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The e-commerce.

Need some pointers


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Hi all,


I need some insights about my site and the whole ecommerce scene.


I opened my site to the public on July 4th 2003 and so far, I've only got two sales. So something must be terribly wrong. So I need ruthless critiques and some pointers on what might be happening.


Lets begin:


Site: http://panamarts.com

We sell Arts and Crafts


Promo: via Overture and AdWords

Last month I had a daily average of 108.45 Unique visitors and 320.23 pageviews.

2,150 viewed 1 page

569 viewed 2 pages

210 viewed 3 pages

95 viewed 4 pages.


Clearly, the site is not grabbing them.


Now, some reasons *I* see for these stats is little quantity of items. And I also discovered an interesting point when today, a customer told me: Hey, I want to buy somethings from your site, but I don't know how to pay with 2Checkout, I only know how to pay with a credit card.


So I realized that when the customer goes to pay, it only says Payment Method: 2Checkout (in fact it says "Only available method" or something like that). I quickly corrected that in hopes that's the reason my sales are so low/non-existant.


Any clues here?


Well, thanks in advance,




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Nugar, what were you thinking when you did the 3 buttons in your header?! The first one is copyrighted by Microsoft and doesn't in any way match the other two, which are the standard osCommerce buttons and look quite awful on your background color.


I have looked at your tagua nut products and I really like the way they look, they would be a great addition to your website design if you display some of them on your main page.


Other than that I think you need to be a bit more experienced with web design, it looks still a lot like osCommerce, although you clearly know which colors to combine: the green, the yellow and the yellowish background complement each other. I don't like your logo, because it is not really a logo.


I assume that technically everything is working... so your main aim is to make the website look professional, starting with the above should be essential.




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Hi WillemB,


Thanks for your time answering to my post.


You're quite right I uploaded that MS icon after 15 straight hours of doodling with the site. I will take it out of that header right when I come home.


About the other two icons, which do you see? I uploaded a basket and a cash register. The funny thing is that I do webpages as a side job too, but I never do the design! LOL


I do have another logo, which is the left portion of this banner: http://advert.solmediagroup.com/adimage.ph...contenttype=gif


I changed it in a "trying to simplify" moment. Do you like the other one?


I will keep trying to do what you state, about making it look more professional. Let's see how that turns out, with no design background whatsoever.


Thanks again and if you have any other considerations, please do tell.


Best regards,



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Humberto: Willem makes some good points.


Also there are some default buttons that don't fit in with your design like the "add to cart", "reviews", "continue shopping", "checkout", etc. You need to blend these in with your design. And yes you do need to do something w/ those 3 icons up top because they don't seem to mesh with your design.


Also I would recommend that besides the storefront you have some additional pages that talk about your company, arts in general, have links to related sites, etc. You need to have more related content.



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Hi Humberto!


I recommend you install the user tracking contribution so you can check what exactly those potential customer were looking and when or from what part of your store they left!



No more outside links here!

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Say Panama, and all I think of is cigars and the Panama Canal. Which would likely be the same for most people around the world.


So why not play on that with a really nice image in the header ? Once you got that nice image, then base your site look and colours around it.


For now, the site looks functional, if not very nice colours. I don't really see the point of having 9 infoboxes in the column_left ? With some thinking and work, you could easy remove: login, basket, whats new, quick find, information, languages, we accept. All these could be removed entirely or turned on and off as required (eg why have shopping basket infobox showing when there are no items in it) ? Some of the others could be moved to the header or the footer and so on.



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ok- Back to those crazy icons in the header. You should at least include some ALT text so people know what they are.


Your site may take a long time to load due to the size of those images on your index page.


The login box has too much text in it. It's very hard to read.


Very nice product info pages. Nutritional facts; VERY COOL!


I would get some new buttons. In some places you have the standard blue osC buttons and other places you have red ones. Stick with one set. Maybe ones that match your colors.


Consider underlining or adding bullet images to your information links. Same thing with the quick find box. The links look like part of a paragraph.


Your buttons say 'add to cart' but you refer to the cart as 'basket'. Choose one or the other.


Not quite sure why you have all of the info boxes in the left column.


Good luck!

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Very good points.


Believe me, I will make changes reflecting some of the things you and others are pointing out.


This is v2 of the page; what I think I will do is begin with v3 right away. What I do is that I do the work at panamarts.net, my "work" domain.


Please keep coming with the pointers, I really really thank you all both for taking the time and for providing the insights, that are to the point and yet I feel good about them. I thought this would be a sorta humiliating experience, but you guys are real good pointing the errors in a respectful way.


Thanks again for that.



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Well, I've done some changes to the site, I've limited the number of infoboxes, and I think it does look better.


Next step is to begin making the new buttons and Icons that are all over the site. After that I'll concentrate on the infobox appearance itself, to see how un-osC I can make it.


Do you guys have some sites I can look upon to see what others have done?

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I browsed your site yesterday, ironically from a link on oscommerce. I think it works well is clear, and interesting. Id like to adopt some of the layout you use in my site.


Heres something to consider (take this with a grain of salt) The yellow colour you have used is often used in northamerica for bargin stores, and no name "cheap" shopping brand lines - maybe there is some psychology of colour happening where the yellow is suggesting cheap to some shoppers?


I like your choice of "tropical" colours - the stark white background may be too much - I prefer your choice of the cream colour background.


As an artist myself, I looked for information on process - how and who are these things made by. For instance the hummingbird TG497 - has is a good description, but you might want to consider talking more about the wood and specific artist, if I buy this am I supporting the community? Are these woods endagered? - can you include pictures of craftsmen working on items? Maybe talk more about the UNESCO prize to provide more "certification"about the work. Definately include the reneweable resource facts of the taugu nut


For sculptures in our store we are working on an animated gif to provide a 3d all round look - 360 view of the object, as if the client was turning it in their hand. your addition of the three images to provide an all around view is great (how did you do that) -


A professional photographer recomended 2 things to me to make the photos look best. 1. photograph items at eye level try to avoid taking things from above. and 2. lighting and consistent backgrounds is the most important - and probably the most difficult to achieve. take a look at these items in my store - they are perfect (I wish I could say I photographed them lol) CREEPIES and Bottles


hope these help

Im why they put the !ACK! in hack

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Hi kerry,


That is a very interesting point you make about the colors. Are you referring to the yellow I use just under the green header? I may leave it there and change the infobox one, In fat I'm thinking of putting in there something like banana leaves or something that also suggests tropic.


Also it is important what you tell about information. This version of my site is v2, and interestingly enough some thing mentioned by you and some other posters were in fact there in v1. I took them out thinking (maybe wrongly) that they took just too much space and that people wouldn't go for that. For instance, I had a "newsdesk" contribution with articles on what is tagua and Panamanian human groups. Now I realize, I should put it in the site again. I will work on that this weekend (which is a long weekend, yeah! So I'm free from my day job :))


About the extra images, I used a contribution called Additional Images that allows you to upload more images for a single description.


About the pics, I'm trying to get better ones with no knowledge whatsoever, except the few tutorials I get on the net. I did buy three cheap swing arm lamps with garden spotlights to try and get better pics on a budget with that and my cheap Sony camera. I'd like to think I'm getting a bit better, but the equipment doesn't support me, lol.


Anyway, do you have any suggestions about what to do with that yellow?

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Hi again,


I have made some of the recommended changes, would you guys mind re-visiting my site?


I streamlined the checkout process, I think the images are better now (for the new products I introduce, anyways).



What do you guys think?


thanks in advance,



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I think you could benefit from a few things aesthetically.


I am not very proficient in doing the backend stuff yet but I am learning, though I have a great eye for color and detail.


Maybe a slight gradient color in the header and footer. You can get an image and upload something small to let it be a variated background to break up the "oneness" of the color somewhat.


There still needs to be a little work on the Infoboxes. Some have rounded corners, some are square.


You still have some Red "Buy Now" buttons, and some of the very nice "Add to Basket" buttons.


Is this done on purpose? They seem different for different areas perhaps?


I DO Like the way you added the images to the top of each individual page.

Is that akin to the Images Header contribution??


You should adjust the width of the Cat.box a bit to get rid of the word wrap of the different sub cats. I thought it only listed the first two categories at first in there when I hit the Tagua Nut.


Maybe break them up a bit too, between the different categories. Like you did for the most part in the actual Information box, with the HR between the groups. I believe it was the categories_description_MS2_1.5 from the Contributions area that I used that allowed me to do both of those things in one go.


The red hover color is not very flattering to the green header, but with it having the same hover color to go over the links on the white background, therein lies a problem. I had, too, on my site I made for my client something that went over both dark and light areas for a graphic, and it was almost impossible to find a color that would work over both. You may want to play with that a little. The red honestly doesnt match much else, other than the buttons you have left.


The white text on the yellow backgronud in the boxes is a little difficult to read. Maybe something a bit darker, possibly even the green, may make it a little easier to read.


I do like the pale. pale yellow background on the pages tho, as it is gentle enough to not detract from anything, but is not a harsh white either.


AND I would love to know how you added in the login and such on the right side of the header...


I think thats about it.


Though it is a decent looking site with VERY interesting items!!

Good Luck!!!

One of these days, I will actually understand what I just changed...


But reading the Manual DEFINATELY helps...

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Comparing the two sites, my guess is the darker one will look more substantial to American shoppers- I would go with it.The tropical colors in the header look artsier. The sober colors make a better frame for the merchandise images, so the bright carvings don't have to compete with the backgrounds.

psst... wanna buy a wand?

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Thanks Dragonmom,


I will refine the darker one since there are still yellow corners, etc that have to be taken care of before I can put it live.


Do you agree with kerrygarvey in that the yellow color has a "cheap" subliminal meaning in the USA (which I want to be my major market)?

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well, it would depend on what you combined it with- One American trend is to color cereal boxes yelow :D

I don't knowwhy!

But, if you use tropical greens and pinks and blues- and yellow, the message will be plenty clear. The only thing is, as I said, the photos have to compete with all the bright colors around them.

The darker colors make me think of *Jungle Explorers* and give a little feeling of serious collectors and museums, which isn't a bad thing!

psst... wanna buy a wand?

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I agree

The darker colors definately look more... serious :)

You dont want to make it too bright, because that makes you go AGH when you see it if you arent used to it.


The only color that bothers "Me" is that... forgive the comparison, Baby Poop green on the infoboxes on the test site.


it is very unflattering to the overall color scheme. Maybe the Same color green as the header and footer, to keep it synchro'd?



Other than that, Just the hover colors, which if you go with the darker infobox bgs, yellow to keep some of the tropicality would work on them all for the hover, and the New Products/Featured Products are black text on the dark brown header section for the boxes, and they are VERY hard to see, whereas the rest of them are white...


oh, and the footer yellow, lessen you want to keep that there as well, which would tie in with the yellow hover if you went with that too :)


Keep it up! you are doing Fantastic!!!


Hope I can say the same, LOL

One of these days, I will actually understand what I just changed...


But reading the Manual DEFINATELY helps...

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Hi guys,


Thanks for the comments. I was offline for a few days due to a cable company mess-up :angry: They came to fix something on the cable tv, and left me without internet for 5 days :(


Anyway, I'm back :)


Ok, I've moved the look and feel from the test site to the main site with a couple of adjustments.


Dragonmom: jungle explorers.. museums... I like that. It goes with the redefinition from arts and crafts shop to native arts shop.


Tariq: baby poop! LOL! I've used that "color name" to refer to quite a few things too. I was striving for a tan color, something like khaki (which I just mispelled?). I'll keep trying to get the exact color. But I think header green would be overdoing it...


I also added something that may or may not help with search engine optimization, and it is a "description bar" above the header. I wonder how that will work and how it looks?


BTW, I don't appear anymore in the search engine results at google I can't figure why. But I'm listed since the site appears by name :(


thanks guys and keep coming the comments!



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Well, after I wrote the previous post, I changed some things in my site:


- Changed the logo to the right side of the screen. This was on purpose so I could add text on the left side of the header, just for the sake of SEO.


- Changed a bit the baby poop left column for something that to me at least, looks more like "tan".


- Added a drop shadow to the left column


How does it look? Does it still look osC?


I still have a lot of work to do, since some headers aren't using the main template one, and I still have some of the default osC icons, which I dislike, but always forget to edit :P


But all thing considered, I'm confortable with the website as it is. What do you guys think?

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