February 8, 2012, 4:31 PM

The key to design is to know your customer

A design conference speaker will describe how shoppers use e-commerce sites.

Lead Photo

Site design is nothing without priorities, and setting those priorities means online retailers must know how shoppers use e-commerce sites. Lauren Freedman, president of The E-tailing Group Inc., will talk about those issues during her presentation Monday at the 2012 Internet Retailer Web Design and Usability Conference in Orlando.

Freedman’s session, entitled “What e-retailers must know about how consumers use their sites,” will cover highlights of her research into how consumers navigate, explore and purchase on e-retail sites. That information can help web merchants figure out where to spend limited site design resources, she says. “Focusing on key pages is always a winning strategy,” Freedman says. “It drives branding, customer experience and the bottom line.”

Site design priorities will vary by merchant, but all e-retailers must design with the shopper in mind, Freedman says. “Overall, it’s a question of how to allocate real estate of any given page to ensure that the customer always has the necessary information to make a confident next move and ultimately convert, having had a satisfactory shopping experience,” she says.

Recent E-tailing Group research has shown that e-retailers are working to meet consumers’ increasingly sophisticated site search demands, and that nearly one in two consumers rarely pay full price for products. That type of information can help guide design efforts, she says.

Retailers need to make sure they address design needs on a regular basis. “Schedule design changes into your e-commerce roadmap,” Freedman says. “Tackle at least one major aspect of the site each year—home page, product page, category page, etc.”

Internet Retailer’s editors asked Freedman to speak at the conference because she has parlayed her retail experience into providing strategic and e-commerce services to online merchants and businesses targeting that market. Her company's annual mystery shopping and merchant surveys provide an overview of the state of e-commerce, setting industry standards while highlighting best practices. Her extensive client list has included Fortune 500 retailers and start-ups.

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