What many really under estimate in e-commerce is just how important image is. Think of like this, if you were to take on a bricks and mortar store front how much effort would you put into making that super inviting for customers? ...... well the answer to that question should be "LOTS"
Image plays a very big role in a customers buying habits, it can be what gets them through the door to start with and what encourages them to spend their money once they are inside your store. Why many choose to believe that just doesn't apply to e-commerce is completely beyond me, because it does, even more so in may cases.
In a bricks and mortar store you have tools you can use to encourage sales, music, scents, sales people and so on, lots of tools you can put together to create the perfect selling environment to hit your market. One of the big problems with e-commerce is that you don't have most of those tools, so the ones you do have, you have to make the most of to give yourself the best chance.
So here we end up back at "image" Know your market and know the image you want to present to them that is going to encourage them to feel comfortable and spend their money wit you and not a competitor.
When you are talking about image and e-commerce together, then often the best tool at your disposure can be your website design itself. I've included a link here that shows some very creative and engaging sites that can hopefully spark some creative ideas for those looking at building their own e-commerce sites.Link hidden: Login to view
Check them out, see if you can see and ideas in anything that you can either implement or adapt to suit your own site and give yourself an image that gives you the key advantage of many of your sleeping competitors!