Ten Golden Rules to Follow When Designing an eCommerce Web-Based Product
Nov 23, 20206 min read
Head of Design at Ideamotive. More of a craftsman than an artist - with a pragmatic approach to clients' goals.
According to the latest report by Statista, eCommerce sales for 2020 in North America is expected to reach a whopping $749 billion. Millions of online businesses go at it tooth and nail to snatch their slice of that pie. More and more of them realize that flawless user experience is essential for achieving this.
The design and ergonomics of an eCommerce website can make the difference between a delighted customer willing to come back for more and a disgruntled one who’d instead choose your competitors. To help you enchant your visitors and encourage them to shop in your virtual store, our eCommerce web designers are sharing ten nifty tips for a killer UX design. Check them out and see what you can do to bring your eCommerce business to a whole new level!
#1. Implement Accessibility Options
Many traditional merchants strive to make their brick and mortar stores as accessible as possible. Why not do the same for your online business?
100% PURE went out of their way to ensure that no visitor is left behind. Color and contrast adjustment? Check. Custom font and spacing size? They have it. There are even dedicated profiles for different functional and situational limitations, from visual impairment to cognitive disabilities. Visitors can easily open the accessibility settings window from any subpage without scrolling to the bottom. The online beauty store demonstrates a thoughtful and empathetic web design that puts the customer first.
#2. Gather Data and Build on it
In eCommerce, understanding your customers cannot be overemphasized. What they like, what they don’t, how they shop, what info they need. All this information is invaluable, both for web designers and business owners.
Ideally, you want to collect user feedback at the MVP stage of development, before the final version of the website launches. This was what we did for an adventure holiday marketplace, Travelduck. The first iteration of the platform was built to measure several factors crucial for the owners: the interest of users and vendors, and how the website compared to its primary benchmark, Airbnb. Based on that data, further changes were implemented to accommodate customers’ needs. As a result, the finished product lived to the expectations of both platform owners and users.
#3. Let Your Merchandise Shine
Despite many advantages, online stores have one obvious flaw: you can’t touch the actual items they sell. For this reason, graphic content is highly valued both by customers and search algorithms. If you want to prove that your product is worth its price, design your website to support high-resolution photos, videos, or even interactive, 360-degree viewers.
In some cases, a video may be worth more than a dozen pictures. Here’s an example. In addition to detailed descriptions and excellent photos of furniture, many product subpages at Made feature a short showcase clip of the displayed pieces.
The videos allow users to see how each piece can be used or combined with other furniture and presents any movable elements it may have. The store even attempts to convey the tactile qualities of the fabric. All this is a mark of the best eCommerce web design practices that help customers make an informed choice.
#4. Make Your eStore Mobile Friendly
As more and more people take to their mobile devices for online shopping, quality eCommerce apps are becoming indispensable for brands to connect with their buyers. A well-designed mobile app offers an effortless shopping experience despite limited screen space.
Top-notch mobile eCommerce web design features include built-in payment gateways, product scores and reviews, and personalized recommendations. An efficient search engine makes browsing through products noticeably easier and is absolutely vital, not only in the case of large stores offering thousands of items. Another mobile-specific consideration is the so-called thumb zone. Since we mostly operate our smartphones with thumbs, web designers avoid placing commonly used functionalities in the upper areas of the screen that are usually harder to reach with this finger.
Just have a look at the ASOS app. Its intuitive layout and a complete set of functionalities serve as a fine example of eCommerce design for mobile devices.
#5. Be Versatile
Between built-in search engines, filters, payment integration, recommendations, and other essential features, eCommerce websites can be quite tricky to develop. Using a variety of development tools can massively streamline a web designer’s workflow and improve the quality of your platform.
Ideamotive followed this philosophy when we worked on Lauber’s website, a leading European car parts manufacturer. The team communicated with the client via JIRA and Confluence. We made prototype versions in UXPin and InVision. React was used for front-end development, and Ruby for data integrators.
The result of this multi-tool approach was an enthusiastically received, detailed, and easy to use eCommerce platform. Lauber’s products were made available online for customers across Europe, thanks to multiple new functionalities: payment system for different currencies, car part comparison tools, and effective search and filters, all in multiple language versions.
#6. Polish Your Product Categories
Great UX is the art of reducing friction. The more seamless the buyer experience, the higher the checkout rates. A smart and easy way to help shoppers find their way around your online store is by using product categories. They guide visitors through thousands of items and provide a convenient shortcut for buyers looking for a particular product group.
But that’s not everything. Well designed categories make a positive impact on SEO by providing a structure for your site, making it easier for search engines to index your information. What’s more, the neatly organized layout of product categories helps you avoid clutter and boost the featured items’ visual impression.
Look at how Eastpak uses categories to improve the shopping experience. The online store offers bags, luggage, and accessories that come in different styles, patterns, purposes, and materials. With a variety of products this broad, proper categorization is a must. Items are divided by style, then broken up into subcategories such as bestsellers, new arrivals, online exclusives, and so on. Thanks to that, finding any exact product is a breeze, but it doesn’t end there. Each category features a large photo with a link to a promoted product line, inviting customers to explore it. The icons on the bottom of the category bar serve a similar purpose, showcasing popular styles.
#7. Remember: Simple Doesn’t Have to Be Boring
Simplicity in web design has several advantages: it makes the user experience smoother, shortens the customer journey, and helps present website content in a clean and succinct way. However, there’s a fine line between the minimal and the bland. Be careful not to cross it. The trick is to strike the right balance and create a web design that is both concise and engaging.
With the monochromatic color palette, bold typography, and functionalities stripped down to the minimum, United Sodas hits the nail on the head. The store has basically one product in its offer, a fact that is communicated from the get-go. The website oozes fun despite its minimalistic design. From the vibrant, horizontally scrolling cans on the front page to the 360-degree can viewer on the product subpage, there’s a lot going on, all while keeping the website functional. Simple and fun web design for a simple and fun product.
#8. Stand Out, in a Good Way
If your eCommerce website’s homepage is an online storefront, then the internet is the largest mall in the world. With a little bit of creativity, you can make your display stand out from millions of other stores.
Have a look at the main page of Beauty Bay — or rather its two main pages. The homepage consists of two separate scrollable bars where customers can find blog posts, view the latest beauty trends, discover new releases, and so on. This layout offers a double amount of content presented in a fun and playful way that captures the brand’s youthful character. Notice that you can find all the crucial links, such as product categories, search bar, and the basket at the top of the page. It’s a great example of an unconventional web design that doesn’t compromise functionality.
#9. Say More with Less Clicks
Now that you’ve grabbed your customer’s attention, you should do everything not to lose it. One way to achieve that is to reduce the number of clicks needed to reach all the necessary product details. In other words, don’t turn the user journey into an odyssey.
FFS Beauty (the acronym stands for friction-free shaving if you were wondering) turned its homepage into an elaborate product description presented in the company’s six core values. Without a single click, customers can learn that their razor blades are reusable, fully recyclable, vegan-friendly, available in subscription plans, and well-loved. That info, neatly collected in one place, is enough to convince many to click that ‘Buy’ button.
#10. Go for Grid
Layout often dictates how we interact with the website and scan its content. To make browsing effective and pleasant, aim for a visually attractive, uncluttered, and neat product arrangement. A grid layout gives you all of that.
Let’s have a look at Herschel’s online store. The layout there is as simple as it gets, bringing customer’s attention to the products themselves. Rows of three to four products look appealing and make the store easy to navigate without any unnecessary distractors. The organized design makes customers focus entirely on the items — after all, that’s what they came to this website for.
By now, you have probably realized the importance of quality web design for your web-based retail site. These ten rules merely scratch the surface on the topic, but if you apply them in your online store, you’ll already be on the right way to boosting conversion.
Want to learn more about irresistible UX design for eCommerce? Get in touch with Ideamotive, tell us about your business, and use the best eCommerce web design services out there!
Designed the first website around the year 2004 and since then worked in various fields of design like branding, advertisement, and product design. Currently focused on UX/UI and consulting for a robust approach to results-focused applications.