The practices of web design focus on the appearance and functionality of a particular online website of resource. Whilst non-commercial individuals and organisations have the freedom to convey their online presence in whichever way they choose, businesses that operate an e-commerce service not only have the obligation of looking after their customers, but they must also achieve a set number of targets in terms of website traffic and total sales figures.
Here are four of ways that web design offers an important role in online marketing.
Functionality & Ease of Use | If anything, the most fundamental pursuit of online marketing hinges on the knowledge that engaging with e-commerce is many times easier and more efficient than the traditional, high-street retail experience. Online marketing and web design work together to capitalise on this aspect of e-commerce by providing increasingly interactive and visually appealing websites to invite and entice new or returning customers. Clothing sites for example, such as MandMDirect and Asos, present scrollable galleries of their products, displaying alternate colours and styles with each image offering zoom capabilities. Amazon and other book retailers provide previews of their publications, whereas high-end interior design websites can present 3D tours of the products that they offer.
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Advertising | An obvious manifestation of web design in online marketing is advertising. The virtual world of the internet is an almost never ending billboard onto which businesses can present their marketing campaigns. In recent years, targeted advertising has revolutionised how businesses source their customer base. By accessing information regarding search history, purchase history or even what a user has ‘liked’ on Facebook, algorithms can present internet users with product advertisements tailored to what they are most likely to buy. How well these advertising components are synchronised with the user’s online experience will directly affect the probability of that user becoming a customer.
Branding | Considering the vast array of social networks and potential website designs available, businesses must ensure that their company image is not distorted when broadcasting their marketing campaigns through multiple channels. Using customisable colour schemes and the standardised use of logos and fonts, businesses can ensure that their marketing strategy remains coherent and concise across all online platforms, boosting customer familiarity and confidence in the business.
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Customer Feedback | Facebook, Twitter and other online social networks have altered how businesses interact with their customers. This rapid advancement in communication technology has fuelled a dramatic change in the customer/business dynamic, with internet users now able to present feedback for the entire world to see. Using web design techniques, e-commerce websites such as Amazon and EBay now prioritise the use of feedback by giving customers the option to display a star-rating or a score out of 10 for each product they have purchased. Products can then be listed in order based on the feedback customers have given, suggesting that web design has increased the ‘openness’ of marketing, creating a more honest and friendly relationship with each individual customer.