Take the Guess Work out of E-Commerce Design

You hear a lot about the science, mechanics or overall genius of web design, and although this information is good to have in general, it raises a very vital question as far as online merchants are concerned. How does all this info convert onlookers into paying, or repeat, customers for internet merchants?

When the time comes for a business to begin the process of building an online presence for themselves, many people would assume that web design and e-commerce design are one in the same and then clump them together as if it were a package deal. But is that the case? Are they one in the same or is there more than just a slight variation between the two?

What’s Difference Between a Website Design and an E-Commerce Design?

Web design, generally refers to the look and feel of a website that’s hosts information. While e-commerce design, refers to the functionality and ease of use of an online storefront that hosts a product. Choosing which would better suit your needs is one of the most important aspects of taking your business viral. So how do you know which is best for your business?

Due to the fact that both e-commerce sites and websites both have web pages, some may become confused as to the unique purpose that each of them serve. As noted by Dictionary.com, essentially a web page is a single hypertext (instructions that your web browser uses to assemble a web page on the internet) document on the web. This being the case, simply because two sites both consist of web pages, as do all sites on the internet, that doesn’t mean they serve the same purpose or that they are one in the same.

An electronic commerce (aka e-commerce) store, allows its owner to host and showcase store inventory(or products), process several kinds of online payment and allow a business to sell to customers anywhere in the world with very little, if any, necessary contact with the customers. A website, allows its owner to acquire something like an information hub, or resume if you will, for their business, which would give, information about what services they offer, business policies, showcase past client reviews, as well as a way to get in contact with the establishment.

Preparation, Precaution, Prevent

Owning an e-commerce store is about more than just showcasing and selling products, it also involves engaging customers and maintaining customer satisfaction by taking a few simple precautions:

  • Site Policies: Do you have them? Having a whole web page specifically for store policies and business procedures, is a must to start the foundation of trust with potential customers. Be sure that your policies are clear cut, covers all vital aspects of your business, are easy to read and understand & don’t forget to add contact info, or a link, that customers can use to contact you with more questions. Try to keep typos to a minimum too.
  • Contact Us/Me: Contact forms don’t necessarily have to have an entire web page it could easily serve its purpose sharing the About Me or Us page so long as you have one. Or some other way for customers to get in contact with you. If you’re uncomfortable with giving out your personal email, why create an email specifically for your business. Signing up with a free email service to collect & host customer emails such as Kontactr, will also do the job very well.
  • Product Wait-listing: Not many well known online stores offer this service, let alone the smaller ones. So this would be a great way to set your store apart from the crowd, and allow customers to request to be put on a product wait-list to get an email alert when a sold out item they want will be back in stock. That way you keep contact with a larger percent of your visitors, which¬†could really, boost your conversion rate. I really like the form widget offered by Hot Web Tools, it’s a free service that allows you to create your own form in 3 steps, then you just copy and paste the HTML code into your site page and you’re done!¬†Click Here to see a sample of the product wait-list form.
Running your own e-commerce store is not that scary, so long as you prepare for the unexpected with site policies and take precaution not to ignore the simple things like keeping contact with both potential as paying customers, you will have prevented falling to the same downward spiral the same as many who came before you.