E-Commerce

Empower Ideas can design and develop your custom e-commerce site while thinking strategically about questions and goals specific to online stores.

For customers, your store should be beautiful, yet simple to make a purchase from. For you, it should help make it as easy as possible to manage your growing your business. We create e-commerce websites that cater to all these unique goals.

Customers expect their shopping journey to be effortless and delightful, and our design process for e-commerce sites is just as thorough as our content-focused websites. We'll guide you through the ambiguity of creating the site as well as address e-commerce-specific questions you didn't even know you had.

Beyond front-end design, we take our role as your trusted partner very seriously. Our goal with e-commerce is to bridge business goals with user needs in order to prepare for success. We offer guidance on everything from checkout providers and email notifications to returns management and shipping integration. Then, we make sure all these systems work well together, so that your company is set up for success.

Our Process

Context Briefing

The goal of any e-commerce site is to convince a visitor to become a customer and to convince a customer to become a loyalist and to convince a loyalist to become a brand evangelist. We believe that this pathway to success is built with an understanding of the ethos of both the company and the larger industry from the very beginning of the project. That's why we take the time to understand your brand, your users, and your products or services. We call this process the "context briefing".

Our context briefing process is a structured workshop with as many stakeholders in the project as possible, from both our side and yours. During this workshop, we'll lead a discussion that takes us through your business, your brand, your project, and your goals. We'll ask detailed and open-ended questions with the goal of learning pieces of information that you may not have even thought to share. The idea is that after this thorough on-boarding, our team can act as a seamless extension of your brand.

During our context briefing, we will also discuss risks to the successful completion of the project. Common risks include a tight timeline and legacy technical dependencies that we need to solve for. We aim to have an open and frank conversation about these risks and form a risk mitigation plan.

Occasionally during this workshop, we find that different members of the client team had different ideas for the project, and they didn't even realize it. Learning about this and aligning early in the process helps to ensure the project moves along on time and on budget.

Following the context briefing, our team will meet again to form a detailed roadmap. We'll ensure that each task in the project is accounted for and create a full timeline from start to finish. We have found that projects that go through the context briefing phase run significantly smoother and often have more time estimates and higher quality work, since everyone understands what is expected from the very beginning.

Design

Our e-commerce site design phase begins with creative brainstorming. We share basic ideas, simple sketches, or existing templates and sites to align with your team's design vision. Following creative alignment, we examine your analytics and conversion rate data from your existing website properties so we can determine which user experience models are working and which need to be updated.

Our goal with any e-commerce design project is to score you more conversions and, thus, more money. We achieve this goal by designing the site around the primary goal for visitors: sales.

We offer full customized-from-scratch design, semi-custom site design, and template customization to accommodate your time and budget constraints. Our templates have been highly optimized for conversion with data from multiple website properties, which means that although our cheaper options may forgo some data analysis, you will still receive a store design that is both beautiful and highly optimized.

The next step is several revisions (most often 3-4) of increasingly high fidelity site designs. With each new version we share, we'll start to come together on more and more details of the site, and pieces of the user experience model will start to fall into place. When we're confident the site's design is complete, our design team will prepare the files for a full hand-off to development.

Development

Development is a process that is very customized to an individual project. Once we achieve design sign-off or get the final design files from you, our team gets to work on bringing the site to life through active development. Typically, we begin with high-level processes, including setting up the platform and creating the code repository. From there, we can move into the site's templates and features. Throughout the process, we're careful to keep you updated on what's going on and remain open to changes and new needs that may pop up.

Content Population

As development is ongoing, we work with you on content population. This may include porting existing content from an older site, copywriting to fit new design constraints, or simply collating all the product descriptions you've written to be included on the new site. The type of content population we do depends on how much content is new vs. being repurposed, the format of the content, and whether you utilize our content creation teams (copywriting, photography, etc.) or provide your own. Regardless, we use tools and techniques to make the process as streamlined as possible for your team.

Technology and Integration

As development winds down, we integrate various third-party apps and services together and ensure that everything functions smoothly. We understand that a website doesn't exist in isolation. Instead, it is part of an integrated strategy with the potential to transform your business.

By leveraging existing apps, we can save you money vs. creating new features from scratch and reinventing the wheel. Of course, we're able to customize those apps so that users and customers never know that they're simple off-the-shelf software. Most of our e-commerce sites begin with the Shopify platform, then leverage Shopify apps to extend functionality as needed and create a completely customized and cohesive experience on both the front and the back ends. Thus, we create the best possible experience both for users and for the business.

Launch

Launching your site is a series of detailed checklists which help us ensure that everything happens flawlessly.

Once we complete development and content population, we continue to collaborate by guiding you through the QA (quality assurance) and/or UAT (user acceptance testing) processes. We're by your side to make fixes and/or enhancements as needed.

Before launching, we'll ensure that any extra integrations, such as Google Analytics, are connected with your site and working correctly. And finally, we'll push that proverbial button so you are live to the world!

How We Can Help

Strategy

  • consumer research
  • industry research and competitive analysis
  • omnichannel strategizing and integration planning
  • roadmapping

Design

  • online brand adaptation
  • wireframing
  • creative direction
  • fully responsive site design
  • prototyping

Development

  • front-end development
  • e-commerce platforms
  • multi-platform integration

We create powerful digital infrastructure that drives revenue and leads.

By building thoughtful user experiences and intelligent back end systems.

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