The golden rule of e-commerce website design: Simplify the shopping experience. The customer just wants to shop and get things done quickly. What really makes a customer happy is simplicity in design and this requires you to think like a customer and not a designer who only cares for trends and aesthetics.
Therefore, your e-commerce website design can’t be an afterthought in a highly competitive e-commerce arena. It is the starting point of your success!
A great e-commerce design is built around the target audience and meets both; company’s goals and fulfills people’s desires. E-commerce design elements don’t just contribute to constructing a delightful shopping experience, they elevate brand appeal and customers reward companies that do so with loyalty.
We’re visual creatures, therefore a good design helps you get your foot in the door by influencing the consumer and making that emotional connection. Why do you think brands like Apple, Mercedes, or BMW have a cult-like following?
Because good design awakens passion. Yet as a designer you need to tread with caution and be careful to strike a balance between must-have e-commerce design elements and creativity. An online store is similar to your next-door store and nobody wants to stroll the aisles just to find a bottle of milk.
Designing your e-commerce store is similar to doing the interior design of your bedroom. You don’t just splash paint on the walls or throw things around, instead you redesign with each element pulled in together to create a lively and appealing room. Similarly, a well-designed e-commerce site, curated with must have e-commerce design elements will automatically delight customers and eventually drive conversions.
1. Create a Homepage Design that Engages your Customers from the Start
The first impression counts! The role of homepage is not to convert, but rather to pitch, promote, and lead customers to the category or product page. Not only must it attract and engage, it must compel and convince online customers to dive right in.
With your customers more likely to interact with your website from a smartphone or tablet, you must choose a mobile-friendly UI. Prefer to simplify your menu and have padding around the menu items to make it easier for users to read. Choose skeleton screens for faster load time and fluid experience. Off course you need a robust content management system for that.
Your e-commerce site may have a diverse audience across different age-groups or be restricted to a niche customer base. Either way, it is advisable to have clear CTAs, and highlight your brand promise even as you utilize white space to strike a balance. Have an easily identifiable ‘Promotion’ section and use captivating images of products that link to the category or product pages. A successful design-driven e-commerce company excels in improving its homepage and e-commerce design quickly. This is often in response to changing consumer preferences through constant A/B testing.
2. Make a Clear CTA Button Design
In the age of smartphones, humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Therefore, you need Call-To-Action (CTAs) buttons to grab the attention of your website visitors. Use animated CTA buttons and good microinteractions as visual cue to deliver an engaging experience to mobile audience.
While it’s easier said than done, ensure that you work on the size, color, font, content, and typography of the CTAs and that they are strategically placed with same font and colors throughout the site. Since people interact with touch-based UI with their fingers, CTAs must be big enough to avoid frustration across devices.
Colors can indicate interactivity and using contrast colors in CTAs is a great way to help them stand out. The button copy too must be short, crisp and relevant. In case you sell generic/ simple products, CTAs above the fold tend to perform better; whereas it is advisable to place CTAs below the fold in case of products that require informed decision making. It is a good practice to test your CTAs using A/B testing to analyze the effectiveness of different fonts, colors, design, and content of your CTAs.
3. Show your True Colors
The colors you use are an expression of your brand. The colors on your website facilitate shopping and don’t distract nor conflict. You also need to cater to people with colorblindness and how different cultures perceive colors. Similarly, you should use color contrast to facilitate easy reading and grab longer attention span for special offers, promotions and drive conversions.
Using an online color contrast calculator is a good idea. However too much of anything is bad, thus, at the other end of color lays the white space, which is not necessarily an absence of colors but is essential to make your website easy to digest while your customers skim through products.
4. Foster Trust with Multiple High- Quality Product Images
Product images are a deal breaker! They replace the actual touch and feel of the products in the real world and provide all the information that a customer needs to confidently make a purchase decision. Invest in a professional camera or hire a freelancer and capture multiple high quality photos of your product from different angles to help create a story using catchy backdrops and close-ups.
The better your images and more product images you show, the higher the conversions. Increasing the size of product images has been shown to drive higher conversions, given the shorter attention span and fewer distractions on the mobile or tablet screen. Ensure that the images undergo further editing skills for filtering/ exposure & sharpness/ composition to make them look appealing and feasible for e-commerce website across screens.
The use of natural light for a photoshoot is best, whenever or wherever possible or you may use a lightbox to get lighting right, and white is always right as a background since it minimizes distraction. Combining high-quality product images with concise and creative product description makes a powerful impact for better CTR and conversion rate.
5. Use Simple Site Navigation
Clear, logical, and user-friendly navigation facilitates your customer’s online shopping experience and creates better SEO for your e-commerce. Just as you look for signposts in a supermarket to guide you through the aisles, similarly when a customer lands on your e-commerce store, your navigation is not just menus, but rather like signposts that guide the user to relevant services or products.
Therefore, usability and design must go hand-in-glove. With the ever-growing number of products and categories faceted search navigation is now emerging as a popular alternative to guided search since it arranges, filters, and helps customers find products that best suit their needs faster. You can improve navigation by using meaningful labels, breadcrumb navigation, listing and re-listing categories, and keeping your logo the door to your homepage.
6. Make your Checkout as Easy as Possible
Cart abandonment is a major issue for any e-tailer and therefore easy checkout is a must to avoid losing potential orders on your website. The entire process from adding items to cart, reviewing them, choosing a payment option and processing payment should be simple, smooth, and quick.
The checkout screen must have a simple and calm color scheme, avoid repetitive actions and too many fields for information. Instead, include an order summary with easy and fast editing, and live chat support at best. Use a lot of white space to keep it distraction free and use a lot of payment options to make the checkout a breeze. An often-committed mistake is forcing the customer to register and create an account during the checkout stage: instead, do so at the beginning of the buyer’s journey.
7. Gather Customer Ratings & Reviews
Make customers your high-performing marketing asset by using the trust of past buyers to turn visitors into shoppers! Word of Mouth has always been the most powerful tool. Testimonials, reviews, and ratings from verified buyers do just that by engaging your customers and driving sales for your e-commerce. Not only is it a win-win situation, but it adds to your credibility, SEO, and it has a spiraling effect by generating brand conversations online.
Follow up their purchase with drip emailers that offer options for sharing their reviews and ratings in a quick mobile-friendly process. Simply use online tools like Yotpo or Feefo to collect customer reviews, spread the good word and make for a delightful shopping experience. Utilize social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to collect reviews and encourage consumers to share them.
Success for an e-commerce website requires perpetual testing to know what works and what customers prefer. Therefore, you must continuously test each of these elements to stay ahead and relevant to offer a delightful shopping experience.
E-commerce website design is the key to making online shopping a rewarding experience for the customer and you. Thus, it is important to not confuse the customer and deliver a simple and fast shopping experience.
Image credit : Felipe Medina