Web Design Key for Online Shoppers

Online product offerings require solid visual design to close the deal for many shoppers according to a report released by interactive marketing solutions firm Questus.

Critical to making a decision to purchase goods on a Web site are site navigation (37 percent); the checkout process (32 percent); and product descriptions (38 percent). Perspective buyers left e-commerce sites without purchasing for a few key reasons. Twenty-nine percent didn’t want to register with the site; 22 percent of online shoppers found it difficult to locate products; and 17 percent left to find other e-tailers because they didn’t believe the site they were on was trustworthy or secure.

“We find that Web sites have three seconds to make an impression,” said Jeff Rosenblum, co-founder and research and strategy director of Questus. “The actual usability is more important than aesthetics, but at the same time aesthetics are critical.”

Clean site design is noted to be a more effective way of getting conversions from online shoppers, according to Rosenblum. “Information overload is a critical and consistent problem, and in this study we found that Web users were more likely to say that a site had too many links as opposed to too few links,” he said.

The study reports this past holiday season, online shoppers were twice as likely desire fewer links on each Web page than more. Twelve percent of respondents want fewer links; 4.47 percent thought it would be better to have more links.

The marketing solutions firm advises using the rule of sevens. “The rule of seven for any navigation bar or drop-down list is that seven items is the breaking point,” said Rosenblum.

The report was based on an Internet survey of a proprietary Questus panel comprised of 425 employed U.S. residents over the age 18. The survey used online holiday shopping as an example for respondents.

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