6 Indispensable Elements of Effective Ecommerce Design

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Things to remember while Designing an eCommerce Website.

Beautiful, functional design is the “secret” ingredient for a profitable ecommerce website.

Without user-friendly sites full of images we love looking at, who would want to shop online?

Elegant, straightforward websites make shopping a pleasure, which means we buy more stuff, more often.

Here are six ecommerce design elements that leading online retailers take to heart.

See this article If you want to know in details about e-commerce and types of e commerce.

1.Usable interface

From simple, fast navigation to easily accessible help articles, a functional UI is absolutely essential. And don’t neglect such basic elements as visible contact information and a visible search box. There’s a tendency with some websites – ecommerce sites included – to hide the search box in the sidebar or at the bottom of the page. Don’t do it! Make the search box big and easy to find. REI has the right idea:

an ecommerce website with useable interface.

The search box lives right beside the logo. What’s more, breadcrumbs help you easily navigate within and among different categories. A simple navigation menu lets you access any product category with a single click, and contact info appears the moment you hover the mouse over the “Help” tab up top.
It’s an instantly usable interface that makes shopping easy, and that’s precisely what customers want.
Also: Don’t discount the importance of mobile responsive design. If your ecommerce platform isn’t at least as easy to navigate on mobile devices as it is on desktop computers, you’re going to fall behind the competition.

2. Quick, accessible customer service

Speaking of mobile ecommerce, many potential buyers will access your site from the physical location of a competitor in order to compare prices and/or ask a question. In these situations, fast customer service via your site could be the difference between making the sale or not.That’s why it pays to highlight customer service in your design. Look at how GoLite does it:

Customer service is very important in online shops.

In addition to inviting us to speak with a “real person,” GoLite offers live chat during business hours (see the button at the top right of the main content area) so shoppers can get quick answers to questions without leaving their computers.We checked to see if GoLite actually has someone monitoring the live chat feature. They do. And it was really helpful!

3. Simple, predictable user login

Here’s one that’s easily overlooked: user logins. Don’t make anyone create a username. An email address will suffice (or better yet, allow users to log in with Facebook).

When returning shoppers try to log in to your site, they aren’t going to remember a username they created months ago. Thus, it becomes harder for them to log in and, in turn, harder to shop on your website.

So just ask for email addresses. Nearly all of your customers will remember their email addresses. BustedTees is a great example of this:

Predictability is important if you want to sale stuff.

Email address? Check. Password? Check. Anything else? Nope. And that’s exactly how it should be.

4. An ever-present shopping cart

Customers deserve to know what’s in their cart at all times – just like in a real store. Constantly switching from your product catalog to a shopping cart page is tedious and puts a huge damper on the shopping experience.

And who does the ever-present shopping cart better than the tried and true ecommerce virtuoso, Amazon?

Amazon, the world's biggest shopping cart.

No matter where you go on the site, it’s never hard to see what’s in your cart. It follows you everywhere, and that makes it easier to shop.

5. Compelling, beautiful images

Who wants boring photos, pixelated images, or pictures that look like they were stolen from a manufacturer’s catalog? Nobody.

Take pride in your site – and your brand – by showing us beautiful images. Make them jump off the page. Make me wish I already owned the product. Make me click “Add to cart.”
Gilt Groupe knows how to do this:

Beautiful images are necessary for ecommerce websites.

Gilt’s images look like they were taken for Gilt’s site and Gilt’s site only. They fit well with the brand’s style and flair, which means they’ll resonate with Gilt’s audience and help boost sales.

6. Comprehensive, up-to-date catalog

If you’re wondering who should hold the title “master of the catalog,” look no further than Sears. They’ve been publishing product catalogs for generations now.

An online shop.

An online catalog pegged directly to inventory is essential for avoiding buyer frustration. What if I buy a baseball glove, pay, print the confirmation page, and receive a message a few hours later saying it wasn’t in stock after all?I’m going to be disappointed. What’s more, I might stop trusting your store and take my business elsewhere.

A product catalog buyers can believe in is just one of many ecommerce essentials. Cover all of them, and you’ll enjoy better customer feedback, fewer questions about site usability, and – this one’s important – higher sales.

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Comments
  1. Jeff February 28, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Great list! But, I would argue against the Facebook login mentioned in #3. While integrating the login process with social media sites seems to be the hip thing to do currently, it takes control out of your hands. What if the user closes their Facebook account? What if Facebook changes their API and leaves your site broken? This idea of a universal login has both its positives and negatives.

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