What to Consider When Designing Your eCommerce Site

They say eCommerce is the future of retail – and they’re probably right. Online shopping already accounts for more than 16 per cent of business turnover in the UK and this percentage is expected to balloon as Brits use the internet more regularly than ever before.

Creating an online store is the first step for brands wishing to jump into the digital marketplace – but simply having a site is only half the story. In eCommerce, subtle design differences can really impact conversions. Here are the seven key things to consider when it’s time to sculpt your site.

1. Your audience

The basic principles of good design are just as important in eCommerce as they are on the high street – think of your target audience first and foremost to consider what they’ll find appealing. Think about imagery, fonts and schemes in relation to your core customer profile.

A ‘clean’ design isn’t always friendly, and the latest minimalistic scheme won’t necessarily capture the attention you want. The best eCommerce sites balance open space with images and videos related to their market.

2. Store layout

Nobody likes getting lost in a shop – that’s why your local department store separates items by function. In eCommerce, it pays to go one step further – especially if you sell hundreds of sofas or thousands of fashion accessories.

Website design tools

Think about the categorisation your users care about and build filters into your site. After all, who wants to sift through ten pages of listings to find everything available in a certain colour or size?

3. Channels

If your eCommerce home page is the equivalent to a high street storefront, then its channel capability is comparable to said store’s location. A prime, city centre spot will see shoppers arriving from many different routes – and that’s what you need to replicate in the digital sphere.

The latest dynamic eCommerce design techniques include seamless omnichannel integration, which allows for listings on external marketplaces such as Amazon or Etsy. In retail terms, it’s a lot like setting up on Oxford Street.

4. Site speed

Speed is everything in eCommerce, so avoid the temptation to place form before function. When your load time creeps above four seconds, about 25% of visitors disappear – so focus on keeping things efficient so users can access the store in three seconds or fewer.

5. The sell: product descriptions

Accuracy, detail and persuasion are the three key ingredients for product descriptions – but where they sit on the page matters, too. The best product descriptions are expandable, giving a brief summary to all users and depth where there’s demand.

Don’t forget to maintain these principles across all content, from your ‘About Us’ page to information on deliveries and returns.

6. A smooth checkout

Getting users to travel down your funnel doesn’t guarantee a conversion – in fact, many shoppers exit at the final hurdle, when the price of delivery comes as a shock or they’re forced to enter personal details.

An ecommerce website on a laptop

Any last-minute delays can really hurt your bottom line, so focus on making the shopping basket reassuring and adaptable, with clear choices for delivery and the option to check out as a guest. A bonus ‘people also bought’ impulse counter is a simple way to boost the value of each sale.

7. The colours of conversion

Colour psychology is a fascinating field – the powers of which are just beginning to be harnessed for eCommerce website design. People perceive colour differently, but there are a few commonalities in the meaning we attach to certain hues.

Primary colours tend to be associated with honesty in the West. Blue is strong and dependable, yellow optimistic and monochromes are calming. Reds, on the other hand, signify urgency – both good and bad. When designing your eCommerce site, thinking about the moods you want to harness at each stage of the user journey.

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