The eCommerce industry is estimated to be worth $4 trillion dollars but still only accounts for a small fraction of the retail industry. In the first half of 2020, the world saw just how important online shopping is for convenience as well as essential items. The eCommerce industry isn’t going anywhere and is attractive to many people. 

Many brands are springing up every single day to claim their own piece of the pie. This is a good thing because more technology is being developed to make the entire process easier. It’s also producing more competition which means you have to make the right moves to succeed. In this guide, you’ll learn about eCommerce design best practices that will help your website stand out and turn more visitors into customers. 

 

Use obvious navigation, search, and filtering

 

Navigation is one of the most important parts of an eCommerce store because there are so many products to choose from. Without robust navigation, there would be no way for visitors to find what they’re looking for. The more effort visitors need to apply, the less likely they are to buy. 

The navigation you create should use obvious names that anyone would be able to understand. It can be tempting to get clever here and use insider language that’s relevant to your brand. Avoid the urge because people who aren’t’ familiar with your business or industry may not understand what you’re saying. Your menu should include the following items:

  • The logo of your brand 
  • Major product categories on your website
  • Simple breadcrumbs so people can jump around in the website hierarchy 
  • Filtering so they can narrow down the search results 
  • Basic and advanced search 

 

Incorporate social proof everywhere

 

One thing you can count on when you’re doing business over the internet is skepticism. There are enough horror stories to make even the bravest people think twice before trusting a brand they’ve never heard of. 

Social proof is an essential design element that will help you establish trust and make it easier for people to purchase with confidence. There are many types of social proof and you should use as many of them as you can in strategic places around your website. Visitors will expect it and it’ll have a positive impact on your site conversions. 

Start with adding reviews to both product pages and category pages. On the category page, use a review to highlight one or two of the most popular items. On the product page, push the high rated reviews to the top and provide an option for anyone to leave a review. Showcase any press mentions and awards you’ve gotten on the homepage and a page dedicated to it. Even if you don’t have awards or press mentions, you can talk about other things like the size of your social media following, quality of your email list, etc. Taken together, this will show visitors that you’re a reputable brand that delivers a quality product. 

 

Develop and maintain a visual hierarchy

 

The design elements highest on the page aren’t always the first things people see. Usually, your visitors look at the most eye-catching elements first. These include images, text, contrasting colors, etc. Many brands have no idea about this so they place elements on the page without establishing a clear visual hierarchy. 

When you’re designing your website, think about how your visitors will interact with the elements you’re using. Do you have a striking image that will take attention away from the heading or other element that you want them to interact with first? Consider using it lower on the page or not using it at all. Is your main headline text large enough to draw attention even though there’s additional text on the page? The following attributes of design elements will help determine where it comes in the visual hierarchy:

  • Color 
  • Size/shape
  • Alignment on the page
  • Character (image vs text vs video vs etc.)

 

Highlight your site’s security

 

There have been widely publicized data breaches over the last few years. Naturally, online shoppers are wary of getting their information stolen. If you’re using a website builder like Wix Stores or BigCommerce to manage your shop then there are a lot of security features built into the platform. The problem is that your customers have no idea how you’re protecting them so it’s necessary to state it.

First, your site should have an SSL certificate and show HTTPS when someone types the URL in their browser bar. In the footer, add security seals so people know their information is protected and doesn’t get shared with third parties. On the checkout page itself, include a banner at the top of the page that says something similar to ‘100% secure shopping’ and include security seals right under the place they enter payment information. 

 

Dedicated sections for popular products and new arrivals

 

As your product catalog grows, it’ll become more difficult for casual visitors to find products that appeal to them. A simple way to highlight new products and old best-sellers is to create prominent display areas at strategic locations across your website. 

There are two main places to test out this design best practice. The first one is on your homepage. After you’ve shared your brand’s value proposition, add a section that highlights sales, new arrivals, and best sellers. You’ll want to try out different designs until you hit on the one that produces the most results for you. In addition to the homepage section, each category page should highlight the new products and best sellers within the category. Just like with the homepage, you’ll want to test out different designs until you find the one that produces the best results for you. 

 

Large and varied product images 

 

For an eCommerce brand, product imagery and related media are what make or break the sale. Don’t hold back in this area because the more people can understand from the images, the higher the chance of them making a purchase. Take multiple images of the product from various angles, with bright lighting, and white or contrasting background. Also, add images that show potential use cases – this is especially effective if you have a fashion brand. 

Consider including a zoom function for the images so people can get a feel for the texture of the material. Finally, include a video of the product in action. The best videos are aspirational and do more than demonstrate the product – they also give a glimpse into the lifestyle associated with it. 

 

Related products area

 

A powerful design element that one of the largest websites in the world – Amazon – uses is to add recommendations at the bottom of specific product pages. They’re related to the main product being viewed and are either an alternative or complement it in some way. For example, if someone is looking at a microphone, you may show them headphones, a boom arm, or speakers because they’re products that complement the microphone.  

The language you use to introduce the related products section and the placement on the page is important. If you’re too pushy, people may ignore it. If it’s buried on the page then people may not even see it. Try testing different phrases such as ‘frequently purchased together,’ ‘works well together.’ ‘customers also viewed’ ‘get the complete set,’ etc. Test out where you place the section on the page as well. Will it be right below the product description or further down on the page? Stick with the one that gets the best results for you. 

Conclusion 

Ecommerce is an industry that’s growing rapidly and is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, it may be speeding up as it solidifies its importance in the modern economy. Like with other growing industries, there is a lot of competition. You need a solid product and superb marketing to succeed but that doesn’t mean other areas can be neglected. One of the most important things to get right is your website design and this guide has walked through seven eCommerce design best practices you consider using to make the most of your website. Start with the ones you think will have the highest impact on your revenue and work your way through the entire list. You’re almost guaranteed to see increased revenue as a result.