A few more questions to ask a designer when commissioning an Ecommerce site...

In previous posts I have detailed a number of points any prospective ecommerce merchant should be discussing with their site designer or implementer. In this piece I go a little further and explore some of the fundamentals of ecommerce design and ways to involve prospects with your site.

How do you interact with your customers?

This is as much a question for you the store owner as it is for the designer of your ecommerce site. The designer of your site needs to think about interaction and getting your products to stand out from the competition. Getting your customers involved and interacting with your store will really pay off.

Ways to achieve this could be as simple as including user generated content where appropriate. This could be a YouTube video, alternate images or a Twitter feed related to your offering. Think about social networks and ways to expand your reach away from your store, why not try adding a “Tweet This” button or a link to your Facebook profile? Ask your web designer about these areas and see what they come up with.

The Devil's in the Detail

We all look for different things when browsing for products, personally I love to get into the technical nitty gritty while my wife prefers to shop via ratings, reviews and recommendations. Depending on the products you are selling it can be difficult to include every small product detail for each type of customer; the key is to provide enough information about a product for it to get attention. Don’t be scared of splitting detail out over several pages or tabs but make sure it doesn’t compromise the aesthetics of your site. I have never heard a customer complain about having too much detail.

It’s the job of your web designer to provide a site which supports these aims. It’s critical that they focus on this, and not just making the site aesthetically pleasing.


Displaying your credentials as a company that’s good to do business with is probably the single most important aspect of ecommerce site design. Reputation is everything and the design of your site needs to shout it out at every available opportunity.

Reputation comes in different forms; one of the easiest ways to gain it is to allow your previous customers to broadcast on your behalf. Why not include the feedback from previous customers as part of your site design? Companies such as FeeFo provide ecommerce merchants with a truly independent product and service review that can be included on the merchant’s site. It’s independent and therefore commands a much higher trust rate. I must declare an interest here as my company, Actinic, has just integrated Feefo with our ecommerce offering.

It’s also a great idea to display logos detailing your commitment to security and privacy as well as any industry trade associations you may belong to.

You need to call the shots in some of these areas, and in others you will benefit from the broader knowledge of a web designer experienced in building ecommerce sites.

Obvious Calls to Action

While the overall aesthetics of your site are important, there are only two graphics on every ecommerce store that make the difference; add to basket and checkout – the “calls to action”. These two buttons are critical in the success or failure of your store. They need to be clear, consististent and obvious. If possible they need to be above the fold and easy to use. Use words such as “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart”. Don’t be tempted to be ambiguous as this only leads to confusion and lost sales.

Dealing with these issues is not particularly sexy and your designer may put up some resistance. But the single point of an ecommerce store is to make its owner money. Forget this at your peril!

Posted via email from Benjamin Dyer