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9 Factors of Effective E-Commerce Website Design

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E-commerce websites are highly effective ways to sell products online instead of relying on people walking into your shop as your only method of making sales. Having an e-commerce website broadens your reach in addition to offering an easy method for customers to purchase your products. We will be covering 9 factors of effective e-commerce website design in this article to give you the best chance of obtaining increased sales online.

There are different parts of an effective e-Commerce website design that when used together, create an enticing online image for your business. An online store gives businesses the chance to reach much larger markets. Now-a-days, many people complete their shopping online. This means that if you do not have a website, you are missing out on a lot of business. Depending on your organisation, an e-commerce site might be greatly beneficial.

E-commerce websites give people the chance to order from companies without the worry of the travel involved in finding their main shop. No matter if it is a few products that you have for sale or if it is hundreds; an e-commerce site is perfect. It creates an online market place for people to do business with you. Some will even come back for future purchases.

There are a range of benefits to having a website and even more for making responsive. A responsive website means that your site will change its appearance depending on the device it is on. This ensures that viewers can easily use and read your site. This combined with an e-commerce system gives users the best experience when browsing through your products.

1. Auto-Fill Forms

When purchasing products online, there are many fields that require filling in. This includes address, phone number, credit card information and your name. This can be a very time consuming task when having to fill this in every time you wish to make a purchase from a store. Hence why some websites now offer auto-fill forms that will fill in the users address, name and number.

The credit card information will not be remembered on the site. Instead, it should be available as an option for it to be tokenised therefore giving the owner the ability to re-use this during their next checkout. This will then only require the three-digit number on the back of the card to complete the purchase.

Sites such as Amazon are the best examples when looking at how quick and easy a checkout system can be. The forms no longer need to be filled in once they have been filled in once. You can set your account to remember your preferred delivery and billing address while also using the tokenised version of your credit card information. From a single press of a button, Amazon will utilise all this information and go through the whole process quickly without needing the fields to be filled in manually.

Making the process as easy as possible for your potential customers should be your priority. This keeps them engaged and makes them more likely to return and use you again in the future.

2. Multistage Checkouts

Moving from auto-filling forms to the length of the form itself; multistage checkouts are a great asset to any e-commerce website. Imagine the length of the form if you had the name, delivery and billing address, credit card information and promotional code box all on one page. This will make the form appear quite long and can immediately put people off. A multistage checkout is the best way to avoid this. This spreads out the information that is needed into different sections. Combined with a progress bar, the user can easily see what is coming up and what is left to fill in.

This does not only apply to checkouts. Surveys should do this as well to give the user a visual progress meter. Going through question after question without any sign of the end coming up, people are highly likely to not bother or stop midway through it. The progress meter is what can aid to stop this. A visual representation of where someone is in a process gives them the knowledge of how much is left.

3. Mobile Friendly Version

Using the e-commerce superstar Amazon as an example, they have three versions of their store available. They have a desktop and mobile site, but they also have an application available for download on mobile phones and tablets. The mobile site and application both look and work the same way. The content is easy to read, easy to scroll through and works the same way as the desktop site.

Having a mobile site will drive conversions and aid in keeping potential customers on your site. It makes the content easier to see and greatly improves the sites usability on a mobile device. Your site needs to be responsive or you need to have a separate website for mobile devices. Due to the ever-increasing percentage of searches being completed on mobile phones; you will be sacrificing a lot of potential business by not having a mobile friendly website.

People are highly likely to bounce of a site if it is not mobile friendly as it makes it harder to navigate and use. However, that is not your only concern with not having a mobile site. Google are now penalising sites that are not mobile friendly. They will be focusing their attention on sites that are responsive and mobile friendly to ensure that they appear higher in their search results.

To avoid losing your positions in the search results and improve your conversions; you will want to make your site mobile friendly.

4. Search Bar

Imagine you know what product you want, but you don’t know what category it is under. There is no way to search through the site so you should manually go through each page on each category to find what you are after. Now ask yourself, does your site do this? If the answer is yes, then you will want to get your site re-designed. The inclusion of a search bar is paramount to an e-commerce’s sites success.

The search bar sits at the top of the site in easy view so customers can find the products they are after quickly. Making the process of finding and purchasing a product as easy as possible for your customers will keep them interested and will increase the likelihood of them returning in future. Searching works the same way with blogs and forums. You do a search for a particular term and the most relevant posts will appear.

The search bar will enable your customers to quickly find a product on your website, but also navigate through the different categories. The search bar can be designed in different ways to work differently. One that we have designed in the past also lists the relevant categories depending on your search. This can be seen below.

5. Registration & Guest Options

E-commerce sites should not pressure visitors into registering or logging into the site. This is an immediate way to cause people to back off and go elsewhere. Removing this wall and enabling visitors to directly visit the site with the option available to register; you will see a decrease in bounces from your site and a great improvement in visit duration.

A registration and login option should be available from the start. This is why it is often seen at the top of the website so it can be easily accessed. It enables visitors to keep track of what they have ordered and can easily save information for future purchases. They are also able to review products with an account and opt in for newsletters if the company offers them.

Even though there is a registration option, an e-commerce site shouldn’t force someone to create an account to proceed with a purchase unless if you are a large organisation like Amazon or Argos. Having an account does make the process of purchasing from a company much easier and more efficient, but some people would prefer to make a onetime purchase as a guest. Giving them this option is greatly beneficial as they still might come back to you for future purchases.

6. Reviews

Reviews are customer’s ways of detailing their experiences or giving voice to how they liked or hated a company’s products. A review can be used to a company’s advantage no matter if they are negative or positive. There is a large percentage (over 90%) of people that look at customer reviews before making their decision of purchasing from you. If a potential customer came across a negative review that you have not replied to, they are more than likely to go elsewhere.

Reviews are a great way to show if you are trustworthy and if you care about your customers. Replying to reviews, no matter if they are positive or negative shows potential customers that you care for what they have to say and will talk things through if they have an issue. Adding this personal touch to the business means more people will be more likely to trust and purchase from you.

Getting customers to leave reviews if they have been happy with the products is a great way to get other potential customers interested. We covered just how you react to negative reviews in another article and by using the tips mentioned in that article, you are sure to improve your businesses online image.

7. Extensive Amount of High Quality Images

The main reason you have an e-commerce site is for people to be able to purchase your products. But what good is an online store without any images of the products? Without being able to see what the product looks like, people will be more than likely to go elsewhere. Images are another form of confirmation for the customer that the product they are looking at is what they are after.

Just having images placed on the site will not do either. Using poor quality images can make you seem unprofessional and can ruin the look of a product. Utilising high quality images that are optimised creates an astonishing look for any product. Using Amazon as an example, you will usually see multiple, high quality images for a single product. This is not the case for all the products they have on their site, but can be seen on most.

Every product doesn’t need multiple images. Using a single image is still effective, but more is always better. These do still need to be high quality to convince the potential customer to purchase from you. An effective e-Commerce website design will display your product photos in the best way to tempt customers into learning more or purchasing.

8. Links to Similar/Related Products

Some products have different variations, are quite similar or are good when paired together. This is what makes the similar products section so helpful on e-commerce sites. Usually found at the bottom or below the product description on a product page; the similar products car contains a range of different products that might interest the viewer. And it's a core part of effective e-Commerce website design.

This bar has different names and different uses. It has been used as a ‘recently viewed products’ bar and has been used as a ‘customers who bought this also bought’ bar. All these variations aid the customer in showing what other customers have bought while also ensuring they can keep track of what they have viewed already.

A related products bar also gives the user the chance to find more products that they might not have been looking for, but will end up purchasing because they need it. The related products that appear do need to be relevant to the main product the user is currently viewing. This ensures that they don’t end up getting confused or taken away to a product they don’t need or want.

9. Promotional Banners, Codes & Sales

E-commerce sites can greatly benefit from sales and promotional banners or codes as they offer a way to tempt old customers and new customers to make a purchase. This can be a promotional item that, when bought with another product within this promotion, the price becomes cheaper or they get one of them free. Promotional banners and sales direct people to certain products and is a great way to get people interested in your business.

Sales and promotional banners will mean that people will be more likely to return if you are known to have sales occasionally. These do not need to be every week or too often, but an occasional sale will possibly bring back old customers and tempt new ones into getting in contact. Promotional codes are slightly different. They are often sent out as part of a newsletter or as part of someone making their first purchase.

Some businesses will send an email out to a customer after their first purchase with a code that gives them a percentage off their next order. This is a means to get them to go back and purchase from that store again in the future. However, codes can be displayed as part of a promotional banner on the website. This could be something along the lines of ‘use the word SUMMER during checkout to get 10% off your next order’.

The Effective E-Commerce Website Design Factors

All the factors mentioned within this article will greatly aid your business in furthering your online reach while also driving more conversions. From simply changing out some images for higher quality ones or running a promotion; you can drive more potential customers to make a purchase from you.

If you are looking for a new e-commerce website or looking for a makeover of an old one to make it mobile friendly, get in contact with the web design specialists here at the Smart Domain Group.