Things to think about

If you're thinking about engaging a web design company to design and build you a new ecommerce website it can be a minefield. Here are a few things to focus on which we hope will help.

  • Tricky and subjective - you'll never please everyone!
  • Is the design consistent with your brand and appropriate for your target marketIs the website design professional and does the design instill confidence, will people trust the site? This is essential if people are going to use the site and buy from it - being clear about details like security, privacy and delivery will help convince people that your site is credible.
  • Your shopping basket, the process of adding and buying a product needs to be simple and clear - so many orders are abandoned because people lose their nerve at this stage
Front end product presentation and selling features:
  • Organise and present your products well - offer good quality images, video where possible and useful descriptions
  • People like to make good buying choices - does your site help them by offering reviews, evaluations and product comparisons?
  • People like to quickly see new and popular products - does your website do this?
  • People like convenience - does your site keep track of the products a user looks at so when they make a buying decision and it's product 3 of the 10 they looked at product 3 is there for them?
  • People really really like convenience - does your website offer quick routes via search parameters (brand, price, or attribute such as size or colour) for people to see the most relevant products you have to offer them
  • Does your website enable you to show associated products or alternatives to a given product and increase the chances of making a sale?
Features which convert browsers into buyers:
  • Can you change a price in seconds?
  • Can you create and manage promotions which tempt people to buy?
  • Can you easily create a 5% discount on a set of products, set up a 'spend more than £X and get a discount of £Y' or a 'spend more than £X and get free shipping' promotion (and many more)?
  • Can you create a promotional code which people can use to benefit from a promotion, can you set it so that only the first X amount of people use it, or set it to be valid between two dates?
  • Does your system automatically show people best sellers? - remember people like to know what is popular.
Looking after your customers so they buy from you again:
  • Can people buy as a guest if they like?
  • Are you motivating them to create an account with you?
  • Can customers create wishlists, or email a product to a friend, can they request an email alert when an item is back in stock?
  • Do customers automatically get an email to confirm purchase and despatch of their items by you?
  • Can customers track their orders?
  • Can you quickly identify your top customers and email them with a promotion?
Managing your online shop:
  • You should be able to create product categories and sub-categories at will
  • You should be able to move the order of these categories around to reflect seasonal and demand/stock related considerations
  • You should be able to add a product once and associate with any category you wish from a pick list
  • You should be able to associate product X with Y and Z in an instant so your customers see this on the frontend of the websiteYou should be able to add, edit and delete product detail in an instant
  • You should be able to add overlays to product images to draw attention to the fact they are 'New' or on 'Special offer' if you wish to
  • Have you got an automatic feed for your products into the Google Shopping search engine?
Effectively marketing and running your ecommerce operation:
  • You should be in command of your site - all the important information - number of orders awaiting despatch, number of products, promotions, product lines which are low on stock and so forth should be presented on a dashboard so you know what's what
  • You have 100 new orders - you should be able to print the order notes in one go and get on with it
  • Can you easily find out how much you sold last month and what your best selling lines are? Your website should tell you.
  • Can you identify your best customers in an instant and email themIf a customer rings up asking about a web order you should be able to find that customer accounts on your website there and then and advise them of the order status
Science bit:
  • Can you create your own meta pages titles?
  • Is your website well written and based on lean compliant code for fast performance and Google friendly - does it produce well formatted HTML and enable Google to readily index and understand your web pages?
  • Your URL's - can you read them or do they contain a lot of this kind of thing - ad/efdab0d2-1e18-44d4-9e06-5cd44a6ab878

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