When Should Your Ecommerce Business Employ a Graphic Designer?
When it comes to ecommerce, whether a customer is introduced to your business through online marketing, Facebook advertising, an internet search straight to the Home Page or via a banner on another site, the first thing they will see is your design. Having clear design, that reflects and communicates the core values of your business, is key to attracting and retaining your customer base. That’s where the skills of a graphic designer come in. Matt Edmundson has over a decade of experience running successful ecommerce businesses, selling over $50m of products to 6m people worldwide. He gives some guidance on finding a graphic designer, what to expect and how to use the relationship with a graphic designer to make the most impact on your business.
What is a graphic designer?
A graphic designer is a visual communicator. They communicate ideas to inspire, inform, or captivate consumers. They have a proven track record and a background in graphic design and skills using a variety of software. But most important of all, they should get your business and be able to translate that in design.
Do I need a graphic designer?
Yes! You may be a whizz on Photoshop. You may even have designed your own website. But ask yourself, as your business grows, as your sales increase, is the increased graphic design needs really the most effective use of your time? Hiring a graphic designer can:
Save you time and money – freeing up staff to concentrate on their actual strengths
Help you stand out from the competition – having a distinct brand tells a customer something about your company – you care enough to invest in the design
Keep your look consistent – designers can create a suite of templates, letter heads and web design to use across the company
Help your business grow – good design really can increase sales
When should I think about getting a graphic designer?
Now! If you don’t already have one. The sooner you engage a designer the sooner you will see the benefits in increased sales.
Matt Edmundson explains,
"Good graphic designers aren't cheap, but they're worth every penny, especially if you can find one that knows your brand and knows how you want to do things.”
Your visual branding is key online to customers. It is the first message you send out. So you want to get to get it right. It can be tempting, if you have Photoshop and are tech savvy, to maybe save on cost and create your own design. But a graphic designer is so much more than a technical expert on Photoshop. They will bring a whole toolkit of expertise on how to create holistic visual branding for your company, that will cross over all of your marketing and correspondence.
How much should you expect to pay for a graphic designer?
Matt says that depends – on the work that needs to be done and on the budget you can set aside for the work. If you haven’t previously engaged with a designer, it may be a much larger job at first. You will need to get to know each other, as with any working relationship.
As an example, Matt explains he paid a US branding company £18,000 to rebrand the entire Jersey Beauty Company website. But then Matt points to the JBC website as proof that ‘you get what you pay for’, because they ended up with a site that reflects their company and its core image and values.
For ongoing project work, Matt estimates in the region of £500 a day for a good graphic designer. Although this figure could be a lot less depending on whether you employ a full time designer, outsource, and hire locally or internationally.
That sounds like a lot of options - outsourcing, hiring, ordering templates and then populating them with in-house extras week by week…
Working with a graphic designer needs to work for you and your company’s needs. You may want a rebrand of your website – that is one job. You may have new products weekly, offer emails, facebook advertising - there are lots of options available to you depending on your needs.
Outsourcing – it can make sense to outsource large jobs, such as rebranding of your website. Just like if you were refitting a physical store, you would look for a company to undertake the contract, the same is true of website rebranding. It might be tempting to cut corners, but getting the right team to work on your website could make the difference between having a mediocre business and having a great, profitable business.
Hiring an In-house Designer - you may choose to hire a local graphic designer who can come and work on site with you. This has its own benefits – Matt uses in-house staff to work on permanent graphics and email design. That’s because outsourcing for some of those regular tasks can become really expensive.
Templates – Matt explains that when he rebranded JBC’s website, he also got the design team to make a series of email and web templates. This means that the in-house team can populate these templates moving forward. This keeps the brand pure but also reduces longer term costs.
Who should inspire the design?
Ask yourself, who do you want to engage with your company? Matt explains he sees two keys to a successful website – traffic and engagement. Firstly, you need to direct people to your site. That comes from your marketing and business plans, from knowing your customer and how to reach them. Secondly, once they land on your page, however that happens, you need to engage with them. Your customer needs to land on your page and feel like, yes, this company is for me. They get me.
So who should inspire your design – whoever you want to engage with it. If it’s women you’re predominately selling it to, it might not be the right thing for you to have an all-male design team make your website. Include your target customer base in the design and re-branding of your company, give them an active voice, and you will see your sales increase. It’s simple, but it’s the easiest thing to overlook.
Matt Edmundson has over a decade of experience running successful ecommerce businesses. He has sold over $50m of products to 6 million customers worldwide. Matt knows the ecommerce business. He has also learnt the hard way at times. And now wants to share those lessons to work with you to transform your online business. For more information on Matt’s ecommerce consultancy, click the link below:
Personalised website content or ‘smart content’ is the name of the game. Many larger companies are already doing it and it won’t be long before it is the expected norm. Why not get ahead and start thinking about simple but effective ways of creating smart content so that you can engage better with your customers? In part 1 of this blog post, which you can read here, we looked at personalisation on the basis of:
- The logged-in experience
- Customer personas
In this post we will be looking at how to create great smart content based on:
- Country and language
There are, undoubtedly, many ways of providing a personalised experience. Copywriters and all those involved in the development of smart content will need to stay abreast of advances in technology. Gone are the days when developers can strip back their default content in the vain hope that it will work on a PC, tablet and mobile device. However, for today, these six are a good starting point.
Country and language
Do you have customers from different countries? If so, is there a way to make the homepage more appealing to each country? Is it worth translating into another language? Could you sell in multiple currencies? Can you show testimonies from customers in the country?
These are all important questions to be asking yourself when producing content. Nowadays, technology can easily inform us where our customers are based and content can be tailored accordingly.
At Jersey we have a large number of Swedish customers, mainly because our prices are significantly cheaper than those of comparable retailers in Sweden. We toyed with the idea of translating our whole site into Swedish. Ultimately, we decided not to because English is widely spoken in Sweden. However, if we had a large pool of customers in a country where English was less well known we would definitely consider translation.
These days customers have pretty much come to expect some level of personalisation. A tailored homepage is not a new-fangled idea! Customers now use a range of devices to view content. According to the latest research from Adobe, consumers use an average of 6 devices and consume 12 sources of content; millennials use an average of 7 devices and 14 sources. Nearly 9 in 10 consumers (88%) say they multiscreen, and use an average of 2.42 devices at the same time. With these figures in mind, marketeers, designers and developers need to think about the key devices that their customers use and create smart content that is specific to each device.
It is important to cover the basics including screen size and layout. Content creators also need to consider copy length in relation to the device being used. When a consumer is researching a potential purchase on a PC, they may well want to read a longer paper on its uses and benefits. However, someone on a tablet or smart phone is likely to bounce from the site if the content is too long. Adapting content to the device type and to where the customer is in the buyer journey will maximise your website’s impact.
This is a big one in the world of smart content! If you get a lead from a specific Facebook or Google ad then your content should connect specifically with that ad. Where do your different referrals come from? Look at the top 5 to 10 sources, and ask is there a way to develop smart content for each source that makes more sense for the visitor clicking that link? For example, if someone has come through to your site via a Facebook ad, then it is likely that this is the social media platform with which they are most familiar. Therefore make sure that the content they see mentions your Facebook page and a Facebook sharing button is prominent. Similarly, if someone has arrived on your landing page because of an advert they saw on a social media site for a discount code, make sure that discount code is the first thing they see. If they have to hunt for it they are very likely to become frustrated and your page abandonment figures will increase.
Personalisation plays an increasingly important role in the world of e-commerce. What is your business doing to stay ahead of the pack?
How do you write effective, engaging copy that will encourage your customers to take action? One good way to dramatically improve engagement is through personalised content. This emerging trend is becoming increasingly popular and definitely one not to be ignored. The idea is simple: if you know who the visitor is, try and give them content that applies directly to them. If someone is visiting your site for the first time or has never shopped with you before, is there a way to make their experience more personalised? Your main aim is always improved customer engagement. This blog is the first of two posts on this subject. In this blog we will look at the first three tips.
1. The logged in experience
If you have shopped with an e-commerce business, it is likely that the next time you log in, the homepage you see will be personalised to you – if it isn’t, it probably should be. This is generally called the logged in experience.
Companies like Amazon and Netflix have been pioneering this trend for some time. When I log into Amazon what I see will be very different to the next person’s logged in experience. The headline will also be personalised to me e.g. Hello Matt Edmundson… The content is then based on past purchases, average spend, products that are likely to appeal to me. It definitely feels more tailored and encourages me to buy something. Personalised content can be a valuable selling tool.
Any business that has a geographical reach will benefit from personalising their content based on the location of the customer. A good example of a business that could benefit from location-based personalisation is Deliveroo. Their website headline is ‘food you love, delivered to your door’. The idea behind the business is that they deliver food from restaurants that don’t normally deliver. Their business idea is fantastic and their website looks great. However, when I log onto their site, none of the restaurant options that appear are available in my area. This is a very simple thing to fix and is likely to engage their customers much more effectively.
Another good example is an airline. They often use location information to pre-populate the field with the name of the airport from which your visitor is likely to be flying. You want the customer to feel like they are having a conversation with someone that knows them.
3. Customer personas
If someone is visiting your website for the first time, you can still personalise on the basis of customer personas. Your visitors will then need to self-select. A good example is our own site, Jersey Beauty Company. We stock hundreds and hundreds of products. If you don’t know what you are looking for, this can be very overwhelming for a potential customer. We have therefore developed a clear selection process on the homepage. We have used the four most frequently shopped skin types as navigational options. They are: dry skin, oily skin, problem skin and lines and wrinkles. Once a visitor has clicked on their skin type or customer persona, they are then invited to complete a simple questionnaire. Once completed, they will be sent a PDF with their skin profile, tailored to them, and a list of recommended products. This allows us to capture valuable customer data, including their email address. The customer receives helpful information and is hopefully guided towards a product appropriate to their skin type. This is a great way to personalise content for new customers. For this to work well, you do need to know the main customer groups that are likely to shop with you.
Another company that does this well is Heavenly Greens. They are a US based company that sell artificial turf. They have four clear customer personas: yards, dog owner, putting greens and outdoor living. Once you have clicked into the section that matches your requirements, the landing page is appropriately tailored.
Gone is the one size fits all approach. Personalisation is now an expected part of most website experiences. Look out for my next post, in which I will be looking at three more ways to provide personalised website content.