Empathy is, bar-none, the most powerful aspect of e-commerce design. Yes, I’m really talking about getting in touch with feelings. Not yours—your customer’s.

Get past any reservations about being touchy-feely and remember that the buying process is, at its core, emotional. The less a customer cares, the less they buy. Anything you can do to make a design emote in an authentic, engaging manner is going to pay off.

Good design makes use of lines, colors, shapes, space, and even texture to evoke emotions. On every page layout of your store, ask this question: “What do I want the customer to do here, and how can the design influence that action?” In other words, how can you visually convince the customer that taking that action benefits them, and not just you?

If your checkout process is muddled and confusing for customers, they’re gone. If your merchandising graphics don’t explain why your products will benefit people, forget it. If no one knows how to navigate your site in an intuitive manner, you’re sunk.

Why should a customer buy from you versus the other guy? Design should answer that question.

Everything has to be designed with the customer in mind, and that’s less of a no-brainer statement than you’d think. Design is often compromised by what a merchant or developer thought would be cool, instead of what the customer clearly needs.

On the other end of the spectrum, design can sadly be informed by what’s easy or cheap. Short-cutting the customer experience in order to make things easier or less-expensive will end up costing you a lot more in the long run.
Invest in your what thrills your customers, or pay the price later.

Dig deep and show some love. Empathize with your customer, and you’ll dominate your market.

– Eric Yonge
CEO and Creative Director, EYStudios