8 Tips for Developing E-Commerce Sites With Consumers in Mind
4. While images may be critical to marketing the brand, don't ignore text. Search engines give higher rankings to sites with unique product descriptions and keywords that shoppers use to find the brand's products.
5. Use social networks to evaluate product preferences and site performance. If an item accumulates many "likes" on Facebook, you're engaging well and have found a good market with which to relate. If a product receives poor ratings, you often can clearly spot the product's flaws or poor positioning from the comments of the reviewers and then take steps to make improvements.
6. Don't require a visitor to log in up front. From the shopper's perspective, providing credentials (e.g., an email address) is a long-term commitment they may not be ready to make. Position the log-in at the end of the process, and make it optional.
7. Enable visitors to log in as a guest. Furthermore, make it easy for them to enroll later on, after they've shopped and explored the site.
8. Collect only the information you absolutely must have from customers. Avoid forms that request nonessential personal information. Keep the number of fields that must be completed to a minimum, and spread them over multiple pages instead of presenting one long, complex page.
Designing e-commerce sites that respond to the consumer's mind-set can draw shoppers into your brand and encourage both interaction and trust.
Kevin Simons is the manager of user experience at MICROS, which develops point-of-sale and enterprise information system software for retailers.