Creating a Better Performing Magento Enterprise Site by Design

Over the course of our experience, we've found there are generally two types of merchants: those who understand the importance of design and those who will. Site design—which encompasses visual design, user experience, and even content—helps to implicitly and explicitly establish customer trust. It helps define your brand and differentiate it from the competition, and there's no shortage of that. To help merchants get the most out of their Magento Enterprise Edition investment, we've put together a list of some key areas for you to consider when building or upgrading your eCommerce channel.

Custom Interface Design

One of our favorite aspects of Magento Enterprise Edition is the complete control the platform offers in terms of customizing the look and feel of a site. When it comes to the visual look and user interface, the sky's the limit, and this is a major advantage of the platform. Sure, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of prepackaged themes available, but your business and brand are unique. Every aspect of your site design should reflect that. The key is to "conform the website to the content, rather than conforming the content to a predetermined layout," says Bryan Herhold, Front-End Team Lead and certified Magento Developer at Gorilla Group. Take advantage of the flexibility that Magento Enterprise Edition affords, and make your eCommerce channel truly yours.

Design for the Experience

Conversion is the primary goal of any eCommerce business, but there’s more than one way to get there. For instance, a multi-channel retailer competing primarily on price and service may be most concerned with design that gets customers to add products to their cart and through checkout as quickly as possible. Whereas, a brand manufacturer may need design that places more importance on demonstrating their product’s quality, or building community and brand loyalty, in order to meet their customer’s needs and expectations. Finding the right place within this spectrum of experiences influences both primary conversion events (sales) and secondary events (signups, shares, reviews, in-store visits, etc.).

Design Specifically for Your Users

Merchants spend a lot of time and effort scrutinizing site analytics and other data, and these findings should drive site design decisions. When you know who your customers are and what they're doing on your site, you can use that information to make adjustments like creating multiple paths to product discovery to accommodate different types of shoppers, or implementing Solr search to provide enhanced search capabilities. Just as you have many types of customers, Magento Enterprise Edition has many ways you can get them to convert.

Design for Site Performance

Site performance plays a significant role in shaping the overall customer experience and in effective SEO as well. Consumers are too impatient and have too many other options to tolerate a site that lags, and so do search engines. Design is a critical factor in site performance, and is often judged on its ability to perform. "Design decisions on functionality should be made carefully, particularly in key areas of the site that are already resource intensive, such as the homepage, product listing page, cart and checkout," said Ethan Smith, Creative Director at Gorilla Group.

Design concepts need to consider the underlying eCommerce platform, and all the technical implications that come with it. That's why it helps to work with a Magento Solution Partner that truly understands Magento Enterprise Edition, inside and out. For example, a partner would know functionality like the full-page caching feature significantly boosts performance by reducing server response time and load, but needs to be implemented as part of a complete solution. Ultimately, design should work in tandem with development to ensure the site not only looks great, but performs just as well.

Multiple Platforms & Devices

Mobile sales are rising at a breakneck pace, and eMarketer is forecasting that 25% of all eCommerce transactions will take place via mobile by 2016. The time to implement a cohesive, multi-channel strategy is now. Site design must take the context of the experience across multiple device types and platforms into account. There are a number of approaches available to merchants. They can create standalone desktop sites coupled with a mobile optimized site and smartphone apps, or they can take a more holistic approach and opt for a site built using responsive design. Responsive design is a framework that uses a single design and development instance to create intentional user experiences across devices. And the flexibility of Magento Enterprise Edition makes it an ideal platform to implement with this approach.

Content Considerations

Ignore site content at your own peril. Visual design sets the mood and elicits an emotional response. Good UX makes products easily accessible. Content sells. Of course, the products still have to be great, but stumble in how you deliver content to your customers—from copy to user-generated comments, and imagery and graphics to video—and the entire business suffers.

Ignore site content at your own peril. Visual design sets the mood and elicits an emotional response. Good UX makes products easily accessible. Content sells. Of course, the products still have to be great, but stumble in how you deliver content to your customers—from copy to user-generated comments, and imagery and graphics to video—and the entire business suffers.

Magento Enterprise Edition empowers online and multichannel merchants. Match that with a site design that empowers your customers, and you'll be on the path to continued—and greater—success.

About the Author: Combining award-winning website design, development, strategy, post-launch managed services and hosting, Gorilla delivers innovative ecommerce solutions to B2B and direct-to-consumer brands across industries. A Magento Gold Solution partner headquartered in Chicago, Gorilla has unmatched expertise creating unique, functional shopping experiences that connect brands with their customers, producing better ROI through the digital channel. That's why Gorilla is a Smarter Species of Commerce. www.gorillagroup.com

Learn More about Enterprise Edition