In the digital age, an online presence is essential for any offline or online business. It’s not merely a question of optional modernisation; your business won’t survive long without one. In this context, the advent of eCommerce website design has created unique challenges for business owners to tackle, with or without an online business. Designing, developing, maintaining and optimising an eCommerce website are challenging tasks for most, but it’s all a worthy endeavour. Thus, in this article, we’ll explore the essential features for successful eCommerce websites; from User Experience to Product Categories, everything matters in eCommerce Web Design.
Essential components for a successful eCommerce web design
This is a vast topic. A simple Google search will return listicles with anywhere from 10 to 72 essential eCommerce website design features. So, we’ve distilled those down to 10 features for the sake of saving your time and patience, split into subtopics.
#1 Presentation and first impressions
The initial contact a person has with a website is crucial. Studies on bounce rates will readily show how quickly a person bounces if they find a website unappealing. Thus, the initial front is all about first impressions. Users will need to determine at a glance that your eCommerce website is worth their time.
First look; domain name, logo, tagline, accessible contact information
I’m sure all marketers know that presentation is crucial. Consider the first information a person gets about your eCommerce business:
- Domain name: is it memorable? Does it accurately describe your online business?
- Logo: Is it unique and connectable? Does it look professional?
- Tagline: does it summarise your range of products? Does it clarify your mission and vision?
- Contact information: do customers immediately know how to contact you?
These are all topics that call your attention. Review your website from a user’s perspective; are the first signals you’re getting convincing you to stay? If not, revisions may be in order.
Sleek, visually appealing design
Immediately following these signals — or framing them — comes eCommerce website design. A clean and welcoming eCommerce web design can work wonders towards enticing your visitors to stay longer. Modern, bold designs may work just as well, depending on one’s industry, brand, and target audience.
Your eCommerce web design needs to tick many practical and aesthetic boxes at once, including:
- Essential information above the fold
- Readability through clever contrast
- As little clutter as possible
Should you hire a web designer, these are some of the first issues to discuss with them.
Finally, unknown to many, live chat is one of the essential features for successful eCommerce websites. The reason for that is simple; it doesn’t just enhance your customer support, but it also shows professionalism.
Many potential customers only use it to connect with live agents and avoid chatbots for complicated inquiries. Thus, you shouldn’t simply offer the feature without considering how to implement it.
#2 On-page features
Next, having convinced your website visitors to stay, you’ll need to ensure the best possible experience for them. You’ll also want to ensure they take desirable actions as they explore your product categories. Here, there are on-page features to consider.
Reviews and testimonials
An astounding number of customers read negative and positive reviews, with some studies placing the number as high as over 90%. That’s very logical; user-generated reviews are always helpful, and they relay real people’s real experiences. There’s still the challenge of negative reviews that will discourage potential clients, but responding swiftly and professionally suffices. Thus, you should ensure customer reviews and testimonials are always available for product pages.
Similarly, a “related products” feature can work wonders. It doesn’t just denote professionalism on your part, but it also helps your potential customers make satisfying purchases. It can be a simple “you might also like this” or “customers who buy this also buy that” section. But regardless of its form, it can inform impulse purchases, increasing your revenue alongside customer satisfaction.
Finally, all eCommerce websites need clear Calls-to-Action (CTAs). These are how your customers can follow through with desirable actions, after all. Thus, CTAs should be clearly visible, clearly worded, and appropriately placed. There are few essential features for successful eCommerce web design that are as important as optimal CTAs.
#3 Website optimisation
Your eCommerce website needs proper care to ensure a great User Experience (UX) and optimal Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Here, consider the following factors.
To start with, mobile-friendliness is crucial. Increasingly more customers visit eCommerce websites through mobile devices, which accounts for massive web traffic. What’s more, it’s a key factor of Search Engine Optimisation, as Google checks your site’s mobile version before the desktop one. They also provide a tool to help you do so as well.
User-friendliness, accessibility, and ease of navigation
Similarly, a clean, mobile-friendly eCommerce website design helps ensure user-friendliness across all devices. As I’ve mentioned above, keeping your eCommerce website clean and uncluttered will reduce bounce rates and improve the checkout success rate. Ease of navigation concepts also overlaps with accessibility. Consider how accessible designs for the visually impaired hinge on navigation without a mouse. If your eCommerce website offers this level of ease of navigation, it will appeal to any person who visits your online store.
Finally, both of the above hinge on the load speed of online stores. Page loading speed is a defining factor in bounce rates, as visitors expect loading times of 3 seconds or less. A low page loading time guarantees a smoother experience as your user navigates from one page to the next.
Here, you may consider common on-page eCommerce SEO practices to decrease loading times, such as:
- Image optimisation; scaling, format, resizing
- HTTP compression
#4 Security components
Finally, no list of essential features for successful eCommerce websites can exclude security features. Security concerns are common and reasonable in the digital age, so your website must inspire confidence. Here, you may address the following:
- An SSL certificate
- Two-factor authentication (2FA)
These only concern what your customers can readily see. For additional protection on your end, investing in firewalls and other security features is always a wise choice.
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