17th February 2012

What Ecommerce can learn from the high street

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Last weekend I had the ‘joy’ of walking around the high street trying to buy a few items for my new flat when I found myself comparing physical shops to their ecommerce counterparts. All of the shops I ended up purchasing from had three things in common; enticing shop windows, logically laid out interiors and helpful employees. These three things are equally necessary in an effective ecommerce website.

The Internet is arguably the most competitive market place in the world, with hundreds, if not thousands, of stores offering similar products at great prices to would be consumers. Therefore what is needed to make your website successful and to make it stand out from the competition?

Competitiveness in Retail & Ecommerce

The Internet is the worlds most competitive high street, with every company fighting for the users attention.

Your shop window (Homepage)

In most cases, ecommerce homepages are designed to impress, inspire, entice and inform. Your homepage for most users will be the first page they see, therefore it is critical that it reflects your brand and appeals to your market. The structure, content and visual style will differ greatly from company to company and the target audience they are trying to attract. Some websites will have an emphasis on video, dynamic content and social media, whereas some will be better suited to a more formal and informative feel. The key challenges that all companies face is to create focus (e.g. on products or key functionality), content hierarchy and to craft user journeys that flow through the website. Sound a little confusing? Don’t worry, that’s what us friendly chaps at Creode can help you with!

Logically laid out shop floor (Website structure and product filtering)

We’ve all been all there, you’re in hurry, after one item in particular and you simply cannot find what you are after. It’s frustrating in person and ultimately results in you leaving the shop empty handed and walking to a competitor instead. When designing websites we carefully consider user journeys / experiences and additional functionality to ensure that everything is accessible and correctly structured for the user. An effective user experience / journey helps increase conversions and ultimately profits, as well as securing loyal return customers. Additional functionality works hand in hand with this. It allows users to find products quickly, filter them, up sell related products and checkout without fuss or bother (to name but a few possibilities). These additional elements are all made possible through a platform called Magento, something we specialise in, but more of that later.

Does your ecommerce store reflect your company?

How does your website reflect your company? Does it say quality, professional, high end or even budget? Whatever your goal is a good design should reflect your companies product.

Helpful employees (additional information and features)

A good sales assistant is always well presented and informative, their task is to re-assure the customer about the company and the product in question. Within ecommerce websites this can be achieved in numerous ways, such as;

  • User reviews
  • Detailed product descriptions, images and videos
  • Delivery and returns information
  • Live chat
  • FAQ’s
  • Professional presentation
  • Tool tips and product suggestions
  • Product filtering to ensure a suitable product is viewed

These all help put the users mind at ease and trust in the professionalism of the company.

What makes all this possible?

The Design and the Platform. Of the many options, we use and highly recommend Magento. Magento eCommerce provides the scalability, flexibility and features for business growth. Magento provides feature-rich eCommerce platforms that offer complete flexibility and control over the presentation, content, and functionality of their online channel. However, as with any ecommerce websites, you need strategy, user understanding and design excellence to begin leading any ecommerce website to success.

Creode specialise in large scale Magento Development for a wide range on clients around the UK. Read more on our Magento Development here.