Our approach starts with questions...lots of questions. Answers to the questions often identify needs the merchant didn't know they had and turn some priorities into secondary concerns. This is an important first step - to identify the needs and prioritize.
Next we focus on personas. Personas will segment shoppers into groups and then identify what is important or not important to each of those groups.
Once personas are identified and requirements are clear, a sitemap and wireframe design begins using a combination of best practice and understood requirements. The wireframe designs go through the primary pages first (homepage, category page, product page, cart page) and then focus on unique pages, functions or features. The outcome should be a visual representation that supports the approved requirements for the project.