nature, the environment, hope, peace, good luck

More or less everyone understands the connotations of the colour green - even the word 'green' has long doubled as a synonym for 'environmentally-friendly'. If you want to bring your company's environmental credentials to the fore, or if you want your corporate branding to evoke the wholesomeness and harmony of nature, then you might want to think about incorporating some green into your colour scheme.

Orange

Commonly associated with: enthusiasm, creativity, determination, affordability 

Orange can be thought of as a somehwat friendlier alternative to red. It's still bright and eye-catching, but it doesn't have the same associations with danger and aggression. Orange tends to make people think of enthusiasm and creativity, making it a good choice if you want customers to view you as an eager organisation that's good at thinking outside the box.

Purple

Commonly associated with: glamour, power, royalty, luxury

Purple is the colour of monarchs; it makes people think of crowns, thrones and expensive jewellery. If you want to evoke glamour and luxury then purple may be the way forward - it suggests that you offer the most delux, high-end version of the product or service in which you specialise.

Black

Commonly associated with: professionalism, seriousness, wealth

This is an obvious choice for businesses who provide a service related to dying or mourning - funeral directors and bereavement counsellors, for example - but black isn't just the colour of death. It also evokes professionalism; businesspeople often wear black clothes and black shoes to look professional at work and in meetings, and this logic can be applied to corporate branding and website design as well.

Black says that you're serious about what you do, and it can also carry some of the same connotations as purple (specifically opulence and wealth - many luxury brands, including Rolex and Chanel, have bold black logos, and being 'in the black' means that you are financially solvent as opposed to being 'in the red'). 

Pink

Commonly associated with: sex, sweetness, femininity, love, nurturing

Pink and purple are both shades of magenta, and so this colour is sometimes used as a lighter, friendlier and/or 'cheaper' version of its darker counterpart. Pink still suggests a level of glitz and glamour, but it's less a night at the opera and more a night at the musicals. If purple is Madama Butterfly, then pink is Grease or Mamma Mia!

Obviously, pink is frequently used as a shorthand for femininity, and it's common to see it used on websites that specifically target women and/or girls. Pink is also the colour of sexuality, making it not just an appropriate colour for businesses of an adult nature but also a great way to subtly trigger the primal part of the brain that drives us to seek out sexual partners and reproduce.

Brown

Commonly associated with: dependability, earthiness, authenticity, tradition

Brown, like green, is a colour that's often associated with Earth and with the world around us. It suggests unrefined, non-manufactured authenticity, and it can be used to evoke environmental friendliness as well as personal health ('brown' foods such as brown bread and brown rice being seen as healthier than their 'white' equivalents) and a general sense of doing the right thing.

Brown also has strong ties to the past, and can be used by brands to play upon the consumer's desire for something traditional or old-fashioned. If you want to use nostalgia to persuade people to use your company, brown may be an effective colour choice both for your logo and for your website design.

Need help choosing the right website design for your business? Designer Websites can help - click here to request a FREE web design quote!
Ecommerce Tips - How to Earn Customer Trust
 

If you sell products online via an ecommerce website, one of the biggest challenges you'll face is convincing new users to take the plunge and buy from you for the very first time. It's common for e-shoppers (particularly those who are accustomed to huge online stores like Amazon and eBay) to be a little uncertain when using an ecommerce website that they've only just discovered; at this early stage, they probably have no idea whether or not you're able to provide a satisfactory service, and more cautious users may even worry that your online payment system isn't secure enough.

For this reason, establishing trust should be a key priority for any ecommerce website owner. If you don't do a good job of presenting yourself as a reliable and trustworthy retailer, the people who stumble upon your website may be very reluctant to actually purchase anything.

But what's the best way to earn customer trust? Here are a few quick tips for helping customers to feel confident when using your ecommerce website:

Use reviews to demonstrate your reliability.

One of the most popular ways to instil confidence in online consumers is to show them reviews from people who bought the same item(s) from the same website in the past.
 
Most ecommerce websites allow users to leave reviews, usually in the form of a star rating (one to five) and a few comments about the purchasing experience. If you want to do something a bit more in-depth, you could go further and allow users to rate different aspects of your service separately, like this:
 
In-depth review
 
However you choose to present them, populating your product pages with reviews from previous customers will really help new customers to feel less like they're venturing into the unknown.
 
Of course, the one drawback of this system is the possibility that customers might leave negative reviews, thus potentially making newcomers even more reluctant to purchase anything from your website. Fortunately, there are a few different ways to combat this problem. Some websites allow sellers to post public responses to customer reviews, meaning that anyone on the receiving end of a one-star rating has the opportunity to explain what happened and possibly redeem themselves in the eyes of future visitors. Alternatively, you might consider implementing a review moderation system that allows you to decide which reviews actually get published on your website (this is a good way to prevent people from posting abuse or lying about your company).
 
Still, if you provide a satisfactory service, you can probably depend on your customers to be kind in their reviews. And even if you do occasionally receive unflattering feedback, your site will probably still look more appealing to new customers than if you had no reviews whatsoever; a site with fifty positive reviews and five negative reviews will generally be seen as a better bet than a site offering no information at all on the experiences of previous customers.

Choose a trusted, well-known payment system.

For most of us, buying something online is now just as humdrum and as commonplace an activity as popping to the corner shop for some milk, and yet we're still very careful about giving away our financial information online. We're right to be cautions, of course - in 2014, fraud losses on UK-issued cards totalled roughly £479 million - but that caution can be hugely problematic for honest ecommerce retailers who need people to have faith in the concept of online payment.
 
The most straightforward way to convince customers that your checkout is secure? Use a well-known payment gateway like Sage Pay or PayPal. People tend to recognise names like these (in the case of PayPal, they may even have an account already set up), and this will help them to feel at ease when they're entering their card details on your website.
 
If you decide to use a different payment gateway, be sure to do your homework first. Find out whether or not the payment provider is trustworthy and reliable, and make absolutely sure that payments will be handled over a secure connection (HTTPS). 
 

Show the human face of your business.

There are many reasons why consumers are generally more comfortable spending money in brick-and-mortar shops than on ecommerce websites, but one big reason is the lack of human faces. When you buy a book from your local Waterstones, the payment is handled by the person behind the till; they answer to a supervisor or manager, who in turn answers to someone at head office. There's a sense of accountability that's often absent when purchasing online, where it's easy to feel like you're buying from a machine with no human oversight.
 
Happily, this feeling is easy to dispel. It's a good idea to a 'Meet the Team' page to your website (here's ours) in order to introduce your customers to the people behind the machine; if you've got time, you may also want to consider sharing some photos from around the office on your blog and/or social media accounts.
 
 
Christmas Jumper Day
 
This is a great way to demonstrate that your online business is every bit as 'alive' as any high street shop, and that there are real people dealing with each order and reading each email.

Ensure that your website is functional and modern-looking.

A visitor's trust in your website will erode very quickly if they're encountering problems like these as they navigate the buying process:
  • Broken links that lead to 404 error pages
  • Pages that load slowly...or not at all!
  • Non-intuitive navigation (i.e. you've made it difficult for the user to find what they're looking for)
  • Missing (or low-quality) images
  • Poorly-written site copy that's rife with spelling/grammar mistakes
If you're raising any of these red flags, it will massively affect consumer confidence - after all, if you've made mistakes on your website, what's to say that you won't make mistakes with the orders you ship?
 
On a related note, it's important for any serious ecommerce retailer to invest in a clean, modern-looking website design. Your website is your shop floor, and if you don't make it look appealing, people will be markedly less inclined to stay and browse. This isn't just an aesthetic issue, either; a poor-quality design can be difficult to navigate, and if it looks particularly outdated, people may even get the impression that you're no longer in operation - they might think you've abandoned your online store entirely and moved on to pastures new, leaving the site to gather dust in some forgotten corner of the Internet.
 
We'd also recommend opting for a responsive website design, as this will provide mobile and tablet users with a far better purchasing experience. Millions of people now regularly use portable devices to shop online, so you're potentially missing out on a big chunk of the market if you stick with a non-responsive design.

Make yourself easy to contact.

Nobody's perfect, and even the best companies make occasional mistakes. It would be fantastic if you could eliminate all issues within your business, but in the first instance, it's more important to ensure that customers can easily report and resolve their issues when they arise.
 
So here's what you need to do: list your company's contact details PROMINENTLY on your website (e.g. in the site header, or on a contact page that's linked from the main site menu) and make sure that those contact details are up to date and active. You should ideally list as many different contact methods as possible; some people will want to send you an email, while others may prefer to speak on the phone. You might also consider listing office opening times, in case anyone is expecting you to answer the phone at 8pm on a Saturday.
 
Offering a live chat option is another great way to be there for your customers, but don't make this commitment unless you're actually prepared to answer all the chat messages that come through!
 
Live chat window
Live chat isn't email - when people see a window like this, they'll expect somebody to answer their enquiry straight away.

In summary...

People who shop online take a leap of faith every time they place an order. If a user gets to that point on your website, it's because you've done a good job of convincing them that:
  • Their payment details will be handled securely
  • Their order will be dispatched quickly and delivered within the stated timeframe
  • Their item(s) will arrive in good condition and match the description on the website
  • Any problems they happen to encounter will be taken seriously and resolved efficiently
In order to earn the trust of new customers, you need to do whatever you can to reassure them of those four things. We hope this blog post has shown you a few ways to do that - if you can think of others, please do let us know on Twitter!

How we can help

Designer Websites is an established web development company specialising in ecommerce websites. Over the past decade, we have helped countless businesses to succeed online - here are just a few examples of what we can help you with:

To request a free quotation for your ecommerce project, please click here.

 
When it comes to commissioning a web design and development project, we understand that the process can sometimes be confusing for business owners, particularly those who are building their online presence from scratch. Perhaps the most confusing aspect of all, is the level of input required from the business owner, which can vary massively depending on each case. While some clients may have a very specific idea in mind that they are determined to stick to at all costs, others may want to hand over most of the work to the design team, as they feel that they lack the direction and knowledge required to make a truly informed decision.
 
At Designer Websites, we’ve helped a variety of clients over the years, and feel it’s important to inform those who are looking to commission a website, about the steps they should be taking both before and during the process. Here a few common mistakes that can be made when planning a website, along with some advice about how and why to avoid them:

Mistake #1 - Setting your sights on a design that’s wrong for your business:

A common problem that may arise at the very beginning of the process, is a request for a design that is completely wrong for the business in question. While it can be useful to browse the internet for design ques, in order to get a better idea of which direction your headed in, insisting on emulating a design that has nothing to do with your business, can only end in disappointment. While it goes without saying that your design should be visually appealing, this also has to combine with functionality and business aims in order to create a truly successful website. There is little point in having a website with an ultra-sleek design that fails to sustain the interest of your customer, or present any of the required information to promote your brand and services. Having a clear idea of what you want can be a big help to your design team, but be prepared for these ideas to evolve according to the needs of your business, and the purpose of your site.

Mistake #2 – Assuming that the design doesn’t need to perform on mobile:

Despite the hundreds of articles that have circulated in recent years, which insist on the importance of having a mobile-friendly website, some businesses continue ignore this vital element of modern web design. Whether you think that your target demographic are likely to search predominantly on mobile devices or not, there’s simply no denying the fact that mobile search has overtaken desktop, which means that regardless of your audience, there will be many people who arrive on your site his way.
 
If you deal in ecommerce, then this should be something of a no-brainer for you, although a mobile-friendly design can also present a range of benefits to sites who are not looking to target direct sales. The main reason, which applies to any and all websites, is that Google have openly said that they favour mobile friendly websites, using it as a ranking signal to determine how your site shows up in search results. 

Mistake #3 - Forgetting functionality:

Business owners can sometimes neglect the most important element of the entire project – the end user. If your design is based solely on what you think looks and sounds good, or you just take a ‘web design 101’ approach to the project, then you’re completely missing the point of a great web design. It’s absolutely vital that you think about how your website will engage existing customers, and also consider how to attract new followers to your brand. Your website has to be easy to use, and it also has to deliver what people are looking for when they discover your business. While there are best practices that apply to all web designs, you have to think beyond the basics if you want a website that both meets and responds to the needs of the intended user.

Mistake #4 – Coming to the table without aims, ideas and targets:

A flaw that can sometimes hinder the design process, is the fact that many business have realised that they need to appear online, but aren’t sure how to go about it. A website should not only compliment your business, but be an extension of it, allowing you to enhance existing services and attributes, while also generating new possibilities. Before you begin the design processes, it is important that you consider not only what you want the website to achieve, but also what is possible in the modern digital world. You also have to make sure that this aim is clear enough to be understood by the viewer, in conjunction with the last point about usability. Some points to consider include:
 
  • If I want to influence sales through my website, what is the best way for me to do this?
  • How do I want potential customer to contact me?
  • Am I looking to provide an extension of my services to existing/typical users, or am I looking to appeal to a different audience?
  • What messages are most important to by business? What’s the first thing I want people to see?
  • What images do people in my industry respond to? Am I looking to correspond to certain expectations, or do I want to provide a new/unconventional experience?
  • Will I need scope to add new content and additional features in the future? How could this website potentially expand my business?

Mistake #5 – Stuffing in social media for the sake of it:

Using social media for business has become almost as important as the website itself, and for many businesses this may even prove to be just as influential for driving business. The problem with using social media within, or in conjunction with, your business, is that there is no universal approach to success with it, and not every platform will provide a positive result for a business. Having said this, choosing the right social media platform, and including this in your website in the correct manner, can provide tremendous results for your business. After thinking about which accounts you should have in the first place, your second thought should concern how these will fit into your website. Social feeds and icons need to enhance your website, not hinder it, so be very cautious about adding these in without careful consideration. Here are some examples of questions you should ask yourself, before rushing into the set-up of your on-site social media:
 
  • Which icons should appear? Do I need to provide every social media account, or just those which are most valuable to the business?
  • How should these social icons appear? How can I make them prominent, without distracting from the more important features of the website?
  • Is a feed right for my website, or will it just distract my users away from my site? Are my social accounts active enough to produce a feed which looks up-to-date and relevant?
 
If you’re have a web design project in mind, and are looking for the right knowledge and expertise to bring your vision to life, then get in touch with the team at Designer Websites! For more information, or to request a free, no-obligation quote, simply fill in our quick and easy contact form here.