Designing Your eCommerce Website

From site performance to user engagement, there is much to consider when designing your eCommerce site.
First of all, the ‘commerce’ part… you’re not just creating an information source but a place for customers to buy your product.

And, importantly, your site design needs to be intuitive and easy to use to make those sales.
We’ve put together a checklist of some of the things a successful eCommerce site should have:

Theme - Matching Your Design to Your Products

You’ve probably responded, almost unconsciously, to eCommerce sites with well-chosen themes. This is what those in the design biz call ‘look and feel’.

There’s a good chance you’ve chosen a platform that provides you with a range of theme options to choose from. What you’re looking to do is reassure visitors that they’ve come to the right place with an appropriate set of design parameters.

Say, for instance, you were selling kids’ toys – your site should look bright and cheerful from the get go.

Something more techy? Opt for a more sophisticated palette.

The important thing is consistency with your product – from colours, font choice, image treatment – all your choices should reflect that look and feel that represents your brand. New visitors to your site will only take 3 seconds to decide if they’re going to buy from your site.

Look at Toyworld – before you read a single word, could there any doubt what their audience is?
Visuals are just as important as descriptions, pricing etc as the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text and 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. So, the look and feel of your site should be on the top of your priority list. Download you checklist here.

Good UX = Useability, Credibility, Loyalty

The User Experience or UX of your website is just as important as your visual identity.
Good UX is critical to ecommerce because it ensures your customers can easily navigate your website, find what they need and make a purchase. And when you make it easy, they'll buy more often.

Factors to consider in your UX

Intuitive product search - can they find what they are looking for instantly? Your ’buy’ button should be as few clicks away as possible.

Product descriptions – should include all necessary details (but no more) and be enticing to customers. If you’re selling something that can be found elsewhere, be original, don’t just copy and paste their descriptions as Google’s crawlers are likely to pop them up in search first.

High-quality images – use sharp, well-shot images that share the same ‘look and feel’. Make sure image size is at a web-friendly resolution. You want the best showcase for your products without slowing load speed.

The more you can present a streamlined professional experience, the more you build customer trust and loyalty.

This leads to: Being Responsive

Back in the day, websites needed two versions – one for desktop and one for mobile. (How out of touch did those sites look that didn’t even have the mobile version?)

Fortunately, this has improved for both sites and visitors. Generally, any ecommerce platform you choose will have optimisation for all devices built into it.

But you should still review how your site’s content looks across them all. For instance, avoid long passages of uniform text.

If, say, a product description needs considerable detail, break it up so there is a subhead or bullet points every few lines – time-poor customers will quickly abandon any page that looks like hard work.

Your mobile menu, in particular, should be easily accessible and lead straight to what they’re after.

Building Trust Through Security

Web security is paramount to eCommerce business owners and their customers.

Switched-on customers will be looking for the “S” in your URL. The “S” stands for “Secure” in HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).

A secure site is also identifiable by the little lock symbol before the name.
HTTPS is an encrypted version of HTTP, which is the main protocol used for transferring data over the Web. Without it, attackers can get hold of sensitive data like login and payment details or inject malicious code.

To set this up you need to acquire an SSL or TLS (Transfer Layer Security) certificate.
SSL/TLS certificates (they are both the same) help provide your online consumers with the trust that you are safe to transact with.

Ideally, you would have this set up from the word go as migrating from an existing HTTP to an HTTPS site involves quite a few steps.

If you have a good hosting provider, they should be able to guide you through the process. It’s certainly not out of the question for a novice to implement but if you are feeling unsure, perhaps contact a web developer to help you out.

Another benefit of having this level of security is that it can improve your SEO rankings. Get your free checklist: "Essential Checkpoints For A High-Performing Landing Page".

A Few More Considerations:

Shopping Cart Design - A good shopping cart lets buyers add multiple items, revise their order, or remove products as easily as possible. Review what you like about other ecommerce sites and incorporate in yours.

Guest Checkout - Many customers want to make their transaction as quick and anonymous as possible. Guest checkouts can help boost conversion rates as it removes the barrier of registering so that more people can order from you.

Of course, asking users to register and create an account is good for you because it allows you to follow-up, and track your customers. But it can make repeat purchase easier for them too as they don’t need to fill in their data all over again.

Payment Options - Too many sites limit payment options to one or two credit cards. The more you can offer alternatives like PayPal, the more you will motivate initial and repeat purchase.

Contact Information and Support - Hard to find contact information can be seen as a red flag, making prospects less likely to do business with you.

Nothing builds loyalty like the feeling you are easy to reach and eager to help. Let your customers know that you’re simply a call, text, email, and live chat away!

Social Proof - One of the strongest ways to build confidence in your store is the shared experience of previous customers. Make it as easy as possible for them to make reviews – perhaps inviting them on a thank you page right after they have successfully completed an order.

From Little Things, Big Things Grow

Like a seed planted in rich soil, the ‘little things’ you get right now at the beginning will help your eCommerce site flourish, grow and evolve.

We hope we’ve provided some useful pointers to start you off – the team at RightVert are always here to help you on your path. Download the easy-to-use website checklist here.

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