Why Ecommerce Is Not Just Any Ordinary Website

Ecommerce is much more than just a pretty visual of the shop front.

It’s about the system. Repeat after me, it’s about the system.

And an ecommerce website is not just any old website that has an add-on ecommerce capability either. Of course that can be done but why reinvent the wheel when there’s a full, robust system that can do much more?

People seem to think a beautiful shop front is all there is to ecommerce.

Oh yes, design the shop front, connect to a payment processor and that’s it.

Many times, we’ve been called to help, especially when print designers who don’t have technical know-how or web design know-how, try to translate what they know of print design and try to design a virtual shop front for ecommerce.

They design the front end of the ecommerce shop (or what we in the industry calls the ‘skin’) but have no clue how to make the whole ecommerce shop work! Many times too people sketch out what they want for their ‘ecommerce shop’ and expect the backend/programming to follow how it looks on the front.

The truth is, it’s NOT done this way at all.

It’s like trying to design the car without considering where the car engine should go or how the car engine must work.

What they get is an empty shell of an ecommerce site that’s designed to be pretty as pretty can be but like a mannequin, it’s not real and it sure as heck does not work.

What’s Different About Ecommerce Sites?

Because an ecommerce site is totally different from your average website.

For one, you need it to be rock solid secure.


Because you are an online retailer and you are accepting credit cards online.

Make that your customers’ credit cards.

You need to have a system that’s safe and sound so that your customers’ credit card details are not intercepted when they’re sent as bits and bytes out to the payment processor.

Because if the security is compromised (in plain vanilla terms, it means mischievous hackers can and will steal data like that if given half the chance), no customer will ever want to shop at your store ever again.

Will Your Customers Buy?

Aside this, your ecommerce site must be able to convince customers to buy. You don’t just want people to visit your site and look around but never buy.

Now think about your favourite supermarket.

What makes it special and what makes it easy for you to buy?

Quality products of various brands?

Attentive store assistants?

Good shelf layout so you can see the products you want?

Smooth transition from the car park to the supermarket and vice-versa?

Wide aisles so you don’t have to squeeze past other shoppers?

Great lighting so you can read food labels and see what you buy correctly?

Easy to get information because you can tap the store assistants for more demos?

Now imagine your own ecommerce store. The same criteria applies.

It must re-create that exceptional shopping experience for your own customers. Of course you don’t have aisles or store assistants.

But you do have the products, you do have the layout and much more. In fact, you are now selling to people who cannot touch, see, hear or smell your products.

How do you get them excited?

How can you re-create that shopping experience so that your customers return again and again to buy and heartily recommend your online store to others?

That’s why you need to bank on having the right “Buy” buttons on the right pages, the right 2-step or 3-step process to checkout, clear product information where it matters most, easy registration for buyers, recognition of repeat customers, a way to help you minimize labour-intensive work and much more.

So you see, it’s not just about sloppily slapping together a pretty e-shop front.

The major mistake most web designers (actually they are designers who design for print but their boss just added on another job function – design websites and design ecommerce sites too) make is that they start with the design first and forget about the ecommerce system. Or they don’t know there’s actually a system!

It is the system that drives the online store. When you design a lovely shopfront first without understanding how the ecommerce system works, you’re in deep trouble. And so’s your customer.

What does this all come down to? It’s about the system and ecommerce is not like an ordinary website. It never was, in the first place!

Redbox Studio is here to help you get started easily with affordable ecommerce shops. Contact us for details.

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