When you have an online business, your ecommerce website is essentially your storefront. As such, your ecommerce web design demonstrates who you are to your website visitors, making it one of the primary influences for how many of your visitors become customers.
It’s often said that “looks are everything,” and that’s certainly true with web design. A recent survey revealed that almost half (48%) of website visitors view web design as the No. 1 factor in determining a business’s credibility; moreover, 38% will abandon sites with poor web design (Blue Corona). And while many may preach not to “judge a book by its cover,” these statistics demonstrate that the opposite seems to be true.
In just 17 milliseconds, most users will develop an opinion on your web design (CXL), so it’s important that you make that first impression a good one. To sell your users on what you have to offer from the first glance, implement these 10 ecommerce web design tips during your next phase of ecommerce development, and watch your sales soar.
1. Think like your users.
One of the first things you’ll want to consider to ensure that you effectively connect with your users is to get inside their heads. In other words, identify your target demographic, and consider how your web design can speak to how their minds work.
For example, take your target audience’s age bracket into consideration. Creating a site that speaks to young girls (e.g. AmericanGirl.com) is going to look and function much differently than one that speaks to adult women (e.g. Chanel.com). Compare the aforementioned sites yourself—consider how much the color palettes of each site alone vary greatly (colorful vs. generally grayscale).
By keeping your users in mind, you’ll be more likely to create a site that they love and continue coming back to. If you have the resources available, you might even consider conducting marketing research to gain better insight into what your users prefer.
2. Use a minimalist design.
You’ve probably heard the word “minimalist” thrown around in reference to keeping your house clutter-free or that modern, interior design you witness at most trendy homes or restaurants. But today, minimalist design has infiltrated web design as well, and not just because it looks good.
With an ecommerce site, the goal is for your site to direct users toward making a purchase. When your site is cluttered, however, users may not know where to begin (e.g. too many calls to action). But with clean and simplistic web design, your users will know exactly where to click, increasing their chances of becoming your newest customer.
3. Provide clear navigation.
Keeping that minimalist design in mind, navigation is often an area where users can become confused and choose to abandon a site. Especially when a site has a wide variety of products to offer (e.g. Walmart), finding what a user needs can become a daunting task with poor navigation.
By keeping your menu clear and organized, and using jargon that your consumers are familiar with (e.g. “Main Menu,” “Apparrel,” etc.), you can greatly improve the user experience you have to offer. Likewise, ensure that your product pages are also clearly organized, as you wouldn’t want your users to get lost when they’ve almost found their product of choice.
4. Make search an option.
As noted, when navigation is overwhelming, think Amazon, even well-organized web design isn’t going to provide easy-to-use navigation. This may be the reason why more “densely packed retail websites had higher [rates of] search (>50%)” (MeasuringU), as search often becomes the more accessible choice for finding a product on such sites.
While not every website will benefit from a search tool, consider if your users could get lost without one. In addition, if you feel that a search tool would be of value, make sure that it’s clearly visible to your users, and not hidden within the navigation: The easier it is the find, the more likely you will be to make a sale.
5. Use high-quality images.
Most people are highly receptive to the imagery around them, and the same goes for content on the Internet: For instance, articles with compelling images get 94% more views than those without. More relevant to ecommerce, 67% of consumers rate a product’s image quality as “very important” in their decision to purchase a product (MDG Marketing).
With this in mind, you’ve likely noticed that more ecommerce sites are becoming photography-centric. Photography-centric, however, doesn’t mean you should upload a surplus of stock photos to your site: Instead, get your hands on professional photos of your products and maybe even your team. Doing so not only lends credibility to your business but creates a more aesthetically-pleasing site that will keep your users engaged.
6. Make the purpose of each page clear.
Although we touched on this a bit earlier, it’s important to remember that when a user visits your site, you won’t be there to walk them through how it works, where to find a product, or how to place an order. In this way, your site needs to speak for itself and provide clear calls-to-action.
In many cases, businesses become so concerned with creating pages that provide calls-to-action that they overwhelm the users. The problem with this, however, as Columbia University professor Sheena Iyengar states, “Too many choices can overwhelm us and cause us not to choose at all” (Sumo). As such, when designing your product pages, for instance, ensure they direct the customer to make a purchase, and not elsewhere.
7. Include customer reviews & ratings.
At the beginning of this post, we mentioned that web design plays a significant role in helping a user to determine a site’s level of credibility. While your overall design will influence whether users view your organization as trustworthy or not, they’ll certainly take your reviews (or lack thereof) into account.
As of 2017, 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, and 74% of consumers say they would contact a business that displays customer reviews (Status Labs). As such, by allowing your customers to share their thoughts on your products or services, you increase your users’ likelihood of making a purchase.
8. Keep checkout easy.
Shopping cart abandonment is one of the greatest grievances for online businesses. With an average abandonment rate of 69.57%, making as many efforts as possible to reduce this number worth the effort (Baymard Institute). Thankfully, you can work to tackle this problem through a simplified checkout process.
Second to only users who abandon their cart from “just browsing” are users that abandoned their cart because of a “too long / complicated checkout process.” That said, when the design of a checkout process was improved, conversion rates were improved by an average of 35% (Baymard Institute).
9. Make sure it’s responsive.
Not only is the number of Internet users for desktop and mobile is roughly 1:1 (StatCounter), but 79% of smartphone users have made an online purchase from their mobile devices in the last 6 months (OuterBox). With more potential ecommerce consumers on mobile than ever, it’s more critical than ever to provide a great web design on desktop and mobile.
While you could build a mobile app to run full-throttle with the mobile commerce movement, the bare minimum you’ll need is a responsive design. A responsive design ensures that the design of your site will adjust based on your user’s screen size and orientation. In this way, your site will cater to users across platforms, ensuring that you earn sales from mobile, tablet, and desktop users alike.
10. Use social media to your advantage.
In the U.S., 98% of adult Internet users have at least one social media account, with each person having an average of 7 social media accounts total (MarketingTech). With almost every consumer on social media, it’s worth taking advantage of these platforms by bringing it into your web design.
While it will depend on your target audience’s preferences, there are a variety of ways you can use social media in web design: For example, you can enable users to login to your site using their social media accounts (e.g. Facebook). You can also include social share buttons for your blog posts and your products, as well as live feeds of UGC (user-generated content) featuring your products (if applicable).
By making social media a part of your web design, you are using a tool that your consumers already know and love, to better connect with them, build trust, and encourage conversions.
Give Your Ecommerce Web Design a Facelift!
While these 10 tips for improving your ecommerce web design apply to most online business, not all may apply to yours. Depending on what products and services you sell—and most importantly, your target audience—you’ll need to determine how best to reach your customers. In most cases, this requires a custom ecommerce solution.
For over a decade, ClikFocus has built highly-customized ecommerce and membership systems for small non-profits to enterprise-level organizations. Whatever your ecommerce web design needs may be, we’ll work with you to make your idea into a reality.
Take your first step toward your web design goals, and contact us.