Online Store Software

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Selecting the right online store software is a critical part of making a success of an e-commerce venture. The e-commerce software one chooses to partner with is every bit as important as the actual goods and services being sold on one's e-commerce site. "Partner with" is a specific choice of words here, too. E-commerce software is essentially the architect of the information it houses. It will have a direct impact on the success of an online venture.

Information Architecture: Build From the Inside Out

The best advice a new online store owner can take is to consider how the software works before they make a decision on how it looks. Flashy graphics can actually be an enemy if the look of the site overwhelms the usability. There is a great debate right now on the Web about what is essentially a design crisis on the Web. Looks are getting all the attention from young designers, with functionality being given second class status.

The coolest looking stove in the world is no good if you can't turn the burner on, or control the heat. A cool-looking chair you can't sit in for more than five minutes because it's so uncomfortable is worthless. Flashing, dancing graphics, endless drop down menus, and dance-club light and sound effects may actually turn customers away if in the midst of all the noise and light they can't find a search feature.

The look of a website can always be made more attractive after ensuring that it's easy to navigate. Rather than coo over the dancing baby, identify programs that allow for easy navigation within the site. Make sure the software allows for super-fast downloads of information. Make sure links are easy to identify and utilize by consumers. Make sure consumers can find what they're looking for by providing them with search features that deliver accurate, descriptive results. In other words, strive for function, function, function. Templates and custom solutions can always be introduced later to jazz up the appearance. After all, it's premature to paint the walls before you install the doors, or to install the cool jacuzzi tub before you've installed the plumbing. Build your online store from the inside out and you'll build an online store that lasts.

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