eCommerce Website Design: Increase Business Sales
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eCommerce Website Design

Increasingly small businesses are finding that eCommerce is not just for the big online players. Remember that many of the online success stories have been in business for less time than you have!

The convenience of the web has resulted in a shift in spending habits - away from the high street and onto the web. Subsequently the Internet has now also provided an often lucrative niche market place for many SMEs.

However there are some basic eCommerce design 'conventions' worth considering if we are to avoid some of the 'dot com' pitfalls:

Do some homework before you start

A little bit of time researching other ecommerce sites will quickly convince you that over elaborate website design (animated graphics, waving flags, etc) is not good generally. You will soon recognize that the simple tried and tested page 'layout' and navigation conventions work.

Its no coincidence that sites with high volume sales have similar layouts (, - and there are good reasons for this.

Look at the successful sites- both big and small. Not only do they provide a sense of familiarity for buyers; pages are also optimised to be faster loading and search engines can 'crawl' pages more effectively.

Layout should be intuitive - don't make it into an IQ test. The aim is to turn a browser into a buyer as quickly and smoothly possible - customers want 'ABC' not an A to Z!

Getting yourself found on the web

Don't assume your customers will find you - you will have to find them first. Search engines are effectively the A to Z of the web, so make sure you have been listed. You will need to find out which niche (key) words and phrases customers are using (not what you think they will use) in their web searches.

Most search engines operate on this simple information principle: your site will be listed if the content is useful, interesting and up to date. So why not make life easier for search engines to do their work in indexing your site? (Its well worth getting advice from your web designer/developer on writing search engine friendly web pages).

Its true - content is definitely 'king' on the web. So the design of your eCommerce site should allow for frequent content updates so that your business features at or near the top of search engine rankings.

When customers have found you.

You know that first impressions count in business - even more so on the web. Many customers never actually get beyond the first page of most websites - this is your shop window, so make sure your products are displayed attractively and clearly, text is readable and the navigation is intuitive.

You are not your own best customer (hopefully) so think objectively - you are probably not selling waving flags and flashing logos, so don't give customers a reason to leave by the quickest available exit (wouldn't you?)

Checkout - not Get Out

Many (more than 50% in some cases) of web transactions fall foul of the checkout procedure - so remember you need to engender trust all the way through the purchase process. So think like a potential purchaser - how will they browse? How long does it take to find the item they are looking for?

Bear in mind that most customers are on the web looking for a good deal, and are less bothered about the wow factor from your site. So don't skimp on the checkout. Investing in the transaction side of your site is directly proportional to how successful your sales returns will be.

In summary

Go out and find your customers - don't wait for them to find you! Do some research before you start if you don't want your own dot com crash on your hands!

Keep your customers - clear navigation and eye catching products on the first page, if your website is about Video Conferencing make it relevant to that topic - Keep pricing and information up to date, readable and is easy to navigate. This will keep customers - and the search engines coming back to your pages.

Don't send customers away empty handed - remember that eCommerce site design starts with the front page and carries right through to the checkout.

Finally remember that if content is king, the design your eCommerce site can be the vehicle to turn browsers into buyers.

If you'd like more information, or help with your own business growth, then contact Colin Noden.

© 2005 eCommerce Website Design expert: Colin Noden

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