There are seven design elements - 7Cs - that you should considered when creating a website intended for e-commerce. Customers shop online for several reasons; the most important is the convenience, cost, steep discounts & offers, large selection and the allure of control over their purchases. This gives companies an even greater imperative to create a website that will drive traffic to their website, appeal to their target markets, and create a lasting experience that will create return customers.
- Context: A website's layout and overall visual design needs to be uncluttered, easy to read and navigate, the color scheme needs to be appropriate for the marketing design. Having some white space will also aid in the overall design and readability. You may look at Julie Gichuru’s mimi.co.ke for an idea here.
- Commerce: If the website is intended for commercial transactions, then it has to be safe, secure and user information kept private. This is such an important factor especially in Kenya where people haven’t embraced the idea of buying online. Secondly you MUST keep your promise; how long does it take you to deliver? Handle complaints?
- Connection: Any links that lead the customer away from the website aren’t good. The bounce rate of the site increases when your site has external links. You may connect the website though to other pages on the website, other company sites and to other channels/ digital assets you own as a company eg Mobile Apps. There are also some sites that choose to include links to press they have received which is okay, though I’d advice let that be at the bottom.
- Communication : How the company talks to its customers ; this can be done through signing up for special offers, email newsletters, contests, surveys, live chat with company representatives, and company contact information. You can also add social media buttons; embed a Twitter feed and such. Key thing here is, have some to read, respond and assist customers who need information ASAP on your social media channels.
- Content: The text, graphics, sound, music, and/or videos that are presented. Make it visual, clear and precise. If you are selling technical stuff, it’s advisable you add model numbers, version, and specifications and above all do not forget the PRICE. Furthermore you may add any after sale service you offer, shipping or such. Do ensure this information isn’t cluttered though.
- Community: The website may allow interaction between customers through message boards and live chat. You may also consider having a company blog that offers information about your company, advice, DIY tips, FAQ’s, product reviews in the press and showcases the funky side of your business.
- Customization: Companies can allow customers to personalize aspects of the website or it may tailor itself to different users, for example having different colors and graphics for people.