How a Cross-Device User Experience Can Increase Sales 

cross-device user experience

Your customers expect your website to function perfectly, no matter what device they’re using. They aren’t all developers or digital marketers and they don’t care about the technical issues you have, they just want to do what they came to your website to do and get on with their lives.

In order to best serve your customers and increase your sales, you should design device-specific websites that embrace and utilize your customer’s device-specific mind state and usage habits. This can sometimes be achieved through responsive design, but in order to truly reap the rewards of a seamless cross-device user experience, you should consider designing a unique site for each device.

So what kind of mood are your customers in when they use desktop, mobile and tablets and how can you optimize your website for each device accordingly?

Desktop Design

81% of Americans own a PC and use them for accessing social media more than on any other device. Therefore, integrating social into your desktop site is crucial in building your relationship with potential customers. Try the following:

  • Embed your Twitter feed. This will bring people closer to your brand by showcasing your activity and increasing engagement.
  • Include your Facebook page like counter. People tend to go with the flow, so showing your Facebook page with many likes and lots of engagement makes users feel comfortable on your site and can increase trust.
  • Include social share buttons on products, articles and pages. Show that you’re truly immersed in the social space and allow users to share the product they’re looking at on their social networks. This helps your social media presence and ultimately drives traffic back to your site.
  • Include Follow, Like, Plus One icons in your header or footer. Make it as easy as possible for your user to interact and follow you on your social channels from your website. 

If you make your desktop website the central hub of social activity, linking both to and from social channels, you’ll be able to better serve the PC user and stimulate the engagement and trust required to convert them.

Move with Mobile  

For the first time, mobile internet usage has surpassed PC usage in America, so mobile is certainly where it’s at. With 76% of smartphone owners using their device to check a store’s location and 66% having used their device to check product prices, mobile optimization is unavoidable for etailers and retailers. Mobile browsers want action. They’re looking for results and expect things to happen quickly. For clicks and mortar businesses and etailers, try the following: 

Mobile users demand more, and quickly. By making your mobile site simple to use and taking advantage of urgency, you’ll give yourself the best chance of making conversions and attracting return users. 

Tactile Tablets 

66% of Americans use their tablets to generally surf the web whilst watching TV, with 65% and 55% of people using them for research and review-reading respectively. With more people making a purchase of a physical product or service on tablets than on mobile and with tablets being more popular on a weekend, there’s some unique opportunities to increase sales through including the following on your tablet site: 

  • Make it rich. People have time on tablets, so give them an engaging experience. Use videos, tutorials, images (and plenty of them), advanced product descriptions, reviews and blogs. All of which will increase the time spent on site and take your user closer to converting.
  • Easy checkout. Lots of people convert on tablets, so make sure your checkout is seamless, straightforward and convenient. 
  • Tablet only offers. Try exclusive weekend deals for tablet shoppers who are more active over the weekend.

On your tablet site, it’s all about engagement. Keeping user on your site through providing plenty of information and entertainment will ultimately lead to higher time spent on site, increased trust and sales.

The Future
Having three separate websites inevitably means more work. Many businesses wouldn’t recommend it, as most companies are searching for ways to join up these experiences, rather than fragmenting them. However, there’s no foolproof way of optimizing for device-specific needs until you offer separate, device-specific sites built with these needs at the core. 

Over the coming years, having a separate mobile, tablet and desktop website will be like having a separate ordering, returns and complaints phone number, and you can get well ahead of the game by starting now. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can serve your customer’s device-specific needs.


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Posted by Monday, October 20, 2014 6:27:00 PM Categories: B2C ecommerce online marketing responsive design retail marketing SMB web design web trends

Why Your eCommerce Site Search Is Losing You Sales and How to Fix It 

fixing ecommerce site search

Customers are accustomed to online searching and expect to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily, especially when it comes to shopping. If customers can’t find a product on your website, they’ll search elsewhere and you may loose them forever. Therefore, having an intuitive and functional on-site search facility is imperative for ecommerce websites. However, according to a recent study by the Baymard Institute1, not many businesses are meeting customer expectations when it comes to on-site searching. So how can you improve your on-site search facility and reign in some of those lost sales?

How to Fix On-Site Search

The Baymard report found that the design of the search interface was almost as important as the search algorithm itself1. So putting efforts into the design of the search bar, the suggested search options and search results pages could see you capture lost leads without a great deal of effort.

Search Bar Design

The intuitive design of the search bar itself can help maintain a smooth user journey and allow users to progress without friction. In order to get the best out of your search bar, you can try a few things, including:

  1. Place it in a prominent position. Ideally, the search bar will be in the head2 of the site, so that it’s consistent and visible from every page3.  This makes it easier to find, as most people are accustomed to the search box being in the top-right corner.
  2. Use a different color scheme4. Making the search bar a contrasting color to the rest of your site will help it stand out and make it easier to find. This will help customers who know what they want and just want to find it quickly.
  3. Make it obvious that it’s a search box. This will help make the search facility accessible and easier to use for casual or less frequent users. You can make the search box more obvious by:
  • Including search suggestions, such as ‘enter product name’ or ‘search for a product, catalog no. or keyword’ in the search field3
  • Labeling the search button ‘Search’, as opposed to ‘Go’ or using the magnifying glass icon


Using Autocomplete in the search field helps users by:

  • Correcting difficult spelling
  • Saving user effort
  • Speeding up the search

This will help create a seamless user journey and shepherd users on their way smoothly.

Plus, you can use your website analytics to make your Autocomplete suggestions more relevant. Simply to track your on-site searches to learn what users are genuinely searching for, then tailor your suggestions to more closely align with popular products and search terms5.

Search Results Page

The search results page can be the difference between helping users progress with their journey and reviewing their search term. There are a few techniques we can use in order to allow users to find what they’re looking for without having to revise their search or try an alternative method, such as:

  1. Using imagery. Showing product images in your search results will help users find what they’re looking for at a glance. And if they can’t find what they’re looking for, then, if they can see your product offering, they’ll have more chance of being enticed by something similar.
  2. Showing social proof6. Including reviews and customer ratings on the items listed in the search results will help users find popular items. Even if your search algorithm isn’t perfect and your results aren’t perfectly matched, you can still help the customer on their journey by dangling a carrot.
  3. Including filters. If your site has masses of content, help users narrow things down post-search, by offering filtering options at the top or the side of the search results. For example, if you’re a retailer and a user searches for ‘smart shoes’, you can help them narrow this search down by offering filtering options such as ‘male or female’, ‘brand [list brands]', 'size [list sizes]’, ‘review ratings' and 'price range’.
  4. Creating a sense of urgency. This can encourage users to intuitively click the closest match from the first list of search results. Amazon uses “order in the next 4 minutes for free delivery”, some airlines use “only 2 seats available at this price” and some hotel booking websites use “22 people looking at this room right now” or “only 1 room left”.

Close the Gap

There may still be some work to do from a backend perspective, in order to display perfectly matched search results. In the meantime, start closing the gap by swaying potential deserters, boosting sales and edging in front of the rest of the ecommerce industry with these tips.








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Posted by Tuesday, September 16, 2014 12:34:00 AM Categories: ecommerce retail marketing

Nine Problems with DIY Website Builders 

DIY website builder

There have been an explosion of DIY website builders1 over the past ten years. They promise to be easy to set up and simple to maintain, but are they really as good as they claim to be?

If you’re a small business owner, finding the time to work on your website can be a challenge, especially when you’re working 12 hour days already. The claimed convenience and alleged affordability can make these DIY website builders start to sound pretty attractive. However, when you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll soon discover that they aren’t all what they’re packaged up to be.

The Truth Behind DIY Website Builders

They do a good job of selling themselves with the 'quick and easy' set-up slogans and the 'cheap to run' tag lines. So if you genuinely don't know what your looking for and just want 'a website', it's pretty easy to see how they’d sound tempting.

The thing is, nobody really only just wants ‘a website’. You want a shop window for your business, an online method of generating leads; to grow sales; a digital marketing strategy; to attract new customers; to increase your customer loyalty and countless other things. You see, your website is there to serve your business objectives, whatever they may be.

When you pause to consider why you want a website in the first place, and what you need it to do, you'll quickly realize that your needs are specific. And if you want your website to perform as best as it can and market your business effectively, then you need it to do exactly what you and your potential customers want it to do. This is where DIY website builders start to falter.

The Problems

To help you make an informed decision and put those DIY website builder sales pitches into perspective, we've put together some of the top reasons why DIY website builders honestly aren't likely to meet your needs.

Standardized Sites = No Originality

DIY website builders often have a limited number of templates (or designs) to choose from. This means that there’s a large chance of many other websites using the same design as you. If thousands of websites look exactly the same as yours, you’ll struggle to stand out, which will hurt your online brand, especially if you’re running an e-commerce store2.

2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Implications

Getting to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) when your potential customers search for something related to your business on Google, Bing, Yahoo and so on, is one of the best ways to find new customers online. With DIY website builders, the help on hand to achieve this is limited and the effect of built-in SEO capability is often below par3.

3. Domain Name Restrictions

It’s important to have an easy to remember web address (or domain name) for your website. It’s what people will see in search engines and on your marketing materials. Most website builders don’t allow you to create your own domain name3, so instead of, you’ll have or something just as hideous.

4. Unintuitive Content Management Systems (CMS)

When you make changes, create new pages or edit your web content, you’ll use a CMS. Some of these website builders have a difficult to use CMS, which makes it hard to create new pages, edit content and make changes on your website4 quickly and simply. Some only let you build one page websites too, which is more restrictive than gardening in a straight jacket.

5. Inefficient Support

If you’re new to the internet or you’re creating your first business website, having support on hand when things go wrong is important. Some DIY web builders can take a while to respond to service requests, sometimes taking longer than a day to get back to you4. How many sales might you lose in 24 hours?

6. Poor e-Commerce Facilities

Few website builders come with e-commerce facilities either as standard or as an added extra, and those that do tend to be poorly executed. You might be able to get your online store up and running, but making any customized additions and specific changes is virtually impossible5, and expanding is also a challenge6

7. Hard Blogging

When it comes to online marketing, blogging keeps your website fresh and is often the cornerstone of your user engagement. DIY website builders often make blogs difficult to customize, hard to maintain and they usually have less flexibility over RSS feeds7and social sharing. Some might not even help your SEO8, which is one of the primary reasons for blogging in the first place!

8. Sub-Standard Website Analytics

To make your website better and increase sales and leads, you need to know what’s happening on it; what your users are doing and why they’re leaving. You can use website analytics to do this, but many DIY website builders use old tracking scripts9, which lack accuracy, or only offer limited features10, which won’t help you make informed decisions.

Making the Right Choice

DIY website builders are well intended and mean no harm. As comparably cheap and easy to set up as they may, in some cases be, they almost certainly won’t meet your business needs and you’ll outgrow them quicker than a toddler does its shoes.

I’m yet to find a DIY website builder that can address each of the above points, like you would if you went to a proper development company. So don’t fall for the sales pitch; take your time, do your research, understand what you want, then speak to people (link to who can help you achieve your goals properly.

This way, you’ll have a future proof, professional, unique and purpose-built website that will grow with your business and constantly meet your needs. And isn’t that what a website is supposed to do in the first place.












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Posted by Sunday, August 17, 2014 3:51:00 PM Categories: B2C retail marketing web design web development website

Sure-Fire Ways to Cause Shopping Cart Abandonment 

Shopping Cart Abandonment

Minimizing shopping cart abandonment is the Holy Grail for ecommerce. Less people abandoning = more sales and revenue. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. But what’s causing your users to abandon? And how can you encourage them to hang around and persist with their purchase?

First, it’s important to understand what your abandonment rate is. You need to know where you are in order to understand where you want to end up, and every site in every industry is different. The average shopping cart abandonment rate is around 68%1, so you may well be loosing literally thousands of sales through sometimes simple nuances that cause users to either abandon or switch to a competitor.

There are plenty of reasons why most of your users abandon their shopping carts and we’ve put together four of the major points to look out for:

1. Hidden costs2

Not being up front with the total cost of your items is a sure-fire way to obliterate trust and negatively effect the perception of your company, as well as lose sales. This may have long lasting effects and could mean you lose a customer for life as a result of trying to skim an extra few cheeky dollars.

Ticket companies like Ticket Master and Get Me In do this all the time. You’ll find your ticket, agree with the price, choose your seat, head to the checkout and then you're hit with a booking fee and delivery costs that are sometimes as high as an extra 20% on the ticket price. 

People these days don’t trust businesses that aren’t transparent. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Be up front or remove unnecessary costs that don’t add value to your products and serve only to tacitly increase revenue.

2. Postage

If you can, offer free shipping. This will add pleasant value for your customers, helping push them over the conversion line and will be a strong pull for them to return. 

Whether you can offer free shipping is entirely dependent on your type of business. Selling books for a dollar and charging an extra dollar for postage isn’t such a big deal. However, a $50 shipping charge for a $500 TV starts to sound off-putting. 

73% of online shoppers note free shipping as a critical factor in their purchasing decisions and 93% claim they’re likely to spend more if free shipping is included3. If you’re making more sales and people are spending more, the hit you’ll take on offering free shipping will be recuperated by all those extra sales.

3. No ‘Guest' checkout

If you don’t offer a Guest checkout facility and force every would-be customer to register with your site before making a purchase, you can kiss goodbye to a potential 45% increase in sales2. A forced registration can easily lead to abandonment for those that just want to make a purchase then leave. You may as well redirect 20% of your traffic to a competitor and save yourself from having to pick through your poorly performing web metrics.

It might surprise you to learn that most people don’t care enough about your brand to register before checking out. Some just want to pay and get on with their lives. The best thing you can do is let them pay. Focus on taking the payment. Do this well enough and, if everything else works well (your website’s easy to use, the product is as expected and it arrives on time), they’ll be back. 

If it’s customer insight you’re striving for through a forced registration, then include an option to subscribe to updates by email and lure them into registering this way. Play the long game and don’t be desperate.

4. Mobile optimization 

People usually act with more urgency on mobiles, so optimizing your ecommerce website for mobile could see an increase in impulse purchases. With 30% of ecommerce web traffic coming from mobile devices4, they're very few excuses for not having an optimized site these days. 

Picking and pinching and zooming and aiming are all laborious tasks to do while you’re on a phone or tablet. But, this is exactly what users have to do on desktop sites when they access them on mobiles.

In a world where brands are investing heavily in fingerprint5 and facial6 recognition to unlock your mobile phone, simply to save you the energy expelled from moving your thumb up two inches to type in a pass code, removing any unnecessary friction is imperative when crafting a seamless user journey. If you don’t have a mobile optimized site, it takes a heck of a lot of dedication on behalf of the user to make a purchase. It’s far easier to bail or head to a competitor with a website that’s easier to use. 

Finding Your Holy Grail

Realistically, you’ll never have 100% of users pass through the checkout. Plenty of people simply use their shopping basket as a wish list and never intend to check out in the first place. Also, there’ll always be small nuances that cause users to abandon and you’ll always have small tweaks to make here and there. Your work is ever truly done. However, optimize your processes and minimize the above issues and you’ll certainly tempt some of the current defectors into checking out and surely see that abandonment rate reduce.








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Posted by Tuesday, August 12, 2014 9:53:00 PM Categories: B2C online marketing retail marketing

Web Designers: How to Turn LinkedIn Into A Lead Generator 

By Steve Hoag

digital marketing

Social media is here to stay. Since initial offerings like MySpace, it has captured the minds and attention of the world. Businesses are still only touching the tip of the iceberg in terms of the potential this platform has to offer. There are a variety of social networks available now, but it’s important to focus on the ones that matter to your business. For many businesses that boils down to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. In this blog post we are going to focus on how to leverage LinkedIn and turn it into a reliable lead generator for your web design business. Here’s a quick rundown:

Make sure your personal and company profiles are fully developed.

Nothing says credibility on social media like a fully developed personal and company profile. It’s all about the little things like a professional profile photo, detailed work history, recommendations etc. Be sure to post links to your website on both profiles, as well as examples of portfolio work. Make it easy for people to trust you! You will be surprised how far dotting all your I’s will go.

Join groups relevant to your profession AND your target segment’s business.

Getting your brand in front of the right eyes requires a two-fold strategy on LinkedIn. You need to improve your standing among your peers, and get active where your target customers are. To start, join web design and development groups. If you are a freelancer, join freelance designer groups etc. Next, figure out where your target customer segment is active. Are they small businesses or enterprise? Tech or retail? Create a customer profile to truly understand your target, and then join groups where key decision makers are active. For instance, if you realize that you need to go after a CIO in a company, check out his/her profile and groups and start contributing in those!

Stay top of mind in yours newsfeed and groups.

The most important part of turning LinkedIn into a lead generator is staying top of mind. People forget about each other fairly quickly online, so the only way to combat that is by remaining active. Be proactive in connecting with people and networking. Scan your newsfeed every day and congratulate people for new jobs, anniversaries, great articles etc. Making others feel valued goes a long way on social media! The same goes for groups that you are involved in. Post questions, share articles, and comment on discussions. People seeing you continually add value to conversations will begin to think of you as a thought leader. Becoming a thought leader is the ultimate goal of social media because it makes everything else come easier. The people you interact with online may not need a web designer at that exact moment, but they will come back to you when they do if you cement yourself as a thought leader!

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, January 29, 2014 8:50:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise retail marketing SMB social media marketing web design web development
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