Tons of merchants get their stores off of the ground with design templates offered by their shopping cart software. For startups on a very limited budget, templates are inexpensive way to create a professional-looking store with navigation and custom brand elements. They’re typically inexpensive. And strong software platforms have tons of them.
Once your store has found some success, you may find yourself with a little more budget to spend towards creating your own website design. Working with a professional designer or design team gives you a variety of benefits, including:
- A totally unique design that sets your store apart from others like it
- A chance to customize the flow and navigation of your website based on customer feedback
- A strong opportunity to flesh out your brand, creating something that resonates even stronger with your customers
- The ability to customize your homepage to feature promotions and other advanced marketing tactics
These are just a few of the opportunities you get with a professional design. Working with designers isn’t a process you should go into blindly, though. Here are a couple of guidelines to ensure a good working relationship between you and your design team.
Take a look at their past work.
Always ask for a portfolio when you choose your designer. That way, you can get a feel for his or her style and decide whether or not they’re a good fit for your brand.
Judging a designer based on past work is important because it establishes a basis for trust.
Trust the designers…
You’re putting their site in your hands. Come to the table with an understanding of your audience, but leave any visual notions at the door. Your designer knows what makes a strong store design; trust him to make the right decisions, rather than assuming you know better.
…But don’t withhold feedback.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a say in the final product, of course. Most designers offer some level of revision. Offer your criticism but make sure to point out the positives, too.
Remember that usability is the key.
Flashy design isn’t always the endgame when it comes to design. In fact, it’s most important that shoppers have a clear path between the product and the checkout process. A sleek design is important, but simpler is always better.