What Does an e-Commerce Store Design Need to Communicate

Have you ever noticed the variety of products that litter the area close to the register in your local super market or grocery store?

Chances are you have.

In fact, this is a very common strategy used to tempt people who’ve already done their shopping into buying just one or two more things.

The thing is, this kind of behavior isn’t exclusive to the shoppers in brick-and-mortar-stores. As a matter of fact, you can expect online shop owners to implement this same strategy in their e-Commerce shops.

The truth is, people are often tempted to make impulse purchases when the cross sell is less obvious. And, when it comes to the world of online shopping, it is usually the web design that attributes to the most finalized transactions.

While it’s true that the products you sell online take precedence, it is important to never underestimate the ability of a well-designed website to gently nudge prospective buyers into making a purchase.  In fact, that’s one of the reasons we are going to explore this subtle approach and see just what the design of your e-Commerce website should convey to existing and prospective customers if you want to boost sales.

Must-Have Design Features of Your e-Commerce Website

So, you have created your website, you have products and services you want to sell, but now you need to fine-tune the design of your e-Commerce site to draw in more customers and encourage them to make more purchases.

Convincing someone to part with their hard-earned money is all about making them feel secure, which directly ties into how trustworthy your e-Commerce store is. After all, you can’t expect anyone to want to make purchases from a website that looks like no thought was put into it.

In fact, studies show that 94% of people polled cite web design as the reason they “mistrusted” or “rejected” a website.

That’s a lot of people!

In order to avoid that ghastly bounce rate, and continue to increase your annual revenue, pay close attention to these e-Commerce web design elements.

1. Responsive Design

With 62% of smartphone users having made at least one purchase online using their mobile device in the last six months, it is time to accept the fact that responsive design is a must-have if you want to be successful.

Here are just some of the advantages to making your e-Commerce website mobile-friendly:

  • Higher search rankings with popular search engines such as Google
  • Increased sales as mobile consumerism rises
  • Better user experience = more satisfied (and returning) customers
  • Responsive design adapts to all devices and screen sizes, not just mobile phones

If you fail to cater to those on-the-go, you are surely missing an opportunity to sell to a large portion of your target audience.

2. Minimal Design

Flashy websites full of functionality still have their place on the internet (at least I think).  However, when it comes to your online shop, less is definitely more.

Not sure how to make that happen?  Take your cues from here:

  • Utilize your website’s whitespace to focus on your products and services
  • Grab a theme designed specifically for e-Commerce sites
  • Use large, bold, attention-grabbing images rather than tiny thumbnails
  • Customize your site using a few complementary font styles
  • Avoid lots of flashy carousels and sliders (as cool as they may seem)
  • Do not overload your site with too much text
  • Limit layout options, color palettes, and special effects
  • Find a balance between text and images that is appealing to the eye

Take a look at Pop Chart Lab to get an idea of what good minimal design looks like.

This unique online shop sells a variety of different products.  And, the best part is, they utilize a lot of whitespace, have large clear images to entice visitors, make use of a few key fonts to add visual appeal, and the color schemes flow without overloading the visitor’s senses.

In the end, there is a lot more that goes into creating a truly minimally designed e-Commerce shop.  And you do have to have a certain finesse to ensure your minimal website doesn’t look boring.  However, following the above tips will get you started in the right direction.

3. Super Simple Navigation

If your customers cannot find what they are looking for while exploring your online store, they are not going to be able to make a purchase, which of course, defeats the purpose of running an e-Commerce shop.

Making sure your site visitors can effectively navigate your website is perhaps one of the most important design concepts you can focus on.  This will not only boost sales (since customers will be able to find what they need and checkout right away), it will increase conversion rates, help you build a bigger email list, drive traffic to your site (because Google likes a well-organized website), and improve the overall user experience.

You can bet that 30% of your online shoppers will go straight for your online store’s search bar once they land on your website.  After all, they are visiting your shop because they feel you have something to offer them.

And what better way to find what they are looking for than to automatically search for it?

In order to ensure great navigation on your e-Commerce website, besides just displaying a search bar, try the following:

  • Build easy to understand and organized menus items
  • Include filter options (g. brand, price, size, color)
  • Place the search bar in a common place
  • Use more internal linking than buttons to make things easier
  • Always strive to improve your website’s speed and performance

For example, notice how SweatVac makes their search bar prominent in the header of their website, and the navigation menu items are labeled clearly.

If you do any of the above, you are likely to see a large jump in the way people behave on your website.  That’s because the easier it is to navigate a website, the farther (and quicker) a site visitor will find themselves engaged with your content, which lends to the possibility of more sales.

4. Calls to Action

Another crucial design element your e-Commerce website must have is a call to action (CTA) of some sort.  This encourages your site visitors to take action (e.g. buy something!) and is an effective method for nudging site visitors to make that extra purchase.

Take for instance the New Balance website, and how they not only take advantage of large, stunning, imagery to promote their products, they make sure that the call to action buttons – Shop Men and Shop Women – are prominently displayed for customer to easily click on.

Then, after clicking on either CTA button, the site visitor is immediately directed to the products corresponding to the call to action.  By doing this you hook the visitor’s attention, force them into your online shop, and hopefully continue to guide them down the sales funnel until a purchase is finalized.

Final Thoughts

In the end, there is a lot that goes into designing the perfect e-Commerce website that converts site visitors into customers.  However, focusing on what works (and what doesn’t) should be the priority of all online shop owners.  After all, it is widely accepted that it costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.

So, put in all the work you can to design a converting online store in an attempt to turn every site visitor in to a loyal, returning customer.  And remember, bringing new site visitors to your website on a consistent basis should not just boost your traffic metrics.  You should see a rise in sales as your following grows.

And, if by chance you don’t, one thing to seriously consider is your e-Commerce site’s overall web design.  Trust me, those that aren’t impressed with the way your site looks will never make the effort to finalize a purchase, no matter what you have to offer or how subtly you try to convince them.