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Crucial Design Elements for eCommerce Sites

Updated on November 14, 2013

According to Mashable, eCommerce websites on average are able to convert only about 4% of their traffic. However, some of the best e-Commerce sites are able to convert upward of 15% of their traffic that come to their sites! The difference in their conversion rates is primarily because these sites were able to connect with the audience in a way the less successful sites could not. Most of the time, the best way to connect with customers is through intelligent design of your eCommerce site.

Some of the best eCommerce websites worry a lot about the usability and the user experience (UX) of their sites. For eCommerce sites in general, the usability of sites and the ease of navigating through the site and finding the right product make a huge difference to their sales and revenue. So it is imperative that your eCommerce site design is well thought-out, unique and stylish so that it represents your brand in a sleek and professional manner.

Some of the crucial design elements for an e-Commerce website are as follows:

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Creative and Appealing eCommerce Website Design


First impressions are extremely important for any e-Commerce website, so the “first look” of your site should not fail to grab the customer’s attention. A cutting–edge and visually pleasing website design, with a focus on the product, captures the attention of the online crowd and makes your business stand out. The look of your website should not only “wow” your customers, but at the same time it should let them know what your business is all about. Simply put it should be as unique as your specified approach to business.

There are many elements that go into making a website design attractive. First is the color palette used on the website. Color combinations used on a website play an extremely important role in garnering audience attention. Designers should use eye-catching color combinations which, at the same time, should be soothing, or professional - or even tug at your hearts strings through emotion. Remember that certain colors instill certain emotions. Color effects can be used to highlight your main product and bring it to the customers notice. In short, color combinations should be chosen strategically.

Second, designers should keep a track of where the viewer’s eyes divert to first and then accordingly position the product for optimal performance. The product images used on the site should be bright and catchy and usage of animations and multimedia should be limited. Third, avoid using fancy typefaces which might be appealing at first glance, but hard to read conveniently. The font used should be easy to grasp and legible so that customers can quickly read it correctly.

Fourth, the content placed on the site should be well-formed and crisp. An average Internet user almost always skims through content rather than read each and every line from the top to the bottom. Thus the content should be broken up into logical and interesting chunks, with adequate bullets, pointers, headers and subheaders. A great example of a site with neat typography combined with a soothing color scheme and bright images is the Ecko.com.

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Responsive Web Design (RWD)

The design of your eCommerce site can make or break your sales and revenues, lure in customers or completely drive them away. A responsive web design, which means a website that has been optimized for easy viewing on mobile devices, goes a long way in increasing your sales. The idea of RWD is to employ such web design and development techniques that make websites react to the screen size of the medium in which they are being accessed and viewed. Corresponding image sizes and content can be loaded and used according to each device type.

It is recommended to have your eCommerce site mobile-optimized as mobile usage on the Internet is continuously increasing and is expected to overtake desktop usage by 2014. As an example to help understand the value of responsive web design, you could try opening the Starbucks website on your desktop and keep adjusting the window size to see how beautifully the site content adapts to the window size. Also try opening the site on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to see the varying experiences.

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User-Friendly Navigation

The utmost reason why customers leave a website without purchasing is that they are simply unable to find what they were looking for. A clean and professional website with logical and easy navigation is absolutely fundamental to any eCommerce websites’ success. Intuitive user-navigation features allow a potential customer to easily locate and browse through your product catalogs, product pages and other vital information that might lead to a conversion. Simple JavaScript or HTML menus seem to work best and appear consistent on all browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera.

Nowadays, there are many aspects to navigation than just having a simplified menu. Advancement in technologies such as the introduction of Ajax and Motools and advancements in DHTML, now offer the flexibility to add innovative navigations that come with good search features and internal linking, as well as informative headers and footers. A great example of a site with really impressive navigation is Mashable.

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Product, Product, Product

A good website design caters to all kinds of customers through a unified user interface. So in order to satisfy all kinds of customers and shoppers, designers need to take care of some product related pointers. Firstly, the product images used on the site should be clear and attractive. Photography or video related to products should be emphasized enough so customers don’t pass them over. You essentially invest money in such visual imagery, so don’t bury it beneath mounds of boring text. Colors used should be neutral and distraction-free.

Second, the information on the product pages should be detailed and informative, clearly letting the customers know what they should expect from the product. Third, the product filters on the site should be convenient and easy such that they make searching for products fast and easy. The search bars should give suggestions according to segmented customer types. You can segment your custom base and ideal market by analyzing customer demographics and interaction histories.

Easy Checkout

One of the biggest problems customers usually face in any eCommerce site is a tedious and a cumbersome check-out process. Designers need to ensure that the checkout process on their site is simple and easy which does not test a customer’s patience. Long forms asking for many details usually result in no conversions. Also, the customer should be given many payment options so as to ease the process of payment.

Reliable Customer Service Options

The customer service options provided on the website should be trustworthy and should provide a great variety of customer care services and contact options such as phone numbers, social media accounts, and mailing addresses. You can also consider incorporating instant chat customer service within your website.

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