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With the all of the options available, one has to consider what technology the 'perfect' e-commerce site would need. 

If building a site from scratch instead of inheriting a site which is performing at a respectable level where would you start and what would define the perfect site?

The perfect site to so many of us based on industry and consumer needs would be vastly different to what we would have delivered five years ago.  

Five years ago we would have reached out to ensure that we could transact, add some rotate and zoom, have a few currencies on the site, have a reasonable amount of our product range online and of course be relatively fast.

However, today’s perfect site would encompass so much more and is probably still a dream away, bearing in mind many companies have let their site become relatively stale and would need large investment to bring them up to date.  

So what is the perfect site?  

After working in e-commerce for a fair few years now and for some great companies I have put together a wishlist of what a perfect site encompasses and some of the technologies I would be implementing if given the joy of building from scratch with what would need to be a very large budget. 

  • A secure and stable platform that is adaptable and very modular allowing for future technology to be built in as needed.
  • Fast, Fast and even faster. Only a site with page load times of less than one second should be acceptable.
  • Socially integrated allowing full sharing capabilities, across all social platforms.
  • Statistically primed linked into only the best analytics programs.
  • Integrated into a full CRM package that cross communicates between all communication packages.
  • Content review technology, allowing for all content to be rated and commented upon, why stop at product.
  • Dynamically aware and forward thinking, targeting as accurately as possible, as customers view the site.
  • Voice controlled providing voice navigation to shop, browse and view content.
  • Communication savvy identifying consumer behaviour and re-targeting via social, PPC, SMS, email, push, etc.
  • Mood enhanced based on visitor time zones, seasons and previous shopping behaviour.
  • Easy CMS system, allowing full management using simple upload process.
  • User defined content enabling consumers and browsers to build pages in the way they would like to see content displayed, rather than being given it how we want it presenting.
  • Internationally aware, incorporating international payment methods and relevant social media sites.
  • Data feed construction within the CMS system providing speedy resolves to lengthy product feeds.
  • Mobile technology ready and aware.

As demonstrated above not every feature available on the market is built in to the “perfect site” but the ones that are all focus around one major area, social interaction and consumer usability.  

Engaging with the consumer should be the purpose of any site build, the basics of web design are still fundamental in what we do, social media and consumer participation will be the make or break for e-commerce over the coming years.

So  the dream site is available and the budget is no problem, which companies do you consider using?  

The question is probably easier to answer when reversed: which companies should I steer clear of? Without naming names which would, (let’s be honest, is very easy to do) we should consider when scoping a new supplier: 

  • What's the supplier's track record of social media, what is their social media strategy for your company?
  • Does its software integrate with social packages?
  • Can the user control partially what they see and does the system allow dynamic content following?
  • Will the CMS system allow for the integration of social feeds?
  • Can the analytics software monitor in depth the communication touch points?
  • Is there a trade of in speed because of increased functionality?
  • Does everything you implement improve customer experience and journey? 

Whilst the above is my “perfect site” there are three key projects that need to be undertaken prior to venturing into the world of e-commerce re-design or indeed the launch of a fully transactional platform.

  • Develop online strategy for the next three years, broken down into quarterly segments.
  • Create a comprehensive functional requirement of all integrations and technologies, which will help define strategy for online and digital marketing.
  • Generate a digital marketing strategy for the next three years including full program development.
Lee Carpenter-Johnson

Published 1 April, 2011 by Lee Carpenter-Johnson

Lee Carpenter-Johnson is a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter

3 more posts from this author

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Matt Clark

Matt Clark, Analytics / CRO Consultant at Userflow

"Voice controlled"!? Happy April fools day!

over 5 years ago

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Andy Heaps, Operations Director at Epiphany

"voice Control" aside, you could probably write an entire post on each of the points you mentioned.

Just a few comments on your points - while page load time is important I wouldn't restrict other usability features (such as greater image galleries, behavioural targeting features etc) if the benefits of those are likely to outweigh the negative of a slightly longer load time.

The ability to split test pages and roll out winning designs quickly and easily is a must, as is the ability to get any related 3rd party code on the site to allow you to do so.

And finally I'm sure that "SEO friendly" is such an obvious one that you just forgot to include it ;)

over 5 years ago

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Gabriel

Great summary and to the point. can't agree more with you on it. however, marketers needs to focus there briefs on the points they need and return they expect. this is the most challenging job. ;)

thanks,

over 5 years ago

Jake Brumby

Jake Brumby, Managing Director at Mr Monkey Limited

Voice controlled? Assuming it worked as the user intended (an enormous assumption) that would be revolutionary.

over 5 years ago

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Albie

The 'perfect' site is one that best caters for the imperfect reality of the trading and merchandising teams managing it. Rather than a generic blueprint of 'bells & whistles' look to specify requirements that allow you to deal with the big issues like product management, order processing & fulfillment, promotions etc with the team at your disposal.

over 5 years ago

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Mustafa Ahmed, Founder & CEO at Ascend E-VenturesSmall Business

one that makes the 'first' time visitor (like, share or bookmark it). Then after the like, share, etc the site has to be strong return visitor numbers. I also think that the perfect site is the one that majority of the people want to visit 'first' when getting on the web.

over 5 years ago

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Grant

Great list, now all that is needed are some links to software/product options that can fulfil even some of these desires.

So far, I've not encountered one single eCommerce solution that is user friendly and powerful at the same time.

over 5 years ago

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Easy Webs

Creating a great e-commerce site definately isn't rocket science. However, you really need to get to know your users and what makes them tick. This can have fundamental implications on the design and functionality.

Of course, the key ingredient to making your ecommerce site successful is having a highly targeted and efficient online marketing campaign. Sending loads of traffic to the site may increase visitor numbers, but sending the wrong type of traffic can have disastrous effect on conversion rates. It's not all about high traffic, it's more about the right traffic!

over 5 years ago

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Rtml guru, ceo at Rtml guru

Great summary, Producing a great e commerce site definitely is not rocket science. you need to get to know your users and what makes them tick. This can have essential implications on the design and functionality.

over 2 years ago

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