Ecommerce, Web Design, Web Development, Website Maintenance
04 Apr, 2022
Outsourcing web design tasks as you go is a losing strategy.
You end up:
Hiring experts to do bits and bobs “as needed” can quickly turn into a fixer-upper project that’s somehow never complete.
Not to mention every issue circling back to you because you’re reluctant to delegate.
Is it weird if we now say: “We can fix it?”
Because it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
What you need is a scalable, sustainable, well–rounded solution that’s going to cover you on all bases, long-term and set you up for success.
The kind you won’t need to keep a waking eye on because someone else will be doing that for you.
Presenting: eCommerce web design packages.
An eCommerce web design package is a complete overhaul, optimization, and regular maintenance of your site.
You know, that which you may still not want to admit you need.
The rationale is simple.
You’re already stretched pretty thin doing your regular eCommerce tasks like managing your teams and selling products.
But your online store needs every bit of the investment and attention that you can’t give it if it’s going to run properly.
Now, outsourcing individual services sounds tempting.
But if you want to be smart about this, you have to commit.
eCommerce web design packages are created to fulfill all the requirements long-term. This may include:
Essentially, eCommerce web design packages make sure you have everything your company could possibly need to be safe, attractive, inviting, as well as simple to use both for your staff and your customers.
So how is that better than individual services?
It just makes sense.
But, does that mean any package will do?
Nope, definitely not. So let’s talk qualifications.
In other words, what are the main ingredients of a decent eCommerce web design package?
Because there are a lot of choices out there, both in terms of agency and platform, and it can be hard to distinguish nice-to-haves from real priorities.
We’ll make it easy for you.
You shouldn’t take anyone seriously if they don’t offer these features.
This is hardly news for anyone, but people are living on their smartphones these days.
That includes you, too. But also your customers, who expect you to know this and provide a flawless mobile experience:
And a whole lot never return if you miss the mark.
Paired with Google’s recent update favoring mobile-friendly sites, offering seamless user experience across devices is an eCommerce no-brainer.
It’s a reasonable request, honestly.
All you have to do here is ensure your site loads fast enough, optimize your pages for mobile screens, and make sure everything is still functional.
Here’s an example of how Lush is doing it:
And if you’re curious about your mobile performance, you can get a quick overview by testing it here.
It will give you a simple result saying whether your site is or isn’t mobile friendly, with some extra details if you wanna dig in.
Or, you know, just try to access your site from your phone and see how you go.
If you’re frustrated by any minor issue, best believe your customers will be as well.
Ease of use is a huge deal both in terms of frontend navigation for end-users and backend navigation for your staff.
Simply put, your customers have a lot of options. So many, that the smallest glitch in your otherwise flawless UX can be enough to send them right into the open arms of your competitors.
And poor navigation is no small glitch.
Having a user-friendly website means people can find what they need on your site without difficulty.
There are all the links, checkpoints, highlights, and arrows guiding them along the entire ride and they never have to stop to think what they should be doing next.
Or to engage in the introvert nightmare of having to ask you about it.
So what does user-friendly design look like? Below are some examples:
|Web design element||How it helps|
|1. Search bar with intuitive suggestions|
|2. Helpful, well-placed internal links|
Similarly, your staff needs to be able to navigate the website quickly and easily to do their jobs well. That includes access to all the info they need and integration with other tools you need to manage your store.
A well-designed website will cover you on both ends.
As we established, the market is saturated.
There’s an estimated 12-24 million eCommerce sites out there (and counting). Yikes! How do you even begin to set yours apart?
Making your online store stand out, but also making it do everything you need it to do is one of the most basic needs eCommerce web design packages must address.
You want your site to be fresh and match your brand.
What’s special about your products? How do they fix exactly the right problem for your target audience? Is there a theme you can wrap around your site based on this narrative?
Your answers need to be obvious to your visitors as soon as they land on your site.
Take a look at Mooncup’s homepage and let us know what they’re all about:
You get it even if you don’t have the time to open the link.
They talk all about period sustainability and accessibility, showing all the ways how their products are helping reduce waste.
They also have a ton of content talking about what menstrual cups are, how to use them, what size to pick, and why the Mooncup specifically stands out among other period products.
Not revolutionary design, fine.
But this brand knows the struggles and worries of their customers and is clearly going the extra mile to provide all the info they may be afraid to ask, in a way that’s reassuring and easy to understand.
That’s eCommerce web design done right.
Your service provider needs to be creative and resourceful enough to help you position your brand in a way that is helpful to your customers.
So, if they’re more focused on making you look “like an online store” than making you look like you…
If they don’t ask you about your brand, audience, intent, and instead just shove a big old template in your face…
You know that moment when you go to a site, patiently wait 10 seconds for it to load, then it lags as a pop-up slowly appears…
And fine. You close the pop-up. But then it takes another five seconds to disappear, only for the site to have an aneurysm because you’re accessing it from the phone…
As if it’s doing last-minute tidying before the guests arrive…
So you wait another twenty seconds…
Yeah, no, nobody can relate at this point.
Nobody wants to waste time. In fact, in those first couple of seconds it took to load, you probably already made an exasperated sigh, closed the tab, and went to a faster site with the same info you need.
You and your customers alike.
Hard eCommerce truth: Your site needs to load in 2 seconds if you don’t want almost half of your visitors to leave before you get a chance to impress them.
A decent eCommerce web design package accounts for the fact that online stores are expected to react even faster than regular sites.
Because if you’re not there for your customers immediately… Amazon always is. ☹️
Another hard eCommerce truth.
The last thing(s) we absolutely cannot skip on this list have to be maintenance and security.
And not just for eCommerce, either.
The more people shop online, the more eCommerce websites attract hackers who prey on any backdoor they can find.
Attacks can cause more damage than you think, but even if you really believe this surely won’t happen to you, isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?
Are you prepared to fend off attacks or recover from data loss?
Getting hacked could result in disastrous consequences for your company, including lost customer trust, damaged SEO, and even lawsuits.
Home Depot lost over a hundred million dollars in settlements over a data breach.
Uber went through a similar disaster, but made it even worse by trying to hush it up.
So how can you protect your company?
By investing in security before it’s too late.
This isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s an ongoing effort with yearly, monthly, weekly, and even daily tasks in place to keep you up and running with minimum risk.
To that end, decent eCommerce web design packages might include:
You should get these things covered with or without eCommerce web design packages as soon as possible.
If you’re looking for a place to start, head over to our website maintenance and SEO article to learn more about why this matters and who you should delegate it to.
With that settled, we have more eCommerce talking to do.
Let’s see what else you can do to maintain your website wellbeing and increase those conversions.
Now that we have the bare minimum out of the way, we’ll focus on web design best practices that show you the developers know exactly what they’re doing.
We suggest you copy these best practices down as a checklist and then run through your shortlisted agencies’ portfolios.
If they’re following these, you can be confident they will handle your site well.
When you hear the word “design,” you may be thinking about color schemes or decoration. We’re not saying that’s not important.
But here are some other important things to keep in mind for your website:
Think about it like buying flashy vs. well-fitting clothes. You may believe flashy is the way to go, but that will steal the attention away from your messaging.
In the end, web design is just a tool that’s supposed to accentuate your good sides (not transform you into something you’re not) and get people interested in you long enough to be sold on what you’re saying.
Nothing you can say about yourself will ever beat what others say about you.
Why not use that?
What’s more effective in showing how great your products are than positive reviews from your customers?
Okay, we’re not sponsored by Mooncup, but this is another thing they really heavily lean into to build credibility and trust, celebrate their customers, and throw the ball to their court.
You can see it all over their site.
On the homepage, on the “Why Mooncup” page, as well as in their #RealMooncupUser campaign which features users who post about their product on the company’s Instagram account.
The best part about this is that it’s user-generated.
It’s less work for you!
Your customers already use the words and points that will resonate with new visitors. And they, just like all of your prospective customers, have all the options out there that they might have seriously considered before picking you.
So they can say specifically why your products won in the end, totally unbiased and fair.
A good web design agency can make quick work of displaying user reviews and other social proof on your site.
Assuming you got the obvious tech parts like fast load speed out of the way, there’s a bunch you still need to think about to craft an impressive UX:
This is where B2C and B2B eCommerce brands need a slightly different approach.
In B2C, the customer is emotion and need-driven and much more likely to make an impulse buy or generally take less to be converted.
So their buyer journey will be shorter and needs to feel effortless for a great user experience.
That means you need to:
But B2B customers need more.
They are driven by business needs and usually organize with a group of other stakeholders to make a decision.
Their journey will naturally be more careful and require way more convincing with use cases, stats, and other measurable data that will justify their investment by promising a good ROI.
You will convince them to buy by demonstrating relevant expertise at each step of the way and educating them about all of their options.
In either case, you need to be mindful about the journey.
Know who your customers are and what they need, and then cater to them for great UX.
Here are some of the results we’ve seen from optimizing the buyer journey and simplifying both the front and backend for one of our clients, Mars Venus:
Being consistent means not:
People hate that.
Why? Because they can’t trust you.
They expect you to be the same company with set values and mission every time they come in contact with you, otherwise you’re just unreliable.
What’s to say you will honestly interact with them 1:1?
Being consistent is having a defined target audience and making sure they know it no matter where they land on your site, or when.
This is the only way you can build a loyal customer base.
But it involves having a backbone.
Knowing who you are, what you stand for, and why, and not being afraid to show it across your copy and content.
Oh look, another online store. Groundbreaking. What makes yours unique in the entire unknowable universe of others like you?
This goes hand in hand with the previous point.
People trust people they know and can relate to. And you definitely can’t relate to every single person in the world.
But that leaves you with two options:
We gotta vote for conversions.
Sure. Here’s a list of some additional considerations to help you pick the right agency:
There are plenty of snake oil salesmen out there.
Use this list of questions to vet them out and stick with agencies that walk their talk.
In a nutshell, that’s how you:
Think of it like feeding your pet or watering your plant. They may be doing great now, but if you stop…
Let’s not go there.
All the time. But that doesn’t mean doing every single maintenance task every day.
Some things like responding to customer queries should be done hourly.
On the other hand, SEO audits could be done with more space in between so there’s enough time to spot any changes.
Since you’re going to have someone else handle this for you, suffice to say that maintenance and security includes daily, weekly, and monthly responsibilities.
Regardless of the platform you’re using.
So the only thing left is getting the right agency for the job.
Knowing which eCommerce services you really need and getting them from different sources isn’t easy.
Especially because most providers will swear the concoction they’re selling happens to be THE medicine.
Well, now you know what you’re looking for.
You’re ready to navigate the choppy waters and find an agency that offers the full eCommerce package – literally.
For starters, State Creative’s been helping eCommerce brands with everything from initial development to long-term maintenance services.
If you’d like a helping hand, get in touch!
Or head over to our eCommerce website resources article for some goldmines you can save and revisit later.