In a previous blog entry the issue of functionality was covered and the importance it has for the success of an eCommerce site. This time around, the discussion is going to revolve around design and some warning signs to avoid with an eCommerce site.
Functionality is important, but design is critical as well. People don’t stay at sites too long if they are not designed well and they’re certainly not going to waste time looking to purchase a product if the site is designed poorly. So take these factors into consideration:
1. How many clicks? – If I find something I want to buy or even want more information about, I do not want to spend the next few minutes clicking through page after page to get to what I want. Users should not have to click any more than 3-5 times to get to the pages they want and other pages should only take one click (such as a search page).
2. Keep those load times fast! – Make sure your site is optimized for speed (this is not the same speed written about last time). Be careful of heavy graphics and spend the extra money to hire the guys who will write the tightest code. The difference between somebody purchasing an item on your site or that of a competitor is mere seconds. Don’t let it happen to you.
3. Keep it simple. – Your eCommerce site should be ready to go, right out of the box. Don’t force users to have to install extensions or any kind of plugins in order to be able to function on your site. Most people will not bother. Why? Because if they haven’t installed it already, it more than likely means they don’t want to.
4. Focus, focus, focus. – Amazon has become the kind of eCommerce site where you can purchase almost anything. Getting a book, a CD, a widescreen TV, underwear, and a few jars of peanut butter is all possible at Amazon. But when you visit their site, what is the first thing you see? Books. Whether they are paper or for the Kindle, they put that out there before anything. That’s Amazon’s focus. Make sure your niche is prominent on your site.
5. Keep it clean. – Focus on the products you sell. Visitors don’t want to see weather reports, affiliate ads that link to nothing related to what you’re selling, seals of approval, what technology your site runs on, etc. They just want it to work. What users do want in addition is an easy way to seek help. Don’t hide your contact info. Prominently display it so people can easily get in touch with you if they have questions.
Have you integrated these into your eCommerce site? If not, get started! Next time around we will cover more aspects of eCommerce design including images, check out procedures, store policies and shipping information!