23 Simple E-Commerce Website Design Tips for Product Brands
Why Do You Need E-Commerce Website Design?
These days, we do just about everything online, including shopping, which is why there’s never been a better time to be in e-commerce.
Nowadays, if you’re selling anything—whether sneakers, rice crackers, or something in between—you need to hop on board the e-commerce website train. An e-commerce site offers you the chance to build your brand, connect with customers, and sell more products—but only if you’ve got the right website design.
What is E-Commerce Web Design?
Some of you may wonder what e-commerce web design is and how it differs from other types of web design, such as a B2B website, membership site, or blog. So what exactly does e-commerce website design entail?
Put simply; it’s the process of creating an online store for your business to sell digitally to target shoppers. To design an e-commerce website, you need to plan, conceptualize, and arrange your content and products for effective display on the Internet.
What Are the Benefits of E-Commerce Web Design?
E-commerce web design is crucial for turning website visitors into customers.
Ideally, the design elements of your website should make the shopping experience and purchase process as quick, easy, and stress-free as possible.
Web design is critical when creating an e-commerce website. Good e-commerce web design is all about using the right colors, fonts, images, words, and graphics to convince visitors to make a purchase. In addition, your e-commerce website design should attract potential customers, provide an excellent user experience and present your online shop in the best light.
Be obsessive about how customers ‘flow’ through the website. Remove any barriers that prevent them from purchasing your product or signing up for your service. You don’t want your customers to wonder, ‘how do I purchase this?’ It should be clear. Any moment of hesitation could mean the loss of a potential sale.
No matter how good your online advertisements are, you could lose valuable customers if your online store is not optimized for sales. You could also be wasting your valuable ad dollars if visitors click off your site the second they get to it.
So, not only does your site have to look good and feel on-brand, but it also needs to drive your website visitors to take action and buy your products. But how, exactly, do you do that? How do you design the e-commerce site that will have products flying off your virtual shelves?
Follow these 23 e-commerce web design tips to help you take your shop to the next level!
23 E-Commerce Website Design Tips
1. Make It Look Professional
The basis of an e-commerce site is that you are asking your website visitors to purchase something from you. And as a result, you’re asking them to turn over sensitive information, like their credit card information, which they’re not going to feel comfortable doing if your website doesn’t look professional and trustworthy.
Investing in a professional website is a must if you want to build trust with your customers—and developing that trust is a must for a successful e-commerce store.
What do I mean by professional? Your website shouldn’t have any typos or misspellings. Your font, color palette, and footer design should be consistent from page to page. All your product links and buttons should work. Your photos shouldn’t look like you snapped them on an old iPhone 5, and your overall site design shouldn’t look like you swiped it from Geocities circa 1997.
If you want your customers to take you seriously, you need to show them you take yourself seriously—and the only way to do that is with a professional web design.
2. Design for Consumers
Every detail of your e-commerce website design, from product pages to their respective product images to contact forms to the checkout page, could potentially contribute to a user’s decision to purchase.
If you want your e-commerce website design to connect with your audience, you need to think like your audience. Ultimately, there are just a few things your potential customers want in an e-commerce experience—a site that’s easy to navigate, well-designed, and makes shopping easy, straightforward, and hassle-free.
And if you want your e-commerce shop to succeed, you’d better give them those things.
During the design process, put yourself in your visitor’s shoes. What kind of layout is going to be easiest for them to navigate? How can you organize your products in a way that makes sense for the end user? How can you simplify the checkout process?
Of course, it’s nice to include additional information on your brand’s story, a blog, or even an option for website visitors to sign up for an email newsletter. Just ensure those extra pieces of information don’t distract people from making a purchase.
For example, a form on your contact page or at the bottom of your homepage that people can fill out to join your email list is fine. But don’t make a pop-up window requesting that users sign up for your newsletter, as it may have the opposite impact of what you want.
Not only might it distract someone from making a purchase. But it could annoy visitors and make them less likely to want to give you their email address and more likely to abandon their cart.
When you think like your customer, you can anticipate what they want from your e-commerce store—and then design your site to meet those needs.
3. Keep it Simple
When it comes to designing an e-commerce website, simple is always better. The more elements you have on the page (Colors! Banner Ads! ALL THE POP-UPS!), the more it takes away from the entire point of the website—closing a sale.
You don’t need a ton of bells and whistles on your e-commerce website—all they do is act as a distraction. Instead, keep your design clear, clean, and simple—and keep the focus on the sale.
Minimalist websites are more visually appealing and more trustworthy than visually complex websites.
Suppose you want to optimize your e-commerce web design for conversions. In that case, you should consider simplifying it by removing unnecessary information and utilizing a minimalistic design with plenty of white space.
Grid-style layouts are the best for e-commerce sites and most sites in general.
When users browse products, keeping them in organized rows and columns is best.
Just be careful not to cram too many different products in one row. I recommend only having three or four products per row to make your product catalog pages visually appealing.
Plenty of white space around each item gives people breathing room and allows them to differentiate between products.
4. Optimize for Mobile Consumers
I’ll keep this short—if you want to capture the customers who wish to shop on their phones or tablets, you must ensure your website design is fully responsive. Otherwise, you might not convince those valuable mobile visitors that your site is where they want to make a purchase.
According to Oberlo, as of August 2022, 53.74 percent of the total web visits are currently mobile, compared to 46.26 percent coming from desktops.
And that percentage is only expected to increase as smartphones and tablets become even more advanced. So failing to optimize your e-commerce web design for mobile use is one of the biggest mistakes you can make!
Google sees the importance of having mobile-friendly websites so much that it launched several mobile-first algorithm updates in 2018.
Mobile-first web design allows your e-commerce website to adapt to any mobile device, screen resolution, or operating system. Ensure your text, image sizes, CTAs, buttons, and form fields work on all different platforms.
The bottom line is that when testing your site, always view it from several different devices and operating systems, just to be sure.
5. Use Consistent Branding
While it is wise to use popular e-commerce web design conventions to optimize your website, you also want your site to stand out from your competitors.
When it comes to shopping online, people want to buy from established brands—not faceless e-commerce sites that look like a front for trying to steal your credit card information.
To build trust, you need to drive sales with your e-commerce business. Therefore, you must put some serious thought into your branding. Your branding is like the DNA of your e-commerce business; it’s who you are as a company, what you’re about, and how you’re different from your competitors—and it plays a massive part in building a connection with your audience and driving sales.
If you want to get the most from your e-commerce design, take the time to create your brand identity and infuse that branding into your design. Once you know who you are, you can work it into the branding of your e-commerce site. And that branding? It’ll help build trust with your audience—and drive serious sales in the process.
Ensure your logo is visible on every site page and keep color schemes and fonts consistent and on brand.
Maintaining the same navigation menu and design scheme across all pages displays a consistent and trustworthy image. No one likes clicking onto a website page only to wonder if they are entirely on a new website.
6. Use Color to Your Advantage
Choosing the colors for your e-commerce site is more than just saying, “Well, red is my favorite color, so…let’s make all the things red!” A color is a potent tool—and if you understand the psychology behind color, you can use it to your advantage (and drive some serious sales in the process).
Different colors can inspire different feelings, emotions, and actions in people. So if you want your e-commerce site to convert, you need to use those color inspirations to your advantage.
So, for example, if you want people to make a purchase, make the purchase button stand out with a bright color like red. According to color psychology, red inspires excitement and passion, which are driving factors behind spending—and studies show that making a button red can increase conversions by a whopping 34%.
Or, if you want to up your credibility, incorporate blue into your web design. Blue is not only a universally loved color but also invokes feelings of trust, making it a go-to in the business world (there’s a reason the color blue appears in more than half of all logos).
The point is color is one of the most powerful tools in your design toolbox—and if you know how to use it, it can significantly impact your e-commerce design.
7. Design for User Behavior
You want to make it easy for visitors on your site to find the products they are looking for and make a purchase.
Keep in mind the natural eye flow when designing your e-commerce site.
Studies and heat maps have shown that people tend to view websites in an E or F formation.
Visitors start at the top-left corner and work their way horizontally across the page, then down the left side, horizontally again, and so forth.
This behavior is why navigation menus typically appear horizontally across the top of each website page.
Utilize the E formation in your e-commerce web design to guide visitors’ eyes toward main conversion points.
Convenience is the top reason people shop online and, not surprisingly, one of the main reasons for shopping cart abandonment. Therefore, a good e-commerce website design should enable your customers to find what they need quickly, starting with user-friendly and effective navigation. Quickly locating items helps propel potential consumers from browsing your online store to purchasing.
Navigation refers to all the website elements that help users get to specific information on your website. For example, navigation includes a header navigation menu, product category pages, on-site search, product filters, and website footers.
Menu bars allow users to easily navigate the pages of your website to find what they are looking for. The menu should appear across all pages for maximum ease, preferably across the top. You can also align vertical menu bars along the left side of the page.
Be careful not to load up your menu with too many options, as this can appear cluttered and confusing. For example, if you have a lot of different categories and pages on your website, you should use a drop-down menu, but ensure to limit the drop-downs to no more than three levels. Another option is to use a mega menu to organize your pages, categories, and products.
Make it easy for visitors to quickly locate other essential pages by adding a footer menu listing your about page, contact page, policy pages, and your blog and FAQ pages, if applicable.
9. Include a Search Bar
Many of your website visitors will likely have a specific product already in mind when they enter your website. A search bar allows them to quickly find the product they have in mind without scrolling through pages of information they aren’t interested in.
If a user cannot quickly find a way to search your site for the product they want, they are more likely to go somewhere else for it.
That’s why your search bar should appear near the top of your website, often in the right-hand corner, to make it as quick and easy to find as possible.
Regarding search bars, you can further improve your e-commerce site’s search features by making filters available. Nothing is worse than finding the perfect pair of shoes online only to realize the store doesn’t carry your size.
Allowing users to filter your products is the best way to avoid this pitfall. Popular search filters include size, color, brand, and price. This information allows users to search your website for the product they want while ensuring the results they see are as specific as possible to what they want.
10. Make Content Scannable
You can spend days crafting long descriptions for the products on your e-commerce site, but I’ve got news for you—no one will read it.
Research shows that most website visitors only read about 20% of the text on any web page. Instead of reading content word for word, they scan the content looking for essential information—so, if you want to get your point across (and drive sales in the process), you need to make your content scannable.
Break up your content—product descriptions, blog posts, or an “about us” page—into an easy-to-scan format. Keep sentences and paragraphs short, use bolding to call attention to crucial information, and use bulleted lists to break up large blocks of text.
The easier to scan your content, the more likely your audience will absorb your key messaging—and the more likely you’ll be able to make a sale.
If you do need to include additional product information or details, such as instructions, care guides, recipes, usage recommendations, etc., consider moving them below the product listing or provide them as a video, infographic, or downloadable PDF file.
11. Use High-Quality Photos
The most significant pain point for online shoppers is that they cannot see products in person before buying them like they can with a brick-and-mortar store.
You’ll need to enhance your e-commerce web design by using high-quality product images to overcome this pain point.
Having high-resolution photos is an absolute must. Any blurriness or pixelation can turn would-be customers away, thinking your product is cheap.
Consider creating photo galleries for each product so users can click through them and see multiple angles of each product.
A popular feature allows shoppers to zoom in on a particular image and see fine details. You may also want to add 360-degree product views. This functionality is about as close as you can get to allowing visitors to physically pick up a product and examine it before making a purchase.
If possible, use lifestyle images of people using or interacting with your products.
For example, clothing is more enticing when worn by a model rather than being laid flat or on a mannequin. Likewise, some products are easier to sell when you can show them in action.
12. Include Reviews and Testimonials
Trustmary says 93% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. Additionally, 58% of consumers would be ready to pay more or travel further to visit companies with good reviews.
You can use this helpful statistic to your advantage by including reviews and testimonials on your website.
Customer reviews are a quick and easy way to promote sales and conversions.
One effective e-commerce web design strategy is to include product-specific reviews directly under each product’s description.
If you don’t have many different products, you can also include a separate page on your site for reviews and testimonials.
13. Optimize Product Pages
Nothing—and I mean nothing—will kill a sale faster than clunky product pages. If your website visitors must click around different menus before they find the product they’re looking for, they’re going to hightail it out of there fast—and click their way right to a competitor’s site.
Therefore, optimizing your product pages is essential. Keep the products on your site organized into specific categories to make it easy for users to find the products they want to purchase.
Make your product categories and product pages easy to navigate. Make it easy for your customers to search for products and to filter products by things like color, size, or product type. The easier you make your categories and pages to navigate, the easier it will be for your customers to find what they’re looking for—and the easier it will be for them to make a purchase.
Categories should be easy to find through a menu bar to streamline the search process.
This functionality can also give users a glimpse into product categories they did not even know you had.
14. Show Related and Recommended Products
Display similar products that shoppers might also like that work well with the current product, or products, that others have purchased. These products can be displayed on a product detail page or in the shopping cart and help guide shoppers to the products that meet their needs, potentially encouraging them to continue shopping—a great way to cross-sell related products.
15. Employ Persuasive Design
Do you know which products that are often out of stock? Yes, you’re right! These are the brand’s best sellers. Shoppers often notice products with out-of-stock, limited inventories, or sold tags on the homepage or category pages.
According to the scarcity principle, humans place a higher value on a scarce object and a lower value on those abundant. Therefore, create a sense of urgency in the sales process by showing scarcity—display how many products are in stock, grey out sizes that are out of stock, or show sale deadlines. Lack will motivate potential buyers to take action.
Increasingly, companies are using advanced psychological research and, to drive more engagement and purchases, have turned what used to be an art into a science. Therefore, persuasive design in e-commerce is a very effective way to garner more purchases.
16. Remember SEO Best Practices
SEO can’t be stressed enough when it comes to your e-commerce website. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization — it’s a way to move up higher on the list of search results. If you put a lot of focus into SEO, you’ll get more exposure to your website, more views, and a wider reach.
When you look at SEO tips for e-commerce websites, they boil down to using relevant keywords and writing imaginative product descriptions.
Keywords are words or phrases a prospective customer might search for to find you. For example, “best leather wallet” is a very reasonable search that someone might make when they’re looking for a new luxury wallet.
If you use this key phrase a few times in your online content, search engines will start associating your store with this phrase. With enough success, you’ll appear as the first overall result when someone looks it up.
Your product descriptions should be thorough, easy to read and describe the product well. Search engines look to your product descriptions to determine how relevant it is. By writing detailed and accurate descriptions, you’ll help your search engine rankings and communicate to your customers more clearly, so it’s a win-win.
17. Add a View Cart Icon
You’ve probably noticed that most e-commerce websites have a little shopping cart icon on every page (usually the top right corner) that allows users to easily view items they have added to their cart.
A shopping cart icon is one of the most essential e-commerce web design elements! Having this button visible while customers shop online has increased conversion rates.
To guide your customer through a few extra thoughts and suggestions, enhance your “upload to cart” icon. It helps the customers want to add it to the cart and continue shopping or make the purchase instantly. A view cart icon is an excellent feature to help customers shop quickly and have a great buying experience.
Just make sure the icon updates in real-time and is something recognizable, like a shopping cart or a shopping bag. This icon is one of the essential elements of your entire website, and the last thing you want to do is confuse people.
I recommend making it stand out by using a bright color that stands out from the background. It should also be more significant than other buttons to make it the easiest to find to create a better e-commerce experience for your customers.
18. Be Clear About Pricing and Policies
When designing your e-commerce website, always be upfront and honest about the price of the products or services you sell. However, don’t try to hide the information or make it difficult for visitors to find it on your site.
You never want your website visitors to feel that they are being deceived or tricked.
Burying pricing information on hard-to-find pages of your website can be detrimental.
Instead, put it somewhere easy to find and simple to understand. This rule also applies to shipping rates and your return policy.
Always be upfront about shipping costs on your products and shipping policies customers may need to know.
Make sure your customers can see the total cost of a product, including shipping, before making a purchase. Studies show that displaying shipping information too late in the purchase process leads to increased cart abandonment rates.
In addition to clear pricing information, you should make your shipping and return policies readily available on your website. Adding a link to your main navigation menu for store policies is a quick and easy way to take care of this critical detail many e-commerce store owners forget to add.
19. Simplify Your Checkout Process
You’ll lose customers if your checkout process is a pain in the you-know-what. If you want people to buy from you, you must make buying as simple, straightforward, and pain-free as possible. So make your checkout page design clean, simple, and easy to navigate, and make everything about the process crystal clear.
For one, allow users to check out as a guest. People become suspicious when too much information is required of them to make a purchase. Creating an account on your site to make a simple purchase can turn consumers away faster than you can say “cart abandonment.”
Request only the necessary information like a shipping address, name, and payment information. If your product or service is entirely digital, there is no need to ask for an address, as customers can download the product from your website.
For example, what information do you need to process the purchase (and where they need to enter it), the different shipping options available (and how much they cost), and what to do in case there’s a problem with their order, or they need to do a return. Then, once the purchase is complete, direct your customers to a confirmation page so they know everything went through.
Clearly state your payment gateways and provide multiple payment options, including credit cards, PayPal, Stripe, Square, Google Pay, Apple Pay, bank transfer, etc.
Bonus tip: Allowing people to use a digital wallet like Google Pay or Apple Pay to make mobile payments can significantly boost conversions!
According to MoneyTransfers.com, 25.7% of people worldwide use mobile payments. The top 10 mobile payment apps have 3.37 billion users combined. In addition, 1.5 billion people used QR code payments in 2020.
Are your cart abandonment rates still high?
Don’t worry! Studies show that the average global e-commerce conversion rate is 4-5%, meaning for every 100 site visitors, only five will make a purchase.
A retargeting campaign can convince people to return to your site and complete their purchase.
20. Secure Your Online Store
It is essential to design a website that shoppers feel they can trust. Most shoppers are concerned about privacy and whether the site will protect their data by providing a secure transaction. If your e-commerce website does not feel trustworthy, they will shop elsewhere.
Trust between your customers and your online store is critical for sales. One immediate improvement that builds trust is to have every page encrypted using HTTPS protocol, not just the payment information pages. Customers rightly expect you to keep their data safe.
Of course, payment information and transactions require high security. Your site must be PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant if you accept credit cards.
For added security, don’t store vital data like credit card information on your company’s website. If your system gets hacked, you become liable.
21. Make It Easy to Contact You
Aside from making your site easy to navigate and your checkout process simple, it would help if you prioritized ensuring your customers find it easy to reach you. Customers are more likely to purchase if they can contact support quickly if they encounter any issues.
If a customer has a question or concern while viewing your site, they’re likely to search for a “contact us” page or scroll down to the bottom of your homepage to search for contact information.
Make your contact information as easy to find as possible. You don’t want to lose a customer for something as simple as forgetting to put an email address or phone number on your homepage!
It’s best to include as much contact information as possible. At a minimum, you should list an email address and a phone number. Additional info, such as your hours of operation or your standard response time, is also helpful.
Consider adding a contact form that will allow users to send an email directly or even a widget to let them send a Facebook or WhatsApp message to your company directly through the website.
22. Include Thank You Pages
Be sure to show consumers how much you appreciate their business!
Once someone purchases on your website, they should be redirected to a thank you page. This page serves a couple of essential purposes.
First, order confirmation or thank you pages are necessary to track conversions properly through social media ads.
Secondly, it lets users be confident their purchase has gone through and lets them know that you appreciate their business.
23. Include a FAQ Page
Are you tired of answering customer inquiries constantly?
Including an FAQ page on your website’s navigation menu alleviates the flow of product questions. It can also establish more trust in your website visitors.
How do FAQ pages establish trust? First, they let your visitors know that you are making an effort to be transparent with your products and services.
They also let people know you are serious about answering queries. Finally, they suggest you have good customer service skills and genuinely care about helping people find the information they need.
Not only that, but having an easily accessible list of answers to common questions about your brand establishes you as an expert.
Building confidence in potential customers that you fully understand your product.
People are more likely to buy from a company that appears reputable and knowledgeable.
FAQ pages can also improve site navigation by using hyperlinks that link to appropriate pages of your website.
Build an E-Commerce Website with Your Customers in Mind
Any business can build a website. But unfortunately, making that site a beautiful and intuitive experience is harder for the user. But the extra effort put into e-commerce website design is well worth it.
A well-thought-of e-commerce website design helps increase sales. In a survey by Top Design Firms, 42% of respondents said they’d leave a website with poor functionality. So, always begin with your customers in mind when designing an e-commerce website—make it easy for them to purchase (and for you to close a sale).
A well-executed e-commerce website design will elevate your business. Use these 23 tips for effective e-commerce website design to reach more consumers and increase your online sales.
Browse your favorite product websites for inspiration and take note of the ones that use a simple, clean design. Then try to incorporate that style into your e-commerce website design.
Designing an e-commerce website can be tricky, but now that you know the top web design tips for e-commerce, you have everything you need to create a site that looks amazing and converts your website visitors.
So what are you waiting for? Use these tips to give your online shop the overhaul it deserves.
Do you need additional help designing your e-commerce site? Our expert e-commerce web designers are here to help! Contact us to learn more about our e-commerce website design services.
Are You Building an E-Commerce Website?
Are you interested in selling your products online but unsure how to build an e-commerce site? Our team of professional e-commerce designers will be happy to help you with this. But first, look at our portfolio and read our case studies.
Then, if you believe we are a good fit for your e-commerce web design needs, reach out to us! We offer a full range of consulting and design solutions for businesses and product brands.
And if you are unsure how e-commerce web design can help launch your online store, let’s talk! We will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine the best ecommerce solutions for your company or product brand!
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By Gregor Saita
Co-Founder / CXO