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Ecommerce Website Design Tips and Best Practices

She is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She often covers developments in HR, business, recruiting, real estate and finance.

When people visit your website, the last thing you want is for them to suddenly leave out of frustration or lack of interest. Unfortunately, if your website’s design is not intuitive or responsive, you’ll experience more website departures than checkouts. And this can take a toll on your bottom line.

Here are several design tips, tricks, and web tools to create an effective ecommerce website and keep users engaged.

Create Brand Guidelines

Your brand guidelines should reflect your company's personality. These guidelines should include your brand story, values, mission, audience, tone, and visual style. Once you have defined your brand you can translate it onto your website.

Choose a design template that best matches your brand and begin populating the pages with your voice and products. Review the CTA button colors and make sure they contrast with your brand colors to signal an action needs to take place.

Optimize the Homepage

Display an optimized hero image with relevant information above the fold. Before scrolling down, users should understand what your company sells and get a brief understanding of your brand's personality.

A great homepage will likely have a call to action button (or two) at the top of the page. Determine if you would like shoppers to view all of your products or visit a specific category, such as women's products.

Other important features include branded photos (that load fast), featured or trending products, trustworthy banners, social proof, and user-friendly navigation.

Prioritize Navigation

Optimizing your online store’s navigation is yet another top priority for creating an alluring website for your business. To do this, divide your company’s offerings into categories followed by sub-categories on your ecommerce website. This will make it easy for your users to locate their desired products.

Consider also building a convenient drop-down site feature for your top-level category labels. In addition, integrate a search feature so visitors can rapidly pinpoint specific products. Highlight current sales, deals, and discounts—in a banner or section—near the top of the page to quickly grab the users’ attention.

Be Mobile-Friendly

Research shows that more than 72% of online users will rely on their smartphones to browse the web by 2025. Your site should be visually attractive on mobile and quickly load content. The highest conversion rates happen on ecommerce sites that load before two seconds.

By optimizing your content you can ensure that the site's design is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and loads images without causing delays. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to determine your page speed and view recommendations to improve your ecommerce site.

One in 10 Americans use mobile phones as their only way of going online, and that number is growing. Learn the key steps to keep your site responsive.

One in 10 Americans use mobile phones as their only way of going online, and that number is growing. Learn the key steps to keep your site responsive.

Follow the Rule of Thirds

This online site design technique involves using a 3x3 grid to determine where visitors to your website will most likely look, then capitalize on this. As a general rule of thumb, new site visitors will concentrate on the site’s outer corners above everything else. Most importantly, they’ll focus on your site’s left side. For this reason, you’ll want to target your ecommerce site’s left-hand section for interactive components to increase your conversion rate.

Use Great Photos

Use high-quality photos to display your products. Create a bright and clean visual experience to influence users' decisions. For each product, add multiple photos highlighting different angles or consumer uses of the product.

Once shoppers become visually immersed in what your product has to offer, they may be more inclined to add the product to the cart and complete the transaction. Pair your beautiful images with optimized product descriptions and strong call-to-action statements or buttons.

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Build Consumer Trust

Customer reviews can be placed on the checkout page, homepage, and product pages. Added trust from other consumers' experiences with your company may help shoppers push the checkout button.

You may also consider building a FAQ page that answers questions regarding shipping information, returns, loyalty programs, gifts, customer support, and general inquiries. This can help shoppers address common questions and feel secure knowing your shipping and return process.

Use A Simple Checkout Process

Enhance your customer's experience by simplifying the checkout process. Make it easy to shop, add items to the cart, and enter payment information. Online shoppers may be more inclined to complete a purchase if your site is mobile-friendly. Since mobile internet users spend a little more than four hours a day on average, they must receive an experience optimized for a smaller screen.

Keep shipping costs transparent to avoid abandoned carts. Users may also appreciate seeing security badges and reviews on the checkout page --- as this will signal that your ecommerce store is trusted by other individuals. In addition, you can consider adding multiple payment options to ensure that users have a way of completing the transaction. Beyond major debit and credit cards, PayPal and Apple Pay may be an option in the checkout process for their ease of use.

Lastly, you should determine if you want to use a one-page or multi-step checkout. A one-page checkout collects less consumer information and requires fewer clicks, which may lead to more sales. If you are keen on collecting additional contact information, a multi-step checkout may be for you. Consumers may be more inclined to follow through a lengthy process for more expensive items if they are loyal to your brand.

Incorporate Social Media

Embedding an Instagram feed on your website may also build customer trust. Consumers can see other users wearing your product or reviewing it on their social media accounts.

By incorporating a visual element, shoppers can imagine how the product will fit into their own lives and help complete the purchase. Place your social icon buttons in the footer or near the main navigation. If shoppers take the time to view your recent posts, they may come across a sale or new products that will lead them back to your site for more shopping.

Eliminate Glitches

A glitchy website is your worst enemy if you’re seeking to protect your brand’s image and your business’s bottom line. For this reason, it’s paramount that you fix broken links and remove any 404 pages on your ecommerce website. This will make your website appear more trustworthy and, in turn, ensure a higher search engine ranking for your site.

A leading web design company can also help you to improve your site’s loading speed, which will further enhance the customer experience. In addition, try to avoid using floating notifications and bars, which may become misaligned on a smartphone.

Increase Your Security

Consider an SSL certificate to give shoppers confidence when browsing your site. By building trust, users may be more trusting when sharing their personal data and payment information.

You can add a banner of any additional security badges you may have or display a Featured In banner—to showcase established companies mentioning your brand.

Choose Your Platform

If you do not already have an ecommerce platform in mind, you should determine which one will best suit your website design needs. Some of the most basic things to consider are your budget, security, hosting, maintenance, transaction fees, front-end needs, integrations, customer management, and scalability.

Here's a quick rundown of some of the top ecommerce sites depending on your specific requirements.

  • Shopify has omnichannel capabilities, payment processing, customizable themes, built-in marketing tools, domains, and third-party apps.

    • Price: Basic Shopify: $29.99/month; Advanced Shopify: $299/month
  • BigCommerce is a wonderful option for enterprise-level companies interested in selling internationally or through multiple online channels.

    • Price: Standard: $29.95/month; Pro: $299.95/month
  • Adobe Commerce is highly customizable and free to start, but it is not hosted and may seem difficult to beginners.

    • Price: Custom pricing
  • WooCommerce is an open-source option for WordPress users looking to build an ecommerce site and utilize WordPress plug-ins and integrations.

    • Price: $30/month on average
  • Squarespace is a hosted option with drag and drop features, professionally designed templates, and no transaction fees.

    • Price: Personal: $16/month; Advanced Commerce: $46/month
  • Wix is also fully hosted and has drag and drop features, and users can use Wix for free with their most basic plan.

    • Price: Business Basic: $23/month; Business VIP: $49/month
  • Big Cartel is a fully hosted option for creatives, however, there are limitations when it comes to product images, payment options, and integrations.

    • Price: 5 products: Free; 50 products: $9.99/month; 500 products $29.99/month

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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