Many times when we refer to “Themes” or “Templates” we mean predefined layouts that can be modified in style, imagery and colors to match a specific brand, its products and its vertical. Typically theme selection is driven by aesthetics. However themes and templates carry with them a shop flow, UX patterns and even some built-in features which can be as important as how the theme looks.

Beyond the design

Theme design is great and all, and it’s right there in our face for us to love or hate. But what about theme features? If I like the theme design, can I say that it will work for my audience?

We need to carefully review my theme options and ask ourselves: which are the tasks we want our clients to perform and the ones we want to simplify for them? or even better ask “What do we want our users to achieve? Which are our micro and macro conversion goals? What tools our users will need in order to achieve these goals in our website?

Features

The SuiteCommerce Advanced platform is investing on developing amazing features. Some of these are industry standard e-commerce features that work seamlessly on B2B or B2C experiences such as:

— Faceted Navigation
— Quick Item View
— Item List View
— Recently Viewed Items
— Saved for later
— Auto Suggest Search
— Ratings and Reviews
— Up-Sell and Cross-Selling

There also some other very powerful features included on SCA that are a much better fit for B2B eCommerce experiences, specially online retailers selling to wholesales, distributors and other retailers. In this case, shoppers may have different business goals and sometimes require different tools or features.
Some of these features are:

— Quick Order
— Volume Pricing Discounts
— Easy reorder
— Merchandising zones
— WishList or Project Lists
— Pay with invoice
— Ability to create quotes
— Access controls and permissions
— Store Locator

More information on B2B features are included in the article What really makes a website good for B2B.

User Experience

Not so long ago we explained what user experience stands for and how it differentiates from simple user interface design.

Even all of the above listed features come natively with SuiteCommerce Advanced, it’s important to go through the exercise of analyzing which ones better fit my needs. At Tavano, when we designed our NetSuite Site Builder and SuiteCommerce Advanced Themes, we went through this exact process. Leveraging what have worked and what hasn’t on hundreds of SuiteCommerce websites we’ve implemented through the years. We hand picked features that make sense to the needs of specific audiences: individual consumers, business consumers, wholesalers, distributors and even verticals.

As a result we designed themes targeted to specific audience, which include specific features and provide shopper experience aligned to the audience needs. A couple of examples are our SCA Landmark theme for online retailers selling B2B to wholesalers, distributors and retailers; and SCA Boutique theme designed for online merchants selling B2C to individual shoppers.