Meta description: From focusing on your users’ UX to ensuring fee transparency, discover 8 Dos and Don’ts of designing an eCommerce website.
Ecommerce has always faced unique digital challenges, and the post-COVID era is no exception. As more and more users turn to the comfort of online purchases, eCommerce websites see clear opportunities for growth. The truth is, whatever the business, whether it is an e-commerce business that deals with other businesses or one that deals with direct clients, it would need a well-designed and easy-to-use website. But this might be quite difficult to create all alone.
There may be so many questions –where do you begin designing an eCommerce website, how do you design it, and what features should be included in the website? Design trends change, customer behaviours change, and Google’s algorithms change. So, do you take the help of firms like WebEnertia (find out here about the firm in detail by visiting its website) or do you design it all by yourself?
Anyway, in this article, we will discuss all the nitty-gritty of designing an e-commerce website. We’ll cover a bit of everything and explore eight crucial points; 4 Dos, and 4 crucial Don’ts of designing a website (be it with the help of professionals or doing it all alone).
Designing an eCommerce website: the Dos
Starting with the Dos, it’s only natural to ground them in 2 key questions;
- What do your audiences want?
- What do search engines want?
Typically, both want the same qualities; ease-of-use, accessibility, transparency, security, and fast loading speeds. These all culminate into User Experience (UX), a metric most marketers will – rightfully – value highly.
#1 Do: start with UX
The first Do, then, is to start with UX. You need to impress your users and do so quickly; you need to offer functionality, responsiveness, and immediate visual appeal.
To do so, you may start with the following:
- Offer breadcrumbs. These will allow for easier navigation, especially coupled with a robust content hierarchy.
- Shorten your checkout processes. As we’ll cover below, longer processes understandably drive customers away.
- Maintain visual clarity. Avoid visual elements that may distract users from your intended goal.
#2 Do: mind your SEO
For that matter, it’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that will solidify your eCommerce website’s UX. Far from just a search engine visibility boost, these practices seek to refine your website holistically for human visitors too.
To prove this, simply consider each SEO subset’s benefits:
- On-page SEO. This subset will ensure faster loading speeds, enhance readability, and much more.
- Off-page SEO. Then, this subset’s off-page activities will enhance your website’s authoritativeness via backlinks, incite referral traffic, and so forth.
- Technical SEO. Finally, this subset will ensure your website’s technical health and security. Safe sites don’t just enjoy more trust by users, especially in the case of eCommerce; Google also ranks secure websites higher for many years now.
#3 Do: prioritize mobile
Returning to usability, marketers continue to attest to the usefulness of mobile prioritization. There is a simple reason for that; Statista finds that mobile traffic already surpasses desktop traffic.
To address this quality, you may start with the following:
- Embrace mobile-first design. The very first step should be to design with mobile in mind from the start. It’s extremely easier to adapt mobile sites to desktops than the opposite, after all.
- Cater to mobile screen real estate. What this design principle means in action is simple; cater to mobile screens and finger navigation. Consider drop-down menus, layout simplicity, and other elements that fit smaller screens better.
- Keep the experience consistent. Finally, remember to keep the experience between mobile and desktop consistent. Repeat buyers may use both, and visual and functional consistency only helps denote professionalism and build trust.
#4 Do: leverage social proof
Having touched on trust, social proof is absolutely imperative. The suggestion for this Do is simple and self-evident; use social proof generously. User reviews and testimonials, endorsements, case studies, and everything in-between at your disposal.
To highlight the unquestionable value of social proof, consider the following statistics by OptinMonster:
- “88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations.”
- “70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.”
- “Buyers require an average of 40 online reviews before believing a business’s star rating is accurate[, and s]hoppers across all age ranges expect an average of 112 reviews per product when they search online.”
Designing an eCommerce website: the Don’ts
So, the above should clarify what designing an eCommerce website should strive to offer. What should it actively avoid, however? Here, too, we may ground the Don’ts in a simple question; what do users not want?
#1 Don’t: go for style over substance
First, users want substance and functionality, as that will inform their UX. Your visual identity is crucial, but it won’t drive conversions if your UX suffers.
You may address this by adhering to common SEO practices, such as:
- Compress your images. SEO suggests compressing your images to under 100kB for faster loading speeds. Google/SOASTA research finds that slow speeds increase bounce rates, so you should bear a slight quality reduction to enhance UX.
- Cull heavy and secondary plugins. Similarly, any outdated or underperforming plugins may drive your website down. Examine yours, and carefully weigh their benefits against their impact on speeds.
- Keep your layout simple. Finally, design simplicity spearheads usability and responsiveness. Especially for your ever-increasing mobile users, consider a simple layout over a visually overwhelming one.
#2 Don’t: overdo it with visuals
Speaking of visual overload, remember to not overdo it with visuals. Most famous website redesigns did not rely on offering more visuals; they simply opted for better, clearer ones.
For this step, pay attention to the following, among others:
- Use relevant visuals. Remember that visuals enrich UX when they offer value. Examine your landing pages, product pages, and others to ensure your visual elements do so.
- Use visuals strategically. Second, remember to distribute visuals strategically. Consult heat maps and similar analytics tools to examine if your visuals distract users instead of helping them.
- Don’t neglect white space. Finally, white space always helps with readability and navigation. IxDF finds both micro and macro white space to offer immense benefits indeed.
#3 Don’t: overwhelm your visitors with choices
On the subject of distractions, an incredibly common oversight across all industries is overwhelming visitors with choices. Granted, it is less common for eCommerce, but it still warrants a mention.
Here, simply remember the following:
- Use one Call to Action (CTA) per page. CXL finds that eCommerce choice fatigue plays a significant role. Limiting your CTAs to the essential ones works wonders, as their research finds.
- Eliminate distractions. Similarly, you may identify and eliminate distractions, especially ones in your outreach copy. CXL’s example of Whirlpool’s email campaign yielding 42% more clicks going from this to this should illustrate this point perfectly.
#4 Don’t: forget to be transparent about fees
Finally, consider the ever-present truism of designing an eCommerce website – that transparency works. The proof for this is equally simple; Sleeknote research finds it to be the primary reason for cart abandonment.
Here, you may consider the following:
- Display all extra fees, such as shipping, customs, and taxes at checkout. Sleeknote’s example of Myro highlights an excellent way to do so.
- Offer free shipping whenever possible. Doing so will both appeal to your users, as Sleeknote finds, and help clarify the costs upright.
In conclusion, designing an eCommerce website should strive to satisfy both human users and search engines. Of course, you may primarily focus on the former and let the latter follow. An impeccable UX fueled by SEO, mobile-friendliness, and transparency will satisfy your users and let your website thrive – and search engines will soon notice.