Essential Ecommerce Design Elements

John Berry

Senior Developer

As an ecommerce business, your website has to succeed at many roles. Two specific ones come to mind: a salesperson and a storefront.

No physical person is there to greet visitors and help them find what they are looking for. It’s up to your website to do that on its own. Luckily, a few essential ecommerce design elements will fill these shoes.

Let’s discuss a few of the most important ecommerce design elements that you don’t want to forget on your ecommerce site.

Instill Trust by Sharing Your Brand Promise

Your homepage is where customers are meeting your brand for the first time. What do you want them to know about you? How do you want them to feel?

Think about walking into a large, overstaffed furniture store. One person gets to you first, asks how you are and asks what they can help you with. You reply, “I’m just looking,” but the person doesn’t let you go. They continue asking questions or ramble through the special promotions. Worse yet, they might stay one step behind you, watching your every move. How does that make you feel?

At the same time, walking into the same store with no one to greet you can send the opposite message. Why should you drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on furniture when you clearly aren’t valued as a customer? Or is it possible that they don’t take you seriously?

As you can see, it’s easy for customers to get a feel for a brand within the first few seconds, and it only takes one person to create this image. Your homepage is just as powerful. You don’t want to come off as too strong or too pushy, but you don’t want to act like you don’t care either.  

Begin with your story. What makes your brand special? Is it what your products are made from? How they are made? What types of people do you employ? Don’t forget to show off your best-selling items, special promotions and other trust signals like home trials and free returns on your homepage.

Offer a Comprehensive Shopping Experience

Customers are most satisfied when they receive a complete shopping experience. And you can certainly relate. Doesn’t it feel good when you know that you’ve combed through the aisles, found what you needed and got the best prices possible? It’s a much more “complete” feeling than believing you were unable to view all of the products.

To provide a shopping experience like this, you need a well-organized ecommerce site that includes beautiful images, informative descriptions and simple navigation.

Images are important because they help shoppers make informed decisions. On the product pages, include photos that feature your product from all angles. If your ecommerce store sells clothes, feature your items with popular accessories. Or, feature your products in various “looks” or “collections” so that it’s easier to shop.

Social proof should also be included in the shopping experience. Customers aren’t seeing your products in person, so testimonials are extremely important to them. They want to know that a product is high in quality or fun to use. If others are happy with their purchase, they feel that they will be, too.

Imagine someone looking over your shoulder while you hold up a pair of jeans, saying, “Buy them! You'll Love them! They are sooo comfortable!” It would make a difference, wouldn’t it? That’s exactly what social proof does.

Create a Simplified Checkout Process

Imagine that you’ve had a great shopping experience, but then you get up to the registers and notice that there are long lines. Frustrating, isn’t it? No one wants to wait in line, especially with their hands full, but that’s kind of what you’re doing to online shoppers when you make the checkout process difficult. In fact, a poor checkout process can lead people to abandon their carts or feel that they’ve had a bad overall experience with your company.

The factors that are most important to the checkout process include the following:

  • Speed

  • Guest checkout option

  • Easy form filling

  • Progress indicators

  • Cart summary

Give shoppers as few objections to buying as possible. For instance, offer free or flat rate shipping so that customers aren’t disappointed in shipping prices. Offer customers persistent summaries so that they know what they are spending. None of us like getting to the end and finding out that our order is an extra $10 thanks to shipping, taxes and other miscellaneous fees.

A/B test your ecommerce site so that you know which elements increase conversions and get customers to complete the purchase. Multivariate testing is a cost-effective way to determine which features get your customers to act.

Conclusion

In the end, your ecommerce store must be constantly evolving. You need to carefully choose your design elements, test them and refine them. The goal is to increase conversions, which you can accomplish by following the tips above.

Start by thinking from the perspective of a salesperson. What can you offer your customers that they might be lacking? How can you make them feel confident about their purchase? How can you give them a more well-rounded shopping experience? Thinking in this way will help you create an amazing ecommerce site that is built for sales.

 

About the Author: John Berry

John is a former financial professional turned software developer. He has a passion and talent for creating innovative, beautiful software solutions. John is always striving to learn new software technologies and remain on the edge of industry solutions for his clients. He prides himself on being a team player who does whatever it takes to get the job done. In his spare time he enjoys cooking, the beach, and playing on the floor with his daughter.

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