Interview With Eamon Rodeck of Merchant Corner – Ecommerce Design

eamonrodeckMerchant Corner, a web design and development company that specializes in ecommerce and ShopSite websites, is currently running a contest where you can win a complete search engine optimized e-commerce site. Merchant Corner works with a number of our clients, and I had the chance to ask Eamon Rodeck a few questions about design and how it relates to ecommerce…

What got you started in web design and focusing on ShopSite ecommerce design?

I started in web design 12 years ago because I wanted to express myself to the world. I was 16 then… and my first web site didn’t go so well, it was voted by the Yahoo Directory as one of the Internet’s worst web sites. In 2 years I made a lot of progress and became a recognized web designer. At 18, I was consulting and designing web sites for AT&T and UBS|PaineWebber. Web design started out as a hobby and over time has evolved into a multi-faceted company. Five (5) years ago we decided, as a company, to focus our web design and development talent exclusively on e-commerce. Given the opportunity to work with several different shopping cart platforms we were able to identify what it really takes to be successful on-line. In the end it really boils down to the following two key factors:

  1. Search Engine Optimization  (Getting Your Site Ranked)
  2. Conversion (the science of turning a visitor into a buyer)

Not only does the ShopSite shopping cart have the technology needed for an ecommerce store it excels in both these key areas. From a search engine optimization perspective it creates static HTML pages which are indexed easily and accurately by the search engines. It also allows for you easily assign unique Title, and Meta tags for every page and product found inside your store. ShopSite’s architecture is also open enough to implement any type of search engine optimization best practice. In fact we’ve had many customers who have transferred from Yahoo Shopping Cart to ShopSite because of just how flexible and well-built it is for search engine optimization.

From a conversion perspective ShopSite had the technology that is required for conversion. The design is truly 100% customizable. We have come across a lot of shopping carts in our day that said they were ‘flexible’ however when you looked under the hood it really wasn’t the case. By being so flexible, ShopSite allows for us to layout the store’s pages exactly the way our customers want which allows for them to take full advantage of increased sales and improved customer usability.

The extensive customizability of ShopSite also allows us to integrate some advanced search engine optimization techniques into all the web sites we build. ShopSite is a very powerful platform when it’s in the hands of  knowledgeable developer.

We are continually evaluating the latest shopping carts that are available and ShopSite is still our #1 platform because of it’s search engine optimization and development flexibility.

How big of an impact can a re-design have for an ecommerce store? Any real world examples?

The impact can be huge! One great example is a recently featured Lexiconn client, Mommy Gear ( Dawn Higgins, the owner of Mommy Gear told us that since the re-design she did with us, she’s increased her online sales 38% compared to last year. She also saves lots of time because of how easy it is to update her re-designed web site. It’s also important to note that a properly executed re-design can help increase traffic to your site.  Chris Lewis, owner of Expert Tennis Tips ( says that the re-design we did for him, not only provided an annual tripling of his bottom line for the past 2 years, but also has increased significantly the amount of traffic to his web site.

It’s important to have clear goals when considering a re-design for your web site. It also makes a lot of sense to work with a company that has experience in designing web sites that will convert your visitors into buyers. Equally important is their knowledge of search engine optimization which will directly impact your new site’s overall rankings and traffic!

What are some of the biggest mistakes you see merchants making for their online stores?

There are 2 big mistakes that I see all the time.

1. Merchants choose their shopping cart AFTER they choose their hosting provider.

Merchants rush out and sign-up for their their hosting account first. This decision is typically based on criteria like price, storage, monthly transfer, etc. This is all very good however unfortunately it locks them into the shopping cart platform that is being offered by their hosting provider. A word of advice, first choose your shopping cart platform and then find a hosting company that specializes in it. The shopping cart really is the glue that holds everything together.

2. Merchants don’t place enough ‘value’ into their e-commerce web site.

It always amazes me how little attention and investment a merchant has for their e-commerce web site considering the money and potential that is now online. Take this headline from a few days ago – “Black Friday and Cyber Monday Combined reach $5.3 billion in Online Retail sales, up 47% on 2008.” Even with this potential, I find our clients and businesses in general have a  hard time dedicating both time and resources to their online efforts. My advice would be, if you’re not willing to dedicate at least 20% to 30% of your resources, which also includes your time, into your online business then don’t do it. For the companies who do take the time to invest both their time and resources into their on-line business, the results  are amazing! We’ve seen it over and over again with our clients.

Any tips/advice you’d like to share with merchants when it comes to design?

Simplify. Start with everything you would like to have and then put yourselves in your customer’s shoes and remove everything that is non essential. By doing this, your design will have a clear focus which will result in making it easier for your customer to find what they are looking for and ultimately buy it from you! Take a moment and look at some of the major e-commerce retailers out there and you’ll see all of them execute this fundamental principle.

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  1. Video Avatar says:

    A website is a great tool for business. The design and the user interfaces integrated to it must stand out. Customers are drawn into attractive sites with great products and service that comes with it. Nice interview :)

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