Design matters. Human beings are visual creatures, and companies that capitalize on this will have a leg up on those that don’t. Good design can be what gets your foot in the door, builds trust in your brand, and sets your company apart from the crowd. Bottom line: Design helps you sell.
Baron Fig builds what they call “tools for thinkers.” That means their core customers are designers, writers, and other creatives—a group of people who have strong opinions about the kinds of equipment that will help them accomplish their goals.
Cofounders Adam Kornfield and Joey Cofone started with a single product, a notebook aimed at creative professionals and designed based on feedback from actual users. They eventually expanded their line into different types of notebooks, then bags, pens, pencils, and so on.
As two creative professionals, Kornfield and Cofone were part of their core market and understood the needs of their friends and colleagues. They used that understanding of what their customers want to inform not only product design but also the design of their website, emails, and social media accounts. Every interaction with a customer provides a seamless design and brand experience.
Let’s take a look at a typical customer journey, from start to finish, to see how Baron Fig delivers their brand of customer-centric design experience.
Smart ad placements draw in customers
To appeal to designers, writers, and other creative professionals, Baron Fig’s shopping experience has to be unassailable. Their audience is naturally much more discerning about things like ad content, site structure, and functionality than your average eCommerce customer because many of their customers also do this sort of work for a living. Baron Fig recognized this fact and built a site that not only looks good but also gives customers the simplest path from browsing to purchase.
Many potential customers begin their experience with one of Baron Fig’s Facebook ads:
These carousel ads feature Baron Fig’s Wander Dream Journal. They utilize six different images to support their written content—all of which are tailored to the unique interests of someone who might be searching for a journal or dream journal.
Their use of photography highlights different features of the journal and each of the images show the journal in various stages of use. The image tag-lines read as follows:
- Introducing The Wander Dream Journal
- A Guided Experience
- Where will you go tonight?
By using action-oriented language Baron Fig is able to subtly nudge the potential customer towards clicking on their ad to learn more. Each one also includes a clear “Shop Now” CTA (call to action) button and text about a key benefit of shopping on Baron Fig’s site: they offer free domestic shipping on any order over $25.
When someone clicks on the ad, they’re taken directly to the Wander Dream Journal product page.
Product pages highlight the unique value of every item
This is where Baron Fig showcases the specific features that differentiate their notebooks from competitors. While every page features a similar structure, the photography and copy work together to speak directly to the value of each particular product.
See how this Wander Dream Journal page clearly outlines the price, the journal’s design, the purchasing options, and the “+ Add to Cart” CTA button? This all happens above the fold and the customer can easily complete their purchase without scrolling any further down the page. This is smart, because purchase is the main goal Baron Fig has for visitors. By keeping the the most important details—the journal itself, the price, and the call to action—above the fold, they’re making sure customers can reach that goal quickly and easily.
When a customer clicks one of the five available product images they’re shown a different photograph of the journal, each highlighting a particular aspect of the product. The first two showcase the exterior design, followed by three more images that show the product in use:
Notice that these images are similar to those on the Facebook ads and they each highlight very specific features of the Wander Dream Journal. This is likely intentional. For visitors arriving from the Facebook ad campaign, the images reiterate what might have caught their eye in the first place. Studies have shown that repetition is a powerful force in advertising and repeating messages makes them more effective. Sometimes it takes multiple exposures to a message before someone is compelled to purchase.
By repeating the same images and expanding on the messaging from the ad that brought the potential customer to the product page in the first place, Baron Fig is exposing them to that message more than once. Each exposure will nudge them closer to purchase. Baron Fig does a great job of displaying the distinct features of their product via photography, relying first on visual content before diving deeper into written descriptions of their product.
As the customer scrolls further down the page to the About section, they come upon a quick story that explains why the product was created:
You’ll see that the language Baron Fig uses in their Facebook ads is present here as well. They’re using the “About” section of this page to build a story around their product—capitalizing on the potential for an emotional connection with their customers and repeating their messaging another time to keep pushing customers toward checkout.
This section also shows the “Specs” of their product, highlighting the features that will appeal to their target customer.
More specific details are outlined in the “Features” section:
The website copy here gives Baron Fig a way to drive home the real value of their product. The “Specs” section talks about the notebook in a few different ways. First by highlighting the fact that it is clothbound and hardcover with rounded edges and a “high quality cloth bookmark”—giving the notebook an air of quality and luxury. Then, emphasizing the utility and usability of the product by talking about its dimensions, the elastic closure band, and paper type. These are the sort of ultra pragmatic features that could be critical for their target customers to make a purchase decision (remember: Baron Fig markets to creatives, and artists might be particular about things like the type of paper that works best with their preferred medium).
Their “Features” section expands this even further by accentuating other aspects of the journal that set it apart:
- Dream Log
- Simple & Beautiful
- Ever Evolving
Baron Fig uses this section this as an opportunity to talk the underlying design principles that went into their notebook, as well as their approach as a company. The “Ever Evolving” feature talks about the company’s commitment to constantly make products better based on customer feedback, a concept that hearkens back to their founding story (their original notebook, created with the help of feedback from designers).
This content not only drives home the real-world value of the product for customers, it showcases the thought that went into creating the product, as well.
Even though Baron Fig sells a physical product, they’ve found a clever way to give customers the ability to interact with it by using interactive images.
Each of the indicated “+” icons can be clicked on to expand details about an aspect of the journal. For the Wander Dream Journal, Baron Fig highlights:
- the Emotion section, where customers can check off positive, neutral, or negative.
- the Sleep Quality section, which customers can grade from A to F.
- the Time section, where customers can denote when they think their dream happened in history.
- the Color section, which customers can use to record whether their dreams was in color or black and white (sepia tone dreams are out of luck, I suppose).
- the Viewpoint section, where dreamers can list their point of view during the dream.
- the Type section, which has options for five different types from dreams.
Each element of their product pages is built to communicate value to the customer in a different way. From the straightforward descriptions and specific photography to the in-depth explanations and an interactive experience, Baron Fig uses design to help customers make make a connection between the product and its value.
Great UX makes it easier for customers to complete a purchase
Customers need the quickest path possible from discovery to purchase. Complicated checkout processes or confusing store layouts can turn a potential buyer into a lost sale. Baron Fig designed their website experience to make it easy for customers to find and purchase the products they need.
Good design focuses not only on appearance but also on the experience of interacting with a website. That is even more important for eCommerce companies because any points of friction can cause customers to leave the site without completing their purchases.
Customers are never more than one click away from their shopping carts. Baron Fig’s navigation bar sticks at the top of every page and shows the cart and the number of items it contains (circled in blue in the image below).
Whenever customers add a product to their carts, it is automatically displayed as a pop-up on the current page. Customers have the option to continue shopping and selecting more items, or they can immediately begin the process of completing their purchase.
Selecting “View Cart” moves the purchase process forward. Baron Fig uses the incredibly popular Shopify platform to power their online store, so the layout will look familiar to customers who regularly shop online.
If customers haven’t reached the threshold for free shipping, Baron Fig lets them know on the cart page and shows how much they need to add to receive that perk.
This is a fantastic feature considering 63 percent of customers cite high shipping costs as the reason for abandoning their cart. That number might seem high, but with the popularity of Amazon Prime and the free shipping associated with it, it’s no surprise that more and more customers expect to have that option available.
The site also makes product recommendations that are frequently paired with the item a customer has already added to her cart.
These two tactics can potentially spur additional purchases and boost the cart’s value, especially when combined. Being a few dollars away from free shipping will make it more likely for a customer to add another item that is presented to them to go over the threshold.
The purchase process moves forward in the standard way common to most Shopify-powered stores. The first thing Baron Fig asks for in their checkout process is email address. That’s smart because it increases the likelihood that a shopping cart will be recoverable if it is abandoned—remember, only carts with emails addresses attached can be recovered using abandoned shopping cart recovery emails.
Baron Fig has chosen to allow for payment via regular methods, such as credit card and PayPal; payment can also be made using Coinbase or Google Pay. The addition of Coinbase, which allows for payment using various cryptocurrencies, is somewhat unique, but smart given Baron Fig’s younger, tech savvy customer.
Throughout the entire journey, Baron Fig has optimized the buying experience to make it as easy as possible for customers to find, research, and purchase products. This focus on the experience in addition to the appearance of their design shows that they’ve given a lot of thought to how customers interact with the site. Without these specific steps in place, Baron Fig would have a tougher time appealing to their target market.
Abandoned cart emails entice customers to finish their purchase
Being able to get the customer over the finish line to complete their purchase isn’t always easy. Baron Fig does an excellent job of showing the value of their product throughout the shopping experience, but sometimes customers will just stop what they’re doing and leave their cart unattended. That’s why it’s important to have measures in place that can potentially bring the customer back to complete their purchase.
Baron Fig’s first attempt at this is a pop up offering a discount for signing up to their newsletter. In exchange for the potential customer’s email address, they’ll receive 15 percent off their current order. (They have a few variations on this offer through their site—in our visits to the site, we also saw popups offering entry into a monthly contest for a $100 gift card. The company is likely testing these offers to see which perform best and triggering them at different parts of the buyer journey.)
This is a smart tactic for first-time purchasers because it offers them something that might help them complete the purchase, and Baron Fig gets their email in return. With that email, they can start retargeting and nurturing the relationship with their customer in the inbox. Even if the customer doesn’t make a purchase today or add anything to their cart, adding that customer to their email list means Baron Fig can keep advertising to them over the long term (again: the power of repetition) and try to entice them to buy down the road.
But let’s say this discount offer isn’t enough for a customer—they’re just not ready to make the purchase today. When the customer leaves the site two separate things happen—they’re added to a cart abandonment series (assuming they got far enough in the checkout to add their email, were already logged into their customer account, or the site was able to grab their email address in another way) as well as a Facebook retargeting campaign.
If the customer visits Facebook after adding the Wander Dream Journal to their cart they’ll see an ad like this:
This offers another discount of 10 percent off the customer’s entire order. While a slightly different strategy from the pop up offer, it’s doing three things to nudge the customer back to Baron Fig’s site to complete their purchase.
- First, it’s providing a discount, which can be a powerful motivator.
- Second, it’s showing the customer what they left behind. Sometimes a simple reminder of the product they abandoned in their cart is enough to get them to return.
- Third, it’s another moment of repetition (this is now at least the third or fourth time our customer has been presented with a picture of the dream journal).
If those two strategies don’t work, Baron Fig has one last trick to deploy: an abandoned cart email. This is sent 24 hours after the customer abandons an item in their cart, and makes a final effort to bring them back to complete the purchase.
Their email is a straightforward example, but tells the customer that their item is still available, while also playing up a natural fear of missing out by implying that it won’t be around for much longer. This is one last subtle psychological trigger that can potentially recover the abandoned cart.
Baron Fig creates products for thinkers and creative people. To connect with this audience, the company must provide a product that fits a specific need, and they must understand what’s truly valuable to their customers.
► Keep it simple
Baron Fig’s website is straightforward and easy to navigate. Give customers the easiest possible path from landing on your page to finding what they need. Points of friction will result in lost sales.
► Understand customer needs
Kornfield and Cofone know what their customers want. They’re making products in a space they truly understand. When you’re able to provide something that customers value, it’s easier to convince them to make a purchase.
► Find ways to show value
Customers want to be able to touch and feel your product. For eCommerce stores that’s not usually possible without often cost prohibitive home trial or free return schemes or costly physical retail locations. You need to find a way to show the value of your products through images and interactive elements that resonate with customers.
► Repeat your message
There is power in repetition. The more often a potential customer sees your marketing message, the more likely they’ll be to make a purchase. So find ways to repeat and reinforce your messaging across different channels, as Baron Fig does by repeating product images and copy from Facebook ads to product pages back to Facebook retargeting ads and abandoned cart emails.
► Make buying easy
Baron Fig makes it ridiculously simple to make a purchase. When you give customers a quick and easy way to complete their purchases, you decrease the potential friction they’ll feel. This can help move them from consideration to purchase faster.
► Build an experience
Everything on the Baron Fig website contributes to their overall brand image and voice. Design, color scheme, and tone all come together to form a larger brand identity that illustrates the company’s values. Focus on making the experience of interacting with your site as important as making a sale.