Effective E-Commerce Web Design Equals More Sales – It’s That Simple!

  • Date Published
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Building an effective online store takes more than adding products and a shopping cart. Here are a few other things you must include to succeed.

Why You Should Care About Effective E-Commerce Web Design

We work with a lot of e-commerce clients, and we noticed a consistent if somewhat alarming trend. Many businesses think they simply need to throw up an e-commerce website, add products and pricing, and start selling. In reality a lot of things that go into building and maintaining an e-commerce store. So we want to focus on how effective e-commerce web design increases conversions.

It is easy to understand why e-commerce site owners focus on sales only; they are ready to sell the moment visitors arrive on their site. But consumers may not be ready to buy at that stage. Especially if they are new to your business they are at a different stage in their journey of conversion. Instead of being an overly pushy salesperson you can use effective e-commerce web design to align your selling process to your consumers.

Imagine you visit a mall. The first retailer bombards you with pushy sales promotions the moment you enter, so you leave. At the second store you are completely ignored, with the same results. Your online store works the same way. Don’t be overly “salesy” or pushy; your visitors will go elsewhere. Instead, focus on providing guidance and answering questions from potential consumers as required.

As an e-commerce business, you already know that a ton of easy tips and tricks to increase conversions. From a design perspective, your responsibilities may seem simply for visual appeal. What you probably didn’t know is that effective e-commerce web design actually increases online store conversions. Let me show you why and how this works.

Three Facts Supporting Effective E-Commerce Web Design

1. People Would Rather Spend Time on a Well-Designed Site

According to a study conducted by Adobe, consumers would rather spend their time on a well-designed site. This even applies if they are short on time! Additionally, if you are trying to attract Millennials you should focus more on entertainment and micro-interactions than sales facts alone.

66% of consumers would prefer to engage with a well-designed website and not just any website, even if short on time. Adobe Research

So, if you can use your effective e-commerce web design to engage, you’re more likely to keep consumers on your site, generate more content shares, and increase your e-commerce revenue. The traffic that lands on your site will appreciate your design efforts.

2. Effective E-Commerce Web Design Provides Credibility

Just like you would not go shopping in a business down a dark alley, online consumers need some sign that your e-commerce site is trustworthy before they will make any buying decision. Effective e-commerce web design takes that into consideration right from the start of your project.

51% of online consumers think that, aside from products and services, complete contact information is the most important piece of a company website and 44% will leave if that info isn’t conspicuously posted. KoMarketing

Effective e-commerce web design isn’t just about coding, imagery, and navigation. An experienced e-commerce web designer pays attention to key details like transparency, trustworthiness, and user engagement. This includes prominently displaying contact info, shipping and return policies, customer testimonials and reviews, and a robust about section.

3. Fast Page Load Speeds Increase Return Visits

A fast page load speed is not only a Google requirement for better search rankings; it also plays an important part in user satisfaction. Especially for image-heavy sites such as e-commerce websites it pays to keep an eye on the details.

40% of users will leave a web page that takes more than three seconds to load. KissMetrics

Web page speed and image compression are an important aspect of effective e-commerce web design. By optimizing your e-commerce design for desktop and mobile visitors, you’re keeping potential consumers on your site longer, and increase the odds that they will return.

Effective E-Commerce Web Design Elements You Must Have!

Regardless if you are building your very first e-commerce store or simply updating or redesigning an existing e-commerce presence, the same rules apply. If you want to offer a better user experience, and increase engagement and conversions, you simply must include these effective e-commerce web design elements.

There are many different e-commerce content management systems to select from, or you can hire a professional web designer or agency to build a custom e-commerce site for you. That part is entirely up to you. But aside from fabulous products, of course, these elements of a fantastic e-commerce site will make your online store much more successful.

Mobile-First Design

In 2018 this should not even be mentioned any longer. Unfortunately, many e-commerce sites are still not mobile-friendly! Effective e-commerce web design looks and functions equally well on desktop and mobile devices, and that benefits the overall user experience.

Mobile devices now account for two out of every three minutes spent online. ComScore

Both mobile and omnichannel (mobile and desktop) consumers must be considered when designing an effective online store. The average consumer will use a variety of desktop and mobile devices on the journey of conversion. Effective e-commerce web design means you take any step you can to make this process as simple as possible.

Load Speeds of Less Than Three Seconds, Even on Mobile!

As mentioned above having a fast-loading online store is a key element in user satisfaction. And this trend is only accelerating, so to say! Google now expects desktop sites to load in less than 2 seconds for maximum search benefits. Now that’s fast! And even on mobile devices sites are expected to load in less than 3 seconds.

To check on your site use a tool like Pingdom, GTMetrix, or Google PageSpeed to test your pages and follow their guidance for optimization. These tools will describe exactly what you need to fix and how to fix it for both mobile and desktop site versions. For example, if you need to optimize images, the PageSpeed tool will list the images that need updating and exactly how much smaller they need to be.

SSL Certificate

Another effective e-commerce web design element is having a secure socket layer or SSL Certificate. Not only do many payment processors already need this; it is a Google requirement as of July 2018. It also adds an extra layer of trust and transparency to your website. That is a deciding factor for many online consumers before they will share their credit card or other sensitive info.

Simple and Consistent Navigation

Nobody is going to buy anything on your site if they cannot easily find it first! So don’t let your e-commerce store navigation confuse shoppers. They should be able to decide where they want to go at a glance. Otherwise, they will simply go to a site that provides a better navigation or search experience.

Half of referral traffic is going to use the navigation menu to orient them, the other half will be using your search bar and clicking through your calls to action. KoMarketing

For the 50% of potential online consumers who are using your navigation menu, break items down into product categories and subcategories to keep traffic flowing in the right direction. Don’t include so many categories in your main navigation that site visitors have to read through all of them to find what they’re looking for.

Increasing your online sales by designing navigation that allows shoppers to effortlessly find what they’re looking for is a highly effective e-commerce web design element. Unfortunately, many online stores are still missing out.

Prominent Contact Information

What if your online consumers have a question before or during the buying process? Prominently posting your contact information on your homepage, in the footer or sidebar of your website, is a simple way to make it easy to find. Include a phone number, email address, and a contact form so that site visitors have options, should they actually need or want to get in touch.

Prominent Shipping and Return Policies

Another very effective e-commerce web design strategy is to prominently display your shipping and return policy on the home page, in your header, and again in the footer of your pages. Contrary to popular belief, this will not lead to increased returns. Instead of providing this info overcomes a frequent obstacle in the journey of conversion and actually increases sales!

Privacy Policy

Next on our list of effective e-commerce web design elements is your privacy policy. Remember that you are asking your site visitors for sensitive personal information, including their credit card info and home address. They will feel a lot more comfortable doing that if your site appears trustworthy and reputable. For those who want to know, make sure they can find out that their personal information is safe on your site.

If you do not have a privacy policy you can use a generic privacy policy generator to create a boilerplate version for your e-commerce store. This is usually good enough for starters. But if you want to be really thorough you may want to consult with your business lawyer. Regardless of what type of policy you use, it is your job to link to it in the footer of the site, and in a visible area during checkout.

GDPR Compliance

And if you are actually selling to consumers residing in any EU country you will need to make sure you fully comply with the General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) that went into effect on May 25th, 2018. While EU regulators are most likely not going to beat down your door if you missed out on this you will still want to become compliant. Here are some simple GDPR compliance tips for those of you not entirely sure what to do.

Simple Shopping Cart and Checkout Process

Shopping cart flow and a simple checkout process are two more of our effective e-commerce web design elements. It doesn’t matter how awesome your products are; if your consumers have a hard time during checkout they will leave!

27% of shoppers abandon their carts because of a complicated checkout process. Baymard Institute

Therefore your checkout process should encourage complete transactions, not hinder them. Like the rest of your pages, your shopping cart must be responsive for omnichannel mobile consumers. If possible, cut the checkout process into four pages:

  • Login/ Sign-Up (If Required)
  • Delivery and Payment information
  • Order Details Confirmation
  • Order Placement

If you want to increase conversions and sales consider offering guest checkout. Forcing potential shoppers to register a profile on your site before they can buy is a major turnoff. And make it easy for returning customers by allowing them to log in with their social media profiles. The fewer steps your potential shoppers have to take, the more likely they are to convert.

Multiple About Pages

No, this is absolutely not a typo! There are very good reasons why having two or more about pages is a very effective e-commerce web design strategy. No matter what type of online store you have, there are at least two stories behind it.

Of course, online shoppers want to know about your products and services. That’s what your product pages and reviews are for. They also want to know about you and your company. By telling that story you involve your consumers in your brand story.

What made you decide to open your own business? Why did you decide to sell what you do? Did a personal experience lead you to it? Are you fulfilling a life-long dream, or hoping to help your local community? And that makes it more likely they will become loyal brand advocates.

One of our clients opened her online store to be able to spend more time with her kids. Another decided to do it to provide better food alternatives for young families, like her grandchildren. This type of story definitely resonates with your potential consumers.

And be sure not to hide this info in your footer or some other obscure section of your site. Just like a shopkeeper greets customers as they come in your online store be sure to introduce yourself to your online audience as well. Including a page on your online store that explains your products and another page that explains who the company is and what they’re about is one of our top effective e-commerce web design strategies.

Customer Service Pages

Many online stores focus primarily on selling their products. But what if your online consumers have questions before, during, or after their purchase? This type of question can range from delivery expectations, what to do if the product is defective or the wrong size, and after-purchase customer support. Effective e-commerce web design includes adding customer service pages to answer these questions.

83% of e-commerce sites include a list of FAQs. Statista

Frequently asked questions (FAQs), support pages, and contact forms fall under the class of customer service pages. By leveraging support pages like this, online retailers can offer crucial information about their products without having to deal with excessive customer service inquiries by phone and email.

Keep in mind that effective e-commerce web design includes easy access to relevant info, such as contact forms. If you have more than one contact form for emails, make sure you link to the appropriate forms from relevant pages. You don’t want consumers being directed to the press and media team or journalists connected to your customer service team.

Buyer’s Guides and How-To’s

An often-overlooked element of effective e-commerce web design is sales and shopping guides. Just like an attentive store clerk can influence your buying decision by answering questions buyer’s guides do the same for your e-commerce site.

E-commerce digital sales materials are more than just products. You need to guide shoppers along the path to conversion. Buyer’s guides and how-to’s help consumers decide which sizes, colors, and dimensions to order. They also give helpful pre-sales info, such as care instructions, etc.

Especially large e-commerce stores can benefit from interactive buyer guides to suggest related or cross-sell products, offer alternative product suggestions, and offer pre-sales suggestions to your online shoppers. For instance, Amazon includes links to pop-up buyer’s guides directly on product pages with hyperlinks to size charts and other product options.

But even for smaller budgets, there are now options to include virtual assistants and even bots guided by artificial intelligence on your e-commerce site. That offers even the smallest online retailers the opportunity to interact with online consumers and guide their shopping behavior.

Press or Media Kit

Once you get your online store up and running you will want to promote it as much as possible. E-commerce sites are likely to have more traffic if external blogs and articles link to them. Therefore having a press or media kit, and a press or media page, are essential effective e-commerce web design elements.

Therefore you should make it easy for journalists and bloggers to generate hype by including a media kit on your site. Media kits contain whatever your business wants people to share. That can include your brand logo and style guide, images of the business owner, public relations links, and press releases about new products, etc. Be sure to include all relevant contact information.

That way anyone interested in publicizing your online store has access to the information they will need to do so. If you can offer some of this information in the form of downloadable PDF files or online videos it becomes more shareable online and on social networks.

Final Thoughts on Effective E-Commerce Web Design

Simply put, effective e-commerce web design will increase e-commerce conversions. Just think of how you react in a brick-and-mortar store. If the sales staff ignores you, or if products are pushed on you the moment you enter the store, you are likely to turn around and leave. But an attentive staff that answers your questions and addresses your concerns is likely to turn you into a loyal customer.

But it is your duty to make sure your online store is optimized for sales. Make sure your e-commerce site is mobile-first, easy to use and navigate, and that your pages load within three seconds on all devices. Post contact information prominently on your website and offer an easy checkout process. Make sure product pages link to relevant buyer’s guides to optimize conversions and to answer all consumer questions.

Incorporating all or most of our effective e-commerce web design elements ensures a positive perception and helps people get to the pages they want to be on. Even more important, it will connect them to the real people and stories behind your online business. And that is what will really make your brand stand out!

Need Help Incorporating Effective E-Commerce Web Design Elements?

So, you are not sure where to go from here. We understand; deciding exactly which of these effective e-commerce web design elements you need, and where to add them, can be tricky. Here is an idea for you; why not let our team help you figure this out?

We offer a full range of e-commerce solutions that are tailored to almost any requirement. Of course we can also design a mobile-first online presence for you and can help you with creative services, brand strategy, search engine optimization, and website hosting and support. Why not get started by reaching out for your free web design consultation?

Our team will listen to your concerns, analyze any problems and obstacles that stand between your audience and your e-commerce website, and how to overcome them. That way you can focus on running and growing your online business. Sounds good to you? Then why not contact us now?

Perhaps you have some effective e-commerce web design elements that worked well for your online store. We would love to know about them. Please share them with our audience in the comments. Don’t forget to grab our feed so you don’t miss any updates. And help any online business owners among your friends and associates by sharing this post with them.

Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!

By Gregor Schmidt Co-Founder / Digital Technologist @gregorspeaks