E-Commerce: What should your designer know?

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The e-commerce industry is extremely competitive. As a result, if you are thinking of setting up an e-commerce business then you will probably be thinking about contacting a web designer to create your website and get you started. It is a good idea to have a few ideas in mind to present to them and a clear idea yourself of what it is you are looking for. This will make the process far easier for both parties, and ensure that the website is created quickly and to the specifications requested.

What should you think about before approaching an e-commerce web designer?

First off, you should think about what you are hoping to achieve with your e-commerce website.

Is there a particular image that you want to project? How does this fit in with the products or services that you sell? It is incredibly important that you have a vision before approaching a designer as this will make the process far more efficient.

However, at the same time there does need to be a degree of flexibility. What you are looking for may not be possible or may not be functional. The designer will be able to let you know what specifications can be met and which may need to be adjusted.

E-commerce solutions. Do you have an e-commerce solution in mind already?

There are many different solutions to choose from including dediated e-commerce packages, open source solutions or Content Management Systems with e-commerce plugins. What you choose will vary depending on whether you will be looking to manage this yourself and also the scale of the business.

Ensure that you do question your designer about this and make sure that they are aware of what you need. If you are planning on managing the content yourself, ensure that you are comfortable doing so once your website is live so that you can update it independently without having to rely on input from the designer. Many web design companies will encourage the CMS route as this means there are less maintenance costs and ongoing work required from their end.

Design. Do you know what you want your website to look like?

Do you have examples available to show the designer? These ideas can help greatly in the initial design process. It will allow the designer to incorporate your visual ideas with the required functionality of the website. Providing examples of designs that you like can be a great starting point.

Bear in mind that an e-commerce website is there to sell products and services, so this will always come before the visual aspect of the design. This is not to say that the website cannot be visually appealing, it is more a point to note that it cannot take a greater priority than the main purpose of the website.

How will people find your website?

This is often overlooked as many people who are new to the internet, or new to e-commerce are unaware of the importance of SEO. If your website is not optimised for search engines, there is very little chance of people finding you via that route. It is a good idea to choose a web design company who can also handle the SEO for you.

Basically, you want to ensure that you are as prepared as possible before approaching a designer. As long as you have a clear idea of what are looking for but are prepared to be a little flexible on the details, you and your designer will come up with a well designed e-commerce website.

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