The traditional brick-and-mortar shops are slowly becoming a thing of the past, with Ecommerce websites leading the charge when it comes to retail purchases. Ecommerce is now serious business, meaning small business owners need to think about how they can create the best possible online retail experience for their customers.
Just as brick-and-mortar shops need to worry about floor plans and visual merchandising, online retailers need to pay close attention to the layout, design and usability of their Ecommerce store if they want to make the best impression to potential customers.
For business owners who want to take their website and sales to the next level, opting for a custom designed Ecommerce store is the only way.
Unfortunately, templates just won’t cut it when it comes to creating high-quality online shops.
If you’re still asking yourself whether you should take the plunge into the world of custom designed Ecommerce, read our article about the 6 reasons why you should…and then we’ll ask you again.
1. It Lends Your Online Store Credibility
Unfortunately, the old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply when it comes to online retailers. Beauty is, after all, skin deep. This means it’s crucial to create an Ecommerce store that is not only user-friendly, but also aesthetically pleasing to your potential customers.
Chances are, they’ll be purchasing a product from you that they hope will help better their own appearance, such as clothing, skincare products or protein powder, so if your website looks good this can give the impression that your products will make your customers look good too!
A study completed by Standford University revealed that 46% of users judged a site’s credibility on looks alone, especially “the appeal of the overall visual design… including layout, typography, font size, and colour schemes.”
This proves that when browsing for goods online, people really do buy with their eyes. They can’t try on the product they’re interested in, or test a sample as they might in store – so all they have to go by is the design of your website.
Don’t sell yourself short by choosing a visually underwhelming and aesthetically disappointing template for your Ecommerce store. If your website is unattractive, chances are your customers will think your products are too.
2. It Helps You Build Your Brand
The visual components of your website, such as the colour scheme, typography and image choice, not only lend your products credibility, but also serve to create a certain image around your brand.
By developing a strong brand for your product on your Ecommerce site, you can better attract the kind of customers you’re hoping to sell to.
For example, if you sell edgy, original clothing for young women, you can use custom design to create an online space that best represents what it is you’re selling. This helps to establish a particular style surrounding your business and is more likely to hold the attention of young women who may be searching for new clothes and happen to land on your page.
When it comes to this level of specificity, a template Ecommerce store isn’t even in the same league as custom design.
3. It Creates Better Usability for Customers
Just like a brick-and-mortar store, if your shop is hard to navigate, chances are you’re losing potential customers by the second. Custom designed Ecommerce stores typically allow for the best customer browsing experience, allowing a first time visitor to feel at home as they peruse through your products and navigate their way through your site.
Think about it. If you walked into a real shop that was a jumbled mess, with a confusing shelving system that made searching for the item you wanted difficult, chances are you’d walk out pretty quickly. Well, your online store is no different.
If you’re working from a template-based system, which are often poorly coded, your customers might encounter navigation difficulties. They also might experience slow loading times, which significantly increases the likelihood of shopper abandonment.
4. Aids in Mobile Compatibility
These days, so much online shopping is done while people are on the go and people expect the ease of buying to be at their fingertips. This means having an Ecommerce store that’s compatible with mobile phones and tablets is crucial for any business owner hoping to make their mark selling online.
If a customer lands on your site hoping to purchase one of your products, but can’t view your site properly in their browser, they’ll likely move on to the next Ecommerce store without even giving yours a second thought.
When it comes to template vs. custom design, there is no competition when it comes to mobile compatibility. With the former, mobile compatibility isn’t necessarily a guarantee, and is likely to be inferior to that which could be achieved using a custom designed site.
Having a mobile compatible site will also assist in increasing your visibility on search engines. Google factors mobile device compatibility into their algorithm and has stated outright that mobile-responsive sites will receive better rankings.
5. Helps to Increase Your Visibility
It can be a dog-eat-dog world out there in the online world, so when it comes to your Ecommerce store you want to give yourself the best chance of being found. This can be done with the use of effective, well-established SEO content, something which is often lacking in template-based websites.
SEO ensures you website’s content is created with targeted keywords in mind to enhance its visibility to search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, which can significantly improve your search ratings and help you move your way up through the search engine rankings.
6. Allows You to Stand Out from the Crowd
Chances are you’re facing a lot of competition as a business owner and standing out from the crowd can seem like an impossible task. Opting for a custom designed Ecommerce store allows you to do just this.
With such a wide range of colours, layouts, typefaces, logos and designs available to custom designed sites, businesses using templates are likely to be lost amongst the masses.
Make sure you don’t get caught being a needle in a haystack!
If you do choose to use a template, be warned that there could be numerous other sites using your exact same template, making your store look generic and potentially harming your credibility.
When it comes to choosing between a template or custom Ecommerce store, there really is no competition. While a template may seem like a quick and cheap alternative, it provides a very limited room in which you can grow and develop your business.
Alternatively, custom design will give you and your business a strong foundation from which to work from. You will be able to better establish your businesses personal brand and style, stand out from the pack and will likely experience increased sales as a result of better website visibility and mobile compatibility.
So, what’ll it be? Template or Custom?