WITH 2009 SOON coming to an end, now’s the time to start thinking about tweaking your website. Vandelay Design (www.vandelaydesign.com) has released its list of nine characteristics of well-designed e-commerce sites. Here are just a few of them:
Easy navigation and effective searching. If your home page is cluttered, customers will get frustrated when trying to find what they’re looking for — and chances are, they won’t stick around. Toolbars, drop-down menus and Google-powered search bars are all present on some of Vandelay’s top-rated e-commerce sites. For examples, head to Pottery Barn (www.potterybarn.com) and Nike (http://store.nike.com).
The design doesn’t overwhelm the products for sale. Blinking ads and clashing colors are just two things to rid your site of right off the bat. If potential customers can’t see past these distractions to the products for sale, they most likely won’t buy from you. Vandelay points to the Apple Store (http://store.apple.com/us) as a good example of sleek design with products shown prominently and clearly.
Easy checkout. We’ve all been there: You’re shopping online and dropping things into your virtual cart, but when it comes time to check out, you can’t seem to figure out how. Checkout buttons in the same place on every single page (many sites employ the top right corner for this) is the way to go.
How do you know if your website is up to par? For dealerships that allow online shopping, Vandelay’s CartFrenzy (www.cartfrenzy.com) can tell you. CartFrenzy houses some of the best e-commerce-driven sites on the Web, and you can even submit your own for consideration into the galleries. If your site is accepted by CartFrenzy, you might not need to do a tweak after all. But if you’re rejected, you can still peruse the galleries for some design inspiration.