The web design of effective online stores tries to make the process that the user follows until they reach the end of their purchase process as quickly and easily as possible. If you follow these 20 tips you will design an e-commerce website that will delight your customers and help you increase sales.
The web design of an online store should not only aim to create a website with an aesthetically appealing design (although this certainly helps). You also have to focus on getting the potential customer to reach the endpoint of your purchase process as quickly and easily as possible, and in this way, we will increase the chances of your purchase ending.
Here are some key tips that we have collected throughout our years of experience in the creation and design e-commerce websites. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list, they are simple recommendations that you should follow if you want to create a successful online store.
1. Give the client the option to filter their searches
When customers are trying to find a product in your virtual store, provide them with a series of filtering fields to save them time and effort. This is really interesting when your products have different sizes, colors, and prices, as with clothing. Clients hate to find the perfect garment and then discover that their size is not there.
2. It facilitates that they can go back in their navigation
When a user accesses a particular category, they may realize that they have made a mistake or wish to change to another. Here it is vitally important to give the customer the option to retrace their steps, adding for example a navigation path (breadcrumb) on the page. In this way, we do not force the client to have to repeatedly click on the arrow keys behind their browser and avoid losing attention to the online store.
3. Place the search form in a visible place
Many of us are not aware of how often the search field is used on an e-commerce website. When a customer arrives at a website looking for something in particular, if the landing page where he lands does not offer what he is looking for, the user’s reaction will be to continue searching the rest of the web.
Consider that the search form is the focus of your virtual store. This will also help the user to keep browsing your website and be tempted to look for other options.
4. If the items are out of stock, indicate clearly
One of the biggest mistakes we can make when it comes to having an online store is not having the product stock up to date. For web positioning (SEO) it is better to keep active products in the store, instead of removing them and reloading them when there is stock. If a product from your store is out of stock, indicate it clearly, but the user may bother, lose confidence in your service and cancel the order, and worse, do not go back to your store.
5. Use quality photographs
In a virtual store, the purchase enters through the eyes, since most of the time we do not get to see or touch the products until they have been delivered to us. Having different images of the product taken from different angles and the option to zoom in to see the details, will help the customer to have the feeling of having the product in their hands. You have to plan how you are going to show your customers your articles, if you are going to present a large image and several under thumbnails, etc. Make sure the images are of high quality and that they are displayed in any size clearly. Blurred or pixelated photographs will make your client discouraged to make a purchase and transmit a message that your site is of poor quality.
6. Design the shopping cart clearly visible
Users who are used to online shopping do not like to be sent directly to the page of their basket every time they add a product. Therefore it is important that the contents of the shopping cart are clearly visible on all pages of the site.
Many designers like to use the side column to position the basket, but we think it occupies a valuable space to promote other items or sections. Find out how to incorporate the search form and shopping cart in an elegant and clean way on all pages of your site.\
A shopping cart can also provide more information than simply the list of selected products. Consider using thumbnail images of the products you have added to the cart.
7. Make your site easy to navigate
Especially in websites with a lot of content, it is essential to have well-structured and organized content. Put yourself in the user’s skin and think about facilitating access to all products in the least number of clicks. Pay attention to the language you use to describe your categories and products. Adapt them to the words customers use when searching the Internet.
A good navigation menu will certainly help you to show the different categories of your site. One tip, place the categories in order of relevance (from more to less demanded), instead of in alphabetical order, you will see how your sales improve.
Try to make your site easy to navigate. Using navigation routes on the pages will help the user know where he is and be able to go back on his steps.
8. Do not add shipping costs at the end
Most users do not want to receive surprises at the end of their purchase and want to know how much the product will cost before adding it to their basket. There are many purchase processes that we have found in some customers, where we have warned that users left the process in the last step, just where they were informed of the shipping costs. Be sure to clearly inform the visitor about the shipping costs before making the purchase.
9. Question each pixel
Why? For what? What is its usefulness? These are the questions you have to ask yourself for each item you include in your store. Why do you need this? What do you need it for? Why will this benefit the user experience?
An effective web design of an online store is based on providing the essential elements to the customer to find your product, see its features and price, and finally make the purchase quickly.
10. Consider SEO
The SEO optimization of every page of your online store is essential. It will help you appear higher in the Google search results, which will generate more traffic to your website and therefore get more sales.
If you don’t have your store optimized, the fastest way to increase visits is by running ad campaigns in Google Adwords, where you only pay when a user clicks on your ad (PPC).
There are many factors that influence the optimization of a page, among them: the optimization of the content (including your keywords in the titles, the text of the page, images, links, etc.), the loading speed of the page (putting special care in optimizing the images, and the code), the ease of indexing by the search engines, the inclusion of microdata, and many others.
11. Give your store design personality
To make a website stand out from the competition, it is necessary to give it its own style and personality. Obviously, having a clean and easy-to-navigate website is basic, but this alone is not enough. Without giving your store a personal style, it will not stand out or be remembered by users.
The previous example shows an online children’s clothing store, it is a clean design, with simple colors, but with certain details, we make the web visually attractive, with a unique style.
12. Socialize your business
Although we think that a kitchen furniture business does not have a large number of followers in its social networks, these social media play an important role in SEO positioning and link generation, as well as brand image generation.
But choosing where the icons will be located on your social networks is not a simple task. They should be located in a well visible area of the page but at the same time, it does not hide other more relevant elements such as the shopping cart or the product search form.
13. Design and Show a quick view of your products
Today users are in a hurry and access your online store looking to quickly find the product they need. They have no time to lose, if they don’t find it they go somewhere else. Whether due to the lack of time, the speed of loading the page is slow or personal preferences, having to click to access the product file and get more details individually, for some users it is something that may bother them.
We can facilitate the process by including a quick view in each category where we show thumbnails that illustrate the different products it contains, as well as the option to view more product details programmatically in Ajax. In this way, we facilitate the user’s attention to your products and their details.
14. Add and design a newsletter subscription form
The creation of a relevant list of emails is a long process, but very valuable for the promotion of your products, especially in seasons close to Christmas. Having a newsletter registration form is standard in any e-commerce store, so try to create yours in a more attractive and original way than your competition.
15. Design product pages clean and tidy
There is a recurring theme in this article and it is to keep a clean and tidy design. This is especially important on the product detail page.
The products have to stand out and shine. We must distribute them in their own space, with a quality image, a detailed description and the price must be clearly visible, as well as the purchase button. Do not include advertising or any other element that can distract the attention of the product.
You can add areas of the type “other customers also bought”, “other customers also saw”, they are a great way to keep your user in the process of purchase. But they have to be treated with care, easy to overdo and saturate the buyer.
16. Includes opinions and ratings
Have you received any praise from a customer for your services? Surely if another customer reads that comment, they will have more reasons to spend their money in your store. This works very well in all types of e-commerce businesses. Therefore, we advise you to include under the product file, the comments, opinions, and ratings of the users. In this case, you have to take good care of your client and your product so that they speak well of you and what you offer.
In addition, more and more Google takes into account the valuations made by customers of the products, and better valuations get better positions in their searches.
17. Shows the different variations of the product intuitively
In many e-commerce businesses, it is essential for the process of buying a product to choose from a number of available options. For example, in an online fashion store, any garment will require the customer to choose a specific size and color. A good idea is to include images of different combinations and viewing angles to help the client get an idea of what the product looks like.
Use a color sample palette and include fields that allow you to select the available options such as size or color. You can use drop-down menus or selection buttons.
18. Eliminates distractions in the purchase process
Once your client decides to make the payment, it is convenient to facilitate the necessary steps to the maximum. In this process, you have to tend to eliminate other elements of the screen that cause distraction, such as the navigation menu and the side columns, showing you a clear path to where you should move. Do not promote other products or offers on this page.
The more steps the process includes, the more likely it will not end. In fact, single-page purchase processes have a higher conversion rate. In case your process requires several steps make sure your client is aware of the process.
19. Make the “add to cart” button visible
This is by far the most important rule, and it is very simple. The clearer, more intuitive, and attractive is the add-to-cart button, the greater the likelihood of using it, that easy.
20. Design it easy for them to contact you easily
In order to generate greater trust among your customers and that they know that behind your store there are personnel who will be happy to be able to resolve their concerns you must make available to the client different means of contact, such as a form, your email, your phone, the physical address of the store if you have it, etc.
Many customers, with the possibility of talking to a real person, will feel calmer and you may even close a sale directly by phone. Otherwise, you will be losing a large percentage of customers.
In summary, for the design of your online store to be effective, it must facilitate the use and navigation of the site, the search for products by the customer, simplify the purchase process, and other points listed above. Adding sections such as new products and featured products will help you also increase sales. Offering coupons or discount codes are also another way to build customer loyalty. At specific times you can even offer certain products with free shipping costs, even if you lose some money you will get to know new customers.
Another fundamental point is that your online store must be adapted to mobile devices. Every day more users make their purchases online from a smartphone or tablet and therefore you can lose a large number of sales if it is not displayed correctly on any screen and resolution.
And finally, it is important that it is optimized for search engines, that you promote yourself on social networks, and that you carry out ad-to-click campaigns on platforms such as Google or Facebook.