10 Principles of Great E-Commerce Website Design

The competition in the e-commerce industry is escalating every day, so what special attraction does your online store have that will attract people browsing online? Surely product quality is an important factor but then it is not the absolute factor to ensure organic traffic.

If you want to gain maximum traffic into your online store, try to think about and improve the user experience for visitors using your website. That sounds great, but how can we improve user experience to make your website more appealing? Here are 10 ways that you can create one of the best e-commerce sites for 2018 and beyond.

E-Commerce Design Principles

Minimalistic and user-friendly layout

If you are using WordPress, a huge number of e-commerce website templates are already available to you. For the Magento and BigCommerce users, the range of templates aren’t as plentiful but there are still good templates to choose from.

Sometimes, a stunning and fancy website design is not always welcome on e-commerce websites. It is found that people prefer minimalistic designs with easy navigation than fancy designs with complex navigation.

People visit an online store with a concept of easy search and visualising hundreds of products with key information available to them. A minimalistic design helps people view products and filter the results to find products that suit their needs without unwanted distractions. Most of the top-rated e-commerce websites like Amazon and eBay follow minimalistic design principles.

The background colour of every page and product is important. Most of the leading e-commerce sites use a white background for both pages and products, which help customers to read the information easily. You don’t have to stick to white but having a distraction free and light background colour tends to work best.

Product Photography

The best way of keeping visitors engage with your website is to have excellent product images. In past, it was okay to upload standard quality pictures, but with increasing competition, there is no scope for “okay” quality.

The product images should be high quality with a white background so that the customers can easily see colour contrast of the product. If you can attract customers with great images they are more likely to click through to view the product details, which is one step closer to guaranteeing a purchase.

Showing products in action is the new trend and people love imagination. Showing the products in a certain context or in an action allows them to visualise themselves using or wearing the product and this emotive connection is often what drives sales. This photography trick is mostly used to sell garments, accessories, and jewellery.

Apple realised this and it was the driving force to opening Apple stores and allowing customers to use the products in store. By allowing customers to actually use the products it allowed them to boost their sales and push for add-on items.

Product descriptions

Product DescriptionsA short but informative product description is efficient to engage customers. Top e-commerce websites generally put product information in bullet points beside the product image. It helps the customers compare the features of the product. Online stores like Amazon show a product comparison table at the bottom of product pages so you can compare similar models.

A short description that is written in a promotional style is essential if you want to motivate customers in deciding what product to choose. A long paragraph for the product description can push other details further down the page, especially on mobile devices. Having a long description towards the bottom of the product page works best as it allows visitors to skim read content or read more in-depth details or technical specifications

The description fonts should be large enough so its easily readable on all devices as most online shoppers are using mobile phones and tablets when buying online.

Easy Navigation

If you have a large product range, it is recommended that you categorise your products so it is easier for customers to browse. A menu bar can guide customers through different categories and products, which can help boost sales.

Easy E-Commerce NavigationAn appropriate navigation system helps customers find their desired products easily and that makes navigation systems a crucial part of e-commerce website design. Build the website menu so it is easily clickable. Buttons or links should be incorporated into the design in such a way that people using mobile devices can easily click it. The colour contrast of the menu or navigation bar is also very important. Considering the probability of colour blindness, a sharp contrast is required so that everyone can see and use the navigation options.

Make it easy for customers to search

One of the most user-friendly factors in a website (especially in an e-commerce site) is a search bar. When people are shown thousands of products it can be difficult to find the one they are looking for. By having a clearly visible search bar can save the day and keep visitors on your website for longer.

Customer SearchA search system is especially useful for customers who know what they want. The search bar helps to reduce the time it takes to find what they need quickly and effortlessly. Try to show a search bar at the top of the website so it is visible and you should use contrasting colours to highlight the box.

Call to action buttons

A clear call to action button has a different emphasis on e-commerce sites. This is because your only aim in this site is to sell – and call to action messages help with that goal. Calls to action should be short and succinct to grab the potential buyer’s attention. Try to use different fonts and colours to make your calls to action unique.

Ensure payment security

Secure Online PaymentsBuilding trust is of the utmost of importance when you are asking customers to part with their credit/debit card details or personal information to make an online purchase. Add an SSL certificate can be setup on your website to encrypt the personal data exchanged between the customers device and the website server.

The payment options should be trustworthy and something that people are familiar with, like PayPal, SagePay, Stripe, RealEx or WorldPay. You can also add a, “cash on delivery” option for physical products as it will help minimize the purchasing barrier.

Customer Reviews

Today customers’ decision are hugely dependent on the product reviews. Using independent review websites like Trust Pilot, Yell or FeFoo will help give your online store credibility and trust. Make sure the product reviews are visible throughout your website so they are clearly visible. Star ratings for the products are best to be placed at the top of the page or next to the product image. Use appropriate fonts for the review comments so that the mobile users can also read them.

Mobile responsive design

You should use a mobile responsive e-commerce theme when building an online store. The mobile version of the e-commerce site should be easy to use and contain all the functionality of the desktop version.

If your mobile version of the website provides poor user experience then it could be off-putting to customers and they could go to a competitor. Unlike the desktop version, it is not possible to display 5-10 products in a row in the mobile version but you could add a carousel of products that people can swipe through on mobile.

You should try to avoid full-screen pop-up ads as they are irritating for users. If you do decide to have a pop-up ad then you should be selective of when you show it so customers can use your site to buy your products.

Website Load Times

Nobody like slow loading pages. It is irritating when a website takes a long time to load and this can cause customers to go elsewhere. Slow loading websites mean the customer has to wait for the page to load before they can use the website. Slow loading pages and product images/description can cost you in loss of sales. Try to use a mobile-optimised or lightweight theme and fix slow loading issues with the help of website developers.

Final Thoughts

Creating an e-commerce site with WordPress is easy but it is difficult to build a user-friendly site unless you are experienced in this area. The most successful e-commerce sites follow simple rules like using minimal design, easy navigation, clear calls to action and mobile responsive design.

If you are able to create an e-commerce website that follows the advice above then you will be one step closer to a successful online store. However, an actionable eCommerce site requires WordPress Maintenance Service to secure it from hackers, with regular backups, screening for malicious code and updating algorithms, themes, plugins and widgets. Monitoring your store regularly is crucial to ensure your store’s reputation and continued business.

Ben Lacey is the Managing Director of Lacey Tech Solutions. He is passionate about everything to do with websites from design and development through to search optimisation and hosting. He started the company blog as a platform to help educate current and prospective customers about the ever changing website development industry.

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