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9 Key Elements of Successful E-commerce Website Design


“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is one of the oldest adages out there, but unfortunately, it doesn’t apply to e-commerce website design. In fact, the opposite is true. When trying to wow online shoppers with your site, you’ve only got an average of 50 milliseconds to make an impression.

That’s all it takes for a user to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they’ll stay or leave. How’s that for pressure? But don’t worry. As long as you’ve got all of the right elements in place, they’ll stay, and crucially, buy products form your e-commerce website.

So what are the key ingredients when it comes to nailing e-commerce website design?

1) Easy Navigation

You won’t make many inroads with your e-commerce site if shoppers can’t understand how to use it. You should invoke the principle of Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) to leave visitors to your website in no doubt of how to navigate to where they want to be.

According to a recent survey undertaken by HubSpot, 76% of consumers said the most important factor in an e-commerce website’s design is “the website makes it easy for me to find what I want.” So overlook ease of navigation at your peril!

2) Frictionless Checkout

It goes without saying that the aim of an e-commerce website is to sell products. That’s not something you can achieve without a checkout capable of accepting payments. Regarding checkout design, you should always offer the option of checking out without creating an account since it’s the second-highest reason why people abandon their cart. (We’ll get on to number one shortly).

Next, take time over selecting your payment gateway. You need to have a payment gateway that accepts a range of payment methods, as everyone has different preferences. Some may prefer PayPal, whereas others may swear by Apple Pay. If they arrive at the payments page and discover you don’t support their preferred payment option, they’ll become one of the 70% of shoppers who bail at the final hurdle.

3) Fast Load Speeds

E-commerce sites are data-heavy entities. They are stocked full of product photos and videos, which is why you need to work with a web design agency with expertise in optimizing website loading speeds to avoid bad user experiences.

Time and attention are today’s most valuable commodities. Don’t believe us? Online retailers lose at least $2.6 billion in sales each year to slow loading speeds alone. Not to mention half of all shoppers expect a website to load in less than two seconds.

4) Live Chat & 24/7 Support

With more people shopping online than ever before, the customer service experience has moved online to match demand. Today, over half of online shoppers expect to be able to use a live chat function on your website. That figure increases to 62% for shoppers visiting your site on a mobile device.

In the age of everything, everywhere, just having the ability to quickly ask a question about one of the products can be the crucial difference between a lost sale and a conversion. Thus, make it easy to find within your e-commerce website’s design.

5) Mobile-First Design

Speaking of mobile visitors, your e-commerce site is dead in the water if it doesn’t perform well on mobile devices. This year, mobile devices have accounted for 70% of all internet traffic. Furthermore, mobile e-commerce revenue already accounts for over 50% of total US e-commerce revenues.

These figures are only going to rise as smartphone use becomes even more ubiquitous within society. Not to mention that Google openly admitted back in 2016 that it was beginning to rank the best performing mobile sites first. By 2020, those changes will affect all websites. Therefore, creating a mobile-friendly experience not only benefits your sales but your rankings too.

6) Free Shipping

Extra costs, and more specifically, additional shipping costs are the number one factor for online shoppers abandoning their carts. Therefore, it’s crucial that in the design of your site, you show prices that reflect their actual costs (including tax, etc.) of products as well as offering free shipping.

If a shopper thinks they’re going to pay $50 for the products added to their basket, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll leave those items right where they are if that total increases to $75 at the checkout.

7) Gorgeous Product Photography

Pictures, it seems, really can paint a thousand words. It’s crucial to remember that it’s your images and videos that sell the product, not the text. The more photos, the better, as consumers want to see every possible angle.

A video of your products in action is even better. 97% of video marketers reported that video increased user understanding of a product, and 76% said video helped them increase sales. So don’t hold back on imagery when constructing your e-commerce website.

8) User Reviews

User-generated reviews are also a vital piece of the e-commerce jigsaw puzzle. First of all, reviews influence $400 billion of total e-commerce sales revenue. As if that wasn’t convincing enough, 97% of consumers report that the customer reviews they read influence their purchasing decisions.

Therefore, user reviews are a crucial element that you need to consider during the e-commerce website design process. Without any social proof, you could suffer from low conversion rates.

9) Security Features

Trust is another critical aspect of successful e-commerce sites. With so many online scams, customer’s trust is easily shaken. You’ve got to earn customers’ trust to make sales. That’s why you need to have security features that give them peace of mind. The SSL certificate (with the padlock in the browser) ensures that your site can be trusted to handle sensitive personal information.

Next, you have to build trust at the most crucial moment, the checkout. While some shoppers may see the padlock on their browser, others may need more encouragement. That’s why it’s a good idea to display your security badges on the payments page. Display your firewall, your payment processing certificates, and your SSL provider to give your shoppers total peace of mind that they can trust your website with their payment details.

Design Your Industry-Leading E-commerce Sites with the Help of Experts

Here at Redwood Creative, we’ve helped design successful e-commerce sites for both national and international brands. So if you would like to benefit from e-commerce website design skills trusted by some of the best in business, don’t hesitate to request a quote tailored to your specific requirements.

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