Designing an ecommerce website is a complex process that requires more technical expertise than development of a typical website, a lot of planning and of course, huge investment of time and money. There are three major things to consider.
– First, usability. Users must find the products they want fast and easily.
– Second, good product presentation. You have to showcase the products in the most attractive way.
– And third, fast and secure checkout process. You have to join the various checkout steps into few clicks and make purchasing as simple as possible.
I’m not going to repeat a lot of bloggers who have already written tons of articles on ecommerce usability and navigational components, emphasizing adequate search filters and proper product categorization, trouble-free checkout and security options, etc. My goal is to draw your attention to some other, secondary, factors that can greatly improve your online shop design. Please note, “secondary” in this context doesn’t mean “less important” or “something that doesn’t deserve our attention”. On the contrary, these factors I’m going to speak about below can help you deliver a consistent, pleasant shopping experience and prevent customers from abandoning their shopping carts.
You can also read about types of e-commerce.
Cross-Browser and Multiple Device Compatibility
People may use various browsers or portable devices while surfing the Internet or making online purchases. As you know, the websites may look quite different in different web browsers due to the differences in parsing a web code. While your website is in the process of development, it is highly recommended to run some cross-browser tests to check its appearance and functionality and also check other coding errors that might pop up in the process.
Meanwhile you are doing different cross-browser tests, mobile ecommerce continue to develop by leaps and bounds. Users are looking for a simpler way to make purchases, so the shift has to be towards being responsive. For better handheld browsing the website design should be automatically adjusted to various screen resolutions, what can be achieved mainly by fluid grids, flexible images and media queries. With responsive design there is no need for a separate mobile version of the website: you use the same URL for desktop, mobile and tablets.
Below are presented some catchy example of responsive e-commerce designs:
Image Optimization. Enlarge and Alternative Views
Since your customers can’t physically handle the products you are selling, image optimization, enlarge and alternative views in particular, are very important. Provide your customers with an opportunity to view your product images in stunning detail and let them hover or click to zoom images. No doubt, crystal clear photographic resolution takes the guesswork out of making a selection. Photo enlargements and zoom capabilities play great part in reducing product return rate.
Here are some of the best examples of photo enlargements or image zoom.
Optimizing Service and Support Pages
Don’t afraid to personalize the “about us” page, as this page is essential for the seller’s credibility and can greatly lift conversions. Share your story, highlight your people and Below you will find examples of well-crafted FAQ pages, “about us” and other support pages.
Obvious Contact Information
Don’t make your customers hunt to find your contact information. Make sure you placed it on each page and in the most obvious places of your website, like header, the top of your sidebar, or in your footer. Before making a purchase and providing credit card information, the customers will likely want to make sure they will be able to reach your Customer Care team and talk to a real person in case of some issues.
Remember, if your site doesn’t provide any contact info or hides it, it greatly increases the cart abandonment rate.
Below are examples of some websites that provides contact info in the easy-to-find places:
Light Color Scheme
Choosing a color palette for your web store can be tricky, but color is a mighty tool in transforming your web space. It is proved that light color scheme tends to sell better than dark ones. Light colors evoke pleasant and cheerful feelings; they can help you bring product images to the foreground, highlighting the most important elements of your design. For example, light color schemes (yellow, light blue or green) are mainly used to promote products for children, when advertising drugs and medical products, or products and services related to clearness, high-tech products, food products, etc.
In spite of these facts dark color scheme can also be very successful, as it is associated with power and elegance. Combined with other bright colors it can be really powerful and sometimes even aggressive.
So, choose your color scheme wisely.
Social-network integration is the demand of time. It is highly possible to find a person who hasn’t been registered on any social media website. It’s a good fashion for online merchants to link their websites to the company’s networks: Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google +, Twitter, Blog, etc. and attract even more customers. Just integrate the links to social networks into your website design and make them visible and catchy. Take a look at the examples below.
Emphasizing the shopping cart
Make your virtual shopping cart recognizable and easy-to-find. Its standard location is on the top right of a web page (see examples 1, 2), but it can be placed anywhere as long as you make it visible enough. The shopping cart can be seamlessly integrated into website header or logo like in the example 3 and 4, or an attractive icon can be used (example 5).
As they say, great design and excellent usability start with minor things. Building eCommerce sites is not an easy task, as online shops require constant updates, keeping up to date with the latest design trends, and competing with others. Hopefully, these tips will help you gain some advantage.