The trends of the e-commerce world are continually changing – with consumer habits evolving every year and new UX innovations being introduced, it’s no surprise that businesses need to stay ahead of new developments if they want to remain competitive.
However, although a lot is changing in the industry, it doesn’t mean that you have to throw everything out every year or two. There are still tried and tested tactics that you can use in your web design efforts today that will be just as effective a few years from now.
But what exactly should you focus on in your ecommerce website design plan to increase your chances of success?
Well, to help you out, here’s a list of ideas that you should consider implementing in your site that will go a long way into making your website appealing to your customers.
Keep It Clean
A cluttered ecommerce site was a problem ten years ago, and it will be a problem ten years from now – if your site is too loud and has too much going on to the point that it’s distracting, you can’t expect your prospective customers to stick around and buy something.
Your main task as an online seller is to make the user experience as seamless and convenient as possible, and that means reducing the unnecessary clutter in your website to a minimum.
That’s why clean and light designs for e-commerce websites are always a good option – when there aren’t too many things competing for the attention of your visitors, it’s much easier to highlight the offers that you do want to be prominently displayed and provide a more seamless experience from the very start.
Present Yourself Professionally
Earning trust online can be tricky – with so many scams and deceitful websites trying to defraud honest shoppers, people are naturally very skeptical and require reassurance if they are to buy from an ecommerce site that they haven’t yet developed a relationship with.
That’s why design plays such a vital role – if you put together a website that looks professional and transparent, you will have a much higher chance of converting first-time visitors.
Finally, having a trusted SSL certificate is a must – it will not only mark your website as “secure” for its visitors but will help your site appear more trustworthy to Google as well.
Be Ready to Answer Questions
A common mistake that companies make when designing their ecommerce sites is not having a convenient and easy to find way for visitors to ask questions and get prompt responses.
Most new visitors are already a bit skeptical and will likely have questions about your policies, shipping, or promotions, so if you’re not available to clarify them, chances are that they’ll abandon the cart and leave.
You should at the very minimum have a prominently displayed contact form, email address, and phone number so that shopper can reach you quickly. Ideally, you should also have a live chat function that’s operated by a live person or a well-developed chatbot that can provide them with relevant links and answer common questions.
Remember, you need to try and establish trust with your customer as soon as possible, and answering their questions is a great way to show that you’re a real company that’s eager to help and can be trusted.
It’s important to remember that the contact info and the chat functions should be prominent and easy to find, but at the same time not inserted in an unnatural way, so you should take them into account at the very beginning of your website design planning process.
Put Your Best Offers at the Top
With so many distractions online, you need to make sure you make the most out of every second that a prospective customer spends on your site.
If your web design doesn’t have a clear purpose in terms of what you want your users to see, you will have to rely on your visitor’s willingness to dig through your categories to find what they need. And, as you might expect, few will take the time to do it.
So, to make sure that you have the best shot for converting each visitor of your site to a customer, you need to put your best offers not only on the front page but as close to the top of it as well.
What’s more, the offers themselves have to naturally draw the eye of the reader – whether you use images, colors, or even pop-ups, make sure your design has a clearly established place for offers that grabs attention and entices to take action.
Don’t forget to also include calls to action and scarcity elements – if you’re running special deals that have limitations regarding time or stock, make sure you highlight that in your copy as well because it can make a significant difference to your conversion rate.
The one thing to remember, though, is to not make your site all about the current big offer (unless it really is a rare sale) and still provide a convenient experience to those that want to look around and browse different categories. If you’re not sure how to find the right balance, you can always consult your web design agency to see what would work best in your situation.
Use Design to Showcase Your Brand
Web design isn’t just putting together a website to find products – it’s an extension (or sometimes even the central piece) of your brand that establishes who you are and what you stand for.
Without a strong brand identity, your website will be little more than just another generic site selling products, of which there are plenty.
Your brand is the one thing that can provide you with a competitive advantage even if your selection of products is similar – your brand and voice are something your customers identify with, so having your web design serve as a reminder of those values is absolutely critical to your chances of success.
But how to develop a brand identity that resonates with your target audience? And more importantly, how to translate it into your web design?
Well, the process isn’t a simple one, that’s why it’s best if you can find a web design agency that understands not only how to make a website more on-brand, but what your particular brand needs to showcase in order to achieve the best results.
If you’re still developing your identity, start by looking at who you want to target and identify their habits, values, and preferences, molding your brand accordingly. Also, study what the competition is doing and try to come up with your own angle to present the products, but make sure that you remain not only original but also authentic in how you’re trying to appear.
Make Navigation Easy
One of the biggest roadblocks preventing ecommerce sites from reaching their full potential is poorly designed navigation.
And that can seem surprising.
After all, what can be difficult about setting up your ecommerce site’s menus and categories – just add the most common pages and list your products, right?
Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that. While the most essential pages are similar across multiple websites, when you’re dealing with hundreds or even thousands of products, as is often the case on ecommerce sites, you need a tried and tested system for sorting them to make your user experience as easy as possible, even when they have many options to choose from.
So what should you focus on when designing the navigation of your site?
Well, the top priority is always the convenience of your site’s visitors, so you should base your solutions on them as well.
Initially, you should work to categorize and tag your products in a way that helps users find them in multiple ways, according to their preferences, and then add new navigation tools as you analyze your user behavior and see new opportunities to make the process easier.
Remember to add plenty of sorting and filtering options to allow your users to customize the search according to their individual needs.
Showcase Your Reviews
One thing that you can always count on to immediately build trust with your target customers is having social proof that you’re a reliable ecommerce store that delivers quality products and services.
And the quickest way to do that is to display reviews and testimonials of previous happy customers prominently – you should have reviews and testimonials for both individual products that your ecommerce store is selling and your store’s overall performance and service.
Make sure you emphasize the positive feedback that you receive regarding your customer support, the speed of delivery, and ease of payments. These are just a few of the main concerns that many online shoppers share, so providing third-party verification about your reliability can make a huge difference.
Provide Plenty of Images
People love visuals, especially when they’re shopping online – no one likes to buy products if the only image they can see is a blurry stock photo.
Many ecommerce stores today understand the importance of having high-quality images of their products – some even have professional photo shoots that help capture the products in the best possible light and showcase their design.
So, if you want to compete, you need to follow suit – even if you don’t have the option of taking pictures of each product, make sure that you at least receive excellent photos from the manufacturer or distributor so that each product is clearly displayed from multiple angles.
The images will serve you beyond your website as well – you will need them for your ads on social media and other websites if you want your ads to capture the attention and imagination of your prospects and entice them to click through to your site.