When it comes to e-commerce website design, it is all about creating a site that provides customers with a pleasurable shopping experience. The whole process, from navigating the site and finding the products they need to proceeding through checkout, must be smooth and enjoyable for your visitors.
It is important to accomplish just the right blend for your website. Nobody wants to spend time finding the product or service they need on Google, only to click through to a website that is shabby and unprofessional; likewise, anyone landing on an aesthetically pleasing e-commerce site will not want to travel through a maze of different pages just to purchase what they need. An e-commerce website needs to be designed in such a way that is works as good as it looks. It must be visually appealing enough to draw the visitor in and functional in way that allows the customer to go from homepage to completed order smoothly and with minimum fuss. If your site can accomplish this, then you are well on the way to building a quality customer base.
If you feel that your current e-commerce website is suffering in its productivity, it could be because your site is lacking in the usability department, or that it is not visually attractive enough to visitors for them to feel compelled to stick around – or both.
With improved productivity in mind, here are a few key methods that can be implemented into your e-commerce website design to increase those all-important conversions.
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Keep your design simple
The visual element of a website is what attracts the visitors in the first place, so you will need to be sure that your landing page catches the eye. The best way to do this is to keep things simple. Everything about the design, from background template to content, should be strategically placed and laid out in a clear manor. Take the biggest e-commerce sites on the internet – eBay and Amazon – both are simple in their design and do not seem over-crowded. You will be well served by approaching the design of your site in a similar way.
Product placement and description
The products on your website should be made clearly visible to the customer. Nothing less than a high-quality photo of an item will do when it comes to getting a sale. Rather than having users click on individual products to find out additional details, consider offering a product overview. Many visitors, for whatever reason, tend to avoid clicking through to different pages for more details on an item – this means you are losing out on a potential sale. A simple product overview that loads details via Ajax needs only to consist of a larger picture and some key information.
Promote a secure shopping experience
Online consumers like to be sure that where they are shopping is safe, and that all payment information is 100% secure. You should clearly display to potential customers that your website utilizes the latest in web security and that all details are fully protected.
Give customers a direct call-to-action
If your cart button says something like “find out more” or “more details,” it may be off-putting to potential customers. If you want to increase productivity, you will be much better served by offering a direct call-to-action such as “add to cart” or “buy now.” Colour is also an important factor when designing a cart button, with gentle colours such as blues and greens having a more positive impact on customers.
The search box is an essential element on any e-commerce site, but is yours performing as well as it should be? Customers prefer the option of search over navigating menus as it allows them to find products quickly. By using jQuery, you can add “autocomplete” to your search box, giving users a list of choices related to their keywords. This will help them find exactly what they are looking, or revise keywords without clicking through to the search menu. From a design perspective, it is also worth making the search bar a focal point on your homepage.
Make your site easy to navigate
The larger the e-commerce site, the more categories there are to contend with. For the visitor, navigating these menus can be a time consuming task so you should consider making it easier for them. Using “fly-out” (menus that fly out when you hover over them with the mouse) menus is the best way to do this. These are great for saving space and are super easy to use for customers. Remember that we’re going for improved productivity here, so there’s no need to overdo it in the design stakes – simple is effective.
Let customers know items are in stock
After having taken the time to find a product, the last thing a customer wants is to get through to the checkout to find that an item is out of stock. One dissatisfied customer can easily turn in to hundreds given the power of social media, so if you have to disappoint, it is best to do so on the product page by clearly displaying availability.
When a customer makes it to the checkout page, it should be made as easy as possible for them to complete their purchase. When designing your checkout page, you should avoid any unnecessary distractions such as product promotion or adverts. E-commerce sites with the highest conversion rates generally have single page checkouts, which feature shipping, billing, and card details on the same page – this is something you should have designed for your site. A good checkout experience will make a customer more likely to return to your website in the future.
While this is not an exhaustive list, implementing some of the methods featured here should help drastically improve the productivity of your e-commerce site, and help turn your visitors into paying customers.