Web design has come a long way in improving ecommerce conversions, especially in the last year or so. Designers have found that specific design elements need to be included in an ecommerce page to gain the trust of a customer. All of my issues for making online purchases in the past, of course, first start with the actual company policies. But a web designer now has the responsibility of making sure these policies are front and center for consumers to see – and I’d go so far to say that designers also should suggest their clients adopt certain policies if these are not present. After all, it’s your job as a web designer to build a successful ecommerce website for your clients.
Make sure you as a web designer, or even an online retail business owner, knows just what an ecommerce website needs to improve conversions. The following list includes the top design elements (and, consequently, value offerings) that every ecommerce site should have to help consumers like me not only know exactly what they are getting with an online purchase but also feel safe making a digital purchase.
A clean design is important for any website, but especially an ecommerce one. What exactly does a clean design mean for ecommerce? For one, it has to focus on the products. A visitor should be able to immediately tell what your client sells when visiting the site, so large product images on the home page is essential.
Home Page Promotionals
The home page is also the place to advertise any current promotionals of the company, whether it’s a discount on certain items, free shipping, or storewide savings. And, of course, illustrate with product images and short, snappy descriptions.
Effective Navigation Menu
The navigation menu needs to always remain visible so that clients can jump from page to page quickly and easily. Be sure to keep the navigation menu simple using drop-down categories to help better organize clients with lots of products. A Search bar is usually helpful as well if your client has a huge list of products. And include a FAQ or Help tab in the menu so that customers can search for answers to popularly asked questions on the site.
Recommendations/ Featured Items
Featured products on the home page are an excellent way to give customers an idea of what type of product you sell. If your promotional ad takes up the entire space above the fold, place popular items just below the fold for customers to see when they scroll down.
An actual page for testimonials is becoming a bit outdated. Instead, designers are incorporating testimonials right on the home page and/or product pages. Or, if a separate testimonials page is included, make sure to show previews of testimonials on the home page. Keep in mind that these are company reviews, not product reviews – two very different things. Testimonials should be about the satisfaction of the customer working with the company.
Large Product Images
Every product will need several photo sizes for different pages. Make sure that images are large enough that the product is easily discernable, good resolution, but also are optimized for fast web page loading. Usually this means keeping images at less than 70kb, and really for the web you don’t need a higher resolution than this. Make sure your client has at least two angles for each product that you can place as thumbnails on the product page for consumers to view at a larger size if desired.
Organized Product Information
Some of your clients may only have one category of products, while others may have several categories. No matter how many different products a client has, though, always have a page/ pages that displays all products within a single category along with individual pages for each product. This way, you can more cleanly fit a product description, specs, the availability of the product, product reviews, price, customization options (such as size or color), recommended items to purchase along with this product, etc.
Clear Product Price and Shipping Costs
Nothing is more frustrating to consumers than to have to wait until the product page or (god forbid!) the checkout page to know how much an item will cost them. Be sure to place the price of the product everywhere you show the product (home page, category page, product page, etc). If your client offers fixed shipping costs for every product, then place this at the very least on the product page and quick view. If shipping costs are configured at checkout, then place a shipping cost button on the product page that opens a window or leads to the FAQ page and an explanation of how shipping costs are determined.
Improved Call-to-Action/ Add-to-Cart Button
Depending on what products the website sells, you will need a call to action or add to cart button. Some web designers make the mistake of creating a fancy button that blends in with the color scheme or style of the website. DO NOT DO THIS. Yes, I am shouting at you – that’s just how important it is for add to cart or purchase button to stand out.
Minimal Checkout Page
Studies show that 67% of customers leave during the checkout process. Why? Sometimes it is because the price and shipping costs weren’t displayed before the customer started checking out. Sometimes consumers leave because there is no option to check out as a guest. Other times, it is because the checkout page requires too many steps or even because it contains too many distractions. All of these problems are very easy to avoid.
Of course, the list above is not complete. As with any client, make sure to include vital SEO elements on every page. Keep in mind too that not every client will need all of the suggestions above, since every company is different. Use this list as a guideline, however, and hopefully you will gain the reputation of a web designer who knows what it takes to create an ecommerce website with record conversions.