Despite all the headlines about digital shoppers and in-person consumers, the truth of the matter is that consumers everywhere want the same things: quality products, genuine customer service and clean, organized stores.
Think about it. Would you shop for clothes in a store strewn with t-shirts and jeans all over the place? Of course not. The same thing is true for online shoppers. If your ecommerce website is cluttered and difficult to navigate, you’ll have a hard time retaining customers and making sales.
While there are dozens of tips out there to improve your ecommerce website design, here are a handful of vital pointers that can move your business in the right direction and improve your chances with buyers.
Make a Statement: As soon as a visitor lands on your page, they should know exactly what you sell. Not just the products you peddle (that too), but the idea you sell as well. Use compelling images and powerful slogans that sum up your value proposition. Wolverine Boots is a perfect example: “Style Has Never Had So Much Substance.”
Showcase High-Quality Images: This one should be obvious. No one will buy a product they can’t see. Host high-quality images to entice potential buyers. Bonus points if you include shots from multiple angles, with different colors or being used by a model.
Preempt Questions with Product Descriptions: Since customers can feel or try on ecommerce products the same way they would in a brick and mortar, it’s up to you to provide descriptions to make your goods come alive for the customer. Use descriptive language, describe the shape and feel, provide sizing info, etc. Anticipate customer questions and answer them in your copy.
Don’t Fear White Space: Clutter kills sales. Create an ecommerce website using no more than four colors and don’t be afraid to leave plenty of white space. This will make your online store feel roomy and professional.
Take Advantage of Visual Hierarchy: You don’t need a master’s degree in design to understand that web users are drawn to large, stand-out items first. Use accent colors to draw more clicks or alert customers of sales and hot items. A low-cost way to test your visual hierarchy is to print out a physical copy of your webpage and have friends or strangers point to the things they want to click on first.
Make Things Stupid Easy: Your customers should never have to wonder where the navigation bar, search bar, shopping cart, contact page or about us is located. Important elements like these should be ever present and extremely apparent.
Draw Attention with Limited-Time Deals: In physical stores, customers look for bright signs and red tag sales. It’s no different for ecommerce websites. Call out specifics that may drive customers to seal the deal. For example, scarcity warnings (only 3 left), discount alerts (save 40% today) and special deals (BOGO this weekend only) instill customers with a sense of urgency.
Use Third-Party Advertising Sparingly: To foot the bill of running an ecommerce site, some virtual store owners host third-party advertisements. While this may help bring in a little extra cash, it’s more likely to distract your customers and hurt your sales; especially if the ads are intrusive, obnoxious and prevalent. If you must use on-site ads, at least use them sparingly.
Simplify Your Checkout Page: Congratulations, your customer has reached the final step of their transaction. Be sure to remove any and all distractions during the checkout process. Your customer should see a clear and simple path to payment to avoid cart abandonment, save maybe trust badges reassuring them that their personal and financial information will be protected.
When creating an ecommerce website, be sure to test your design elements every so often to see what is working and what needs improvement. And don’t be afraid to change things to better match users’ evolving tastes. After all, certain styles may go out of fashion, but good design never goes out of style.