This guest post is provided courtesy of our friends at 99Designs.
As a small business owner, your customers—and, in particular, the purchases your customers make—are what make your world go ‘round. Without your customers putting items in their shopping cart and clicking the “purchase” button, you wouldn’t be in business—and if you want to keep those customers coming back and more, you need to make the purchase process a fun one.
And what better way to jazz up the purchase process than with clever design?
Incorporating well thought out designs throughout the purchase process—from the landing page to the shopping cart to the “thank you” email you send post-purchase—are a fantastic way to build your brand, strengthen your relationship with your audience, and transform one time purchasers into lifelong customers.
But what, exactly, does that look like? Here are some of our tips and tricks you can use to surprise and delight your customers with design throughout the purchase process.
1. Spruce up your product pages
The first part of the purchase process happens when your potential customer lands on a product page—and if you want them to purchase that product, you’ve got to make that page a memorable one.
If you want to generate positive brand sentiment and keep your customers coming back for more, you can’t just slap a photo and a product description on the page and call it a day. Customers want to do business with brands that create a unique, memorable shopping experience—and you need to start that experience on your product pages.
Let’s use Bellroy as an example. Bellroy is a company that sells wallets, and their claim to fame is that their wallets are the slimmest on the block. But just showing a photo of a slim wallet doesn’t really do much for the consumer—so Bellroy designed an interactive “Slim Your Wallet” feature that allows customers to use a slider to virtually “fill” a normal wallet and a Bellroy wallet and compare bulkiness. Then, as users scroll down the page, they get the skinny (pun intended) on how Bellroy is able to pack so much into their wallets without adding bulk and why Bellroy wallets are so much more efficient than your run-of-the-mill money holster.
Another great example of a brand with creative product pages is ASOS. This retailer identified one of the biggest issues people have with online shopping—not knowing how a garment is going to fit—and solved it by incorporating a video of a model wearing, walking, and moving in each piece. By adding this simple design detail, ASOS was able to give their customers a clear visual of how each of their pieces will fit—and, as a result, eliminated one of the biggest barriers to online shopping and made their brand a go-to for online shoppers.
Moral of the story? Your product pages are the beginning of the purchase process for your customers—and by incorporating unique design touches, you can seriously up the chances that the purchase process will continue.
2. Get creative post-purchase
The purchase process doesn’t end once your customer makes a purchase—at least it doesn’t if you want that one time customer to turn into a repeat customer. And the best way to turn a one time customer into a repeat customer is to continue to surprise and delight them after they’ve made a purchase.
The post-purchase part of your sales funnel is a great opportunity to show your customers you appreciate their business, show them who you are as a brand, and continue to strengthen the relationship so they continue to do business with you. And the best way to do that is—you guessed it—through design.
Incorporating unique designs as a part of your post-purchase funnel is key if you want to drive repeat business; it’s fun, it showcases your brand personality, and it shows your customers that you’re the kind of company they want to do business within the long-term.
Just take Brand24 as an example. Brand24 is a social media monitoring tool that allows businesses to track who’s talking about their brand and where those conversations are happening across the interwebs—and it’s also one of the best examples of incorporating design into the post-purchase process to strengthen relationships with customers and drive repeat business.
When you sign up for a membership with Brand24, they don’t take you to a generic order confirmation page. Instead, you’re taken to a landing page with a hilarious video of their staff dancing around and thanking you for your business.
What this design accomplishes is three-fold. Number one, it showcases Brand24’s fun and quirky personality (and customers connect with personality). Number two, it makes for a memorable experience—and that memorable experience is going to keep them top of mind with customers. And number three, it gives customers something to talk about—and the likelihood they’re going to talk about it with their friends and colleagues (“OMG, you HAVE to see this dance video I just got from my new social media company!”) and drive referral business goes through the roof as a result.
The point is, don’t act under the assumption that the purchase process ends when a customer makes a purchase—if you want to keep your customers coming back for more, you need to make the post-purchase process interesting and fun. And the best way you can do that is through design.
3. Encourage social sharing
Our last tip for surprising and delighting your customers throughout the purchase cycle (and driving major sales in the process)? Use design to make it a complete no-brainer for them to share, share, share.
Social networks are one of the best ways to increase brand awareness and to get your brand in front of new eyes; if someone sees a person they know and trust posting about a brand, they’re going to be far more likely to engage with that brand than if they just stumbled upon it randomly. But there’s so much fighting for people’s attention on social networks. But your customers aren’t necessarily going to post about your brand (and how awesome you are) on their own—and even if they did, it’s likely their post would get lost amidst all the other clutter on their friends’ newsfeeds.
That’s where shareables come in. Designing social media shareables for all of your existing customers a) takes the work out of sharing your brand on their social networks, which dramatically increases the likelihood that they’ll actually share, and b) creates an impactful visual that will jump off the screen and grab the attention of your customers’ friends list—and drive engagement and new business for your brand.
When it comes to social media shareables, you can design anything that’s going to encourage your customers to share—and engage their friends’ list in the process. Some examples of impactful social media graphics can include:
Infographics that build value and establish your brand as an authority, like this infographic on social media usage from NextAdvisor:
Graphics that advertise a contest/prizes for customers to win, like this banner graphic from Cousign:
Coupons or discount codes, like these examples from Simple Tire:
Anything else that will encourage your customers to share—and drive their social networks to engage with your brand (just make sure whatever you design is branded with your logo design!)
The easier you make it for your customers to share by providing them with well-designed shareables, the more likely it is they will—and the more likely you’ll be able to drum up additional business as a result.
Wrapping things up
Design is the best way to surprise and delight your customers throughout the purchase process, whether they’re browsing a product page, making a purchase, or reading their confirmation email. And now that you know how to incorporate unique designs to create a memorable purchase experience for your process, all that’s left to do is start designing!
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Brea is Community Marketing Manager at 99designs, the global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together to create designs they love. Need design work done? Find a freelancer and get started.