An eCommerce website is an online web store that sells digital, or physical products (like gold makeup & bubblewrap). Today’s blog will give you the essential components of eCommerce web design so you can maximise success.
eCommerce stores can be anything from a simple one-page design with a single product to a large and complex site like Amazon selling thousands of products.
If you are an eCommerce business owner, the design and structure of your website are critical to your online success.
Whether you have a physical store or not, people will always judge your products by how they experience your website. If it looks outdated or unprofessional or is difficult to navigate, they’re likely to shop elsewhere.
Choosing an eCommerce platform
Before you start thinking about the design of your online store, it’s important to choose which eCommerce platform will work best for your business.
There are dozens of eCommerce platforms to choose from. Many website builders like Squarespace and Wix also offer eCommerce capabilities. According to BuiltWith.com, the majority of the top 1 million eCommerce sites online are built on WooCommerce, Shopify, or Magento.
WooCommerce is not a standalone platform but rather a plugin for the popular content management system, WordPress. This means that you have access to thousands of compatible free and premium themes to change the design of your store easily.
This plugin is free to install and use. Premium extensions are available for those who need extra features, but the free version is enough for running a simple online store. WooCommerce includes an inventory management and product categorisation system with several options for searching, sorting, and filtering on both the front and back ends.
WooCommerce also comes with built-in payment processing and a checkout that offers multiple shipping and tax options.
Shopify is a fully hosted option that’s ideal for beginners as it doesn’t require any coding or web development knowledge, and it takes you through the process of building your store step-by-step. This all-in-one solution includes hosting, a visual online store builder, hundreds of pre-built store templates, and a blogging platform for a monthly fee.
Stores built on Shopify provide a great user experience for both the eCommerce business owner and the customer. The shopping cart offers over 100 options for payment gateway, and you can easily set up and manage customer accounts and profiles. There’s also a mobile app for managing your store and fulfilling orders while you’re on the move.
Magento is another popular open-source web platform that was specifically designed for building eCommerce sites.
Like WordPress, you can custom-build your own store design or you can use one of the many pre-built themes that are available.
Magento comes with advanced functionality and tools to help you run your eCommerce business, including inventory management and reporting tools, a product catalogue with features like popular products, flexible checkout and shipping options, and integrated apps for marketing and conversion optimisation.
This is a highly customisable platform that offers web developers and designers a high level of control. The flexibility makes it a good option for growing businesses, but the learning curve is a little steep for beginners.
Free eCommerce guide
Take advantage of our free marketing ideas by downloading our guide and help your eCommerce store to generate more revenue. Find out more about our 5 ways to grow your eCommerce business.
Essential eCommerce web design components for your online store
While every eCommerce site will be different, there are certain pages and web page design features that you should make sure to include and pay special attention to when you’re building your site.
Your homepage should be informative, attractive to look at, and easy for customers to navigate to any other page on your site.
It should be clear what your business is and what sort of products you sell for a casual browser that ends up on your storefront. First impressions count, so make sure your messaging is clear, and the design is simple, clean, and modern.
Your homepage is also an ideal place to feature any special promotions and new product announcements.
Your customers will use your category pages to browse products, so they must be clearly labelled and organised. It’s best to keep your main categories to a minimum as it can be overwhelming for users to browse through dozens of categories.
For stores that sell a wide variety of products, it makes sense to divide your main categories into sub-categories. For example, you might have a main category of “Computer Accessories” with sub-categories such as “Keyboards” “Mice,” “Laptop Stands,” etc.
If you have many categories, make sure your menu is well-designed and easy to navigate. Add breadcrumb navigation to each of your category pages to help shoppers return to the main categories. Make sure you include your categories in your search filters too.
As well as your standard product categories, you might want to consider adding some special categories such as brands, bestsellers or featured products.
Product landing pages
Your product pages are one of the most important things to get right when designing your online store.
This is where you’ll showcase each product individually, use your copywriting skills to describe it, and add the all-important “buy now” or “add to cart” buttons.
Make sure you include relevant keywords in your product description so that customers can find your products via search engines.
You might also want to add reviews and ratings from other customers, along with anything else that might convince a browser to make a purchase.
The checkout process should be quick and easy for your customer to follow so that they can complete their purchase as quickly as possible instead of getting bogged down in unnecessary steps or changing their mind about buying.
It’s good to offer customers the option between setting up an account and checking out as a guest. In addition, multiple payment options can help to reduce your cart abandonment rate.
About us page
Not everybody bothers to read the about page of a store they’re shopping on. But this is the place to tell your brand story, talk about your business philosophy, and start building a relationship with potential customers.
This can also be a good place to link to your social media accounts so that customers can follow you on their favourite platforms.
Search bar and search results page
If you have a large eCommerce store with many products and categories, a search feature becomes an essential part of your web design, as it’s the best way to help customers find what they’re looking for.
Make sure the results are easy to navigate and show a clear preview of each product.
Account registration and login page
Getting your customers to sign up for an account will help them to check out faster in the future and gives you an opportunity to stay in touch via email.
Another essential feature is the ability to save items in the shopping cart so customers can complete their purchases later.
Email subscription form
Email newsletters are an effective way to inform your customers about sales and promotions, showcase new products, and encourage repeat business.
Providing an incentive for signing up, such as a discount code or free shipping, will help to increase your subscriptions.
Tips for a more effective eCommerce site
Making a successful eCommerce site requires the right balance of attractive visuals, thoughtful UX design, and an effective marketing strategy.
Here are some more general tips to keep in mind when you’re building your online store:
- Keep your design simple and your purpose clear so that users understand your brand and what you’re selling right off the bat.
- Audit your site for friction points that may prevent a sale, and aim for a smooth customer journey to improve your conversion rates.
- Focus on usability and performance above design and features – it doesn’t matter if your site looks great if it loads slowly or is difficult to navigate.
- Base your design decisions on actual customer data and feedback.
Above all, when you’re creating your site, think about what customers want in an eCommerce site. Consider the sites you shop from frequently and what they do to ensure your shopping experience is a great one.
Also, keep in mind that even the world’s most successful eCommerce stores regularly change and redesign their websites. Therefore, you should constantly be looking for ways to adjust your site to improve the customer experience.
End note… By focusing on the user, you’re sure to find success.