Don’t panic! You can have the website you need without busting the piggy bank

February 4, 2014 • By

Web design has come a long way from coding each page by hand and needing an entire shelf of books dedicated to HTML, CSS, and other esoterica. With modern innovations in web design, anyone can create a functional and aesthetically pleasing eCommerce site, just by following five simple tips.

Nobody’s Going to Ask To See Your Creative Suite

The scariest thing about websites is everything you’re telling yourself that you don’t know. It feels as if the whole process of creating and deploying a website is complicated and requires the expertise of launching a mission to Mars. There are web designers competing for your business, software companies waving complicated creative suites at you, and web hosting companies vying to host your site. It’s intimidating, yes. However nobody’s going to ask to see your software or interview your web designer before they make a purchase. In fact, the only thing your potential clients want is to easily find their desired product, put it in the cart, check out, and have the product arrive in good order and a timely fashion.

You’d think that all this is a given with all the purchases made every day over the Internet. Wrong. It’s estimated by the Baymard Institute that upwards of 67 percent of shopping carts are abandoned before the purchase is completed. The top reasons include concerns about security, cumbersome checkout processes, and slow-loading, balky websites. As long as the customer is presented with a convenient, secure, and responsive shopping experience, they’re not going to care how it got there.

Know When to Spend Money

You can have a beautiful website to showcase your products, but the key to keeping your sanity and bank balance intact is knowing when to spend money and when not to. Paying for a professionally designed logo and branding package can be an excellent investment before going live with your online store or website. While a casually browsing shopper might not exactly remember the name of a store they come across, the logo associated with your brand can be a powerful prompt to the memory. They’ll remember the design even if they can’t quite remember the name. Making your brand unique and memorable with an eye-catching logo is an investment that pays in the long run and would ensure that your store stands out from the crowd once you decide to go live with your products on your online store.

Showcase Your Product

Likewise, showcasing your product with good photography presents your merchandise in the best possible way. With all the advances in digital photography, even on a portable device like an iPhone or iPad, it’s not that difficult to learn how to take well-lit, focused pictures. With a small investment in photography equipment and some time spent on tutorials, it’s possible to show your product in a professional way. However, when time or the sheer number of items is a consideration, paying for professional photography can clear the way for you to focus on the other aspects of the business.

Keep It Simple, but Make It Functional

As stated above, some of the prime reasons for abandoning potential purchases include a protracted checkout process, slow page loads, and concerns about the security of payment information. Designing a clean, functional website is not difficult, and connecting the site to reputable payment gateways has become easier than ever. There are all-in-one eCommerce sites that bundle services with website templates for the digital DIYer, assistance with arranging payment gateways for your eCommerce and brick-and-mortar locations, integration with your back-office software, all the way up to the full-service experience from pre-screened and hand-picked providers. By keeping your design simple and functional, and even adding a few simple modules like a customer loyalty program, coupon codes, or a one-click checkout, it’s possible to convert that shopping cart into a sale. Simply put, when people remember good experiences, they’ll come back again and again.

Update, Update, Update

U.S. retail eCommerce sales for the third financial quarter of 2013 topped $67 billion, and are projected to increase every year. But it’s not enough to put up a site and hope the cash rolls in. Imagine that year after year, passersby see nothing new or different in the window of a brick-and-mortar showroom. When you think of your site as your showroom, and customers coming in off the street, it’s much easier to see why you need to update. A static showroom will just look like the same thing day in and day out. A passerby won’t see anything new, and may think that there’s no reason to go in and look around. When you keep the product pages fresh by showcasing new items as well as customer favorites, you’re signaling that your eCommerce site is dynamic, has more to offer, and is open for business.

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