9 min read

Design is just as important as advertising

When you think about the best ways to get leads and convert them to sales, what comes to mind? Posting ads on Facebook, Google, and/or Instagram maybe? Or sending emails to people on your email list who have purchased products from your store in the past? Perhaps you are more into the old school advertising techniques and think about advertising in newspapers, magazines, or on the radio? What about through web design, UX design, or UI design though? Drawing traffic to your site is important, but if customers don’t enjoy the experience they have once they are there – they will quickly go somewhere else.

After all, attracting visitors to your site becomes somewhat meaningless if they go there but quickly leave without buying anything. So as important as advertising is to the overall success of your store, developing an advertising plan that works is not the only step that leads to high sales numbers. Just how important is the design of your store? Let’s start by taking a look at some statistics.

The e-commerce market according to statistics

According to an online database of internet statistics and facts:

  • For every $92 spent on generating traffic and getting customers, only $1 is spent on converting them
  • Only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates
  • People spend an average of 5 hours per week shopping online
  • 95% of Americans shop online at least once per year
  • More than 615 million devices worldwide have an ad blocker installed
  • 80% of adults in North America use at least one ad blocking method
  • 50% of them use at least two ad-blocking methods
  • 90% of mobile devices with ad blockers are in Asia
  • Amazon is responsible for more than 49% of all online sales in the U.S.
  • Another 21.7% of all e-commerce sales in the U.S. goes to the next 9 largest companies in online sales

There are a few things to consider about this data. First of all, many Shopify store owners base their Shopify stores in the U.S. in order to have better access to the market, as the North American market and the Asian market account for a huge portion of the world e-commerce market. However, in the U.S. market, the fact that the top 10 companies share such a sizeable portion of the market means that unless you are selling products from your store on Amazon as well, you are competing with thousands of stores for a small piece of what is left of the pie.

To make matters even worse, you probably spend way more on generating traffic to your store than you do on converting the traffic that you do get to your store. However, so many people in Asia and North America are using ad blockers that probably very few of the ads that you are paying a lot of money for are actually being seen. What can you do about this?

Well, for starters you can optimize the traffic that YOU ARE getting to your store by increasing your conversion rate. Since well over ¾ of business owners are not satisfied with their conversion rates, you and many others are likely wondering how to increase your rate and get more sales. Optimizing traffic is all about design and here’s why!

Why your Shopify store’s design matters

  • Mobile e-commerce will be responsible for about 67.2% of e-commerce sales by 2021
  • About 75% of e-commerce sales in China are done on mobile devices
  • At least 70% of people dislike mobile ads
  • 82% of people use their mobile phones to research purchases they are about to make in a store
  • According to a Google study, 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new product or company when searching on their smartphones
  • If they can’t find the information they need or your site or app loads too slowly, 29% of smartphone users will immediately switch to another smartphone or app. 70% of those who switch do so because of slow load times. 67% will switch if it takes too many steps to either make a purchase or get the information they want
  • Only 9% of users will stay on a mobile app or site if it doesn’t satisfy their needs
  • 40% will be less likely to come back to the mobile site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs, and 28% will be less likely to purchase products from the business in the future, which can actually hurt the brand
  • 58% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites and apps allow them to purchase items quickly

So what do all of these statistics have to do with design?… Everything.

How users interact with a site on their laptop VS on a smartphone or app is all determined by the design team. Some sites perform well on laptops, but if they have not been designed well for mobile, chances are the owner will lose sales (just read the statistics above!) UX design is what determines the performance/speed of your site or apps load time, and users expect pages to load in 2 seconds. Once your page has loaded, User Interface (UI) design often impacts how long potential customers will stay on the page, impacting the overall likelihood of them making a purchase. Search engines like Google use user engagement metrics to rank websites, so UX/UI design has a very direct influence on SEO. Page speed, mobile friendliness, bounce rate (percentage of users who leave after viewing only one page), and page dwell time (amount of time users spend on a page) are all used to determine where you rank in Google search results.

The State of UX in 2019

In recent years, a team of UX designers has collected responses from thousands of UX designers around the world to compile a yearly report titled The State of UX. For The State of UX in 2019 the designers working on the project curated and shared 2,239 links with 264,016 designers around the world to isolate what the industry is thinking, writing, and talking about in order to determine what we can expect for UX this year.

For a long time, designers have been designing with engagement as the key metric. The goal has been to get people to use a product as much as possible. Bonuses for designers at many tech companies have been tied to higher engagement metrics. Designers have taught each other how to design for addiction, always thinking of reasons for people to come back to their products begging for more. However, society is waking up to the need for establishing a healthier relationship with technology which has now become a legitimate public health topic. More companies have added design features to their products that make it easier for users to snooze notifications in response to increased awareness of the addictive qualities of many of the digital tools that have become seamlessly integrated into our daily lives. According to the results of the study, “in the era of ever-vibrating smartphones and increasingly demanding apps, there is no better user experience than peace of mind.”

Changes in feelings towards technology brought on by heightened awareness and the increased presence of data breaches that led to more tech executives testifying at congressional hearings this past year have caused UX design trends to shift from engagement focused to a design that is more mindful of technologies impact on the user’s life. People want products that provide what they need but also respect their time and don’t steal their attention for too long. With this in mind, products should be designed to provide users with a feeling of calm and comfort rather than just to compete for their attention. Following this trend, Shopify store customers will demand their experience in stores to be quick, painless, and easy to navigate, with fewer popups, auto-playing videos, and forms to fill out.

Focusing more on design is your path to success

A simple design or even a bold design would fit with this trend, but it’s better not to be too flashy. As a Shopify store owner, you have to not only provide the best possible experience for your customers but also keep your store’s design up to date with the latest UX/UI design trends. In the competitive e-commerce market, what you don’t want is for your store to be labeled “outdated” or “irrelevant.” So what’s the point in all of the advertising if once people get to your store it takes too long to load pages, it doesn’t work well with their smartphone, the process from shopping to purchasing stresses them out, it looks like it hasn’t been updated in ages, and it just isn’t cool?

Answer: there is no point because your store isn’t a monopoly. You don’t have to worry though, because if you focus more on the design of your store you can prevent these problems from happening, increase your conversion rate, and provide a better shopping experience for your customers!

Not sure where to begin? No problem. We have a few tips for you.

  1. First of all, make sure the fonts you use for your content fit the brand and products you are trying to sell. However, you should also make sure that the fonts are easy to read.
  2. If you write descriptions for your products, make sure the descriptions are short and to the point. People want to know what they are buying, but they didn’t visit your site to read a book, they are there to shop.
  3. Too much content in the wrong places on your website can be stressful for customers. Your store should be easy to navigate, and any discounts or loyalty programs should be one of the first things customers see.
  4. Make sure the theme and background photos you choose add to the environment you want to create for your customers.

And if right now you are still thinking I wish I had studied UX design, UI design, or Web design in college or I wish I knew more about design so I could optimize my store, relax! You could just hire one of Storetasker’s talented design experts to do it for you by requesting a free estimate for your custom Shopify project.


John Larsen

John Larsen

John is a Content Writer at Storetasker, where you can outsource Shopify design, development, and marketing projects. You can read more of his work at https://blog.storetasker.com/.