February 11, 2010, 12:00 AM

Small steps can lead to big improvements, web design expert says

A common misconception among e-retailers is that if a basic function is done once, it’s done for good. But many web site functions can benefit from small changes, says Kevin Richards, president, VenturaWebDesign.com.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

A common misconception among e-retailers is that if a basic function is done once, it’s done for good. But many web site functions can benefit from small changes, if retailers will just take the time to review them, says Kevin Richards, president, VenturaWebDesign.com.

For example, an e-retailer’s “add to cart” function can be overlooked as other more pressing e-commerce needs arise. But there are several ways to check site functionality, says Richards, who also owns and operates ScentsandSprays.com, a candles and home scents web retailer. “Retailers should consider multivariate testing of the effectiveness of ‘add to cart’ and ‘buy now’ buttons, to see which one gives the best conversion rate,” he explains.

A commonly overlooked test that can lead to e-retailers reassessing site functions is to buy products regularly from their own web site, Richards adds. For example, continuously reviewing a web site’s checkout design can ensure that customers will be comfortable with providing their credit card information.

Richards will offer more details at the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability Conference, next week in Orlando, FL, in his session titled Step by step: Little changes add up.

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