Ten Tips on Ecommerce Design for New Businesses

10th May, 2019 by

With global ecommerce sales expected to be worth £9 trillion by next year, there’s no excuse for substandard online sales portals. Consumers don’t expect to be wowed by shopping sites, but they do look for effective ecommerce design from a robust platform which won’t hang or crash.

Although we’re tentatively moving towards chatbot-powered transactions, the majority of ecommerce sales are still made through websites. This is most obvious in America, where a quarter of the world’s internet purchases originate; one in ten retail sales are now made online. As a result, effective ecommerce design is a necessity rather than an aspiration, whether your firm is a local specialist or an international stockist.

If your customer-facing websites haven’t already adopted best practice, these ten tips really deserve consideration:

1. Prioritise mobile.

If customers can’t complete a transaction as easily on their phones as they could on a tablet or desktop, they’ll defect to competitors without hesitation. Large buttons and responsive menus are essential, as is a mobile-optimised template.

2. Maintain consistency.

Having chosen a responsive site design, the next step involves developing a cohesive aesthetic. Headers, menus, and fonts should be identical on every product page, and even error pages should retain a consistent style.

3. Include all available product data.

If you sell refurbished laptops, don’t just list the make and model. Publish RAM and SSD levels, peripheral and port lists, preemptively answering potential queries. Product photos from every angle help, too.

4. Use common fonts, forms, and file types.

An ecommerce site requires stability and reliability, so it’s not the place to deploy obscure WordPress plugins. Stick to classic extensions (JPG, MP4), fonts (Arial, Helvetica) and coding (HTML5, CSS).

5. Beta test in every possible browser.

Preview the site in IE as well as Edge, ensuring fonts display coherently in Firefox as well as Chrome and Safari. Test form fields on Kindles, games consoles and fringe devices, and address any issues which arise.

6. Avoid clutter.

The previous point should ensure that sidebars don’t appear centre-stage, but clutter comes in many varieties. Hover ads and interstitials ruin the UX, while white space subliminally draws a person’s eye to surrounding content.

7. Simplify and subtract.

Effective ecommerce design requires homepage ‘Buy’ buttons and one-click ordering. Enable customers to shop as guests with a subsequent opt-in for marketing literature, ensuring a simple path between arrival and order completion.

8. Streamline checkouts.

A one-page ecommerce portal should contain a bare minimum of fields. This isn’t the time to ask for consumer preferences. Never hide taxes or postage away until the end of a transaction, and make sure that the ‘Buy Now’ button can’t be clicked twice.

9. Minimise loading times.

Effective ecommerce design should bolster SEO results, but Google and Bing hate slow-loading pages. Abolish unnecessary code or CSS, weed out dead links and 404 errors, and never autoplay video clips as a page loads.

10. Use online tools for an insider perspective.

Fetch as Google demonstrates weaknesses in site design across both desktop and mobile sites, while Yoast does the same for SEO. Google Analytics reveals keyword performance and also helps to optimise sites.

Other tips may benefit specific industries or stages of growth, such as a startup firm researching established rival sites for examples of best practice. Sitemap wireframes help designers to understand an ecommerce platform’s structure, while hosting needs vary depending on bandwidth requirements and database structure. UK2.NET is ideally placed to help with everything from domain registration and site hosting to malware protection and data backups…

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