These days, starting your own online business can be easy and affordable. It’s no wonder e-commerce sales have been growing year after year. Recent data shows that retail e-commerce accounts for over $4 trillion in global sales.
Clearly, a lot of money is being spent online. And if you’re a new e-commerce 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 e-commerce 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.
Effective e-commerce website design
Successful e-commerce website designs work well for a variety of reasons. To begin with, they share a focus on ease of use.
- User experience
- Cross-platform adaptability
- Site layout and visual design
The most effective e-commerce 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 e-commerce 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.
Other elements of simple design include:
- Easily scannable content
- Simple and legible fonts
- Unified color schemes
- Clearly identifiable navigation elements
- Easily navigable product categories
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 e-commerce 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 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 e-commerce website design can both inspire an emotion and motivate a person to take action. Just making a certain button red, for example, can increase click-through rates up to 34%.
Tip 3: Optimize your site for mobile, and make it fast
We all know more users are browsing the web on their smartphones 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 mobile.
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. By the time your page hits 4 seconds of load time, you’ve already lost 25% of viewers.
To avoid slow loading times, lean on minimalist e-commerce website design and be mindful of the elements you’re using. Avoid overcrowding your e-commerce 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
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 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.
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 up front 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 e-commerce 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 incorporating an easy-to-find FAQ page in your e-commerce 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.
Build an e-commerce 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 e-commerce 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 e-commerce website design.
When you’re ready to build or update your online shop, consider a company that lets you handle multiple aspects of your business all in one place. A Mailchimp store gives you all of the marketing and commerce functionalities you need to start selling quickly.
If you already have an online store, using e-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.