We offer our clients a plethora of services when it comes to designing an e-commerce site and it’s not because a long list looks good. Rather, it’s because I’ve been meeting with clients and potential clients for a decade and a half now and understand the kinds of things they’re looking for. A huge part of what I do is listen, then I can suggest and recommend. Lately, rather than the normal amount of requests to build sites from the ground up, we’ve been getting asked to go in and redesign and upgrade existing sites, especially e-commerce sites.

Ironically, e-commerce site owners are, at the same time, frequently reluctant to want to change things. Why? Because they understand how their site currently works, so it therefore must be something else that’s going wrong and causing traffic and sales to drop off, something outside their site. But they’re baffled as to what that is.

We remain in a depressed economy. Rather than go to specialty stores or make as many impulse purchases, people are going online and looking not only for the best price, but the best shopping experience. Visitors don’t want to have to guess how your site works, if it’s secure and if you’ll share their information with third parties. They also don’t want a confusing navigation or search function that brings up everything they weren’t looking for before finding what they did want. By the time that happens, they’ll go elsewhere out of frustration.

If you have a low number of visitors on your site with an equally low number of conversions, then we need to take a serious look at why. And if your site has a much larger number of visitors, yet a disturbingly low number of conversions, again, we need to look at why. Where are these people going? And if we can determine what your competitors are doing different from you, we’ll have a solid baseline to start from.

First and foremost, you want people coming to your site. You want their experience on your site to be a positive one, even a memorable one. If they don’t buy something the first time because they’re just browsing, then we need to find a way to get them to bookmark it and stick in their mind for when they are ready to make that purchase. And if your existing customers like what they see in terms of change and the fact you’re making an effort on their behalf, they may be inclined to try another product you’re selling.

Plan ahead. Redesigning a site doesn’t have to be overly expensive, but it is an investment and part of that investment also means thinking ahead. You may only be offering 20 products now, but you may be adding another 20 products in the future if things go well. Make sure you take this into consideration during the redesign. Keep the site ready for expansion.

Finally, let’s not forget ongoing maintenance. You can’t simply re-launch a site and not set a budget aside to make changes as it matures. You’ll learn things, your customers will suggest things and that feedback needs to find its way onto your site. Fortunately, a little monthly maintenance may go a long way in not having to do yet another redesign due to lost sales.

Think ahead. Plan. And while you’re at it, talk to me. I can help.

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