An eCommerce website can either make or break your business. A well-designed, user-friendly, and trustworthy site will keep shoppers engaged in your products, while a badly designed, unfriendly website will drive them away, never to return.
So how do you make sure visitors to your website stay and become return shoppers?
We have compiled a few tips to help you with your design and the success of your online store.
1. Make your website fully responsive.
More and more devices are now able to connect to the internet, but if your website cannot be viewed on a Smartphone, or tablet as clearly as on a desktop computer, then you have just lost the game. Statistics show that over 70% of Smartphone owners have used their phone to make an online purchase within the last six months. If your website is not mobile-friendly, then you have just lost 70%+ of potential business.
2. Keep the overall design simple, but coordinated throughout.
Your homepage is the first thing visitors see, so the clearer and simpler the page, the better the user’s experience will be. Don’t have tons of images on the page – they will only confuse. Display an overview of your product categories and subcategories, accompanied by eye-catching images or graphics. Don’t clutter up the home page with information that can be seen on the product page.
We can’t emphasize this enough, but high-quality images should be used at all times, They show your professionalism. Low-quality images give the impression that you don’t care and you won’t inspire confidence in your shoppers.
Display a few of your best selling items to tease your shoppers to go deeper into your store, using high-quality images.
Any images used throughout the website should be optimized to be fast loading. Speed of access is vital to the success of your website. If any of your pages are slow to load because of excessive image size, then the next button your visitor will click is likely to be the “close window” button.
3. Navigation should be user-friendly and operational.
The navigation menu should be efficiently designed to get the user to the desired page in as few clicks as possible. Use the menu items to help your users, not frustrate them.
One or two-word labels that leave no doubt as to where they lead will serve you better than ones that give no clue where they go. There is no quicker way to lose visitors than making them click endlessly before reaching their goal.
Use familiar icons to aid in navigation. For example, an envelope is taken to mean “email us’ or “Contact us”, and a small house icon will take the user back to your home page. Small touches like that will enhance your website and make for a better user experience.
4. Be consistent in your pages.
An important aspect of eCommerce web design is consistency. Every page should have the same basic elements including:
- Your logo.
- Company name.
- Navigation menu.
These elements can be displayed in the header area of each of your pages, displaying the same information to the user, no matter what page they view.
There should also be a “shopping cart” icon displayed on every page of your website, to allow shoppers to see the number of items they have purchased. On the shopping cart page, when the user sees what is in the cart, they should be able to continue shopping, so a navigation link to that effect would be advisable.
A good search feature is a must to have on each page, but it should be product selective. How many times have you entered something in an online store search box and have numerous products pop up, but only a few are relevant to your search. It would be worth upgrading to an autocomplete search function, so that it finishes the sentence for the user, saving time.
5. Make the buying process simple but secure.
Security and trustworthiness.
The two most important elements of your website. Your shoppers must feel they can trust you. They will expect any information they pass through your web pages to remain secure during the time they purchase online. Using a secure server and installing SSL (secure sockets layer) certificates, will authenticate the identity of the website and encrypt any data that requires to be safe. Purchase your SSL from any one of many vendors and display their certificate badge on every page where information is requested.
Give your shoppers the confidence needed to place orders by giving them information about your business, for example:
- An overview of the company.
- Show photographs of who is behind the business.
- Supply them with contact information.
- Have a FAQ page.
- Prominently display links to your shipping and return policies.
6. Shopping Cart and Checkout Design.
Your shopping cart and checkout procedures are crucial to the whole website and are where everything comes together.
The shopping cart must allow the shopper to examine their purchases, alter quantities, remove items, and continue to checkout without any distractions. When the shopping cart page is displayed it must give the user clear details of their purchase. It should display:
- The products, with images.
- Sizes and colors (if applicable).
- Quantities of each item, with the ability to add or reduce the number.
- Estimated taxes.
- Order Total.
Each product in the shopping cart should be linked back to their individual product page, so the shopper can check their purchase in detail if needed.
Checkout Page Design.
Keep this as simple as possible. Shoppers get frustrated if they have to complete too much information to finalize their purchase.
- Give shoppers the choice of whether to create an account or continue without. If you force them to create an account before they can complete the purchase, you will probably lose them.
- Only make fields mandatory to complete the purchase, such as Name, Address, Phone Number, and Email Address (for confirmation purposes).
- To cut down on the number of fields that need to be completed, use the shipping address as the default billing address.
- Offer different shipping methods. Online shoppers don’t mind waiting to save money.
- Give the shopper a choice of payment methods.
- Ask for their payment details last.
- Notify the shopper of any errors as they happen. Display clear error messages next to the field that needs correction so that they are understood.
- If possible, design the checkout page so that they can see their shopping cart along with their delivery and payment details. If you need to have more than one checkout page, then indicate the progress until completion. When the transaction is complete, display the confirmation and automatically email the details to the shopper.
When you design your eCommerce website, put yourself in the shoppers’ shoes.
Would you buy from this website? Is it easy to navigate? Is it a trustworthy site? Is my information safe?
All these questions need to be answered YES.
Design your site so that online shoppers have an enjoyable experience and will have no hesitation in coming back. Above all, make it professional, user-friendly, secure, and without distractions, and before going live to the masses, test every aspect to ensure there are no “page not found” or other errors.