Nowadays, more and more businesses are going online, simply because the internet is gaining popularity with each passing day. Furthermore, due to our busy lifestyle, hardly any of us have the time and desire to visit mainstream retail outlets on a regular basis. As a result, online shopping, or eCommerce, is gaining momentum with each passing day.
Since eCommerce is rising in popularity, numerous eCommerce websites are also coming up. But what makes an eCommerce website work well? Apart from business aspects such as SSL certificates and proper payment gateways, eCommerce websites also need the designer’s attention. After all, people are going to trust the website with their money and purchase info, so the design has to not only be intuitive and helpful but also exemplary.
In this article, I shall be talking about certain guidelines and directives that you need to bear in mind when designing eCommerce websites.
Design Tips For eCommerce Websites
The Shopping Cart
Irrespective of the nature and niche of the eCommerce store, its shopping cart is unarguably the most important component. Users and buyers need to be able to access their shopping carts easily from any corner of the website, as well as make amends to their shopping cart items as per their needs. Therefore, functionality and usability are of the apex importance when it comes to shopping carts. In easier words, intuitiveness is your friend when designing shopping carts!
In general, you should leave the aesthetics aside when designing shopping carts for eCommerce websites. Instead, focus on user-friendliness. The users should be able to delete items in a matter of a single-click. They should also be able to clearly figure out the discount they are availing, the grand total of items, the tax amount that is being charged, and other details such as shipping and addon costs. In short, the shopping cart should be simple enough to be usable by even the most novice users, as well as functional enough to provide every relevant bit of info, especially about the pricing.
Call to Action Buttons
While the general rules about designing call to action buttons still hold true when it comes to eCommerce stores, you also need to bear in mind a special category of buttons that are, perhaps, the most important buttons in the entire eCommerce segment. Yes, the Purchase buttons.
Be very sure about it: your buyers will not bother searching for the Purchase button. As such, that button needs to make itself seen. A good idea here is to retain uniformity: pick a color that blends well with your design, and use it for Purchase buttons all across the website.
Visibility is of primary importance when designing Call to Action buttons for an eCommerce site. The best way to ensure that your buyers are able to locate and click the buttons without any hassles is to stick to a simple design concept that is neither too loud nor too meek. Avoid fancy elements like Ghost Buttons, or gradients, because they are not enticing enough when seen repeatedly. Instead, use a stable color scheme that visually encourages the users to click and purchase items.
The Product Showcase
This is where the designer does not need to do much, except taking care of few basic points. For a start, no matter what your eCommerce store might be about, make sure that you hire the best photographer possible! In other words, the photographs of your products that you upload in the showcase should look great! Not just great — even stunning!
The reason is obvious: people tend to be impressed by good photos, and you manage to impress your visitors, you have a good chance of converting them into buyers. Poor photographs, on the other hand, can do more harm than good.
Beyond that, also ensure that uniformity is retained and adhered to across different product images and info, in terms of font size and line height, as well as image or screenshot dimensions, etc.
The Search Bar
It is surprising how many designers or developers overlook the search bar when building an eCommerce store. For blogs and magazine websites, it is understandable. The search bar is rarely, if at all, used, because most content is arranged chronologically and there is not much browsing or comparisons to be done.
However, when it comes to eCommerce websites, the story is different. Most users search for products of their choice, and possibly related products, in order to be able to compare different brands and arrive at the best decision possible (much like they would if it were a mainstream retail store). This is precisely why you should never overlook the search bar on your site.
Make sure that the search bar is clearly visible and easy to use. Avoid fancy buttons, and if needed, do away with text remarks too, because most users can nowadays recognize the search bar from the magnifying glass icon itself. Furthermore, ensure that the search results template is properly designed, with a focus on typography, in order to enable easy navigation through the search results.
With that, we come to the end of this article about tips and information you need to bear in mind when working with eCommerce store designs.
It also goes without saying that you need to ensure that the non-design requirements are satisfied as well: security should not be taken lightly, for example. A legitimate SSL certificate, payment gateway authorizations and other security details should be taken care of before the eCommerce store goes live. Similarly, contact information and tax or registration details should be easy to find and not hidden in some obscure corner of the website, because it helps in projecting your eCommerce store as a legit entity in the eyes of the users.
Lastly, do not underestimate the importance of the mobile users. More and more users are now switching to mobile and portable devices for browsing the internet. Your website should be responsive or at least adaptive in order to cater to the needs of such users. Furthermore, if possible, you should also consider having a mobile app for your eCommerce website.
Got any design ideas of your own that you think should be considered or borne in mind when building an eCommerce store? Share them with the world using the comments below!