‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is a well-worn phrase you may well be sick of hearing. However, there’s a good reason it’s stuck on repeat.
As much as we don’t like it, it’s human nature to make snap, intuitive judgments about everything we are introduced to, even if we have the decency to keep them to ourselves: your brother’s new hairstyle, your neighbor’s new car, that e-commerce site you’ve found on Google.
Yes, that’s right. The moment a person lands on your e-commerce page, they are making judgments about your products, their quality and whether you are a trustworthy place to buy from. While you might be able to entice them in, how do you start building your potential customers’ trust right away? How do you assure them that you offer a dependable service?
The answer is consistency.
Here, we explain the importance of consistent in branding and why it is a golden rule of e-commerce website design, debunking a few myths along the way. Finally, we’ll give you tips from a professional digital advertising agency for e-commerce website design.
Myth 1: Brand consistency is all about recognition
If you’ve ever played any of the brand logo games, you’ll know that it’s simply amazing how many companies you can identify from their branding.
Just a combination of colors can evoke a brand. Think about McDonald’s red and yellow, Facebook’s distinctive shade of blue, or IKEA’s blue and yellow. Even a typeface or single musical note can do the same thing.
You are probably therefore already familiar with this undisputed fact of marketing. Visual consistency will build awareness and ultimately enable instant recognition of your business.
This instantaneous or even subconscious brand recognition can only occur if a business is absolutely consistent with their visual and sonic branding.
However, the benefits of consistent branding go beyond brand recognition and awareness. Consistency in branding also equals trust.
It’s arguably more important to build trust as an e-commerce site than brand awareness. Trust keeps consumers on your site, means they are happy to input their credit card details, and gets them to come back for more.
Myth 2: It’s all about the products
So, you have great products at great prices on your site. That’s the hard work done, right? Not so much.
Consumer research has shown that nearly half of all customers will pay more for products on a site they trust. What’s more, consistent branding can improve average revenue by 23%, according to LucidPress.
Products are just part of the picture. A customer’s experience of your site from beginning to end is key. That means consistency across pages.
Have you ever clicked through to purchase a product to find the checkout page looks quite different from others on the same site. This is unnerving, right? If your website is unpredictable and inconsistent, what might that say about your service?
Myth 3: Branding is only for big businesses
There’s an idea out there that branding matters less if you are an SME. Remember from the point above that branding is a crucial part of a consistent customer experience. This matters for all, whether you are a tiny startup or a multinational corporation.
Arguably, without a reputation to back you up, it’s even more important to ensure consistent branding across your site to gain trust.
So, here are a few helpful tips on how to get consistent branding across your e-commerce site.
1. Never deviate from your standard brand logo
Your logo needs to be identical across everything. That includes both your physical and online stores, your advertising, business cards and any other print or visual representation.
Make sure you always use the exact same shades of color and the same aspect ratio.
Place it in the upper left corner as this is where people expect to see it. It’s where the eye is naturally drawn first. Be consistent with this.
2. Utilize a signature color consistently
For your e-commerce site, you need to pick one color that will dominate each and every page. This color could be from your logo. Use your signature color to highlight key information and for call-to-action buttons like ‘add to basket’ or ‘get in contact’.
Then pick out at least one complimenting color to also be used consistently as background color or otherwise. These might be other colors from your logo, neutrals like white or gray, or variations of your key color.
You should now have a color palette of three or four colors. This will give you enough flexibility to design a consistent web page color scheme without it being busy or chaotic. You’ll have a recognizable signature color unique to your brand.
3. Choose a font for readability as well as style
We all want our sites to look stylish and evoke the type of business we are. However, don’t forget readability is very important for keeping your audience engaged.
Choose a font that is both right for your target market and that is easy to read. You can choose more than one. However, you must then use each consistently. So, stick to a uniform font for titles, bodies of text, call-to-action buttons and so on across each page.
4. Be consistent with how you present your products
Your customers want to be able to judge which of your products is right for them. Therefore, you need to present each product consistently so that your customers can do so without distraction.
Product pages should look approximately the same in terms of layout, volume of text plus the number and layout of images.
Pay careful attention to the images you shoot. Try to present your products from the same perspectives each time, choosing from close-ups, long shots, overheads, side views, and so on. Create a formula for presenting your photos and then stick to it on each page.
According to any experienced, reputable marketing company, consistency is the golden rule of e-commerce website design. That is, consistency with your logo, color scheme, page layout, product images, font and almost every detail. This dedication to detail will be amply rewarded.
Stuart Harris is the Creative Director at Yellow, a Dubai branding agency, digital partner and advertising company working with progressive businesses to build bold, meaningful brands.