Daily Archives: August 19, 2013

Carousels are for fairgrounds, not e-commerce sites


© Andreea Stefan | Dreamstime.com

Rant warning: I hate Carousels (not the ones in the picture above)

Conversion killer 101 are carousels, the doyen of web designers everywhere, why use one image when you can use more than three.

Here is a test. Print 3 random pictures out, hold them up to an unsuspecting stranger and ask them what you are selling. You will of course have confused them initially with your random change of image, but trying to navigate them to a route of purchase is pretty hard.

So why use them (good question) – well that’s the thing about the web, it is easy to change things and in the physical world you would never change your shop front every 5 seconds randomly. They usually appear when there is confusion within the communication hierarchy or the CEO demands a picture of their daughter on the website because she looks great!

There is lots of evidence that they kill conversion – Conversionxl.com has a good discussion here about them, I totally agree!

Now if you are not trying to sell anything and your website is a useless information source (probably like this one), then hell ye – add some random graphics, but if you want to increase your conversion rate – DON’T.

Just like the fairground, carousels create vision blur, nausea and induce gut wrenching movement – or is it just me?

Direct marketing – offline lessons to learn

There are a few fantastic bloggers out there who are great at the art of direct marketing and especially copywriting.

Many e-commerce companies shy away from copy and add lots of lovely graphics to make their website look pretty, my view is this kills conversion doesn’t improve it.

I am sure I will have a completely separate rant on sliders and carousels that designers love so much, but in the meantime here are a few suggestions and posts on copy.

Drayton Bird Nice little Youtube intro for one of his handy hints – get to the point!

Not somewhere for anyone who is offended by rants or easily shocked, he has some interesting blog post on there and I have followed them for years.

If your creative sucks, try his 7 deadly sins and how to improve your results.

If nothing else, learning to write a simple letter that sells the benefits of your product or service is a great starting point

PS. I love to use PS in any communication to reinforce the point, check out Drayton Bird’s website

I love mail order


I stumbled across some of these classic mail order ads in a market in York a few years ago.

I thought that it is worth looking at how little marketing has changed and use this as a template for web page design. Firstly, make sure the price is clear on the page, use a high contrast font on a simple background and feature a picture of the product. So far, so good.

The bottom left hand side of the page is trying to ensure that you trust the supplier. The 10 day no obligation offer gets the product into your hand, and the export award shows that the company is trusted even by her majesty (that’s great product endorsement)

Finally, the call to action on the right, classic cut out and mail coupon (I suggest still using this in your ads as it has such major visual impact no one is left with any doubt that this advert is trying to sell you something!)

Just one point – LOTS of copy on the page, don’t let your designer try and remove the quantity of copy as this is pretty essential to engage the customer in the sales process.