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An affliction known as eCommerce “featuritis”

I’ll admit it, I love Apple products. I was forced for so long to use Microsoft products and “wintel” laptops in the corporate world, that when I went out on my own account the first thing I purchased was an Apple MacBook Pro.

Now for a guy who keeps pushing open source / free software this is perhaps hypocritical. I’m not even going to argue with that other than to say my laptop and phone (an iPhone of course;)) is my office and the tools I spend most of my waking hours on.

So when I saw this article in the NY Times about why Apple has been so successful over the last decade I naturally read it. Here it is (italics and underline are mine),

From computers to smartphones, Apple products are known for being stylish, powerful and pleasing to use. They are edited products that cut through complexity, by consciously leaving things out — not cramming every feature that came into an engineer’s head, an affliction known as “featuritis” that burdens so many technology products. “A defining quality of Apple has been design restraint,” says Paul Saffo, a technology forecaster and consultant in Silicon Valley.

Show simplicity of use not “featuritis”

And it ties into what I say about eCommerce software  – it’s not the features, it’s cutting through complexity.

So the demo of the Magneto eCommerce backend I have on my website shows only 6 out of the 100 menu items that could be possibly shown. I don’t want to dazzle people with what the 100 sub menus (effectively the features) but rather limit it to 5 menus: Order, Invoices, Shipping, Credit Memos, Customers.

You can apply this indirect version of the 80/20 rule to Adwords as well. Don’t get caught up in the complexity of long lists of keywords but rather focus on those wine keywords that you stock and can present good information about. That is those wines that will make up 80% of your sales first and foremost.

Are you after more than 5 key eCommerce features? If so please list them here (I’m honestly interested).


  1. Bruce, I totally agree. Apple model of making it simplier and easier is really paying of for them, and I think people as a whole are looking for a simple and better experience.

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