The Do’s & Don’ts Of E-commerce Website Design

30-Second Summary:

  • Your e-commerce website’s design is critical for success, with 94% of first impressions linked to web design.
  • To create an inviting and user-friendly digital marketplace, start with a user-centred design, clear navigation, and high-quality imagery.
  • Detailed product descriptions, effective calls to action (CTAs), and trust signals further enhance UX.
  • Avoid pitfalls like complex checkouts, slow loading times, poor mobile responsiveness, overwhelming design, and inadequate search functionality to retain customers and avoid abandoned carts.

What makes a good ecommerce website design? It’s not a simple question to answer as there are plenty of ways to approach this. However, you’ll want to know ecommerce website design best practices to help avoid the most common issues before launching your site. As the design of your online store is your digital shopfront, the way you present your products and services is just as crucial as what you offer. With 94% of first impressions related to your site’s web design, it’s vital to get it right in a highly competitive online world.

Having helped ecommerce sites with all manner of digital marketing, we’ve seen our fair share of Dos and Don’ts when it comes to design. To help, we’ve put together a list of best practices, and best to avoids, that may help your design thrive rather than dive in the SERPs.

As you’ll want to create an appealing and user-friendly digital marketplace, from the moment visitors land on your site, the design profoundly influences their journey, from product discovery to purchase. Neglecting these principles can lead to missed opportunities and frustrated customers – who wants that?!

So, join us as we look at how to design a good ecommerce website that entices and retains customers.

The Do’s of E-commerce Website Design

User-Centered Design

We may be stating the obvious, but a user-centred approach should be at the core of your e-commerce website design. If you understand your target audience, their preferences, and their behaviours (hopefully you do) you can ensure your design caters to their needs – not just yours. Ensure that your website is visually appealing and easy to navigate, keeping in mind that UX directly affects your conversion rates.

  • Responsive Design – With many users shopping from their smartphones and tablets, make sure your website is responsive, adapting to various screen sizes. This ensures a seamless experience for all users. 8% of web designers say not being responsive on all devices is the main reason for a site redesign, so avoid this by making it responsive from the start.

Clear Navigation

Your website’s navigation structure should be intuitive and user-friendly. A cluttered or confusing menu can confuse and put off potential customers. Prioritise an organised and straightforward navigation system and this will ultimately provide a more satisfying customer journey.

  • Breadcrumbs – Implement breadcrumbs to guide users through the website’s hierarchy and help them retrace their steps. If you have a large site with many layers, this will prevent users from having to restart their journey.
  • Clear Categories – Group similar products under clear categories to simplify the search process for customers. The fewer clicks a user needs to make to find what they need, the better.

High-Quality Imagery

Visuals are pivotal in e-commerce, and with AI visual search becoming more advanced and useful, it’s important to use high-resolution product images that showcase your products from various angles. High-quality images provide your customers with a better understanding of what they’re purchasing and helps cement trust in your brand. Photos/images (40%), colour (39%), and videos (21%) were the top visual elements consumers appreciate, so ensuring you have a combination of these can be most effective.

  • Multiple Images – Include multiple images per product, allowing users to see different perspectives.
  • Zoom Feature – Implement a zoom feature that enables users to check over product details.

Detailed Product Descriptions

Informative and easy-to-digest product descriptions are instrumental in persuading customers to make a purchase. You should look to provide detailed information about each product, including its features, benefits, and specifications. According to Google consumer insights, 85% of shoppers say product information and pictures are important to them when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from.

  • Bullet Points – Use bullet points to highlight key features, making it easier for users to scan and find the information they need.
  • Specifications – Include technical specifications, size charts, and any other relevant data.

Effective CTAs

Your e-commerce site must have clear and compelling calls to action (CTAs) that guide users through the buying process. CTAs like ‘Buy Now,’ ‘Add to Cart,’ and ‘Proceed to Checkout’ should be prominent and enticing.

  • Contrast and Placement – Ensure that CTAs stand out from the page design with a contrasting colour and strategic placement for maximum visibility. CTAs surrounded by less clutter and more whitespace can increase conversion rates by 232%, so it’s worth making this stand out as much as possible.

Trust Signals

Building trust is essential for e-commerce success. To help with this, it’s a good idea to include trust badges, customer reviews, and testimonials to reassure customers that they are making a safe and informed purchase with your brand. You want to avoid cart abandonment issues related to trust,

  • Trust Badges – Display trust badges for secure payment methods and certifications. This will help to reassure customers of how they can pay using their preferred secured methods.
  • Customer Reviews – Encourage customers to leave reviews and showcase them prominently on your product pages. As many as 54.7% of consumers read at least 4 reviews before buying a product, so if you can show them these rather than users looking elsewhere for them, this will help.

So, if those were the do’s when looking to create the best ecommerce website designs, what are the don’ts that you should avoid?

The Don’ts of E-commerce Website Design

Complex Checkout Process

A lengthy and complicated checkout process is a surefire way to frustrate potential customers and increase cart abandonment rates. Keep the checkout process as simple and straightforward as possible as 21% of cart abandonments are due to complicated or lengthy checkout experiences.

  • Streamlined Checkout – Reduce the number of steps in the checkout process to minimise any friction.
  • Guest Checkout – Offer a guest checkout option to eliminate the need for creating an account.

Slow Loading Times

Slow-loading websites are a burden for many and can lead to impatient users bouncing from your site and straight to your competitors. Long loading times can be the result of un-optimised images, excessive scripts, or inefficient server hosting. Websites that load within one second have a 40% conversion rate, with this dropping considerably with every second.

  • Image Optimisation – Compress and optimise images to ensure quick loading without compromising quality. Lazy loading images can ensure only the most important images on the page load first, rather than all images at once, speeding up load time.
  • Code Efficiency – Minimise unnecessary scripts and use efficient coding practices to improve website speed.

Ignoring Mobile Optimisation

Neglecting to optimise your e-commerce website for mobile devices is a significant mistake. A mobile-responsive design is essential and failing to provide a seamless mobile experience can result in potential customers leaving your site.

  • Mobile Testing – Regularly test your website on different mobile devices to guarantee a smooth UX.

Overwhelming Design

Avoid cluttered and overly complex website designs that overwhelm visitors. A clean and simple design with well-organised content is more effective in guiding users to their desired products. As many as 70% of smartphone users have abandoned a poorly designed mobile site, so keep it simple for better engagement.

  • Whitespace – Use whitespace to create breathing room and make content easier to digest.
  • Consistent Design – Maintain a consistent design style throughout your website for a polished look.

Inadequate Search Functionality

A subpar search feature can make it challenging for users to find what they’re looking for. Auto-suggestions, filters, and an advanced search functionality are essential if you want to provide user convenience. 36% of ecommerce sites do not support thematic searches, where you can search and get relevant results, meaning lost opportunities for conversion.

  • Auto-suggestions – Implement auto-suggestions as users type their search queries.
  • Filters – Enable users to filter products by categories, price, and other relevant attributes.

Providing Your Customers With The Best Experience

If you can steer clear of common design pitfalls, you can create a more user-friendly and efficient e-commerce website that encourages visitors to browse and complete their purchases without issue. By adhering to the ‘do’s’ of e-commerce website design, your site can become an inviting and profitable online shopping hub. Prioritising user-centred design, clear navigation, high-quality imagery, detailed product descriptions, effective CTAs, and trust signals paves the way for an engaging shopping environment whilst avoiding the many ‘don’ts’.

As you look to refine your site, keep in mind that a captivating, user-friendly, and trustworthy online storefront can significantly impact your success. If you can implement these design principles, you elevate your e-commerce venture to new heights.

For more insights and tips, please visit our blog for helpful topics, from navigating Google’s Helpful Content Update to learning more about what is responsive web design.

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