10 Smart E-Commerce Design Tips Your Customers Will Love

Published May 6th, 2014 by Michael Farin

Web design for e-commerce isn’t just about slick graphics and pretty pictures – it’s about creating a streamlined shopping experience that’s easy for customers to navigate. When your customers can move quickly from check-in through product pages to checkout, they’ll love your store and they’ll love to come back and keep shopping. Here are 10 of our top tips for applying a more intuitive, shopper-friendly design to your e-commerce platform.

#1: Give customers a comprehensive search filter option. When shoppers can filter their searches to find exactly what they’re looking for, they save time, energy and effort. And they can be sure you carry exactly the item they want before they even visit the page.

#2: Let your customers change their minds. Sometimes, customers decide they don’t want to search under a certain set of parameters – or they’ve already clicked the button, but then they change their minds. Install a function that allows them to change their browsing choices without re-loading the page and checking off boxes a second time. Fewer “back button” clicks means less frustration and faster overall site speed.

#3: Keep “SEARCH” front and center. Or top right – wherever it’s easiest for your customers to see, access and use. Ever looked at the top of the Amazon homepage? It’s a single, gigantic search bar. Consider making your search bar the centerpiece of your site – it will encourage customers to browse again and again.

#4: Keep track of your inventory. If something is out of stock, make that VERY CLEAR. (Sometimes it’s best to keep old pages on your site for SEO purposes – but you should always, always make the inventory status transparent. Otherwise, you’re going to be getting emails from some very angry customers who ordered products they can’t have.

#5: Use world-class photos. Your customers don’t get to handle your products in a real-life environment, so your photos are all they have. Don’t shortchange shoppers – or exasperate them – by posting small, inaccurate, blurry, pixellated or low-resolution images. Go for the gold – create outstanding picture galleries that accurately showcase all your products’ features and angles. The extra time and expense will pay off big-time down the road.

#6: Put the shopping cart on every page. Your search bar and your shopping basket go hand-in-hand – people want to be able to find new products and keep tabs on the products they already have, all without leaving their current page. (Stopping to load up an extra “shopping cart” page each time you add a new item is no fun.) Save your shoppers the trouble, and they’ll repay you on the checkout page.

Also, a tip for the basket: Include thumbnail photos next to the merchandise items (the JC Penney website does this). It helps add some “life” to the basket and keep customers interested.

#7: Use fly-out menus to avoid clutter. Don’t display a bewildering amount of items and options on your landing page – potential customers will get spooked and run! Instead, keep the initial design streamlined and allow customers to roll over major sections or headings to see the menu options as a fly-out box.

#8: Provide product previews. Customers often like to see quick previews when they mouse over an item, so they don’t have to bother loading the entire page.

#9: Keep it clean. Product pages, that is. Don’t offer a haphazard mess of text, images and information – organize your content logically, intuitively and as attractively as you can. Cut back the clutter. Give your customers something nice to look at – they’ll appreciate it.

#10: Avoid distractions on the checkout page. Cut back on content and display only the clearest, most vital pathway you want your customer to follow. Keep the checkout process to a single page, if you can – one-page checkouts have the highest conversion rates. And get rid of sidebars and ads: you want your customer to focus on the transaction.

Because that’s the goal, after all – more transactions, more money, more repeat business.

That’s all, folks! Check out our articles on speeding up your Magento site and creating a more streamlined homepage here.

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