A Guide to eCommerce Website Design and Development
Ecommerce is a trendy subject these days. While traditional brick-and-mortar stores still hold some sentimental importance for many, let’s face it –?online stores offer a convenience factor that fits nicely into most of our busy lives. But online stores don’t just happen. Instead, they are the result of good, intentional eCommerce website design.
Pretty much anyone can start a business online, and with the right tools and strategies, these businesses can turn large profits without ever opening the doors of a physical storefront. The storefront of today, though not physical, still exists –?it’s your website. And when it comes to “opening the doors” of your business online, it’s important for your customers to get the same feeling they would if they were walking across the threshold of your store.?
Understandably, not everyone who starts a business is an expert in digital design. That’s why Deal Digital is passionate about giving people the tools they need to create eCommerce websites that reflect their brand and generate sales.?
In this post, we’ll be providing an all-encompassing overview of eCommerce website design and development, including an explanation of why eCommerce web design is important, how to design an eCommerce website, and 3 important tips for launching a new eCommerce website.
Why eCommerce Website Design?
As of January 1st, 2020, there are almost 1.8 billion live websites on the internet. That’s a whole lot of online territory competing for traffic. These websites serve a variety of different purposes, from educating people on a subject, to announcing upcoming wedding details, to providing recipes. But a burgeoning sector of this colossal collection of websites belongs to eCommerce –?businesses selling goods and services on the internet.?
Beautiful website design is important to every site owner for different reasons. For the online business owner, a well-designed website is crucial for attracting customers, communicating their brand’s message, and securely processing payments for goods and services. It’s not enough for an eCommerce website to simply look good. It needs to be as functional and sales-oriented as it is aesthetically pleasing.
Think about a website that hosts a travel blog. The owner of this website probably has a goal of growing her audience and readership, a goal she shares with eCommerce business owners. The travel blogger, however, isn’t focused on the additional step of selling her website visitors something once they get there. Generating more visitors to her website is her end goal, whereas for the business owner, generating traffic is a means to a different end: increased sales.
Why is this important? Because the purpose of a website drastically changes its design. Approaching web design from a sales-focused perspective ensures the best possible user experience for potential customers and gives your online business the best chances of generating revenue.?
How to Design an eCommerce Website
Creating a website for your business can be an intimidating task. As with most daunting challenges, it helps to break down the process into smaller, more actionable steps. The goal of this section is not to discuss the precise details of the website design process but instead serves to provide an overarching view of what it entails.?
1. Homepage Design
Your homepage is your chance to make a great first impression on your future customers. Even if people happen upon a different page of your website initially, such as a blog post or product page, there’s a good chance they’ll make their way to your homepage to learn more about your brand. It’s important, therefore, to design your homepage in a way that makes a good impression and fosters further engagement with your brand.
At first glance, visitors to your homepage should be able to understand what it is you sell and why you sell it. While it might be tempting to overload your homepage with product listings, don’t. Instead, focus on giving users an experience that makes them want to click through to your product listing pages.
So, what elements should you include on your homepage?
A catchy statement that tells users what you’re all about
Somewhere at the top of your homepage, include a phrase or sentence that explains the vision behind your brand or what value your product or service is providing. Show off your brand’s unique flair or style with this statement, as it’s the first piece of text website visitors will read.
Showcase beautiful photographs of your product or service in action. Stock images can be okay, as long as you make sure that all images are cohesive and accurately communicate the look and feel of your brand.?
Prominent calls to action
Direct visitors to a page of your website that moves them forward in the journey toward a purchase. Try to place a call to action above the fold, meaning the user won’t have to scroll down the page to follow your directive.
As we’ve discussed, your homepage shouldn’t be treated as a product listing page. That being said, it’s more than okay to highlight one of your best-sellers or limited-time offers on this page. Include some highlights about the product and a clear way for people to buy it.
While the primary location for reviews should be alongside individual products, highlighting a few short snippets of stand-out reviews gives your brand greater legitimacy and encourages potential customers to consider making a purchase.
2. Listing Page Design
A listing page or catalog page is where browsing and shopping happens. People may arrive on this page via a link in your website’s navigation bar, a call to action on your homepage, through search engines, or links on social media.?
Here, user experience becomes even more important because your website visitors are one step closer to purchasing from you. If you sell a wide variety of products, make sure to include product categories that make it easier for shoppers to find what they’re looking for. If you’re only selling a few products, categories probably aren’t necessary.?
Here are some important elements of listing pages:
Product category descriptions
Assuming your listing page is divided into categories, include some brief information about what this product category includes. Give users a better idea of what they can expect from scrolling through this page.
High-quality product images
The types of product photos you include on your listing pages will vary depending on what you sell, but it’s a good idea to make sure all product images are of the same style. That way, the listing page looks cohesive, and it becomes easier for people to scan the page and find the products they are looking for.
Filter and sort capabilities
Continuing the theme of making this page user-friendly, eCommerce websites with a long list of product offerings should include options to filter and sort products by their attributes. For example, many online clothing stores offer the option to filter by size, style, and color.?
3. Product Page Design
Users who make it to your product page are in decision mode. They are as close as they can get to making a purchase before pulling the trigger. For this reason, the design of your product pages is extremely important. These pages should offer the types of information shoppers might need to get them over the tipping point and to say “yes” to trading their cash for what you’re selling.
So, what types of information might that be?
Pictures are worth a thousand words, and your product pages are the perfect place to share lots of photos that show your product from different angles. The primary cover photo was enough to make them click –?here is your chance to expand their view of the product, giving them even more evidence of why it’s worth buying.
What makes this product special? Whether through photography, well-written descriptions, or both, highlight the components of your product that are unique.?
One downside to shopping online is that we don’t get to see and feel a product in person before trading our money for it. For this reason, one of the most important tasks a product page should attempt to accomplish is gaining trust from the user. What better way to inspire trust than to include reviews written by past customers who have bought, used, and loved your product? Allowing people to leave reviews on specific products will help enforce your online store’s credibility, converting more leads into paying customers.
Ingredients, if applicable
If you sell products that have an ingredients label, include that information on the product page as well. This will help remove any obstacles to purchase for people who are wary of certain ingredients in the products they use.
4. Shopping Cart & Checkout Design
You’re about to gain a customer. You have positioned your brand and your products in such a way that a visitor to your website now has your product in their cart. But, before you celebrate, let’s make sure your shopping cart and checkout pages are designed to prevent this user from changing his mind.
While much of this final step is about functionality and payment security, user experience is of high importance. Any technical difficulty-induced frustration at this stage could be a deal-breaker for shoppers.
The design of your shopping cart is relatively straightforward. It should clearly display the items a user has added to her basket, allow for the removal or increased number of each item, and have a clear call to action leading to checkout.
The typical online checkout process looks something like this:
- Shopping cart
- Billing information and method
- Shipping information and method
It is best to design this flow as a step-by-step, single-column layout that is easy for the user to follow along with. Don’t forget to include a nice thank-you message with the order confirmation to show your appreciation and to provide information about product delivery.
5 Examples of Stunning eCommerce Website Designs
One of the best ways to get a better grasp on eCommerce website design is to see examples of businesses that have already done it well. Here are some examples of beautifully designed eCommerce websites to inspire you.
1. Branded Homepage
The homepage on Mollyjogger’s website gives visitors an instant idea of what their company is about. This is an example of a business that has a clear brand identity, and everything gets tied together with classic font styles, earthy colors, and evocative photography. A clear, prominent call to action (“Shop Now”) directs users right to their product listing page.
2. Demonstrative Product Page
Bellroy takes the cake for the most innovative product page. A slider allows the user to visualize the effect of adding more cards to one of their wallets versus an average competitor product. This is an effective way of showing potential customers what differentiates their product, and it’s almost as good as a physical sample.
3. Clean Listing Page
Helbak emphasizes the company’s minimalist yet chic branding by keeping their product listing page clean and simple. Shoppers get a clear sense of the brand’s vibe, and it couldn’t be easier to sift through products.
4. Full-Width Homepage
When you land on Esquido’s homepage, you’re greeted with a beautiful, high-quality product image. There is no mistaking what this business sells. The combination of expert product positioning and a limited-time offer callout encourages users to continue to their shopping page.
5. Highlighted Product Features
Scrolling through Mahabis’s website, we get a clear sense that this brand values craftsmanship. Giving us a deconstructed view of their shoe emphasizes this value, and it helps to earn our trust. This webpage will undoubtedly appeal to shoppers who value transparency and good design.
3 Expert Tips for eCommerce Website Design
Creating a fully functional, sales-generating machine of a website can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that way. When designing a website for eCommerce, there are just a few main considerations to keep front-of-mind. Here are some quick tips that will hopefully help reframe the process in your mind so you can feel confident about moving forward.
1. Prioritize User Experience
What constitutes a high-quality user experience? To answer this question, think about your own behavior when surfing the web. We’ve all experienced the frustration of not being able to find what we’re looking for on a website, whether that meant getting lost looking for a place to log in or spending way too much time searching for a product we couldn’t remember the name of.?
This is an example of a poor user experience. When designing each page of your website, think about which courses of action your visitors will most likely need to take, and make it easy for them to do so.?
2. Focus on Brand Positioning
Intentional brand positioning is key for growing a base of loyal customers who know, love, and respect your business. This isn’t just about product placement throughout your website –?it also has to do with gaining clarity on your brand’s message and knowing how to effectively communicate it. Every element of your eCommerce website – from the color palette to the typography, to the images and layout –?should be serving to communicate your brand’s message to viewers.
Online marketplaces like Amazon are making it easier than ever for people to sell products on the internet. But purchases made on these platforms rarely breed brand loyalty. If you’re striving for longevity for your business, your website can be viewed as a tool for connecting with your customers and speaking to them in a way that makes them want to continue coming back.
3. Seek Help From an eCommerce Website Design Service
We’re not all experts at everything, and that’s ok. Seeking help from expert website design and development for eCommerce can allow you to focus on growing sales and building your business. At Deal Digital, we specialize in designing websites for businesses of all kinds, and we also help businesses define and develop their unique brands. You can learn more about our services on our website design page, or you can contact us to get a quote.
Tools for eCommerce Website Design and Development
To turn ideas for a website into a reality, you need the proper tools. There are a variety of platforms to help with the design and development process, and we’ve found these tools to be indispensable in creating eCommerce websites for our clients.
We love that Adobe XD puts user experience first. The platform is extremely user-friendly, enabling website designers to easily bring ideas to life. The interface has many drag-and-drop capabilities, while layouts and elements can be easily duplicated. Adobe XD fully integrates with other Adobe products, streamlining the design process. And if you’re ever not sure how to do something, the product comes with in-depth online video tutorials that help you learn as you go.
WooCommerce Web Design
WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin for WordPress. We love this approach to creating an eCommerce website because it allows us to pair WordPress, the most popular and reliable platform for content on the internet, with this versatile plugin that turns your site into a store. WooCommerce is the option that affords the highest level of customizability and control over what your website looks like. And since good design is our top priority, we love using WooCommerce to build online stores.
Shopify Web Design
The leader in eCommerce website platforms, Shopify enables you to build a fully scalable and customizable site. You can choose from over 70 themes as a starting place, and then you can use their drag-and-drop interface to bring your designs to life. [Designing a website on Shopify] is a no-brainer for new businesses. It is a one-stop-shop for managing orders, shipping, payments, and growth analytics. The platform is intuitive and easy to use, and its integrations with Google and Facebook even allow you to start advertising your products after they go live on your site.
Magento Web Design
Another option for creating a responsive eCommerce website is Magento. Because Adobe owns the platform, you can expect your website to mirror any designs you’ve created with other Adobe products. [Developing a website with Magento] is easy with the Page Builder, an intuitive interface that allows you to see your website as you create it. The platform in its entirety is geared toward improving experiences with online commerce, and features like inventory management, cloud deployment, and mobile commerce help achieve this goal.
A Note on Custom eCommerce Website Design
There are lots of platforms out there to help new business owners set up functional websites that “get the job done.” We believe in going above and beyond the standard, which is why we provide fully custom eCommerce website designs for our clients. Cultivating an online presence is part of building your brand, and it’s important to make sure your website is in alignment with every other component of your business.
Website design has its own learning curve, and when you add eCommerce into the picture, there’s even more to learn. We’ve helped our clients be successful by staying focused on good branding, keeping user experience front-of-mind, and paying attention to industry standards when designing and developing their websites. Ecommerce websites are today’s storefronts, and much of eCommerce website design is about translating the best parts of traditional shopping into memorable online experiences.
Looking for help with designing and developing a website for your business? Learn more about Deal Digital’s eCommerce website design services.
8910 University Center Lane
San Diego, CA 92122
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