As I sat down to write this week's post, I'm being bombarded with Valentine's Day banner ads, promotions for the usual flowers and weekend getaways, in addition to my secret weakness for   steeply discounted chocolates and all manner of sweet treats.

And then it hits me.
Having an ecommerce website is very much like getting someone to fall in love with you.

I mean think of it. We start out by making a good first impression, then woo the person we like.  We begin going out on dates and hopefully develop a long-term relationship based on trust and likeability.

While I'm no dating guru myself, I can definitely see the parallels between dating and attracting customers to one's online business in the hopes of getting them to like you enough to convert into a sale.

Nowhere is this more evident in the initial phase of courtship. In the ecommerce world, establishing your uniqueness and relevance begins at hello-- your website's front page. Creating a strong impression and making it easy for the customer to navigate the site and browse for what's interesting to them is all in the critical first page of your site.

Here are five tips we've culled together to ensure you and your customer end up in a sweet tango that promises more to come.

Tip #1. An obvious search box well-placed on the screen

If you're single and stay at home all weekend, your chances of meeting someone are slim to none. Likewise if your customer lands on your front page and the search box isn't immediately visible to them. Is your website just informational, or is it ready to get out there and sell, sell, sell?

The more products your ecommerce shop carries, the more prominent your search box should be.

Tip #2. Good photography is worth its weight in gold

Let's pretend you're online on a dating site and looking at profiles of people. Would you trust someone whose profile had no photo? The one whose grainy image makes Bigfoot look handsome, or the well-chosen, flattering profile picture that piques your interest?

It's the same with your website. Taking time to invest in high quality photography helps turn the favor of the curious shopper into an actual buyer. Shoppers love it when they see images that can be zoomed in, rotated, or displayed in action (as appropriate to your product niche).

Tip #3. Well-placed recommendations, reviews or testimonials

Continuing with our dating analogy, meeting someone new on your own can be intimidating. I'd personally be more comfortable dating my cousin Bob's friend from work than going out with a total stranger I met in a bar.
That's why third party recommendations, reviews and testimonials are vital to building up confidence in a first time customer--- especially if you sell high dollar items, or products that need to perform reliably over a period of time.

Seeing your product being given 5 stars out of 5 for shipping speed for example, gives the impression that your business is legitimate and that other customers took time to point it out on your  site.

Tip #4. Shine with your brand in the front page, but avoid TMI (too much information)

When meeting someone for the first time, we need to be sensitive to the overall impression we make. To be honest, this is the source of a lot of anxiety among people I know, myself included.

How to be warm but not overbearing, concerned but not too intense, and showing interest without coming on too strong? Psychologists are still in the dark on exactly what amount is enough to make ourselves stand out from the crowd, without drowning the other person in TMI.

Luckily, things are a bit easier when evaluating an ecommerce site’s front page.

Take a step back from your laptop or computer monitor. Is your overall design clean, with enough white space to make your copy, images and any promotions stand out? Or is it weighed down with cluttered text, flashing lights and a bewildering assortment of items.

Now do the same on your smartphone. You may have to speak with your web developer about reducing the visual elements on mobile platforms so as not to overwhelm your user.

Think of it this way: screen size equals time. The larger the screen, the more time your customer likely has to stay and look at what you're selling. The smaller the screen (as in a tablet or smartphone), the more chance of being interrupted ie, checking out sales while standing in line.

Your ecommerce website goes through a buying cycle much like the dating cycle. Buyer meets online store, buyer gets interested, buyer makes a purchase and it hopefully ends happily ever after. Taking care of your front page ensures you get to utilize the power of creating a good first impression. Communicating your brand's identity with choice wording, ease of navigation and good photography will set your relationship off to a good start.
Author Bio
Catherine is president & executive director of 20four7va, a global eCommerce virtual assistance service provider. She is into strategic planning, product development, brand management, and digital marketing.|

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  1. This is a nice post. Thanks for sharing. i appreciate it.


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