It doesn’t matter what platform your website is built with, whether WooCommerce, Wix or Magento or any other. It doesn’t even matter whether you have created it yourself or used a professional web design company.
These 25 top e-commerce website design tips are for all!
Here is what the guide will cover and they’re in no specific order. Just choose the ones that aren’t on your e-commerce site and watch the pounds start rolling in:
- Easy Navigation
- Simple Search Function
- Email Opt-in
- Coupon Codes
- Footer Navigation
- Product Videos
- Product Reviews
- Clear Shipping and Returns Policy
- FAQs for Products
- FAQs for the site in general
- Order Tracking
- Mobile App
- Loyalty program / VIP Access
- Social Share
- Payment Gateway
- Gift Vouchers
- Abandoned Cart
- Homepage Product Carousels
- Related Products, Upsells and Cross-Sells
- Social Login
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Customer First
Why bother trying to improve your online store?
Firstly, welcome to the exciting world of e-commerce!
If you’re running an online store, you know how challenging it can be to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
But don’t worry – we’re here to help.
In this blog post, we’re sharing 25 top e-commerce site tips to help you unleash the power of your online store.
Included are ways to boost sales, increase conversions, improve customer engagement and streamline your operations.
These tips will give you the tools you need to succeed.
So, whether you’re just getting started or you’re a seasoned pro, read on for some valuable insights and inspiration.
Before we begin, let’s see why improving your site is a MUST
Over the last decade or so, year after year there has been a massive uptake towards shopping online.
If you compare online shopping habits between November 2011 and 2021, this shift is evident. The ONS (Office For National Statistics) said that back in 2011, internet sales accounted for 10.3% of all retail sales in the UK. Fast forward to 2021 and in the same month that increased to 32.8%.
Should that not shock you enough, then let us look at a quick few stats:
- Amazon sales in 2010 $34.2 billion – in 2020 $386 billion
- Alibaba sales in 2010 $845 million – in 2020 $109 billion
- Global e-commerce sales in 2010 $572 billion – in 2020 $4.2 trillion
Change in online shopping habits has accelerated
A quick additional point worth mentioning is that many retail experts are saying that the global pandemic has accelerated online shopping growth by ten years.
Or in other words, we knew that more people would start to make more purchases year after year. However, this change in consumer behaviour has grown growth ten years faster than anticipated, pre-pandemic.
In a nutshell, your online store is more important than ever.
Making it the best you can to encourage customers to make a purchase is critical.
Ok, let’s dive in with our top e-commerce website design tips!
1. Easy navigation. Will increase sales.
Having easy navigation on your site is crucial for providing a great user experience and increasing conversions.
When visitors can easily find what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to make a purchase.
It will also help them return to your site in the future.
Clear and intuitive navigation makes it more likely that customers will discover other products they might be interested in.
Additionally, easy navigation can help improve your search engine optimisation (SEO) by making it easier for search engines, like Google to crawl and index your site.
This can lead to higher search engine rankings, which can in turn drive more traffic to your site.
When it comes to shopping online, everyone has their own preferred method to navigate around an online store.
Some people like to search for products by brand, while others prefer to browse by category.
With a well-organised navigation bar, your navigation it can cater to all types of shoppers.
Not only that, but by including quick links to sales and inexpensive products, you can help customers find what they’re looking for faster. This will lead to increased sales and a better overall shopping experience.
2. Simple search function. This can really improve your online purchases.
Having a search function on your site can be a game-changer when it comes to increasing online sales.
According to a recent study, shoppers who use the search function on an e-commerce website are 2-3 times more likely to make a purchase.
This highlights how important it is to have a search function that is both easy to find and use.
An effective search function allows users to quickly and easily find the products they are looking for.
It can help to improve the overall user experience (UX) by making it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for, which can lead to more repeat customers.
3. Email opt-in. If your customers don’t buy the first time. Give them a reason to come back.
Email marketing is a powerful tool for driving sales.
In fact, according to a study by Epsilon, personalised email marketing has an average ROI of 122%. This is four times higher than other marketing channels such as social media, direct mail, and paid search.
By capturing the email addresses of your website visitors, you can continue to market to them even if they don’t make a purchase right away.
Reach out with email marketing.
You can reach out to them with special promotions, sales, and new product releases. This can help increase the chances of them coming back to your website and making a purchase.
Additionally, a study by Adobe found that 73% of companies that use email marketing state that the ROI is excellent compared to other marketing platforms.
This highlights how important it is to collect emails and have a solid email marketing strategy in place. It will help to keep your customers engaged and drive sales.
Use simple sign-up forms, pop-ups and exit intent pop-ups with an offer or a discount to secure an email for future marketing.
4. Coupon codes. Offering a promotion is a staple to improve sales.
Coupons and discount codes can be an incredible way of driving sales to your online store.
According to a study by RetailMeNot, nearly 67% of consumers say that they have purchased that they wouldn’t have because of a coupon code or discount.
Coupons and discount codes not only help to attract new customers, but they can also help to increase the average order value and encourage repeat business.
They can be used to drive traffic to your website, clear out slow-moving inventory, or reward loyal customers.
Additionally, coupons and discounts can be a great way to drive impulse purchases.
Customers are more likely to make a purchase if they feel like they’re getting a good deal.
They’re a great way to increase brand awareness, as customers are more likely to share the coupon or discount code with friends and family if they feel like they’ve gotten a good deal.
Simply setting up discount codes and coupons on your web store is a sure-fire way to higher sales
5. Footer Navigation. This is not something to forget about.
Like the main nav on your website, the bottom part of your website is a great place to also showcase various elements you want people to find easily.
This could be linked to key product pages, statements about the high-quality delivery service you offer or anything that you know customers want.
Make it easy for them to find what they need!
6. Product Videos. A key driver of web store conversions.
Now you have probably heard the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, well times that by ten when you use video as well on your site and product pages.
Don’t get us wrong you will always need well-taken product images. They all should follow the same format and look incredible, but with video, it’s going that extra step.
There are many stats on the web stating that you can increase the chance of getting a sale from anywhere from 80%-144% by simply using video.
Whatever the true stat is, they all point in the same direction.
Even if you’re no Spielberg, no problem, do your best. Use your iPhone if that is all you have. The videos don’t have to be incredibly long.
Although, if you start to add them to your site, as you improve you could actually do product demonstrations, customer testimonials or feedback on your products.
7. Product Reviews. These are great e-commerce website design tips!
Just like videos, reviews of your products especially from verified customers that have really gone through the checkout process are a gold mine.
85% of potential customers that read a review go on and buy a product based on consumer research.
Think about it, how many times have you decided to book a hotel, and jumped on Trip Advisor to see what people think?
People are human and they like to know what their peers’ experiences were like. It makes them feel safe that the buying decision they are about to make is a good choice.
Encourage your customers to leave you reviews, and send them an email a few days after an order. Perhaps incentivise them with a discount code or offer on their next purchase.
Encourage customers to review your products
A top tip would be either get the reviews on the product page itself or by using a third-party site like Trustpilot. The goal is to have honest feedback.
If you get a negative comment or review and you can respond, deal with it in the right way.
Contact the customer and try to sort the issue out directly.
Don’t have an argument with the customer for all to see, that will have the opposite effect. Deal with them, get a resolution and then comment back that you’re glad that you sorted the situation.
8. Clear Shipping & Returns Policy. Don’t leave it as an afterthought.
One of the top reasons that people will abandon a cart is shipping fees that are hidden, until someone checkouts.
That £10 item, now becomes £15 with shipping – that then becomes an abandoned cart.
If you don’t offer free shipping, say so.
You could always set a minimum spend on items to receive free shipping which is a good way to boost sales.
Also, ensure that you clearly state your returns policy somewhere within the menu that is easy to navigate.
It makes it easier for a customer to find information on your pages instead of contacting you for simple advice.
9. FAQs for Products. Give them all the info they need.
One big reason that a visitor may leave your site is if they are unsure about a product or the description doesn’t have enough information.
Use FAQs for any common questions on product pages that you know your customers may have.
It could be as simple as how to care for the item, its uses and restrictions.
Think outside the box a little, if anything is unclear, fix it by giving that information.
For example, if you’re selling woollen coats. Have a few FAQs such as “can I wash the garment in a washing machine?” or “is the garment suitable for wearing in the rain”.
Again, giving this information is another way to encourage a sale and reduce time spent by customer service dealing with an enquiry.
10. FAQs for The Site In General. Spoon Feed Your Audience.
Very similar to the above, have an FAQ for the business in general. Include things such as:
- Delivery times
- Opening hours
- Refunds and exchanges
- Terms of service
- Payment types accepted
- Contact information
11. Order Tracking. Keep Your customers informed.
When someone goes to your shopping cart, purchases from your e-commerce store and pays, your customer’s next expectation will be delivery.
Thanks to the likes of Amazon Prime, people expect fast, easy delivery.
An effective e-commerce website will connect automated shipping update emails with tracking info. Sending the customer vital information about their purchase as it happens.
Customers don’t like to be kept in the dark.
Imagine you bought a new washing machine online and the only information on delivery was in the next 3-5 days.
For people that work or have other commitments, this would pose a nightmare. They may need to take time off work or make other arrangements to be there to accept delivery.
Providing your customers with up-to-date tracking information is part and parcel of an effective e-commerce website design.
12. Mobile App. A good e-commerce business should aim for this.
When you’re designing your ecommerce store, obviously it needs to be mobile responsive. It offers users a seamless experience regardless of the device they are using.
One of the best practices and a good way to build the site is to have the website created as a mobile app that is available on both Android and iOS.
Apps are specifically designed to work perfectly on mobile and come with a host of benefits:
- Apps can be faster them websites on mobile
- Personalisation of the content that people can see on apps and use
- Easy to send notifications to the person’s phone such as delivery and payment dates
- Mobile phones are carried by people everywhere. Having a mobile app gives them the best access wherever they are
- Some parts of the apps function can still operate whilst there is no internet, such as downloading a sales invoice
- Mobile users spend 88% of their time on apps, as opposed to the other 12% browsing mobile websites
These are just some of the benefits when thinking about designing elements of your ecommerce web design. Apps however aren’t for every business as they can be costly to set up and run.
13. Multilingual. Talk the language of your customers.
When designing your ecommerce site, you need to be aware of its intended users and audience.
If you’re a company that wants to sell globally, think about the languages that your website is available in.
You want to stop any barrier from them making an online sale. It can be very tedious for someone browsing your website to have to keep translating the content.
For example, if you want to sell in Spain, don’t expect them to speak English as a second language.
There are many ways to overcome this, including having a dedicated Spanish version. This language could be picked up automatically by the user’s geolocation.
It all boils down to effective ecommerce design.
14. Loyalty Program / VIP Access. Make your customers feel loved.
We’ve all probably been into Starbucks, used Tesco Clubcard or eaten at Subway. You always receive a reward stamp or points with a purchase.
It’s one of the best practices in marketing to ensure customers are well looked after and feel special.
An easy way to do this is to provide a loyalty program as part of your store. There are loads of ways to do this.
In essence, the basic is that with every purchase they get something back as a thank you.
It could be points to spend, a free product or a discount.
Not only does this make them feel good, but it also encourages them to come back to ‘build their reward’.
In addition, offer them VIP access to certain areas of your site.
It could be the ability to access and buy items before the general public or simply view a sale first.
Whatever you decide, brand loyalty is powerful stuff and is one of the best ecommerce website design practices you can use.
15. Social Share. Let your customers market your business for you.
Now we won’t go into the importance of social media. You will already know that!
It’s here, you need to use it, that’s it.
However, a simple and effective part of the product page design is to include simple social share buttons.
This will allow users to quickly and at the touch of a screen, share your products with their connections. It also helps with social proof.
Most website builders and platforms will offer this as a standard.
16. Payment Gateway. Essential if you want to make an online sale.
For those that aren’t sure what this is, it’s the method by which a customer can pay you.
When thinking about your website’s checkout page use payment gateways that are recognisable.
People need to trust that the money they spend when they’re buying from you is safe.
If you use a really unknown payment provider it could increase cart abandonment.
Make it easy for your customers and choose something they trust.
For example, PayPal, Stripe, WorldPay and Barclays are well-known in the UK. Add their logos in your footer which will put you in the best light and seem trustworthy.
Make it easy for your customers to pay and spread the cost
Another really important aspect of payments is a growing trend and that is split payments.
In general split payments allow a customer to buy an item from your store. You get the money upfront and they get the ability to pay it in small chunks, weekly or monthly.
Many low-priced items can be purchased this way. Generally, the risk of the ‘credit’ is taken by the provider.
Some examples of these sorts of providers are PayPal – Pay in 3, Klarna, ClearPay, Splitit or LayBuy.
It’s a good idea whilst talking about payment options to mention finance.
For larger more costly items there’s a good chance that offering some form of credit available will increase the chance of getting a sale.
17. Chatbots. A store’s best friend.
Consumers will always have questions.
Whether it’s about a product, shipping a return or how to find advice.
The list is endless.
If a user needs more information to help them along with their customer journey a chatbot can be a huge help.
The advance in AI (artificial intelligence) is a game changer. Many answers can already be available without even a human response.
You know what they’re probably going to ask, so much of it can be automated.
A human will only need to step in if your online shoppers have a really specific or unusual request.
Potential customers have a sense of urgency and don’t want to email you.
Then wait 24 hours to get a response.
Chatbots help build an easy way to get customers to get answers quickly.
This can help improve conversion rates.
18. Gift Vouchers. When search results still leave you scratching your head.
A lot of people possibly came to your website to not buy for themselves.
They could be looking at buying a gift.
Regardless of how many interesting product categories your website may have, some, won’t know what to buy.
A good way to make them feel easy about purchasing is to offer gift vouchers.
These can either be digital or printed.
Successful ecommerce stores will offer these as another way of making a sale.
19. Design. Designing an e-commerce store or brochure website needs to engage.
Now the design of a website is a complex subject and not all the necessary information will fit in this blog. However, there are some simple tips that can help.
Your homepage and all pages throughout a successful e-commerce website should use the following:
- Clear white space
- Great product photos, good images (make sure they are high-quality images)
- Simple is always best – drop the clutter
- Clear call to actions
- Be on brand
- Make your best sellers stand out
- Offer easy website navigation
- Top of the page your company logo
- Contact info top right
A store’s design should be aimed at the intended audience. It should all be discussed with your web developer if you need professional website creation.
There are loads of other design things you can do throughout the website. Plan it well to help with UX (user experience) and UI (user interface)
20. Abandoned Cart. The challenge doesn’t stop when getting them to your site.
Your website doesn’t have to be bad to get a lot of people abandoning their carts and successfully checking out.
You may be shocked, however, the average cart abandonment across all online retail sectors is just under a whopping 70%
Yup, you heard right!
Most of the hard work is done. You have created the best e-commerce site ever and people still abandon their carts.
Don’t let that get you down.
Set up different methods to draw them back in.
You can automate emails that will be sent to them at a set time after they leave.
Remarketing to them through Facebook and other platforms.
You can set the website to store people’s cart inventory. When they come back items are still in there.
The key message here is to take cart abandonment seriously. Most shoppers will do it so plug as many holes as you can.
Hopefully, you can entice them to come back.
21. Homepage Product Carousels. One of the simplest web design tips.
Regardless of what your store sells, it should be relevant to the customer.
One of the best tips for ecommerce shops is to show what is on trend.
A great way to do this is to change up your homepage. Add sections and product carousels with certain categories that are seasonal.
For example, let’s say you sell hotel short breaks and it’s January first.
One of the next seasonal events will be Valentine’s day.
It makes really great sense to highlight on the website ‘short romantic breaks for two’.
People will be looking for treats for their partners so don’t hide these little gems in just your navigation. Make a big thing of them splash over your homepage.
Done right product carousels will allow you to showcase more products in a smaller area.
They can automatically slide or by the user clicking ‘next’.
22. Related Products, Upsells and Cross-Sells. Offer the customer more of what they want.
When designing an ecommerce store you should always have the customer at the forefront of your mind. The idea is to make it as simple as possible to find what they want and encourage them to buy.
These are items that are of the same category and a great place to show these are on product pages.
For example, let’s assume again that you’re selling holidays.
One of your products shows a hotel stay for two in Tuscany.
So you know that as your customer is on that specific product, they are probably looking for somewhere warm in Italy for two.
Within the product page, you could show other similarly based products e.g. holidays for two in Italy.
If the product they are on doesn’t appeal to them, they may notice another ‘related’ holiday that does. They can easily navigate without any effort.
On the flip side, there is no point in offering them family packages to Disney. There is no relationship between what they are currently looking at and the related product.
In a similar way to related products, upsells encourage a consumer to ‘up’ their choice of a product.
Using the above example, 3 nights in Tuscany for £495 per person may be the product that they are on.
An upsell may be a package that offers something similar.
A hotel but 5-star, all-inclusive and in a better location for only £695 per person.
This can encourage customers to take the luxury option. These are also great to add on specific sections on product pages and also in the shopping basket.
The basics of these are simple.
If a customer buys product A you know they may buy product B.
There is a super strong relationship between them.
Here are a few examples of cross-sells:
- The customer buys a toy robot which takes batteries. The cross-sell could be those batteries.
- Someone looking to buy a new kitchen knife. The cross-sell can be a chopping board.
- A visitor adds some red shoes to their basket. The cross-sell could be a matching bag from the same designer.
- Someone adds a diamond ring. The cross-sell could be insurance, a jewellery cleaning kit, or a higher-end presentation box.
Cross-sells can be simple products that boost what they buy. They encourage them to buy something additional that is related to their initial purchase.
The best place to do this is just before they pay on the checkout page.
23. Social Login. Make it really convenient for a customer to make a purchase.
Make it easy for a customer to do anything in your store. The simpler, the more chance you have of selling something.
Also to add that in 2021 60% of all online buying was done on a mobile device.
The majority of all online sales now happen on mobile devices.
However, purchasing on a mobile device can be fiddly. Allowing a consumer to click one button to log in with Facebook for instance. It makes it a much easier task than asking them to fill out lots of fields on their screens.
Again, anything you can do to make it easier = an increase in potential online sales.
24. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). A subject in its own right.
We’ve covered this topic massively in other posts on this website. There is a lot involved to help your website rank highly in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
We aren’t going into detail here.
However, getting your website found when someone does a search online is the bedrock of everything.
Use online SEO tools, and keep checking your ranking and competitor websites.
The main point here is to not lose focus and get bogged down on the day-to-day running of your e-commerce store.
Keep aiming to improve your site’s ranking position. Aim for constant improvement to rank better in your niche and grow your audience.
25. Customer First. Last and always.
This is probably the simplest and most obvious of all the points.
Never forget your store is for your customer.
Make your website easy to use, and always look for improvement.
Thoroughly analyse every part of your website on a regular basis.
Also, look at your customer’s journey, and the functions of your website.
Always look at ways to make it better.
Keep a close eye on your competitors.
Make dummy purchases and see how they are doing something. if you see an improvement, mimic that and improve on what they’re doing.
We really hope that this guide has given you some top e-commerce website design tips.
Even if you just take one or two ideas with you that’s great!
Always look to improve what you offer and keep up to date with the latest trends and changes in technology.
This guide is far from complete and there are loads more we could talk about, we’ll cover this in another post.
There are plenty of great e-commerce website design examples out there. Look at and evaluate other sites.
We wish you the best of luck in improving your online store.
We’d love to have any of your ideas and feedback!