Our Zen Cart Design Philosophy
- Keep it clean
- Keep it fast
- Keep it e-commerce ready
- Keep the template selling!
E-commerce is image intensive to start with because of the necessity of showing products. Also, with a complicated e-commerce scripts such as Zen Cart, there's more load time than a static site with just paypal buttons. So that forms our philosphy:
Keep it clean
A lot of "stuff," a site that's "busy" looking, a lot of color, a lot of images for template design only and site animations - all of that can be distracting to the visitor. The purpose of your site is to sell. So make that the driving force for your template - clean so that your customers focus on what's for sale.
Also, this means a short header. As you navigate the web, start noticing what the big sites are doing like Victoria's Secret and Wal-mart. Tiny headers, small logos - leaving more space "above the fold" to catch the visitor's attention immediately.
Keep it fast
That means use as few images as possible in your design. Take a look at this example that we sell and use as the basis for much of our template work. Now go look at that same template customized for another customer. In both cases, only the logo and a couple of small images were used to create the look. The rest is done with CSS - styling that doesn't require images. That always speeds up load time!
Keep it e-commerce ready
Get ready, get set, sell! No splash pages, no home pages without immediate access to products, just a site that is ready to sell. Add the shopping cart to the header and you're off.
Whoa, not so fast! One more thing, what about trust? Your visitors have to have some visual clues and sometimes proof that your site is safe to buy from. So a sidebox featuring your secure certificate provider or your merchant processor (authorize.net has a free clickable seal!). Tell them what methods of payment you take. Put it up high - on the left is easiest - let them know from the first moment that you can be trusted. Take a look at the Zen Cart Delia store for an example.
Keep the template selling
Contemplating a change? Ask yourself one question, "Will this change increase my sales?" Not sure? Well, then maybe the change isn't needed. There are all sorts of things you can do to your site but that does not mean you should. Make changes based on increasing efficiency of the site or your business and increasing sales.