10 Mind-Blowing Secrets of E-commerce Website Design That Will Transform Your Store!

Written By Damien Buxton

On 22 Apr, 2024
Hello! If you're running an online store or thinking about launching one, you know that your website isn't just a shop window— it's your best salesperson.

As a top UK-based website design company, we’ve spent nearly two decades crafting successful online stores.

Along the way, we’ve uncovered some crucial secrets of e-commerce web design that not only look good but also drive sales

Whether you’re an established business or a startup, these insights will help you tweak your site to perfection.

Explore the Secrets of E-commerce Website Design: Essential Insights

Before we get into the 10 ways to improve your e-commerce site, we thought it useful to illustrate some key online shopping facts that will blow your mind!

On the Rise: By 2027, nearly a third of everything we buy will be online. With an annual growth rate of 8.4%, UK e-commerce is not just growing; it’s thriving!​ (Investingstrategy.co.uk)​.

Digital Nation: Did you know that over 80% of us in the UK had clicked ‘buy’ at least once by 2021? That’s a lot of digital baskets filling up!​ (Investingstrategy.co.uk)​.

Big Bucks: Online shopping in the UK? It’s a gold mine! In 2021 alone, e-commerce brought in a whopping $120 billion. 

Fashion Forward: When it comes to online shopping, fashion takes the crown. A third of all online sales were all about style in 2021​ (Statista).

Mobile Moves: Hold onto your smartphones—mobile shopping pulled in £33.3 billion in 2019! We love shopping on the go​.

Grocery Goes Digital: More than half of us were clicking to fill our cupboards in 2021. From apples to zarzamoras (it’s a type of blackberry native to Spain – who knew?), groceries are just a click away​ (Statista)​.

Amazon’s A-Game: Leading the pack, Amazon tallied up $17.1 billion in sales in 2021. From books to blenders, they’ve got it all​​. (Amazon)

So you can probably tell online shopping is big business and it’s only expected to grow. 

What is E-commerce Website Design?

Not sure I need to explain this but, E-commerce website design involves creating online platforms that enable the buying and selling of goods or services. 

Just in case you thought it was something else!

It blends aesthetics with functionality, providing a seamless and engaging shopping experience that encourages consumers to convert from browsers to buyers.

Why Good Design Matters on Successful E-commerce Websites

It’s simple: good design converts.

A well-designed e-commerce website can boost your credibility, enhance user experience, and significantly improve your conversion rates.

Remember, first impressions count, and for online stores, your website’s design is often the first point of contact with potential customers.

Let’s get started with The Top 10 Secrets of E-commerce Website Design

Secret 1: Simplified Navigation Will Improve Conversions

Navigation should be intuitive.

If customers can’t find what they’re looking for within a few seconds, you could lose them.

Think of your top categories as main roads on a map—make them clear and easy to follow.

Next, be descriptive with your labels.

Instead of vague terms like ‘Products’, tell them what kind of products—’Men’s Running Shoes’, ‘Luxury Skincare’, or ‘Outdoor Adventure Gear’.

This clarity not only helps shoppers find exactly what they’re looking for quicker but also boosts your SEO by aligning with the exact search terms shoppers might use.

And don’t forget a search bar! Make it prominent, because some shoppers arrive with a specific idea of what they want.

A good search function can be a speedy shortcut that connects them directly to their desired product.

I recall a client who had a complex menu that confused even seasoned shoppers. They had too many product categories in their main navigation and it was cluttered, to say the least. 

By simplifying their navigation, we saw their bounce rate decreased by 30% almost overnight and sales improve by 6.3% within a week!

Secret 2: Responsive Design Streamlined For Each Device

With more than half of all web traffic coming from mobile devices, your e-commerce site must perform flawlessly on smartphones and tablets.

Responsive design ensures your site looks and works great on all devices, which is essential for keeping mobile users engaged.

I’ve done it myself, sitting on the sofa watching Netflix and browsing on my phone looking at what some department store has on sale. With a few taps, clicking Apple Pay, double-pressing and facial ID, the item has been ordered. 

It was that easy, I didn’t even need to move and fire up the laptop. It was a major win, I easily bought what I wanted in seconds with zero hassle. The site also has a returning customer, a win for them!

Imagine if the website didn’t work that great on my mobile with elements off-screen and with a difficult checkout process, I would have put my phone down and gone back to Harry Potter!

Secrects of e-commerce website design. Adaptive and responsive web design concept showing sample website on different tech gadgets and screen sizes.

Secret 3: High-Quality Product Images and Videos on Your Ecommerce Website

A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when it comes to selling products online.

High-quality images and videos can significantly impact buyer decisions.

Key Points for Captivating Product Images:

  • Light It Right: Natural light works wonders, especially for colours and details. Use a soft, diffused daylight setup to avoid harsh shadows and highlights.
  • Consistency is Key: Keep your background consistent for all products to maintain a clean, professional look across your website. A plain white background usually does the trick.
  • Show All Angles: Capture your products from multiple angles to give customers a thorough view. Include top, side, and back angles to cover all the bases.
  • Zoom In on Details: Highlight the craftsmanship and quality of your products with close-up shots. This is particularly crucial for items with fine details, like jewellery or intricately designed apparel.
  • Use a Tripod: Steady your camera with a tripod to ensure sharp, clear images. This eliminates blurriness that can often occur with handheld shooting.
  • Set the Scene: Use lifestyle images to show your products in use. This helps customers visualize the item in their own life, boosting emotional appeal.
  • Edit for Perfection: Post-processing can enhance your photos, but keep it realistic. Adjust lighting and colour balance for accuracy but avoid over-editing that misrepresents the product.

Use great quality images and video demos to help your products shine, just like we did for a bridal boutique that saw a 40% increase in sales after updating its imagery.

Secret 4: Fast Loading Speeds is The Secret to a Successful Online Store

Speed is a dealbreaker.

Not only will it mean Google will be apprehensive to place your website high in search results, but it will also kill sales on your website. 

Picture this: a website that loads in a flash (we’re talking 1 second) can boost its conversion rate by a whopping five times compared to one that dawdles along at 10 seconds​.

That’s like comparing a snail to a sprinter in the online shopping Olympics!

And here’s another nugget that’ll make you sit up: nearly 70% of shoppers admit that slow loading times make them rethink their purchase decisions​​.

Yes, just a brief hiccup in loading can turn eager shoppers into hesitant ones, ready to abandon their carts.

Even a small one-second delay can lead to a significant drop in customer satisfaction, enough to make them think twice before coming back​ (Website Builder Expert)​.

Faster websites create happier customers and chime the cash register more often.

So, tuning up your website’s speed isn’t just a tech fix—it’s a crucial slice of your business strategy, ensuring that every click potentially turns into a purchase.

Secret 5: Effective Calls to Action Will Improve Conversion Rate

Your calls-to-action (CTAs) should stand out and encourage clicks.

Use action-oriented language, make them big and bold, and place them strategically to guide users towards making a purchase.

Simple tweaks to CTAs can dramatically increase your conversion rates.

Secret 6: Seamless Checkout Process For The Best E-commerce Experience

A complicated checkout can scare off customers at the final hurdle.

Reduce the number of steps, ask only for essential information, and provide multiple payment options.

Remember Secret 2, how easy it was for me to checkout on my phone, that is how it should be across your website regardless of the device its being viewed on.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Speedy Sign-In Options: Let’s face it, filling out forms can be a drag. Introduce social logins or a guest checkout option to skip the tedium. This not only speeds things up but also keeps those impulse buys on track.
  2. Clarity in Costs: Nobody likes surprise charges popping up last minute. Be upfront about all costs—shipping, tax, handling, you name it—before they hit the checkout. Clear, upfront pricing without hidden fees keeps trust levels high and drop-offs low.
  3. Streamlined Steps: Trim the fat! Review your checkout process and cut down on unnecessary steps. The fewer the barriers between your customer and the ‘Complete Purchase’ button, the better. A simple, linear checkout process reduces confusion and keeps those carts rolling smoothly to completion.
  4. Flexible Payment Feast: Offer a banquet of payment options. Whether it’s credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, or newer options like Klarna and Afterpay, let your customers pick their preferred payment dish. More options mean more completed checkouts.
  5. Reassurance with Reviews: Last-minute jitters? Squash them with reassurance. Embedding customer reviews and trust signals like security badges near the payment buttons can give that final nudge of confidence they need to hit ‘buy’.

Sprucing up your checkout process with these tweaks isn’t just about polishing the mechanics—it’s about creating a smoother, more enjoyable final act for your shoppers that’ll make them want to come back for repeat performances!

Secrets of e-commerce website design, woman using secure online checkout on her mobile device

Secret 7: Security Features That Are About Building Trust

Oh, the world of online security—it’s absolutely crucial, isn’t it?

When you’re running an e-commerce site, building a fortress around your customer’s data isn’t just good practice, it’s essential.

Having ironclad security features does wonders for customer confidence. Here’s how you can tighten the bolts and boost trust:

  1. HTTPS – The First Line of Defense: Always start with HTTPS. This is your basic armour. It encrypts the data exchanged between your customer’s browser and your website, keeping sensitive information like credit card details and login credentials safe from prying eyes. Here you are looking to get something called an SSL installed (secure sockets layer) on your website
  2. Security Badges – Show Off Your Shields: Displaying security badges prominently on your site isn’t just for show. It’s about reassurance. These badges from trusted security providers like Norton, McAfee, or VeriSign signal to customers that you’re serious about protecting their data.
  3. Regular Security Audits – Keep the Checks in Check: Don’t just set it and forget it. Regular security audits are a must. These help you identify vulnerabilities before they can be exploited. Think of it as a regular health check-up for your site to ensure everything’s secure behind the scenes. Look to add automatic security plugins and programs to your website and keep them regularly updated.
  4. Two-Factor Authentication – Double the Gatekeeping: Implement two-factor authentication (2FA) for both customer accounts and the backend of your site. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring not just a password and username but also something that only the user has on them, like a smartphone app verification code.
  5. Data Encryption – Code of Silence: Go beyond basic HTTPS and ensure that all sensitive data, whether it’s stored or in transit, is encrypted. This way, even if data somehow gets intercepted, it remains unreadable without the unique decryption keys.

By beefing up these areas of your e-commerce site, you’re not just protecting your platform; you’re building a brand that shoppers can trust. In the world of online shopping, letting your customers know that their security is your top priority isn’t just good for them—it’s great for your business too!

Touch wood, in nearly two decades we have never had a single site that we manage that has been attacked or had any security issues!

Secret 8: Mastering SEO – A Secret of Successful E-commerce Website Design

Think of SEO (search engine optimisation) as your digital shop’s dazzling neon sign that guides customers right to your doorstep. Here’s how you can brighten up that sign:

  1. SEO-Friendly URLs: Keep your URLs clean and descriptive. Instead of a jumble of numbers and letters, use words that reflect the content of the page, like /mens-hats/product. This makes them easier to read not just for your customers, but also for search engines.
  2. Optimise Your Images: Every image on your site is an opportunity to catch the eye of Google. Use descriptive, keyword-rich alt texts for your images. This not only helps visually impaired users but also lets search engines know what the image is about, boosting your visibility.
  3. Keyword-Rich Content: Sprinkle relevant keywords throughout your content. But remember, the key is relevance and natural integration—no keyword stuffing! Make sure these keywords reflect what potential customers might be typing into their search bars.
  4. Engaging Meta Descriptions: Craft compelling meta descriptions for each page. These are the short previews that appear under your page title in search results. A well-written meta can tempt searchers to click on your link instead of others.
  5. Mobile Optimisation: With the world browsing on the go and not just in front of a laptop or PC, ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Google loves mobile-optimised sites and ranks them favourably, so make sure your site looks good and runs smoothly on all devices.

By amplifying these aspects of your SEO strategy, you’re not just tweaking technical details—you’re setting the stage for more traffic, better customer engagement, and ultimately, higher sales. 

So, rev up your SEO engines and watch your e-commerce traffic soar!

Secret 9: Personalisation is Optimisation For Your Customer

The magic of personalisation in e-commerce can’t be understated! 

It’s like having a digital personal shopper for each of your target audiences.

Personalisation isn’t just a fancy feature—it’s a powerful tool that can significantly enhance customer loyalty and drive sales. Here’s how you can turn it up a notch:

  1. Smart Recommendations: Harness the power of data to tailor recommendations that match the unique preferences and past buying behaviour of each customer. For example, if someone frequently buys silver jewellery as opposed to gold, showing them the latest pieces in that metal can be a powerful way to sell more.
  2. Dynamic Deals and Offers: Personalise deals not just by the basics, like location or age, but also by analysing shopping patterns. A customer who often purchases eco-friendly products might appreciate an exclusive discount on the latest sustainable goods.
  3. Custom Content: Craft content that resonates with the interests of your users. If your data shows a cluster of customers interested in fitness for example, write blog posts, videos, and articles about health trends, workout tips, or nutrition advice. This kind of targeted content keeps customers engaged and coming back for more. It also will help boost your website SEO.
  4. User-Driven Customisation: Allow customers to set their preferences actively. This could be through choosing the types of emails they receive, setting their preferred browsing categories, or customising how they want the products to be sorted when they search.
  5. Seamless Shopping Experience: Ensure that personalisation spans all devices and channels. Whether they’re shopping on a mobile app, through a web browser, or even in-store, the experience should feel consistently tailored to their needs and preferences.

By diving deep into personalisation, you’re not just selling products; you’re creating a shopping experience that feels intuitive, thoughtful, and uniquely tailored to each visitor.

This doesn’t just boost sales—it builds a relationship and a level of trust that keeps customers loyal and excited to come back.

Secrects of e-commerce website design, woman checking out on an online store

Secret 10: Regular Updates and Feedback

Keeping your e-commerce web store spick and span with regular updates in one secret of e-commerce website design that MUST be done!

Think of regular updates as your store’s ongoing maintenance plan.

Doing so it will ensure your platform keeps up with the latest tech, squashes the risk of attacks, and integrates the newest features that make shopping smoother and better for your customers.

Feedback, on the other hand, is the voice of your customer which is worth its weight in gold. 

By actively listening and adapting to what your customers say, you show them that their opinions shape your business.

This not only helps tailor your offerings to better meet their needs but also boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Also, updates based on solid feedback can turn a good shopping experience into a great one, encouraging shoppers to return and share their positive experiences with others.

So, keep those updates rolling and ears open—your bottomline will thank you for it!

Implementing These Secrets

The above list of 10 secrets of E-commerce website design is just scratching the surface of what you can do to improve your website.

They are meant as a springboard to delving deeper into each area for you to do your own research on how to achieve each element depending on what platform your website is based on. 

Practical Steps to Take

Start by evaluating your current website and identify areas that need improvement. Implement changes gradually to measure their impact and adjust accordingly.

A good tip is to try and ask some mystery shoppers to make some dummy purchases. 

Sometimes when it’s your online business, you may have blinkers on and it may be easier for someone new to the site to feedback on areas they can see that need improving. 

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Avoid overwhelming users with too much information or too many choices. A cluttered website can be as detrimental as one without much content. Focus on a clean, user-friendly design that highlights your products and makes shopping easy.

Online shoppers are looking for an easy way to find, evaluate and make a purchase so anything that potentially gets in the way of this is a surefire way to turn them away.


There you have it—10 proven secrets of e-commerce website design.

By focusing on user-friendly design, responsiveness, and personal touches, you can transform your online presence and see tangible improvements in your sales figures. Remember, e-commerce is always evolving, and staying ahead requires continuous learning and adapting.

Try to get in the mindset that your website is never complete, always look for improvements and keep on top of what your competitors are doing. Being proactive instead of reactive is one of the biggest secrets of e-commerce website design.



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