Ecommerce Website Design
- Our ecommerce design process helps increase conversion rates.
- We integrate your website with social media to help users engage with you online.
- Our ecommerce content management system gives you full control.
- We have solutions to fit every budget.
How to Build a Successful Ecommerce Website
Set clear goals on every page.
Each page of your website should have a clear purpose. For example, your homepage’s goal is to entice users to click through to your categories, or better yet, straight through to a product. On a product page, your objective is to provide the user with all the information necessary to convince them to make a purchase and make it very simple and easy to add an item to the shopping cart. Your shopping cart page’s purpose is to initiate the first step of the checkout process by clicking on “Checkout”. You get the idea. Keep this in mind when planning out the various types of pages on your ecommerce website.
Create easy points of contact
Break down the wall between you and your customers to a minimum. Find ways to make it very simple and enticing for customers to contact you, thus putting you directly in touch with them. A few such example may be the ability to inquire about a product, to leave reviews, or to upload a photo of themselves using the product.
Simplify the checkout
Create a checkout process that makes it effortless for your visitors to purchase your products. It has been proven that the more fields there are in a Web form, the fewer people fill it out. Also, the pages in your checkout process should be clearly labeled and free of clutter, so that visitors can easily distinguish between a shipping form and a credit card form. Besides maintaining a simplified checkout process, be aware of extra costs that could hamper a potential sale. For example, if your shipping rates are not customized to specific products weights and distances, your website may be charging too much for shipping, thus costing you potential sales.
Be up 100% or 99.99% of the time
Make sure that your hosting plan is solid and that it can grow as you grow. This is one place you do not want to be skimpy.
Get users to come back
Look for ways to get users to regularly come back. One great example is Threadless.com, which brings users back to its website through regular emails that go out announcing the arrival of new t-shirt designs. Another way they accomplish this is to allow users to get notified when a sold-out size is back in stock. Look for opportunities to bring users back to your website wherever possible. Ideally, the more a visitor visits your website, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
Clearly display contact information
Display your contact information visibly for your customers. This way they know how to contact you if they have a question. Don’t frustrate them by having them scour your entire site to find your contact information or it could lose you a sale.
Remember you’re not alone
Most people shop online by visiting a multitude of websites when searching for a particular product. They will eventually narrow down their choices to one. Whether your ecommerce website makes the cut will depend on a variety of factors.
Be fully secure
Shopping online offers a lot of benefits, but many customers are still hesitant to buy because they are worried about having their information stolen. Do everything you can to keep your customer’s information safe. Display trust symbols like VeriSign or McAfee badges proudly on your site, indicating that your checkout process has been verified and is secure. Also, make sure that your hosting plan is reliable and that it has the ability to handle any future needs your website might have. Hosting is one place you do not want to be skimpy, because the legitimacy of your business depends on it.
Designing a Successful Ecommerce Website
Keep the design of the website as clutter-free as possible. Give users a clear idea of where they are within your website structure with features such as breadcrumb links and dropdown menus, which clearly show how your website is structured. Add elements that convince the customer to make a purchase, such as a shopping cart that remains visible throughout the stay so that users are re-assured of what exactly they have in their cart and how much it costs.
Keep your site from being overwhelming to visitors by avoiding too much information within a small area. On a product page, the image of the product, its title, description, availability, price, and similar products are the main elements you need and adding more will only distract users.
Each page where an action is required of a user, such as a product detail page, should have a strong call-to-action, which incites the user to take the next step toward accomplishing the goal of the page. This may be “Add to Cart”, “Checkout”, or most importantly, “Submit Payment”. Be sure to not have more than one prominent call-to-action – call it your primary call-to-action – per page. Secondary calls-to-action are good to have as a another choice when a user is not quite ready to commit to the primary call-to-action. For example, they may be willing to view your software demo, but not ready to purchase your software. Rather than lose that visitor, keep them on your website for a few more minutes by offering them secondary options.
In any website design, it should be crystal clear to your customers what is going to happen when they click on something and how it is they are going to go about accomplishing their objectives on the website. Use on-hover techniques to keep your design clean, yet explicative of what is going to happen when they click. Label links in a way that helps understand what the user should expect on that page of your website. Give your customers an experience that is pleasant, without surprises. Look at major ecommerce websites, and borrow techniques that seem consistent across many of them. This will most often be a safe bet to take. Major website companies test their designs over and over again to find what generates the best results. Some of their techniques can be borrowed for your website.
Whether it’s your colors, your layout, or style guidelines, keep a consistent image across your website so as to avoid confusing your visitors.If you have a variety of colors being used for the same type of button, it may cause a drop-off in sales simply due to the uncertainty brought on by the inconsistency of your design.
Features of a Successful Ecommerce Website
Highlight certain promotions, usually seasonal, that can push traffic to specific parts of your website. For example, our client, Anthony.com features their Father’s Day gift bags on their homepage in the weeks leading up to Father’s Day.
Sorting, Filtering, and Viewing All
Allow your customers to customize their ecommerce experience by giving them the ability to filter your category pages based on prices, popularity, and more. Customers do not enjoy clicking through endless pages of products, so having a “View All” option is a good idea to make things easier.
Show users related products that compliment or are similar to the product page they’re viewing. This type of feature can keep users on your website for longer periods of time and increase the amount of money that each customer spends.
Out of Stock
When products, sizes, or colors go out of stock, allow customers to sign-up to be notified when the product they were looking for is back in stock. That way they are less likely to go to a competitor, and it shows that you care about serving their needs.
Dynamic Shopping Cart
When a visitor adds an item to your shopping cart, rather than taking them there, display your shopping cart on the page in a small window that dynamically populates with the product(s) the customer is adding. This way the user experience is smooth and the customer is assured that their goods have been added to the cart.
Shipping Cost Calculator
Allow customers to calculate the shipping costs directly from their shopping carts before going through the checkout process, so they can change some of the items in their cart if necessary. Since the checkout process is a significant investment of time and effort, many would rather not start the process than find out halfway through that your shipping costs are too high.
Once an order has shipped, provide your customers with tracking information so they can feel at ease during the shipment of their order.
Search and Auto-Complete
Give users the flexibility of searching for products that they are interested in. If the search bar suggests results, that will help you sell more by sending traffic to those specific products or categories rather than displaying a general search results page.
For fear of having to wait for another page to load, many customers may not want to click through to view your product pages. Instead, using a quick preview on category pages will provide them with the information they need to decide if they want the product without having to click through to the product page.
Give your customers quick and easy ways to share your product pages with friends and colleagues. Although it is very easy to do this manually, it increases the chances that someone will share a product with a friend if there is an easy-to-use button to do so.
If a customer cannot find all the product information they are looking for, they may feel too uncertain to complete their purchase. It is very important to provide all of the information, including extensive product details that you have on your products in a clean, concise manner.
Save for Later
Many visitors may add a number of items to their shopping cart without having the intention of actually completing their purchase. Rather than forcing your customers to make the black and white choice of deleting a product from the cart or buying it, allow them instead to save it for later.
Do not use a flat rate or a single rate for shipping. Different customers will want different shipping methods; some will want their products to arrive immediately and others are fine with paying less for slower shipping.
Clicking the final “Submit Payment” button for many customers can be a stressful moment. Calm their nerves by not only displaying a payment confirmation page, but also sending an email confirming reception of their payment and containing next steps that they should expect.
Back-end of a Successful Ecommerce Website
Ability to control your meta data is crucial when trying to get your website to rank well for various relevant keywords in search engines. You should be able to customize the title tag of every page on your website as well as easily create rules for types of pages to handle title tag creation. A sitemap.xml file tells search engines about all the pages on your website, and ensures that those pages get crawled. However, you do not want to have to write the page title of each and every product on your website, especially if you have thousands of products. Instead, creating rules for each product will help you optimize a large number of product pages all at once. Your content management system should allow you to upload a robots.txt and also make it easy to edit it if need be.
On-Site Code Addition and Editing
As the administrator of your website, you should have a place where you can review all pertinent information regarding the performance of your website. Your website’s dashboard should be customizable and offer summary information about stock items, information requests, sales figures, and ecommerce performance metrics. By having a comprehensive understanding of the status of sales on the website, shipping orders, and customer information, you can consistently update product colors, sizes, and descriptions to decide which categories or subcategories to feature on the home page or menu based on your customers’ purchasing patterns.