E-commerce has opened up immense possibilities for aspiring entrepreneurs, providing them an easily accessible marketplace with built-in marketing tools. However, the same accessibility has turned e-commerce into a hyper-competitive space where only those with an understanding of digital marketing best practices thrive.
If you're an e-commerce player, your website is essential for providing information to your target audience. It's critical for establishing trust, as an entity's website is the primary portal people visit to check its legitimacy. Moreover, it's a vital touchpoint that guides visitors along the customer journey—from discovery to after-sales.
This article lists some of the best practices in ecommerce website design and offers tips for improving your site's user experience.
People visit websites to find information, so you should place the most important ones where visitors can immediately see them. For example, if you offer free returns or shipping, indicate this close to product information or place it by the header. It's common for shipping fee concerns to be the primary hindrance to a buying decision. Alleviate this as soon as you can.
Additionally, ensure you have comprehensive product descriptions for those who want them. While you can display an abbreviated description by default, provide an option for those seeking more extensive information. Some buyers go deep into their product research. Give them all the information they could need using links or expandable text.
Look at your web analytics to see where you can improve. For example, if you see sub-par bounce rates when people reach certain pages, consult a web development specialist to see if optimising your ecommerce web design can address it. There are instances when a simple design fix could be the difference between visitors not finding the information they need and higher conversion rates.
Information is easy to find when a website is easy to navigate, making a clean menu with minimised navigation layer ideal for online stores. This lets visitors focus on products and information instead of figuring out where to find things.
Thoughtful product categorisation can aid this pursuit, while relevant recommendations (whether product or content) at the bottom of product pages helps visitors find what they'll likely look for next. Taking the time to perform usability testing on your website should help point you in the right direction regarding its ease of use.
How often have you added items to your cart only to abandon them because of a complicated checkout process? Cart abandonment is a significant hurdle for e-commerce stores. It can result from any of the following:
In line with requiring account creation, reducing the form fields and checkout steps to essential delivery and payment information can substantially reduce cart abandonment and increase conversion. According to the Baymard Insititute, the average checkout flow has 5.2 steps with 11.8 form fields. Check your checkout flow and see if you can go below those numbers.
As alluded to earlier, your website is critical to establishing trust with your audience. As such, strategically incorporating trust signals throughout your website can help shorten your sales cycle. Trust signals include the following:
While customer reviews and feedback are powerful social proofs, adding some of the trust signals above always helps, as you can never have too much of your customers' trust.
Use images that give customers all the information they need to reach a purchase decision. For example, if you're selling apparel and gear, use lifestyle shots showing how they look on people. In addition, include pertinent details like a comprehensive size guide, what size the models are wearing, and other purchasing tips. When applicable, videos are also excellent at giving customers an even better perspective of a product.
Depending on your products, other image display tips include the following:
Certain types of images work for different products. Understanding your audience should guide you in choosing which ones to use.
Allow visitors to easily find the information or product they need with a highly-functional search feature. Ensure it leads to every part of your website, from product pages and FAQs to your blogs and contact details.
In addition, search auto-complete and recommendations can be helpful for product discovery, especially for retailers with an extensive product catalogue.
When it comes to e-commerce and web design, good user experiences come mainly from well-laid information and navigation ease. And while different layout designs resonate with different audiences, if you can make it easy for visitors to find what they need and accomplish what they came to do, you've done your part.