Content, customer service, and marketing efforts are essential for eCommerce conversion rates. Even more, so is an eCommerce website design that specifically creates the right visual effect. Building a top-notch web design can bring significant long-term dividends for your business.
According to Ledgeview, 75% of eCommerce website credibility comes from its design. Thus, in this article, we will share essential eCommerce website design tips and insights from Onix’s experience on turning your website into a robust sales machine, generating leads, quickly converting them into customers, and overall increasing your sales.
Getting the architecture of an online shopping eCommerce portal right is crucial for a business to be successful with its online presence. There is little to no hope for eCommerce to reach their clients if the website is hard to navigate, even if you have a splendid marketing campaign and perfect your SEO optimization.
Page loading time is a crucial factor that affects metrics such as page abandonment rate. The average user has little patience to wait for a page to load.
Good architecture for eCommerce website helps with:
Search engines depend on a website architecture to index pages correctly. The clearer a website architecture, the easier it is for search engines to index all the pages correctly and the website will be ranked higher. An unclear structure may leave some of the pages unindexed, thus making it difficult for customers to find eCommerce propositions.
Sitelinks are additional links to your website’s internal pages displayed below the link to your homepage on Google. Thus, customers can find the most relevant page on the fly.
Customers are happy. If they can’t find what they are looking for when they need it, they will try their luck elsewhere. Navigation should be super easy, based on a structured homepage, and include a menu with subcategories and a search bar.
Google Featured Snippets are short fragments from a website that are shown in Google’s search results and allow users to see the information they searched for without visiting a website. Typically, Google Featured Snippets appear in the form of highlighted definitions, lists, steps, or tables. When your website is featured, it is automatically ‘zoomed’ to the top of the search results and would be something like a shortcut to get on top. The website needs to be appropriately structured so snippets can be indexed based on URL structures.
All search engines check websites to understand what it is about and how it is semantically connected to other pages within the search engine’s database. A clear structure helps search engines understand what a website is about and what and where information can be found. Thus, a well thought out structure is needed to persuade engines that users will be comfortable using your website.
These are the key reasons why eCommerce website architecture design should not be neglected. But how can you achieve good website architecture?
The eCommerce website architecture comes before prototyping and designing. Doing design first and delaying structure analysis may cause problems that are difficult to fix, e.g., planning no space for links to pages, or well-designed menu areas that don’t fit the items in the top menu where they would be most efficient.
Determining your target keywords comes before architecture planning. They would help you understand what you are planning this structure for. Your target keywords can be extrapolated from your seed keyword, your website URL, or you can check a competitor's website for ideas. Then you can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs to look for related keywords and choose the ones with a decent amount of volume and relatively low competition.
Develop a hierarchical structure of your website, e.g., the homepage, the category pages under it, and the subcategories under that. Some specialists recommend limiting the number of categories and subcategories to 10. Still, if you have plans to expand your store inventory eventually, it is recommended to think it over at this stage. It will save time in the long run, since scalability is easier when you know from the beginning which parts of your website will be affected by the change.
Categories and subcategories of your eCommerce website will be primarily based on your keywords. After they are chosen, you can also set up heatmap tracking on your website. Combined with your Google Analytics and SEO, it will help you determine which of your categories and subcategories are working best. As for the URL structure, it should complement your website architecture, and the subcategory page URL will look like this:
To do so, you need to create a menu that lists every category and subcategory your website has. Add breadcrumbs so your customers will have more options than just relying on the ‘back’ button. Down the homepage, you can place links to the latest offers, discounts, top categories, brands, etc. You can also make the menu appear on every website page, while additional links can be left to the homepage exclusively.
Infinite Scrolling works best for social media websites to keep users' attention on the endless number of news in the feed. For an eCommerce website, infinite scrolling can be a killjoy since it prevents users from easily going back to check again something they liked and makes them scroll up and down forever. Imagine a typical brick-and-mortar clothing store. You can go freely from one rack to another. But if the store applied ‘infinite scrolling’ logic, you would have to search through all the items you’ve already seen to get to the one thing you liked first.
Internal linking methods include breadcrumbs, adding relevant links in the blog posts, and placing links to upsells and cross-sells on the landing pages. The rule of thumb here is to have a link pointing to every page on your eCommerce website.
Constantly check your website architecture by using Google Analytics, heatmaps, and SEO reports. You can use this data to adjust your architecture till you make it SEO-optimized and user-friendly.
A user decides whether to stay on a website or not within a split second. In less than 3 seconds, they identify the critical areas on a web page to finalize their first impression. Thus, design determines whether a potential customer will be back again to the website or simply disappear.
Users evaluate colors, fonts, and visuals according to their expectations based on their previous experience using eCommerce websites. So a website that follows the basic design and usability principles can become a powerful sales generator.
So how does one create a user-friendly website? Let’s see specific basic eCommerce website features that can lead to higher conversion rates for your commerce site.
Understanding your buyer persona (gender, age, wants, needs, and other characteristics) is essential to a website design for selling a product. Creating design and content that connects with a specific group of users and increases your chances of selling online successfully is better.
Customers can be split into three groups according to their levels of needs:
Your eCommerce web design should address the needs of each group.
Visual information featuring details of the product (with your buyers’ reviews) gives a form of dual introduction of your goods:
1. the product itself
2. the product according to its actual value to a user.
Eye-catching photos and positive testimonials are indispensable in this process:
Your product image should not be borrowed from stock websites. They are easy to recognize and frequently turn away potential customers. Uploading real high-quality photos of your products is a must. Authentic, sharp images build trust and create a connection between your brand and customers.
Placing customer reviews, especially video reviews, will raise credibility with your potential buyers. Videos are regarded as “non-fake” and are more effective in reducing customer concerns.
Placing reviews is an essential eCommerce feature. Recommendations are now a part of our daily life, and people typically pay attention to them.
According to RefferalCandy, people pay 200% more attention to referrals made by friends than any other source. Placing reviews from people that match your buyer persona next to your product images is often very effective.
Fast and easy navigation through multiple products in an online store is crucial if you don’t want to confuse your customer. Adding a search engine and a neatly compiled product catalog allows users to compare products simultaneously. Overall, it speeds up their search on your website.
Adding a product search is a must-have for an eCommerce website. So, if your eCommerce store still has no search engines, it’s time to either develop your own website search tool (and control everything - from the looks of search results to filters) or add a Google search tool (with limited customization options). Designing search options that include product images in the search bar may considerably increase your conversions.
If you have many products in the same range, it’s often hard to determine how each is different at first glance. Since users may struggle with remembering your product’s specific features, it's wise to add some comparisons. Comparisons should be easy to use. Otherwise, a visitor may become annoyed and leave the website without making a purchase.
To overview product similarities and differences of less than 10 products, choose a table or blocks with the headings. You could include bullet lists that are displayed on one page. To compare more than 10 products together, use a faceted search. Display the main characteristics of a product.
The main disadvantage of shopping on the Internet is that potential customers can’t touch and experience the actual product. They can’t take it into their hands to make a decision. You can improve convenience by creating category pages. Categories help to organize your content in a more user-friendly way. Thus, categories serve as an index for all pages based upon a particular subject. Additionally, you can design a product catalog with products that offer details about products featuring high-quality photos.
Top-level pages of an eCommerce website often contain product grids that demonstrate product categories. So the catalog can be implemented as graphic subcategory tiles to guide potential customers. It can make their search efforts relevant to their needs. Additionally, content blocks can present a product catalog on a website as a mini-homepage that contains CTA and good imagery.
Another critical area on an eCommerce website is the purchase process. You can be more confident that users like the website once they reach the “place order” page. It’s vital not to scare a customer away with a confusing, complicated order form.
A purchase is the result of a potential customer transitioning from having doubts to being confident. It’s presenting your brand as crystal-clear and helpful to a customer. Attracting a potential customer and showing visually that you can solve their problem is the foundation of a successful eCommerce site structure.
An online sales process is based on the quick introduction of your value proposition. It also includes designing an intuitive, simple process for placing an order. Your site should methodically take your client to the shopping cart.
The whole process should be designed with the fewest number of steps to complete a purchase. Number each step that leads to a purchase and follows a pattern that users know (filling in the contact information, shipping, and billing details). Last but not least, don’t forget to include special offers which can help retain a new customer.
So you don’t lose information about products that a potential customer looked for, and to further remind them about those preferences, add a section of recently viewed products through the internal linking system of your site.
This option can simplify the decision-making process if a user decides to return to the products they liked. Additionally, it’s helpful to add a list of similar products on a product page to provide more freedom of choice.
Navigation through products creates real pain for customers if there is no strict organization of the types of goods offered.
Too many options on a single page can overwhelm a user, and they may give up or look for another website. If your store offers a large variety of products, simplify the process of choosing and decision-making by adding filters that make a list smaller.
Pages should be as uncluttered as possible. A user should understand what information is crucial and what details are secondary.
The URL structure of your eCommerce site should flow naturally as well. It shouldn’t be very long (keep it below 70 characters where possible).
The rule of consistency in online sales web design is also vital. The first visit to a website is a new experience for a user. Specific patterns are typical for most eCommerce sites, such as a standard call to action (CTA) button location and menu structure. Experimenting with user experience is costly and time-consuming and may result in a confused user.
A prominent CTA (either a button or a registration form) is essential for achieving the goals of an eCommerce website. It guides a user to initiate action with your store. It is better to place CTA somewhere where it’s visible and easily accessible.
Product pages can emphasize a special kind of product. They can be a great way to familiarize a potential customer with all the product’s unique characteristics, including detailed images, price, reviews, and descriptions. These pages can help a user identify a need and how best to address it. Interactive sections provide additional examples of the product value and explain the ease of use and the product’s benefits.
High-quality product images impact, but today consumers (especially the young) prefer watching video descriptions rather than reading them. The human brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than printed text. Creating videos for your eCommerce website is a great way to instantly grab and engage customers and inform them about your product or service.
According to Donald Norman, the author of “Emotional Design,” customers tend to perceive things as valuable if they look gorgeous. Web design can evoke both positive and negative emotions, which partially depends on the customer’s gender and cultural background.
Combining the best eCommerce website features that align with your brand vision and stand out among other rival websites offering similar products or services.
As you can see, designing your online store is critical for its success. Here we have picked some examples of prominent eCommerce websites with a design that stands out of the crowd for your inspiration.
The Simply Chocolate company has an excellent eCommerce website with a mix of animation, eye-catching photos, and toothsomeness that evoke positive emotion that makes you want to taste every piece of chocolate they offer even before you scroll through. The website design is consistent, so it looks and feels, and is responsive so it is comfortably accessible no matter the platform or the size of your device screen.
The homepage of this website grabs users’ attention the moment they see it. Kith’s design is sleek and straightforward yet catchy. Checking how the goods are cataloged can help to understand what good structuring looks like.
Aroz Jewelry is an eCommerce website where you can see how compelling, high-quality photos are. It stands out because of its pictures and looks stunning thanks to the combination of good product pictures, a little animation, and minimalism.
This shop has a very specific target audience - men who love short shorts. Witty slogans, CTAs, and captivating product photos evoke brand values. An unusual for an eCommerce website, sidebar navigation still makes it easy for customers to find what they want.
Onix specializes in building original, responsive eCommerce websites. Developing with us is a simple step towards fruitful collaboration, concept implementation, and product launch that will help you achieve your ultimate business goals.
Currently, Onix’s team works on several eCommerce web development projects, and one of them is a B2B eCommerce website for our clients. That experience helps us tremendously and we are eager to apply it to some more eCommerce solutions.
Another exciting project at hand is uCat or Ukraine National Online Catalog of goods master-data. It is a catalog that is completed according to GDSN (Global Data Synchronization Network) international standards, GPC (Global Product Classification), and directories, and considers the specification and organization of the supply chain and retail. Although it is not an online shop, many eCommerce website design principles were applied to create it.
Now that we discussed the importance of solid architecture and the design of an eCommerce website, you may feel the time has come to optimize your eCommerce platform further. Every eCommerce website can benefit from constant optimization and management. It’s always wise to double-check your site. Ask yourself these questions: Does my website run properly? Does every page look exceptional?
We are here to give extra tips on how to design an eCommerce website and achieve good visibility with the help of a thoughtful design. Ultimately your website architecture could be the most significant factor determining success or failure. Let’s work together to help your eCommerce store shine like a brand-new coin!
Generally, eCommerce website development prices can range from $5K to $250K/year (maintenance and optimization included). The overall cost highly depends on your sales and traffic goals, requirements, features, and the type of web development company you choose (whether the US or overseas, in-house or outsourced, etc.). E.g., Eastern European IT markets are known for their optimal price-quality ratios: a Ukrainian software developer’s average rate is $25-$40 per hour.
Some essential basics of eCommerce web design include but are not limited to:
eCommerce website architecture comes before any prototyping and design. And the best way to get started with eCommerce website designing is to define how it will affect user experience. Find the balance between what works best for your website and your new and old customers.
Always keep your customers at the forefront of your mind and learn through data analysis, usability tests, heatmaps, etc. All design-related decisions should be about customers, their preferences, and their behavior. The design should remain a supportive element to reach their end goal, i.e., complete a purchase effortlessly.
Three key benefits of allowing a web design company to create your eCommerce website design are:
Still, you can always try a template-based variant first as a demo version and evaluate how it works. You will get a precise idea of what exactly your eCommerce website needs and how it should look.