— September 4, 2019
When you’re creating your ecommerce site, you may have an idea of the way you want it to look or you might have no idea where to start. Today, we’re going to run through what to look out for when designing your ecommerce shop and what makes an amazing site.
The first question you’ll be presented with if you’re using a hosted platform such as EKM, is what type of theme do you want for your online shop. Although you may have opted for a custom build, you still need to think about a variety of factors such as, what’s your colour scheme? This usually matches the branding to a T so can be a good place to start.
The type of business you’re setting up will also have an impact on some design elements of your site too. For example a clothing brand such as one of my company’s customers The Little Love Bird, who has gone with quite an image-heavy theme to really showcase the products, that are also surrounded by a colour scheme that compliments.
Whereas Smith & Smith, while still a clothing shop have chosen a colour scheme more fitting to their male target audience, but are still using mainly images to communicate with the viewer.
The theme you choose will say a lot about your business right from the beginning, as new visitors to your site will only take 3 seconds to decide if they’re going to buy from your site. Visuals are just as important as descriptions, pricing etc as the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text and 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. So the look and feel of your site should be on the top of your priority list.
The users’ journey is key
Another important factor is the user journey – the experience and journey a visitor has on your website will strongly influence their buying decision. If a potential customer has a bad experience on your website, bets are that they won’t buy from you.
You need to make sure your website is easy to use and simple to navigate at the very minimum. If the journey is hard for the customer, i.e. they can’t find the product they’re looking for or, the website makes it difficult for them to find the page they’re looking for such as the ‘about us’, your potential customer will become more and more frustrated and in most cases completely disengage and leave the site without making a purchase.
Michael, the UX Lead at EKM says:
“Remember the UX of your website is just as important as your visual identity. Is your website easy to use? Can customers find your products and all the information they need? Is it accessible to everyone? Are there any blockers that are stopping them succeeding their goals?
It doesn’t matter how good your website may look if people struggle to interact with it! Develop a website that provides a brilliant experience that keeps your customers loyal to your brand.”
The main purpose of your website should be to sell the product to the customer, and I’m not just talking about firstly, getting them to your site, but also just putting the product in front of them. Your website needs to be able to sell your items for you, just like you would face to face in a shop; which brings us onto the next point.
High quality and relevant
So, to make sure that your website can sell your products, you’re going to want to make sure that everything on your site, is relevant and very high quality; there should be nothing on your site that doesn’t aid its main purpose – selling your products.
Firstly, your product descriptions are your elevator pitch, they tell you about the product in detail and essentially encourage you the visitor to purchase. So you need to make sure that each of your product descriptions are unique and detailed to the individual product. If you simply use the same product descriptions as your supplier or manufacturer, then when Google comes to crawl your site and index those product pages, they’re essentially going to be competing against one another. The more detail you can give the better and the more relevant it is to a search term, the higher ranked your product may be on Google.
The same can be said for your product images. Taking your own will give your products a unique edge against your competitors but you need to ensure that the pictures taken are high quality. There’s nothing worse than a bad product image and it may even put people off buying.
If you’ve ever experienced a bad search functionality and found it really frustrating – you’re not alone. Some businesses won’t even have search functionality on their site making it more difficult to find what you’re looking for and forcing you to search through the site’s navigation.
Having an intelligent search functionality in today’s world is a must-have if not a basic essential that all sites should have, especially ecommerce sites.
Mark, EKM’s Partnerships Manager comments:
“People make a decision to buy from a website within seconds of visiting. One way to capture customers’ attention is to ensure they can find the products they are looking for instantly. This is why “predictive” search is very important.
People can mistype product names or use different words when looking for the same thing. Services such as Doofinder for example, can dramatically improve a users experience on a website by filling in the gaps and even recommending products similar to the specific product search. Ecommerce is all about ease of use and finding what you want instantly.”
Making it as easy as possible for the user to find what they’re looking for and in record time will help encourage their decision to purchase from your site. Finding what they want in an instant will make your site feel professional and helps to build trust, which we’ll talk about later on.
Another must-have in 2019 is having a responsive site. A responsive website means looking good on every platform and every device out there. So your website simply adjusts to the device it’s being viewed on to give the user the best experience possible.
Websites previously had two versions, their desktop and their mobile version but this method became quickly outdated as it ended up in some cases breaking the user journey between the two, and the mobile view has improved exponentially since then.
Having a responsive website helps your users experience a smooth transition between all devices that they may view your site on. They’ll be able to basically pick up where they left off on their computer and their tablet, or mobile.
Michael also comments:
“Part of UX is making sure that sites are accessible to all, whether that’s for adjusting to circumstances or devices they can use. Everyone should be able to use any website on any device and if your site isn’t responsive, you’re missing out on a massive market as mobile use overtook desktop use in October 2016.”
Trust can be hard to come by, especially online. When people are looking to purchase they want to feel reassured that their money and purchases are in safe hands. Which is why trust is one of the most important factors an ecommerce shop can have.
If you’re looking to build trust for your online shop, there are a few things you can do to get the ball rolling. Firstly, having an SSL Certificate will show the user that your site is secure and that any information they provide on your site such as login information, card details etc are protected. You’ll be able to check if a connection is secure by clicking on the lock icon.
One other thing you can do to build trust in customers is by having reviews of your products on your site. Using services like Trustpilot or Reviews.io to invite customers to leave their feedback and having this displayed on your site will show new customers that people have purchased from this site in the past and not only have been happy with their product but have taken the time to leave a review.
Keep it simple
Lastly, just as our own values state, keep it simple. Don’t make your site overcomplicated unnecessarily. Make things as easy as possible for your customers and provide them with a great experience and you’ll have a recipe for returning customers.
If you’re thinking of setting up your own ecommerce shop and would like some expert advice on what you should consider when designing your site, why not try a free demo of my company EKM’s ecommerce platform and our experts will talk you through everything you’ll need.