5 important website design features for successful e-commerce
E-commerce is on a tear. Frost & Sullivan reports that annual B2B e-commerce will reach $6.7 trillion by the year 2020. Meanwhile, eMarketer estimates that global retail e-commerce will reach $25 trillion in 2019.
With so much to gain, e-commerce businesses can’t afford to lose sales due to poor website design. The bottom line is that e-commerce sites need to play by a different set of rules than a typical website. That’s because 97% of consumers research their purchases online before buying. If you want to fully realize your e-commerce business’s potential, focus on these important website design features:
If you walked into a cluttered store where shelves are overwhelmed with merchandise and no semblance of order, you’d probably leave. That’s not a pleasant shopping experience. An e-commerce site with poor navigation is the equivalent to a cluttered, messy store.
It’s not enough to have a great business name and sharp looking business logo and call it a day. If your homepage isn’t well designed and fails to offer a clear path to help shoppers find what they’re looking for, they will leave.
And, while effective navigation design is an important factor for all websites, it’s particularly important for e-commerce sites that sell a wide variety of products.
Design tiered, common-sense menus
Don’t throw everything and the kitchen sink on your homepage. Visitors may get overwhelmed and leave rather than forge through the chaos.
Instead, provide an organized, tiered structure with just a few main categories at the top (home page) level to allow your visitors to discover your products easily. Consider using expanding drop-down menus to reveal more options once the customer has made their initial selection.
Embrace the search bar
The king of shopping navigation tools is, of course, the almighty search bar.
Including a search bar on your homepage allows visitors to immediately begin a targeted search for the item or service they’re looking for.
Strong product photography
Remember that product photos are part of your company’s brand identity — pick the best ones so that they reflect your unique identity. Provide well-lit pictures of each item from every angle. Provide closeups of important details.
Social proof (customer reviews)
Today’s consumers rely on social proof when making online purchases. Reading reviews from other customers gives us a window into what the product is really like. Online reviews usually include the pros and cons. But they may also share additional information about the item in the context of use.
Make it easy for visitors to find reviews from other users and leave reviews themselves. These reviews should be paired with the product being reviewed so that shoppers can learn more without leaving the product page.
Katie Lundin is a marketing and branding specialist at crowdspring, a marketplace for crowdsourced logo design, web design, graphic design, product design and company naming services.