Web design is complicated and dynamic. It combines different areas of knowledge that affects heavily how its target market sees the information given or make them want what you are offering. If you want the store to look excellent and have good conversion rates, the design plays an important role on this matter. Take note that this applies to both visual and simple to use (easy to browse, easy to search, easy to find, and easy to buy).
Before starting the list, remember that when building your ecommerce website your focus should be to MEET THE USERS' NEEDS, how simple is to find what they are looking for, fast loading, and a hassle free checkout is the ultimate goal of your store.
Instead of "showing off" what nowadays a browser can do, the passion of your webmaster should be directed to user friendly usability and good functionality of the shopping cart.
Threads on Zen Cart forums about recommended modules come around very often, but what is most intriguing about them is the wide range of "must-have" modules and the disagreements about what they are.
Since modules (plugins and addons) inhibit and raise the cost of upgrading, I strongly recommend that you use them only to solve problems or needs that you have on your site, to make your management easier and/or faster; and not because somebody else thinks they're a good idea or solved something for them.
When you are looking to open your online store there are 2 available options. You could hire a design company and have them build you a site from scratch with shopping cart and all the bells and whistles, or…you could go with the much more attractive option of implementing a ready-to-go ecommerce solution, which you can adapt to your particular needs.
Every year I upgrade our website design and scripts. I'm hoping to show off our new design in the next 2-3 weeks (including main site). Usually I'm questioned by customers why I do this. I'm not talking about the regular maintenance you give your website in a daily or weekly basis, I'm talking about the major improvements that don't take just one day to be done. Here are the 3 main reasons we (sometimes my team is involved) upgrade and/or upgrade our site at least once a year and why you should consider doing the same:
You are probably sucked in everyday with so many things to do. Between your email, meetings, RSS feeds, and social networks you can get lost and even waste a lot of time. You might feel occupied, pulled in hundreds of directions, but reality is that you aren't getting anywhere or getting anything done. No steps forwards are done for yourself, your team and/or your business.
The way to play this is to have a plan for every day, where you set priorities and stay focused on the things you planed are important to get done that day. You have to be disciplined and focused to get the priorities done and dismiss any distraction that will take you away of what you are doing (even your internal thoughts.
Nowadays, consumers are relying on technology to achieve any number of tasks. They are “plugged in." Yes, they are linked worldwide and locally through social media networks.
Instead of flipping through catalogs, magazines and newspapers, they’re browsing websites and searching for information and online reviews about the products and services they want. They’re throwing to the garbage direct mailers and checking their email for coupons instead. What about phonebooks? Very few people under 70 use them.
So, there you are with an excellent PSD design on your hands. Problem is, you need it converted into a Zen Cart custom design theme/template so you can conjure up a great website. The next step is to hire an experienced Zen Cart coder to get you on your way.
The Marketing Paradigm has shifted. Nearly all consumers (97%) now use online media when researching products or services. The misconception is that only young people use these technologies when in fact, nearly all of the buying public now uses them.
CMS (Content Management System) scripts are popular for developing various types of websites through the years. Even though they were started to create blogs easily, now there are from portfolios to full service business sites being created based in Joomla, Wordpress, Zen Cart, etc.
A difficult question from Paddy Moogan in the UK: "Hi, what are your opinions on optimizing an Ecommerce website where the main pages or products may not necessarily be rich in content?" That's a tough question, right? Essentially, you're saying here's a place where you can buy products and there's not a lot of content or maybe the content is duplicated from a bunch of places. So, my short answer is, you know, put on your user hat.
When your mechanic sends you a coupon for a discount on an oil change, or your local coffee shop rewards you with a free cup of coffee every tenth time you buy, you're seeing a promotional program in action.
A promotion is a planned strategy for increasing sales over a short period. A promotion adds value to the product or service offered. It stimulates sales for reasons other than the product's inherent benefits.