Website design and usability are paramount influences for online shopping. If your store looks 1997 or relies on inferior website design methodology it may be holding you down. Existing shoppers are used to the site and its quirks, but what about new customers?
What impression do new shoppers get from your shop? What have you done cause them to come back?
Take some time and deep introspect to research your competitor’s websites… Not so much to “Be Like Mike”, but rather to be better. What seems to work well on their store? What have they done really well? How does this research stack up with your shop? What have you learned and what are your going to do about it?
Many ecommerce shops will phase in new site designs every two years or so to stay current and fresh. There are always new techniques, innovations and software applications to assist in the development of something that catches attention and is highly functional for users and business owners alike.
Redesigning your store in a hasty and unplanned manner will only lead to dysfunction and dissatisfaction. Build your new store on a test or development account so you can test the links and the new functionality of the shop’s design. Have friends, kids, grandmas and colleagues test your development site to catch any flaws in the design. Make a promise to yourself that you will not discount even suggestions or concerns from your tester, which you deem dumb or untrue…. You will never see things like they do. Suggest you give them each a product to search for and buy, testing your search, navigation and very important checkout. There is nothing worse than launching a new site design that is riddled with errors and broken links.
The use of flashing text, unprompted sound or multicolored text should be avoided… Think about the user. The text may certainly get noticed, but generally for very wrong reasons. Simple, compact text and easy to read will provide the best means for shoppers to understand what your shop is designed to provide. You may have both visually challenged and portable device customers that may use technologies that have space constraints. Many new site designs keep these limitations in mind… Sadly, many do not.
Anytime you are developing a new or redesigned ecommerce shop enlist the help of several trusted individuals who are willing to tell you exactly what they think of the store. Honest feedback is important and invaluable when considering something with as much potential as an online store. A traditional businessman wouldn’t dream of constructing a building without consulting an architect… So why should online business not strive to enlist the help of web professionals in ecommerce development techniques, design, usability and website appearance?