One of the oft-overlooked keys to e-commerce success is customer-centric site design. From the minute your customer enters, every element should be geared to providing a pleasant, productive, and trouble-free shopping experience.

If you are launching an e-commerce business, you no doubt have an idea about who your customers will be. If you’ve already established an online store, you can use your site statistics and customer records to develop a customer profile. Put this information to good use in your design (or re-design). Be sure your design teams understands your target market and develops with the customer first in mind. Layout, navigation, and even font size and color should be considered and aimed at your key demographic. Failure to do so can result in a functional and perhaps even attractive web site, which lacks appeal for the target market.

Layout – Consider your target customers first. Bright colors and animated graphics are fun and might even bring customers in to your store. But they can rapidly become annoying distractions for serious shoppers. Limit potential distractions to your home page and consider a more subdued color scheme for your product catalog.

Navigation – Make shopping your site easy and intuitive. Install a high-visibility and easy to use shopping cart that allows customers to add to the cart without leaving the page. Include a detailed navigation bar either on the left or top of each page. Don’t forget – and don’t hide – the back button. Invest in robust site-search capability so your customer can find the product they seek quickly.

Text – How much text to include is balancing act. Too much text and you risk boring your customers. They’re at your site to shop, not read. Yet your customers expect a certain amount of information. Choose the right language and tone to provide sufficient information without weighing down the page. Select a font size, color, and contrast that’s easy on the eye. If your product rates extensive information or details, provide a “Learn More” link or pop-up option that will redirect customers without being intrusive.

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