The nuances of eCommerce design escape many website owners. They use a few popular brands as a guide and focus on making their website aesthetically pleasing to the detriment of everything else. Yes, a good-looking website is important but there’s a lot more that goes into an eCommerce site to make it successful.
Most of these eCommerce design elements are subtle but have an outsized impact on your conversion rates. Without taking the time to understand them, you may not be able to use them effectively. In this guide, you’ll learn about the design elements successful websites use and why they’re so powerful for eCommerce brands.
Varied product images
Online shopping is unique because people are purchasing physical products without touching or smelling them. All they have to rely on is their sight and a product description. If the product image isn’t large and high-quality, people may not be able to get an accurate idea of the item. Beyond that, the right product images can help put people in the right frame of mind.
For example, you can include the standard image that’s usually on a white background. You can also place an image that has a model using the product to illustrate the kind of lifestyle associated with your brand. Maybe the model is climbing a mountain or at a posh restaurant.
You should also incorporate a deep zoom function. Someone should be able to increase the size of the image and get a feel for the texture of the item. If it’s wool, they should be able to see some of the fibers that come off of it. If it’s cotton, they should be able to see how it was stitched together.
Another strategy is to create a short video. The goal is to show the product as well as the lifestyle associated with it. It doesn’t have to be a fancy affair. Less than sixty seconds is enough time to get your point across. Finally, 360-degree images will help your potential customers see the product from every angle.
Review and feedback areas
One of the most powerful tools in your eCommerce arsenal is an honest customer review. They help your visitors assess the quality of the products, the authenticity of your brand, and build trust. Collecting this feedback manually is difficult and time-consuming. Instead, of that, allow any paying customer to leave a review.
Create an area on specific product pages that showcases reviews and feedback from other customers. This area should double as a feedback collection area. Include a CTA that says something along the lines of ‘leave a review.’
When a customer decides to leave feedback, it’ll show up immediately – whether good or bad. With an eCommerce builder like BigCommerce, you’ll be able to go back edit which reviews show up and which ones are hidden. Keep in mind that if you only have glowing customer reviews, it’ll come off as disingenuous.
Related product sections
When someone is in the process of buying, they’re more receptive to purchasing additional products. This is true as long as the extra items are related to the first one. When you present these products in a structured way during the checkout process, it’s known as upselling.
The related products section is slightly different. Instead of showing them a specific product when they’re completing a purchase, you show it on the product page. Create a separate section on the page that stands out and label it ‘related products’ or ‘people also viewed.’
Within that related products section, add items that complement the product being viewed. For example, if they’re looking at a leather journal, you can share fountain pens or small bags in the related products section. If they’re looking at shirts, you may show accessories or pants that would go well with it.
When you have a large eCommerce store, you’ll have to do this programmatically so the right products can be paired. If you have a smaller store then you can isolate your most popular products and do this manually. Squarespace has a related products feature that makes this process simple.
Most websites have a basic search function that’ll help visitors uncover pages they’re looking for but eCommerce needs to go a step further. The ability to do deep searches is an essential eCommerce design element – especially if you have a large product catalog.
First, your search bar should be prominent and in an obvious place like the top of the page or in the sidebar. Secondly, it should allow users to filter based on multiple options. The search criteria you provide will depend heavily on the type of products you sell. For example, if you’re selling computers, you’ll add RAM, display size, display type, etc. as filtering categories. Irrespective of the types of products you use, the following filtering options should be relevant:
- Price range
- Average review/star rating
Category comparison pages
This is an uncommon eCommerce design element but it’s useful when you have many similar products and your average customer isn’t too educated about the product. For example, if you’re selling high-end coffee makers, they may all appear the same to a layman. In reality, there are subtle differences that will affect your customer’s satisfaction.
In situations like this, create an easy way for visitors to compare different makes and models right from the category pages. Highlight the unique selling points of each model, show their average review rating, and list out the features. If those features are obscure, add helpful tooltips to further explain why it matters.
You can limit your comparisons to popular products in each category that have many similarities. Conversely, you can list the features of each product in a table and allow people to click a ‘compare’ button that will allow them to choose which product they want to see a comparison with. When they choose a product, the table you made for that product will be shown on the screen right next to the initial product.
Clear support options
An area that makes people hesitate before purchasing on an eCommerce site is ready-access to customer support and policy information. People like to take a look at your refund policy because they want to confirm whether or not they’ll be able to return the item. They also want to be able to reach out to a support rep in case there are any issues with their order.
Instead of sticking support resources in the footer and calling it a day, consider adding it to your header. If that’s not feasible, you can also add it to the bottom right of the screen or along the side of the screen. It doesn’t need to be live chat support, just focus on making sure it’s obvious to visitors that support is a few clicks away.
The last eCommerce design element to be aware of is your CTA. Yes, almost every eCommerce site has buttons everywhere but they’re not well-optimized. Should you use ‘add to cart’ or ‘buy now?’ Should they be black, red, or blue? Many of these questions can’t be answered without testing but something you can do is ensure they’re prominent no matter where someone is on the page.
Using a tool like Square Online, increase the size of your buttons so they occupy their own space on the page and use a contrasting color that complements your brand. The goal is for it to stand out so people don’t have to search for it. The CTA button should draw their eye. Another way to make sure it remains visible is to attach it to the top or bottom of the page when visitors scroll. As soon as they have enough information to make a purchase, they can click the buy button.
The eCommerce industry is constantly growing and evolving. It will be different in a year and unrecognizable in five years. These eCommerce design elements are timeless. They’re not based on fads that are here today and gone tomorrow. Instead, they focus on human behavior and psychology to help you make the most of your website. If you’re looking for the right store builder to implement these design changes then check out our helpful reviews.