When researching the best web design for your e-commerce business, you likely know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of pre-made website templates available. Some of those website templates are even free, or drag and drop website companies lure you with their vast library of templates (for a price, of course).
Given this mountain of ready-made website templates, it can be easy to become enamored with the quick and easy process of getting your e-commerce website up and running in minutes.
However, generic web design templates for e-commerce businesses are a glossy veneer, hiding a stale, overused, and overpriced replica of thousands of other websites.
Besides avoiding the sloppy seconds of web design, here are ten benefits of custom web design for your e-commerce business:
Presentation is everything. Remember, you only get one shot to make a good first impression. The last thing you want to portray in that first impression is that you are just like everyone else.
An e-commerce website needs a few different things to be considered legitimate:
References are important, both off and on the internet. However, when running an e-commerce business, trust and the means of forging that trust determine your site’s success or failure.
So, it is important to include these trust badges in your custom web design:
Always keep in mind that your potential customers are ordering from you online. Therefore, the decision whether they should invest in your product or not is entirely dependant on the description you give them. Your pictures, descriptions, and presentation are all your customers have to find your product safe and noteworthy enough to purchase.
You want to make sure they know what they are getting and how it will be received before they hit send.
The internet never sleeps. Whether your potential customer is just a night owl or looking at your product from a completely different timezone, you need to show them you care about their questions and issues.
The best way to show them how to do this is by offering 24/7 customer service. This dedication means that you (or someone) will always be available to answer questions and provide guidance.
However, beyond these processes of legitimacy, customers want an experience that is uniquely yours.
If your e-commerce website gets built with a cookie-cutter template, you present oppressive conformity that undermines your business authority from the foundation up.
Branding is the key to setting yourself apart from the competition. Regardless of what you sell, chances are the internet has seen it before. Yet, the way you brand your products and present them is (or should be) completely your own.
Sadly, when you use a template, you are not building your brand. You are promoting someone else’s brand.
If you choose to create a custom web design for your e-commerce business, you have complete control over your brand’s presentation, functionality, and accessibility.
Without this triad of control, you will always limit yourself to the capabilities and imagination of another person’s interpretation of how your brand should look, feel, and function.
Opting for a custom web design for your e-commerce business means that you will have genuinely customizable options.
Here are just a few of the customizable options that can be tailormade for your website with a custom design:
While the navigation bar is the bare-bones of a website, it is amazing how many templates limit this essential item’s functionality.
The navigation bar plays a crucial role in your e-commerce site, and when you cannot brand it properly, you are letting a key opportunity for uniqueness slip away more with every mouse click.
A floating cart is an option that replaces the common cart on an e-commerce website, allowing shoppers to hover over their cart, regardless of the page they are on, and see what’s inside.
This option is particularly useful for websites with different color and size variants throughout their items. However, any e-commerce website can benefit from this option, which is not likely available through a template design.
An e-commerce business opens you up to the world. Globalization means that when you get big enough, whether it is within your country or abroad, it could be beneficial to have multiple location shipping.
Multiple location shipping offers different physical locations from which your customers can ship their products. With these other locations come individualized shipping costs, timeliness, and convenience for your customers.
Plus, people always feel more comfortable with packages that come from closer to their homes. So, giving them that option through custom web design can mean the difference between gaining or losing a customer.
Offering a wish list for your customer is nice because it is convenient to store items in categories throughout your shop.
However, wish lists are even better for you because it solidifies specific items that customer finds interesting. Therefore, you can cultivate targeted marketing propositions particular to items they chose.
Of course, this list is only a sample of the customization capabilities inherent in creating your web design. There is no substitute for giving your customers precisely what they need following your particular brand.
If you use a template instead of opting for custom web design, you will never fully own the whole of your e-commerce business.
Yes, your name and the branding you can squeak out of the template will be yours, but when someone else builds the foundation of your e-commerce website, can it ever really be yours?
There is an exclusivity issue, but there is also a problematic degree of control that the template creators hold over your head.
Specifically, they control the updates and have low-key control of your site. If the sands do not shift in favor of the template developer, they or the platform they signed with could pull the template. That would leave you without a foundation for your website, which could cost you an excessive amount of emergency funds to rectify.
Sure, this isn’t likely, but it is possible when you give that kind of control to a source so far removed from your business interests.
Success is dependant on providing a unique customer experience. Ultimately, many people can have the same e-commerce store you are building (especially if you use a template).
However, what sets everyone apart is the unique customer experience. You want to give your customers a million reasons to buy your product from you instead of the other person, while still making money, of course.
To provide that experience, you need to give them a custom experience that offers unique and interesting designs, branding, and content.
Building an information architecture within your brand is essential to gaining and retaining customers. Given the vast array of e-commerce business options, customers rightfully want to buy from the best.
The way to show them that you are the best is through sharing information. You should weave relevant and industry information throughout your website. So, customers can come to your brand to learn, gain industry insight and purchase your products.
Unfortunately, just being a good salesperson with good products is no longer the only ingredient to a successful e-commerce recipe.
If you create a custom website design, you will have the ability to keep reinforcing your authority throughout your site.
After establishing your authority and expertise, you need to reinforce it continually. You don’t want to let your information become stale because your customers will look elsewhere for a more regularly informed authority.
Here are a few ideas to keep reinforcing your authority and expertise:
Scaling a business comes with time. When your e-commerce site takes off and you are thinking about scaling the company, you won’t have time to worry about whether your website can handle the heights you wish to achieve.
Therefore, you want to start out knowing the scaling capabilities of your initial website. The only way to know the limits of your site’s capabilities for sure is to build a custom web design for your e-commerce business.
Otherwise, you are at the mercy of a sales gimmick, which you won’t know the true validity of until it comes time to expand. By that time, though, they would have already gotten your money and your business. Thus, there isn’t much you can do if their scalability claims end up being little more than sales pitch fodder.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical part of creating a website and ranking well in search engines.
Unfortunately for those who choose to build their e-commerce site from a template, search engines don’t like a site’s key components to mimic other sites. While most people think that this pertains exclusively to content, that assumption is wrong. If your website’s metadata matches another website, your rank could be negatively affected by that other website.
If you use a custom web design for your e-commerce business, your website will grow with your business. Not only will your website effectively scale with your business, but the day-to-day functionality will grow with your business.
Using a custom web design, you will set a strong and unique foundation for your website, which will only require minor tweaks, with fewer upgrades as you grow. Instead of eventually going through a big brand revamping, which is common when businesses get too big for their templates, you will never need to worry about how your business’s evolution will impact your e-commerce website.
In summation, using custom web design is the only option for building a diverse, scalable, authoritative e-commerce business. While the ease and perceived diversity of e-commerce website templates can be alluring, it is the proverbial poison apple for your business. Pre-made templates might look inviting, but partaking will ensure your slow and painful descent into monotony, which will eventually abolish your e-commerce business into obscurity.
So, to give your brand a fighting chance in the massive sea of e-commerce businesses, invest in custom website design.