7 Tips for Creating Winning Templates for Start-ups

Congratulations start-up entrepreneur! You are now a fully registered and official business online. But unlike your most established peers, you do not have a physical store where your clients can get your products and/or services. However, a great shopping cart provider enabled you to have a great site where you can show your well-loved, artisanal items for the world to purchase.

Number one pro of this situation is that you never have to close your shop like everybody else—you can literally earn while you sleep as it keeps accepting orders even as you enjoy your time in dreamland. But with a lot of e-commerce sites available, how do you keep yours above the fray? One word: Template.

Literally, the whole template of your site can spell the difference between a site that is bookmarked and memorized for several and continuous shopping sprees later on or one that is forgotten and thrown unto the bin of no coming back. The web is one heck of a competitive space for businesses and here are the ways you can provide an excellent shopping experience with just one click or swipe with a template that works just as hard as you do:

1. The look is everything.

Have a vision board for your template design. We might have gone digital but analog creative processes still rule. If you are selling pieces of high end furniture, visit showrooms of known designers or furniture makers. Expos make for great study rooms; you actually see the pieces interact with volume merchandising buyers. Go to department stores and see how they put the pieces together and take photos and notes. Also, a great way to find your look is to physically mount your pieces. This will help you find a way to plan your sites’ template and give clients a real simulation of how it feels like to be in a room or a den with your pieces on it. A fantastic way to find your colors is to actually get swatches or pieces and mix and match. This will help your mind be in the right designing frame even before you go online.


2. Get your pegs in order.

After your real life journey, you can go online to find your inspirations. Pinterest.com is growing to be a go-to visual board for all things online and pretty. Their number of images on a gamut of topics especially food, fashion, trends, brands, interiors, and whatnot makes for a good one stop source as you build your creative brief. Always, Google.com is one type away for any item you can’t visualize or any information that needs to get into your site. Research is key to an organized way of doing things.

3. Establish your Brand Identity.

Once you are in the zone of creation, time to go down to work with your branding. Your identity encompasses simple and yet critical aspects of building your brand for the long term. Your colors play a big role in helping your target market remember you! So get your blues and greens in order by knowing exactly what your objectives are. Is your cream luxurious? Maybe opulent colors like black, crème, gold, burgundy, or purple can be a great choice to help you achieve it.

Are you a relaxing getaway spa in the Maldives? Cerulean, sea foam green, or aqua may do the trick to help you achieve the tropics atmosphere online. Aside from colors, the typeface also is a way to solidify your brand guide. Helvetica is always a good choice for a good and readable site. Aside from your logo, these elements make your brand memorable and personalized. Sites such as Shopify are able to provide fully customizable themes to help you decide and change your elements. Never settle for anything less for your brand!

4. Curate – don’t collect.

Once you have the brand identity in place, it’s time to showcase what you’ve got! When deciding on and designing a theme, think of a museum instead of a shopping mall. This means that you must carefully choose what goes into the pages and what is easily seen. Remember, you do not have the benefit of a physical shopping experience so the better the look of your items, the better. Online is all about finesse for e-commerce sites especially for fashion. You would want everything to find their spotlight, more so those that you want to sell like hotcakes. A well-curated site is one that is current and fresh instead of one that tries to sell everything to everybody. Have some limited edition items? Create a box for them on your template so people can easily see them.

5. Love of labels

So you have the items you want to come in the template. Next step is to start labeling them properly with the names, descriptions, and prices. All it takes is one glance to make a sale. Make sure that all items have the right labels to help shoppers, especially those in a rush, to purchase quickly and without the usual hassle. This also lessens your time in answering numerous questions. It’s also great to choose a template that has the right tabs so you can also place your FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) to help clients immediately when you are not online.

6. Share it – share it! 

Social media is the great leveler and so your template should include in it the complete set of social media sites to help your guests share what they’ve found on your site. Referral trumps everything else in marketing today and a shared post is a good way of getting the word out, minus the price tag that goes with it. It also pays to trust a long time template provider to ensure a site that’s search engine friendly.

7. Signed, sealed, delivered

Your template must also have the right codes to guide and protect guests. No matter how beautifully designed your intuitive, multi-color site is, if it’s hard to order and purchase, nothing happens. So make sure that the template has really great paying system so nobody leaves and returns back for more.

Don’t forget! Your shopping cart’s template is everything! It literally can help you earn a lot and sell your brand the fastest way possible.



Maria Papaefstathiou

VISUAL DESIGNER since 1996 and blogger since 2010. Living in Athens, Greece. She has been focusing her research on poster design and particularly on social poster design and portrait design. Her main poster project is a series of posters celebrating great personalities of traditional and popular culture in Greece and Jamaica. These include actors, singers, musicians, poets etc. This is an ongoing project. “I believe that design is a powerful tool that we designers can use to spark enthusiasm, change mindsets and bring positive actions to our world and our culture”. FOUNDER AND EDITOR OF GRAPHICART-NEWS.COM BLOG. She carefully curates high-quality designs, illustrations, and art, from all over the world that will teach and provoke other designers. Many consider her blog to be an exceptional educational tool. CO-FOUNDER OF THE INTERNATIONAL REGGAE POSTER CONTEST which was launched on December 2011, partnering, the creative activist Michael Thompson aka Freestylee. (www.reggaepostercontest.com)

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