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A Good Sales Template

6-01-2014, 04:00

There aren't many things that can ruin a shopping experience like a messy store. If products are disorganized and displays are unattractive or incomplete, then customers aren’t likely to stay long – and the less time they spend in your store, the less likely you are to make a sale. This doesn’t just apply to brick and mortar locations, either. Whether you’re selling made to order handbags or college textbooks printed in bulk, the presentation of your online store is more important than ever.

Don’t Be Afraid to Keep It Simple

When it comes to designing an online store, there are hundreds of pre-designed website templates to choose from that are just waiting for your brand’s special touch. Starting from scratch may seem like the most "professional” route, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using a template you like and modifying it to suit your needs. Andrew Youderian of had this to say about using templates for an online store : "I don’t care what world-class graphics designers say; you do not need a fancy $5,000 custom-built template to do well with eCommerce.”

Anatomy of a Good Template

Website templates come in thousands of different styles, but not all are created equal. Often, even two templates created by the same web designer will have dramatically different strengths and weaknesses, and understanding what you need is integral to selecting the right template for your business. Using a template is a great way to get our site up fast, according to Graphic Design Blender, and allows you to not only keep aesthetics in mind, but have a working formula to follow. Change out the colors, banners and logos to make it your own, and you could have your store up and running before the competition has even finished its beta template.

Here are a few things to keep an eye out for in an eCommerce site template:

  1. Clear navigation. If you’re not code-savvy enough to change the style and location of your site navigation yourself, make sure you choose a template that already has a clear, easy to locate menu for your customers. Navigation should be the most static thing on your website – no dramatic style shifts and no changes in location from page to page. Surfing an eCommerce site with confusing navigation is like walking into the Mall of America and finding that someone has painted over all the maps.

  2. Products on the home page. A list or slideshow of your newest or best-selling products is a must. Make sure the template you choose has the option for either a live slideshow, a thumbnail grid of most recent or best-selling products, or both for your home page.

  3. Avoid distraction. While that template with animated sparkles on all the headers might seem like a great way to keep your customers’ attention (especially if you’re selling jewelry), you might want to think twice before making the choice. Try to avoid anything that can pull your customers away from the real star of the shop, your products.

  4. Colors and customization. Make sure that the template you select allows for customization of things like color, branding and so on. A simple, clean template may look perfect, but it won’t do you much good if you can’t put your logo and brand colors in there before you launch the site. Your online store should be copacetic with the rest of your branding, using the same general color scheme, logos and styling as you use everywhere else. If you want a change of image, you’d better be prepared to carry that change through your social media, business cards, invoices and everything else connected to your brand.

If you’re brand new to eCommerce and just setting up shop for the first time, be sure to give everything a little extra attention. IF you choose a template, choose one as close to "finished” as you can, and spend the extra time making it yours. Getting your shop up fast might be important, but getting it launched right means just as much.

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