What can we do to increase consumer spending?
That's the question all brands are trying to answer.
Any good businessperson or entrepreneur has a product or service they’re trying to sell. And any good professional knows that there has to be some kind of marketing plan put in place to get it off the ground.
But did you know that web design has just as much of an impact on consumer spending as any marketing campaign?
If you're doubtful, we'll give that to you. For years, people claimed to have the secreat tip or trick to get consumers spending. But they're missing the big picture.
Marketing campaigns and strategies fall in and out of favor, just like brands and products. But do you know what’s forever? A good, responsive web design.
Web design and consumer spending are so intricately connected, it’s astonishing people didn’t make the connection sooner.
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Consumer Spending: How Is It Affected By Web Design?
The two seem like they are innately different and in no way connected. But both marketing strategies and digital platforms must work together in order to create a cohesive and comprehensive brand experience.
There have been multiple studies conducted that touch on this relationship, and they have all lead to a number of enlightening and innovative web design trends that make an impact on consumer spending and buyer behavior.
And by making a few changes, you’ll be driving traffic and increasing conversion rate in no time.
When it comes to the consumer experience, users want a platform and a website they can trust.
It’s not the same as when making a purchase in store. For the most part, it’s not about price or whether something is worth it.
It’s not about sales or coupons. It’s not about the way a mannequin is dressed up, or the emails you get in your inbox reminding you of the items you left in your cart.
When it comes to online consumer spending, your website has got to look the part, or it’s going to flop.
3 Studies To Help Us Understand Online Shopping Behavior
The following studies really delve into the private self-consciousness of consumers to help us better understand online shopping behavior.
Study #1: Low-Risk vs. High-Risk Decisions
The Harvard Business Review recently performed a study on consumer behavior and how certain factors, like website design and graphic design, affect consumer spending. In it, researchers explored two separate but intertwining hypotheses.
The first hypothesis researchers tested stated that when making low-risk decisions, consumers rely more heavily on logic and reason to finalize their spending decision.
Their second hypothesis stated that when making high-risk decisions, consumers rely more on instinct than reason. Both hypotheses were testing the behaviors of online spending, not in-store spending which is a whole different ballgame.
These hypotheses were based on the belief that trust is vital for consumers making online customer purchases. In what situation is more trust needed — small purchases based on reason or large purchases based on instinct?
As part of the study, 245 people were asked to visit an unfamiliar site — an Australian bookstore — and make decisions on what and what not to purchase.
There were six groups that were observed under different circumstances. Some were shown the real website, while others were shown versions that had integral pieces of the website missing.
One version of the website was, how can we put this, sketchy.
They didn’t have any certifications, privacy policies, or return policies. And some participants were told in advance that they would have to explain their decisions — talk about pressure.
But in the end, these participants had to make two distinct decisions — whether they would buy a book, and whether they’d provide personal information.
The first option had no real consequences and had no big, long-lasting effects. The second asked the participant to trust and have faith in the system.
The results matched the researchers' hypothesis.
When making decisions to buy, especially when it’s a small purchase that won’t affect them in the long run, consumers rely on logic and reason.
But when making bigger purchases, or making decisions that can impact them — say, having to give credit card information itself, customers rely on intuition.
What we can infer from this research is that consumers have no problem making low-risk decisions like a purchase; it’s the online part that slips people up.
Study #2: What Affects Consumer Trust in Health Websites?
A similar study was conducted in 2004 on what affects consumer trust when it comes to health websites.
In this study, most participants said that the deciding factor on whether they trusted a site was based on the look and feel of the web page.
In fact, 94% of the feedback obtained from this study was about web design itself.
The percent of participants who commented on content was less than 10. What determines trust in these health sites was more about what they said than the content they were consuming — now isn’t that something!
Study #3: How Trust Affects The Purchasing Decision
An additional study in the Journal Of Strategic Information Systems builds upon these two studies.
In the study titled “The Impact Of Initial Consumer Trust On Intentions To Transact With A Website,” researchers studied how initial interactions with an e-commerce site affected their intention to go through with a transaction.
This study took 1,729 students and put them in a situation where they had to consult a legal website. Some were told of the website’s credibility — that it was a law firm ranked in the top 50 of the country. Others were not.
But all groups were given different variations of the website with different factors — all of which were tied to UX and design.
By the end of the study, it was clear that when these students were able to trust the website and find it credible, they were more likely to continue their search and believe in the information they were reading.
Therefore, an easy-to-use, modern and credible web page builds the trust consumers require to go through with a purchase.
The study reads:
You can see this in the numbers. If a website doesn’t look legit, a consumer just won’t take the risk. Therefore, web design has a large impact on consumer purchases in a much bigger way than we thought before.
Aesthetics matter. Web design matters. And there are definitely ways that you can optimize the consumer experience to drive sales and conversions.
But before we delve into the specific design trends that will help you build a sales-worthy website, let's touch on a few web design basics.
The Top Web Design Tips To Increase Consumer Spending & Drive Sales
There are many elements to influential web design — from landing pages to call-to-action (CTA) button colors. What makes a website credible depends on a lot of factors, and making sure these are optimized for your consumers is vital to success.
1. Make A Good First Impression
When it comes to first impressions, everything matters. And online, a first impression is made in 50 milliseconds. That’s why it’s important that your web design is dynamic, responsive and easy to navigate.
Make sure the page is sleek and easy to read. Make sure it is engaging and informative. You’ve only got 50 milliseconds to convince your customers to stay, browse and buy. Use it wisely.
A Google research study yielded similar results, though in their study it only took 17 milliseconds for users to form a first impression — either positive or negative.
This study also found that websites with low visual complexity and high prototypicality were more aesthetically appealing to consumers.
It’s also important to utilize personalized images. No one wants to see the same stock photos over and over.
2. Keep Information Clean And Accessible
According to web design statistics, 88% of online shoppers are less likely to return to a site because of a bad user experience.
Similarly, if your site is trying to sell products or services, if they can’t easily access contact information, privacy information and payment certification, they’ll be less likely to stay on your site and make a purchase.
In the same study, researchers found that 86% of website visitors wanted to see information about the company itself, not just products, and 52% wanted to see a dedicated “about us,” page.
What this information can tell you is that consumers want to know a company and what it’s about. They're looking to trust the company and need this information to do it.
That’s why company information and a landing page dedicated to this information is vital to ensure consumer trust and consumer spending.
3. Put Usability First
Usability is a feature your web design team should take into consideration, and most likely already does. If your website isn’t easy to navigate, people will turn away.
Your homepage could be sleek, modern and engaging, but if it takes too long to load or if the buying process takes more than a few clicks, buyers will get exhausted and turn to someone else.
You want to make sure that even the least tech-savvy of people can navigate your website — on the web, and when using a mobile app. This will widen your audience and increase your chances of making a sale.
Five Design Trends That Influence Consumer Spending
Let's take a look at some of the most prominent web design trends that can help you influence consumer spending and increase conversions on your website.
1. Creative Copywriting & Typography
If your website looks the part and it’s got all the essential “contact” and “about” information on it, you need to make sure the copy sounds the part as well.
This means that the copy needs to be crisp, clean and engaging. And it needs to be search engine optimized.
No typos, no grammatical errors and no awkward spacing or formatting.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is vital for the growth of organic traffic and will get people to your website, to begin with.
Once they’re there, ensure your copy is engaging enough to keep them scrolling through your products and, hopefully, make a purchase.
And while you're at it, make sure it looks good. Typography is important. Users want to actually be able to read the words on the pages too.
The New Yorker makes great use of copy, creating an interface that relies heavily on typography and article headlines to lead users throughout the site.
This isn't necessarily an eCommerce site, but it is trying to sell subscriptions, and the poignant way this brand uses copy and typography to entice users is serene.
2. Captivating Colors
There’s a psychology to colors and how they make people feel. That’s why almost all social media sites utilize some shade of blue.
There are no hard and fast rules, of course, but the feelings associated with certain colors tend to follow a pattern.
Reds create urgency. Greens emphasize tranquility. Oranges are happy and inviting while yellows inspire optimism.
Play around with colors on your website to find the perfect balance that’ll get your customers hitting “buy.”
A clever brand that uses color to its advantage is Simply Chocolate. This brand uses a number of bold and engaging colors in its background to embody each of its products and lead users along its interface.
There is a fascinating and intriguing mix of color and layout on this website that puts the products themselves on a clear display. And because these colors act as a stage, these products get more screen time pushing consumers to consider making a purchase.
3. Bold Imagery
Images are vital in design — and when we say images, we’re talking about photographs, animations and even custom illustrations.
Images have a way of condensing complex and comprehensive topics in a way that’s easy to digest for all users.
Research shows that website visitors don’t have the time or energy to read the text.
In fact, numbers suggest that users only read on average 20-28% of the words on a website.
That means that your eCommerce website needs to infuse a healthy balance of imagery and text to ensure that users don’t get bored or lose interest along their buyer’s journey.
Make sure the information you provide is impactful, but so are the complementary images.
Bold images are a growing trend in web design — with brands choosing to focus heavily on personalized images to put their products and services on exciting display.
And that’s because these layouts and designs drive sales, conversions and online transactions.
Consumer spending is impacted by imagery. And one brand that deeply understands the importance of imagery is Hoshinoya.
This is a luxury resort site that puts travelers in contact with stunning resort destinations across the world. And to show the power of these hotels and all they have to offer, the creators behind this website went with an image-focused design that leads users beautifully from place to place.
The photography grabs attention immediately and paints a picture that’s impossible for consumers to ignore. These images are paired with minimal text that really lets the photography do the talking.
4. A Minimal Design
Minimalism is a growing trend in design — in web design, app design, graphic design, interior design and beyond.
There’s a cleanliness to minimalism that makes for an inviting user experience that dazzles consumers right from the start.
Minimalism consists of a straightforward layout. There is plenty of negative white space, little text and cohesive visual unity that takes large concepts and condenses them into easy-to-understand elements.
Minimalism removes clutter and reduces confusion. And it streamlines the overall buyer’s journey.
But minimalism isn’t just good for aesthetics. It has actually been proven to help drive leads and sales.
A recent EyeQuaint study found that a clean design led to lower bounce rates.
That means that a clean, simple and stunning minimal website creates an atmosphere that fosters engagement. When a website is organized, bright and open, users want to spend more time interacting with it.
And the more time a user spends on your website, the more chances you have to encourage them to act. This could mean signing up for a newsletter, downloading collateral or making a purchase.
And one brand that understands the impact of a stunning minimal design is Lively. This women’s lingerie brand utilizes bold photographs, captivating video and a streamlined, minimal layout to lead users throughout the site.
Products are on clear display, and the surrounding negative space creates a peaceful platform that is comfortable and relaxing to scroll through.
The Lively platform is serene and sophisticated. And it puts the lingerie front and center, giving users the ability to truly immerse themselves into the online experience. The only logical next step is to make a purchase, and that’s exactly what they’re hoping to see.
5. Stunning Video
If you want to build a web design that sells, it’s definitely smart to consider integrating video content.
Video grabs attention immediately.
And it puts consumers right in the mindset to buy, captivating them right from the start and immersing them into the digital experience with ease and satisfaction.
Video can take a product or a service, and give users quick and easy access to it. Similarly, video can provide insights into a brand, its history and its culture.
Video can provide insights, create urgency and promote brand identity in a way that resonates with the viewer.
And when it comes to sales, video content is a driving force.
64% of consumers buy a product after watching a branded video.
It answers a consumer’s questions and provides them with important information pertaining to the products, its uses and its capabilities. And considering we already know consumers don’t like to read more than is necessary, a video gives them all of these answers with as little work as possible.
Additionally, studies show that marketers consider video content a driving force in their digital marketing strategies.
83% of marketers say video content leads to better ROI, and 82% consider it a vital part of their overall marketing strategy.
And an astounding 81% claim that video content drives sales.
Brands are using video more and more. But your brand can jump ahead of the competition by embedding video into their web designs to engage and captivate right off the bat.
Habitas is a great example of a brand that utilizes auto-playing video to immerse users into an unforgettable experience. As soon as users enter this global travel community, they get a taste of what this service has to offer.
Habitas offers a community for travelers to join in order to gain access to exclusive resorts. And there’s no doubt that the video that lives around every corner of this site is a driving factor in the conversions that the brand sees.
How Website Design Trends Can Impact Consumer Spending
When it comes to web design and consumer spending, the two are inherently linked. If you want consumers to make purchases on your website, you need a web design that is user-friendly and makes people feel safe — while also giving them a worthwhile experience.
How Are Web Design And Consumer Spending Linked?
- Consumers won't take risks or make purchases unless they trust your website.
- In order to trust your website, you need to have a design that is transparent.
- Building trust with consumers will help you improve conversion rate optimization (CRO) — but how do you get there?
For Successful CRO, Your Website Needs These Things:
- Creative copy
- Engaging color schemes and layouts
- A minimal design
- Bold imagery
- Captivating video
Numerous studies have uncovered the importance of trust when it comes to consumers making online purchases.
They need to feel that they are making a transaction with a credible source, one that will keep their personal information safe.
To build this trust, brands and organizations need a web design that is user-friendly, easy to use, dynamic and full of all the information — and then some — that consumers want to know.
This includes information about the company, information about the products and all the other odds and ends that consumers might have questions about.
It’s also important that your website looks and sounds the part — this will ensure you have a positive web presence.
Copy needs to be clear and concise. It needs to answer the appropriate questions and engage the right response.
It needs to be short and snappy. Quippy and informative. Dazzling and simple.
It’s a fine line to walk, but if you can master it, you’ll see products fly off the proverbial shelves before you know it.
But knowing that web design has an impact on customer spending can unlock a world of potential for your product and brand.
Because if you can optimize your web design, you’ll already be leagues ahead of the competition. If you can build trust through your website design, everything else will fall into place.
Frank Garnett is a digital marketing blogger and technology enthusiast. He picked his first computer at the age of five and hasn’t stopped exploring the internet and writing about it ever since.