The art of eCommerce design

I’ve designed a lot of digital things from iPhone apps to websites and complicated SaaS products. Early days in my career I was a gun for hire designing high-end fashion and corporate blogs for clients around the world.

Being a specialist in the crowded blog market, I attracted the interest of fashion brands and ended up working pretty closely with a few of them.

Blogs turned into websites and websites into online stores. I’ve seen the evolution of these companies from mates at markets dabbling in online to global distribution and the inevitable bumps in the road that come with fast-growing fashion brands.

When I sit down with our team and start to plan a new eCommerce design, I’m not just trying to design something that looks good. I’m trying to solve a business problem creatively.

The art of being a good eCommerce designer is understanding the subtleties of a brand and selling online.

What unique problems are we solving?

People shop differently online than offline.
Every market is different.
People ask different questions.
They have different price sensitivity.
They relate to brands in different ways.

If I were to speak to your best salesman, what would he/she tell me about how to sell in your market?

The UX (user experience) of the online store that we design needs to reduce the fear of purchase online. It needs to solve these problems and make it easy to make a purchase.

It’s something that themes can’t do. Themes present products and give you a nice banner. You can’t guide them through a path to purchase, crafting what messages to say and what actions to emphasise at each stage.

How does technology fit in?

Next we research and think about how your customers buy your product online as opposed to in-store. Do they have any particular reservations about buying online that we need to overcome?

Mobile is a big consideration. Is it the type of product that you sit on the couch and buy through your mobile? If you see it on the train on the way to work are you comfortable buying it online or is it complex enough that I need to craft a mobile UX that makes it more likely for you to email it to yourself or save to a wishlist to check back later on a device that you’re more comfortable making the purchasing decision on?

Do customers know the brand or do we have to educate them?

An educated customer shops differently than someone with no knowledge and perception of the brand and it’s products.

Purchases from established brands or for stores that you’re likely shopping at already knowing 70% of the detail about a product require a different user experience. Both the design and content focus need a greater emphasis on education.

We research the role and intricacies of social proof in your market and determine whether strategies like using testimonials, ratings & reviews, influencer endorsements, media logos, client lists or social shares would positively increase the customer’s decision to purchase today.

Am I selling one brands products or several?

We design stores for resellers entirely different than brands that we work with directly.

If you’re selling several brands and have large product lines, I want to know your eCommerce strategy and why I’m buying from you over others online. I need to know what to emphasise to buyers and craft the UX so that they’re hooked at the perfect point in the transaction.

Whats your strategy

Am I getting my product delivered faster through you?
Is your range better?
Can I better relate you to my lifestyle rather than just being a place to buy product?
Are you more trustworthy and a place I can feel more comfortable shopping from?
Or are you cheapest?

How is the store I’m designing meeting your USP and goals as a business?

It’s easy to design you an online store that looks great and you can brag about to your mates at the pub. Great eCommerce designers have an inherit knowledge of business and like to take responsibility for your store adding to your brands value.

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