Ecommerce Spot

Choosing an ecommerce template for your site

How do I get a design that makes my shop look great?

A template refers to the standard design that is used for a website. On most websites, pages look basically the same. This is because the pages are using a standard template. The template normally applies to the "chrome", which is the header, the navigation and the footer. The body area changes from page to page. Using a standard template for your ecommerce site provides a consistent design, and lets customers know quickly how to navigate around your site. An ecommerce template might have some specific design or technical features which make it particularly applicable to an ecommerce site where a standard template might not work. For example, most online shops have a section on the page letting you know what's in your shopping cart. This needs to be incorporated into the template.

There are a few ways to get an ecommerce template. The easiest & cheapest way is that virtually all shopping carts come with one or more built in templates. Some carts, such as Q-Shop come with several templates built in, and are building a library of ecommerce templates to download. If you are integrating with an existing site, these built in ecommerce templates may not work well with the rest of the site. Some shopping carts allow you to use an editor such as frontpage, dreamweaver or golive to edit the templates. For example, MX Kart supports using dreamweaver to edit the templates.

Another approach is to get a web designer to make one for you from scratch. You then may need a programmer to modify your shopping cart to incorporate the template. Some shopping cart packages are easier to apply templates to than others. This is the most flexible approach, but it's also the most costly & time consuming. You'll need to make sure your designer and programmer are familiar enough with the shopping cart you have so they don't create an ecommerce template which is incompatible with it.

You can also use a pre-made template. A site like Template Monster has hundreds of templates you can download & start working immediately. You know exactly what you are getting, and they are pretty cheap. The downside is that unless you pay a premium, they may be other sites using the same template as you. Similar to that approach is using Ecommerce Templates. They sell pre-made templates which are also shopping carts, so if you find a template you like, it's the best of both worlds. They also support special frontpage templates, dreamweaver templates and golive templates so you can use your favourite editor to update it, rather than writing HTML or CSS code.

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