This post addresses the different web site needs of different companies. The companies are fictitious, but the advice is not.
When it comes to designing websites for e-commerce clients, the client’s products and potential audience must direct the design. These aspects of the business will help the designer decide which elements to emphasize and which to avoid. Additionally, each site should have at least one feature that really adds value for the intended audience. All of these aspects come together to create a unique design tailored to the individual e-business.
Howard’s Chess Sets sells custom-design, hand-carved chess sets. This website is focused on selling chess sets to customers. The website needs to sell the sets while emphasizing their uniqueness. Obviously, a site of this kind will include a shopping cart so that users can purchase pre-made chess sets. Additionally, customers may want the ability to special order a custom set. For example Howard’s Chess Sets may offer different kinds of wood, different models for the pieces, or even themed sets. To enable these special orders, the website should include a special order form that allows the user to describe what they want. Additionally, the form should collect the customer’s contact information since further discussions will certainly be necessary. Regardless, the main focus of the site must remain on selling chess sets.
Sell a product online is not the intention of Whalen Clean and Tidy. This company provides cleaning services to local office buildings. Whalen’s potential customers do not expect to purchase services online. Instead, they expect to find contact information and some way to estimate the cost of the service. Therefore, Whalen should focus on selling the quality and affordability of their service via the website. The main attraction for potential customers should be a cost estimator that lets them determine an estimated price based on various factors including office size, numbers, etc. The estimator will make it clear that this is only an estimate, and the true cost of the service can not be determined without an in-office consultation.
Finally, Dea’s Downline is a cosmetics business that employs 30 salespeople. All of the salespeople work from their home, and Dea receives a percentage of their sales. Dea website needs can best be described as an employee portal. To the unauthorized visitor, the site merely talks about the cosmetics available and may provide contact information. The true power of the site is only realized by salespeople when the log in. They are presented with a personalized site that gives them necessary sales information, as well as statistics regarding their own sales. Finally, the portal gives Dea the ability to communicate with her salespeople securely. This sort of employee portal is not uncommon. In 2007, the non-profit organization One Economy used a collaboration software called Clearspace to improve the interaction of its worldwide employee base (Kho, 2007).
Kho, N. (2007, October). A Case of Connecting Busy Bees. EContent, 30(8), 52-54. Retrieved November 10, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.
Rayport, J. F., & Jaworski, B. J. (2004). Introduction to e-commerce (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.