When potential customers visit your site for the first time, are they wowed with the beauty and ease of navigation or confused about which way to go? Website design is ever evolving since Michael Aldrich invented online shopping back in 1979.
Online websites have borrowed techniques that brick and mortar stores have known for decades, that products need to be organized and appropriately displayed if they are to sell. That’s where web designers come in. Designing an ecommerce site is critical to success, and every element on the page makes a difference.
There are two main design categories to any website, functionality and visual content. They make or break the user experience and whether a shopper will stay and buy. Everything matters on an eCommerce website including the color of the CTA button, the quality of the images, and the words in the descriptions or content.
6 Design Elements Guaranteed to Make a Difference
One study concluded that 46% of people view a website’s design as the top credibility factor. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of what every eCommerce site should incorporate.
1. Help Shoppers Find What They Want With In-Site Search
Why is a site search important? In a recent survey by BigCommerce, 64% of online shoppers said that simple navigation has the most significant influence on buying (price was #1 at 87%). That is a substantial number of shoppers who expect a shopping website that is easy to use.
In-site search for an eCommerce site requires more than a plain Jane search box from Google. The search engine needs to incorporate the latest AI and machine learning tech to provide the best search choices even with misspellings and language barriers. The search tool should also display alternatives, related choices and product recommendations to improve AOV (Average Order Value).
2. Use Flat Design to Speed Up Your Site
What is a flat design you ask? Until the advent of shopping with mobile phones, web designers would pack web pages with all kinds of motion graphics and whiz-bang tricks to get people to watch. Unfortunately, those gimmicks take bandwidth and time to load, which is a deal-breaker for mobile online shoppers. Flat design uses a minimalist approach to a page set up and graphics. There are no 3-D border effects, so the images look flat, hence the name.
The clean design works because it loads fast, and people can quickly find what they are looking for without clutter.
3. Mobile Optimization is Mandatory
Optimizing the site for mobile is critical to staying in business. Since Google instituted a new algorithm of mobile-first indexing, your website’s rank depends on how well it works on mobile devices. Beyond that, it just makes sense given that 40% of the British and 36% of the U.S. population shop with their phones.
Also known as responsive web design, it serves identical content to mobile and desktop users using a fluid grid which automatically adapts to the size of a user's screen. It allows for a seamless shopping experience no matter what device a shopper uses.
4. Crystal Clear Calls to Action
Ask any salesperson what the most crucial point of any sales call is, and they will respond, “Asking for the sale!” That is what the Call to Action button does for your website. You should call it the “Make Money Now” button because that is what happens when shoppers click it.
Here are some deadly mistakes to avoid when designing your CTA.
- Camouflaging or blending it into the rest of the page
- Using ambiguous language like “Submit,” “Learn More” or “Click Here”
- Multiple CTAs
- Not adding social proof close to a CTA to help overcome objections
- No sense of urgency
The content and social proof leading to the CTA should be strong and assuage any fears the buyer has about pulling the trigger. Don’t add multiple CTAs because buyers tend to freeze and back away from decision making by abandoning their carts. If you must have multiple CTAs, give one more weight by bolding the font or other means of identifying that choice as the best one.
Add a sense of urgency whenever possible. Sales and discounts should have a deadline or countdown timer to keep the buyer moving.
5. Always Streamline the Purchase Process
Look at how a McDonald’s restaurant is laid out. It’s almost a straight line from the delivery truck at the back door to the customer at the front counter. No wasted twists and turns. That’s how it should be for your online customers too.
The most efficient checkout design has no more than two pages from the “Add to Cart” button and final checkout button. The more roadblocks you add by way of pages, forms or questions, the greater the chance of cart abandonment.
6. Engage Shoppers with Quality Visual Content
Ecommerce retailing is a visual medium. 78% of online shoppers demand product images because they won’t buy what they can’t see. You’ll need to find a balance between speed and quality when it comes to pictures and graphics.
Some tips for better conversions:
- Human photos convert better than generic icons. Tests prove that replacing icons with faces can increase conversions by 48% to 95%.
- Professional images make your site and products more attractive.
- Use an image size large enough that it doesn’t look blurry, yet small enough to load quickly. Slow load time will affect the search engine page rank.
Shoppers want high-quality product images, preferably with a zoom function for details and 360⁰ view capabilities for items like dresses.
On average, total views increased by 94 percent if a published article contained a relevant photograph or infographic when compared to articles without an image in the same category
Provide Great User Experience for Better Conversions
Web design is all about combining aesthetics and functionality for the best user experience possible. Customers want a site that loads fast, is easy to navigate, and simple to checkout. Along the way, they want to see what they’re buying with zoom and 360⁰ views.
The big caveat here is to test everything for yourself. You should always A/B test any changes to determine if a particular solution works best for your site. Even the smallest changes in color, text, font size or appearance can make a difference.
Increasing speed, especially mobile sites, will make an immediate impact on your business. By incorporating all these design elements, you will increase sales by improving the user experience.