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Updated on March 20, 2014

Effective web design

Here are my thoughts on how to make your online store more effective. I'll touch on search engine optimisation, content, design, marketing, copy, cross selling and product photography. Give your customers a reason to return to your website. Ensure that it is easy to navigate, easy to purchase and it looks reputable.

It's important that your online store has a clear offer, an online customer will decide within seconds if it's worth exploring your online store.
It's important that your online store has a clear offer, an online customer will decide within seconds if it's worth exploring your online store.

Capturing Online Sales

Be Visually Effective

Ensure your customer finds you - in order to do this it's vital that your website is search engine compliant. No flash etc and label your images with relevant descriptive words.

Ensure your website doesn't bombard the customer with information. It doesn't all need to be on the home page. As long as the customer can find what he needs to know within a couple of clicks you've done your job and the customer is happy.

Make sure that you present good quality, clear images that show all the details that matter. Failing that, offer a zoom/pop-up enlarged image that does.

Imagine what the customer would look for in a product in a real store. What details can they not tell from the photo? It should be covered in the description. Or you could provide an animation / 360 degree view.

Work with your web designer to create an architecture for your website, work out how the customer is going to navigate the site. Treat it like a customer in a store, what is the natural flow - can the customer easily browse the products and easily jump to another product category?

Have good cross selling and browsing, let your web customers encounter products without looking for them just as they do in a real shop.

Make the products look their best, avoid placing them on an unflattering or busy background.

Make the website look reputable, have a professional domain and design etc.

Make it easy for people to share products on social media sites. This is invaluable advertising - not only is it free, it also means it's endorsed by the person who shares it.

Most people who arrive at your site won't buy, so give them another way to engage for example signing up to a mailing list.

Make people feel that they are getting a bargain, more so than in store. Show where you have discounted from RRP.

Feature promotional graphics on the website during sale, one-off and seasonal events to make each visit to the website feel fresh and exciting.

Give clear delivery and returns policy.

If money is a constraint or if it's a new venture perhaps you should consider using a service like Amazon, Etsy (for handmade items) or Ebay. It will allow you to test the market without too much investment.

Good luck!

Good lighting is important when taking product photographs for your website.

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    • vendexo profile image

      vendexo 6 years ago

      I think you have some great suggestions here. Good quality product images are very important. Also having several images for the same product, so that it can be seen from different angles or close-ups of particular features. I like the zoom magnifier effect.

      The overall style and colour theme of the shopping page should reflect the "ethos" of the shop. Think about what your house style/ethos is. Do you want colours and styles which reflect conservative & traditional or bright and cheery? Be consistent with this subliminal message.

      For more on online selling see my lens: or visit or