ECommerce design – questions to ask sooner rather than later

These are two important aspects of managing an ecommerce site which may not be top of your list when developing a new online shop. But thinking about these as early on in the design process (or better still when selecting an ecommerce platform) will bring immediate benefits and save time and expense later on.

1. Promotions & merchandising

  • can you apply a discount across all products, or certain product categories?
  • how will you highlight the before/ after price and saving? On the product page and summary page?
  • how will you direct customers to the promotion – on the homepage or an offers page?
  • do you have products that can appear in more than one category, and how does the design/ ecommerce platform cope with this?
  • if you have a sale or clearance section, do the products appear in the main sections too?
  • how will you highlight new products?
  • what type of voucher codes can be used – can they be product-specific, or can you exclude certain products & categories? Can voucher codes be applied to delivery charges? Where does the voucher code redemption box appear? (You need customers who have a code to be able to find it, but you don’t want to distract customers from completing the transaction)
  • what type of multibuy or “gift with purchase” offers are possible and how can these be communicated?

2. Stock management

  • does the ecommerce platform give a stock monitoring solution?
  • do you continue to show products which are out of stock, or hide them?
  • if a product is available in more than one size / colour etc. how will you denote which sizes/ colours are available?
  • can you automatically show a “low stock” message (a good call to action)
  • do you show availability on the product summary page? You don’t want to appear to have poor availability, but equally you don’t want to annoy customers when they click onto a product page and find the product is unavailable.
  • what would happen if all the products within a category are out of stock – how flexible is the menu and or product categorisation?

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