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Tips for Designing an eCommerce Website

Increase sales by building a site that’s as attractive as it is easy to use.

These days, starting your own online business can be easy and affordable. It’s no wonder ecommerce sales have been growing year after year. Recent data shows that retail ecommerce accounts for over $5 trillion in global sales.

Clearly, a lot of money is being spent online. And if you’re a new ecommerce business owner, you’re probably wondering how you can reach these customers. With so many aspects of your website and online store to consider, though, it can seem challenging to decide where to focus—but it doesn’t have to be.

A good place to start is with ecommerce website design. What you want is an appealing, straightforward site that’s easy for customers to use. Ultimately, that makes it easier for them to buy.

What is an ecommerce website?

If you are interested in designing an ecommerce website, it is important to define what we are talking about with an ecommerce website. Basically, this is a website that is designed to sell products and services online. If you give someone the ability to purchase products and services directly from your website, then you have an ecommerce website.

There are several important elements that you need to include when you want to design an ecommerce site. Of course, you need to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to find the products and services that they require. If someone has to work hard to figure out what they want to buy, they will probably end up going to a different website.

Now that we have a good understanding of what an ecommerce website is, it is important to take a closer look at several ecommerce website tips. What are a few of the most important tips you need to follow if you want to get the most out of your ecommerce website?

Effective ecommerce website design

Successful ecommerce website designs work well for a variety of reasons. To begin with, they share a focus on ease of use to create a pleasant online shopping experience.

  • User experience
  • Cross-platform adaptability
  • Site layout and visual design

The most effective ecommerce website designs are clear, easy to understand, and easy to use. And the first step on the road to getting there is a clutter-free design.

Tip 1: Keep it simple

While it’s tempting to add lots of interactive features or graphics to a site, these can overwhelm your customers and drive them away.

For ecommerce website design, simple is always better. No one wants to click through 5 pages, deal with a million popups, or search for a nonexistent navigation menu. Design errors like these result in lost customers—and that equates to lost sales.

Approach your design as though you were the end user. Would you get frustrated navigating your site? Can you find everything you need in a click or 2? Are menus and buttons clearly and legibly marked? These are all ideas you should consider in your store’s design.

Show the customer your product, clearly describe it, and let them know how they can make a purchase.

Tip 2: Use images and color to your advantage

Large, high-quality images are a great way to showcase your products on a website that features a simple design—let the pictures speak for themselves. They draw the customers’ attention and make them want to know more.

Images increase conversion—sometimes as much as 40%—so it’s critical to feature them front and center. Customers want to know what they’re getting and want to see it from as many angles as possible before they buy. Clean, professional shots of your product build trust.

Using color psychology in your ecommerce website design may also give customers a nudge. Everything from the color of your background to what shade you make a button can drive conversions.

Certain colors evoke certain emotions in people, whether they’re aware of it or not. In some cultures, blue can increase feelings of trust. Red can signal energy, passion, and danger. Colors can also suggest something about the traits of your brand.

  • Tone: Consider what you imagine as your brand’s tone—it could be anything from whimsical to serious to quirky.
  • Value: Colors like sleek blacks and shiny golds can be used to convey luxury.
  • Time period: Some colors convey a vintage or futuristic feel.

Using color and images in conjunction as part of your ecommerce website design can both inspire an emotion and motivate a person to take action.

Tip 3: Optimize your site for mobile, and make it fast

We all know more users are browsing the web on their mobile devices than ever. Some people don’t even own computers or laptops anymore—their phones are their sole source of internet access. Younger customers, in the Gen Z age group especially, do more of their browsing on their mobile devices.

If your site operates clunkily or doesn’t load at all on mobile, you’re going to lose sales. People will get fed up and click away to another site.

Your site should adjust to the size of the smartphone screen on loading, and the images should all load properly. Navigation links and buttons should work just as well and just as intuitively on mobile as they would on a laptop or desktop. You want to be sure you’re maintaining the same functionality and clean look as your desktop site—especially on your checkout page.

Your site should also be fast. A lagging page makes people pass judgment on your site, and possibly your brand before they’ve even seen a single product.

To avoid slow loading times, lean on minimalist ecommerce website design and be mindful of the elements you’re using. Avoid overcrowding your ecommerce store page with a bunch of interactive graphics or random blocks of text. They will slow your load times. Use good images, but make sure they aren’t in the most data-intensive file formats. High-quality JPG images display just fine on the web, while massive PNG files will take longer to load.

Tip 4: Make checkout simple and seamless

To start selling online, you need to give online shoppers the ability to put items in a virtual shopping cart. That way, people can see what they want to buy before they head to the checkout page.

In a physical store, it is easy to take a look in your shopping cart to see what you have. On the internet, people simply click on something. It might not be clear to them whether the item was actually added to the shopping cart, so you need to give people the ability to easily see what they have already included.

It should be common sense, but it bears repeating: Do not make your customer struggle when they get to your checkout page. You spend lots of time and effort investing in a site that gets customers to the finish line. Make sure they cross it.

Give customers the option to check out as a guest. Make them fill out as few data fields as possible with only the necessary information. Clearly label those data fields. Let them see a product preview in their cart with a description so they can review what they’re buying.

One of the most important elements of your ecommerce website design is the payment page. You need to make sure that you accept as many payment methods as possible if you want someone to purchase the items in the shopping cart. It is very easy for people to simply abandon the shopping cart and go somewhere else. If your cart abandonment rate is high, there is a chance that you might not accept enough payment methods.

Keep the payment page short and sweet. If there are too many fields for someone to fill out, or if they have to click through a bunch of additional pages, people will be less inclined to finish the purchase.

Also, don’t wait until the very end of the line to tell someone what shipping or other fees go along with their purchase. If they get all the way to “confirm purchase” and see a total that’s much higher than they anticipated, it comes across as dishonest and leads to cart abandonment.

Be upfront about what shipping options are available and what they’ll cost. Outline your return and refund policies on your checkout page so that the customer knows exactly what to expect if they have to return a product. Knowing a policy is in place gives the user a little extra peace of mind and lends your site more credibility.

To get their product, the customer should know what information to give you, why they need to give it to you, and how you’re protecting it. Then, make the process easy for them.

Tip 5: Use reviews and testimonials

One of the first things people do when they research a new product is look at customer reviews. What did other people think of the product? What did their friends think of it? How was their experience with your company as a whole? This is the kind of information you want people to see.

Add a rating system to your ecommerce website design, and ask customers to leave honest reviews. Of course, try to get as many positive ones as you can. Seeing a slew of 4 and 5-star reviews does a lot to bolster someone’s trust. And people who trust you are much more likely to pay for your product or service.

Make testimonials public somewhere on your site, too. Add them to your blog or the checkout page. Add pictures of your customers to their testimonials if you’re able. Seeing a good review from someone with an actual face, not just an avatar, does a lot to build trust with new customers.

Another way to build trust is by incorporating an easy-to-find FAQ page in your ecommerce website design. Answer your customers’ most commonly asked questions there. Include it in the top and bottom navigation menus, and link back to it where appropriate from other areas of your site. You might even consider setting up a forum to let other experienced customers answer questions as well.

Tip 6: Put your best products at the front of the site

If you are looking for product page design tips, you need to make sure that you put the best products front and center on your website. There is a reason why you have some products that sell better than others, and you must make sure that your best-sellers are at the very front. That way, people see them first, and you can capitalize on your most popular items.

How do you decide which products are your best? You may think that the total sale volume is the best way to decide this information, but you may have some products that have more sales than others purely because they have been on the market longer. Or, you may have some products that sell better than others because they are more expensive.

You may also decide to put the products that customers like the best at the front of the website. For example, if you notice that some products have better reviews than others, those may be the ones that you want to advertise the most. Then, you may want to advertise your most popular products by highlighting them with specific colors or tweaking the size of the product image. If you can get more traffic headed to your most popular items, you might have an easier time generating more revenue from your site.

Tip 7: Use a subscription sheet as a pop-up on the site

In addition, you may want to use a subscription sheet as a pop-up on your website. It is true that some people get annoyed by pop-up messages, but it is a very effective marketing tool in the ecommerce world. You do not need to make the form complicated. All you need to do is ask for someone’s name and email address on the form. If it doesn't take someone very long to fill out, they are less likely to get annoyed.

You need to collect this information from your visitors because you may want to reach out to them in the future. Not everyone who visits your ecommerce website is going to make a purchase. Down the road, you might be interested in remarketing. What this means is that you might want to remind them of the products and services they took a look at when they visited your website. You know they are already interested in the products and services you offer. Otherwise, they wouldn't have visited your website.

If you can reach out to them in the future, you may have an easier time closing the sale. You might want to use a pop-up box to collect contact information from people who visit your website.

Tip 8: Pay attention to SEO

When it comes to digital marketing, particularly for an ecommerce website, you cannot overlook the importance of SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization. This is the practice of customizing your website to meet the needs of search engines. If you want to generate more traffic for your website, you must increase your search results rankings. That way, you will have more people visiting your website, you will get more leads, and you can close more sales.

There are a few important tips in mind if you want to improve your SEO practices. They include:

  • Target the most important words and phrases. You need to figure out what terms are most relevant to your industry, and you must make sure to include them on your website.
  • Structure your product descriptions. You need to include keywords and phrases in those product descriptions, but you don't want to make them too long. Otherwise, you may end up scaring off your traffic.
  • Invest in SEO tools. You need to figure out what tools are most important for your industry, and then you need to employ them if you want to increase the performance of your website.

If you think about SEO from time to time, you will have an easier time increasing your search results rankings, which can help you boost your online visibility.

Tip 9: Update your images

You need to update your images from time to time. There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that is particularly true when it comes to ecommerce.

Even if you feel like you have a product that is doing well, you may want to update the image. That way, people do not immediately gloss over the image when they visit your website. If someone feels like they have seen that image a lot in the past, they are more inclined to skip over it and move somewhere else. Even if it is the same product, a new image can make someone think that the product is new.

When you add pictures to your website, you also show search engines that the website is still active. If you do not update your pictures from time to time, search engines may think that the website is dead. As a result, your search results rankings may begin to suffer. If you want to keep your search results rankings as high as possible, you need to update your pictures. You might even want to add a few videos to your website. That way, you can make your website stand out from the crowd.

Tip 10: Make your content easy to scan

Nobody is going to read everything when they visit your ecommerce business website so make sure your content is easy to scan. That way, people can pick out what is most important for their needs. If a visitor has to spend a lot of time deciphering where certain pages and products are located on your website, they are going to go somewhere else. Speed is everything. Someone wants to get into your store, purchase something, and get out as quickly as possible.

There are several ways you can make your ecommerce store scannable. You may want to use headers that clearly indicate certain parts of your website. You may also want to use different colors to make it easier for people to figure out where they need to look next. If you sell different types of products, make sure you break them into categories. That way, your visitors can scan the site quickly and find the category that they need.

If you keep your paragraph short, use multiple headers, and include bullet points, you will make your content scannable. This will make it easier for search engines to categorize your website, and visitors will have an easier time finding what they need. This can make a significant difference when you are looking for ways to reduce your bounce rate and increase your conversion rate. Review your website from time to time to make sure it is easy for people to scan.

Build an ecommerce website with your customers in mind

It’s easy to make a website. It’s harder to make that site a beautiful and intuitive experience for the user. But the extra effort put into ecommerce website design is well worth it.

Browse through your favorite product websites for inspiration and take note of the ones that use a simple, clean design. Then try to incorporate that style into your own ecommerce website design.

If you already have an online store, using ecommerce integrations makes connecting with our marketing platform easy, and helps you turn window shoppers into customers. Our Creative Assistant can use your website to create beautiful, on-brand designs for your multichannel campaigns. Then, you can expertly market that site to your audience using features like our Customer Journey Builder, social posting, and email to help drive more sales.

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