The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Website Design

Last updated
January 3, 2022
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Read time
9 min

Where do the majority of consumers spend their time shopping? Stores? Malls? Well, neither. The reality is that most people nowadays do their shopping online. So if you want to reach them faster, that’s where your business needs to be.

Not to mention, Nasdaq estimates that by 2040, eCommerce will facilitate 95% of all purchases.

Opening an e-commerce website (if you don’t already have one) is a good start, but it’s not where your efforts should stop. It’s crucial to have a solid e-commerce web design optimized for user convenience and conversion.

Let’s discover all the must-knows of eCommerce web design to ensure your business ends up with a modern, functional, and affordable eCommerce web design.

Table of Contents

How Ecommerce Web Design Will Affect Your Business

As an online retailer, you’ll be doing most of your business through your eCommerce website. This means that your website is where users first land when they discover you, and it’s where they click the “Checkout” button to complete their purchase.

The quality of your web design depends on how well it can guide and support the customer through the entire purchase process. The simpler and more enjoyable the process is, the more sales your site will generate.

On the other hand, if some of the buttons don’t work, the menu is confusing, and the products aren’t presented well, the odds won’t be in your favour. Modern-day shoppers are pretty sensitive to minor web-browsing setbacks and will not spend their money on a site that’s anything short of excellent.

When building a top-notch eCommerce website, any component — from site architecture to the correct use of colour for CTA buttons — can play a significant role. So without further ado, let’s uncover how you can create a well-performing eCommerce website for your business.

How much revenue can your website generate?

Before jumping into a website redesign, its best to go in with a clear idea of your return on investment.

How to Create a Winning eCommerce Web Design

There are 12–24 million eCommerce websites on the internet as of now, and the number keeps increasing with each day. While each website is unique in its own way, some features stand out among all successful sites.

Below, you’ll find the best eCommerce web design practices and features your eCommerce website needs.

1. Ensure Smooth Site Navigation

What most users expect from your eCommerce website is ease of use, browsing, and buying. They want to be able to swipe through your catalogue and quickly find the desired item. This will in turn positively reflect on your revenue.

First and foremost, your design needs a clearly defined path for the buyer’s journey. Where will your users land when they click on an ad or link? What path should they take from there? How will you guide them through the payment process?

Thought-out site architecture and well-chosen page layout will make all the difference in your site’s usability. Be sure to have an easily accessible navigation bar, separate your products into categories if necessary, have a search function, and add sidebars to show your visitors related items.

All the elements mentioned above will come together to make the conversion path as seamless as possible for your visitors. One of the leading causes why customers abandon an eCommerce website is that they cannot find what they are looking for. Good site navigation ensures visitors don’t struggle with finding what they want.

2. Make It Mobile-Friendly

Mobile is a device you can’t ignore if you want to amp up your eCommerce revenue. The best way to make your website fully compatible with mobile is to develop a responsive web design. It will ensure your site works perfectly fine regardless of the device in use.

You never know whether your visitor is browsing your site on a large desktop screen, a tablet, or a mobile phone. So it’s best to prepare your website for all scenarios.

Besides making sure your text is easily readable and your images are well-cropped and positioned, you also need to check the load speed on your site across multiple device types. Most users tend to abandon slow-loading websites due to the inconvenience.

Providing your guests with a positive user experience starts with giving them the content they came for without making them wait. So, minimize your code, compress your images, and limit the number of heavy videos and animation on a single page. Once you’re done with that, you’ll have created a flexible website that’s adaptive to any device.

WolfPak app UIUX design

3. Embrace Brand Aesthetics

The visual appeal of a website is what draws most people in, as they usually don’t give conscious thought to the site’s infrastructure. The strong infrastructure should still be there, but appealing visuals must enhance the experience.

Ideally, your eCommerce web design would display your brand elements, such as your logo, signature colours, typography, icons, etc. This will make your web design much more authentic and distinctive. Moreover, using brand elements throughout the pages will give your site visual consistency — an indicator of a professional website.

If you hire an eCommerce web design agency, you need to work together to create a design brief that highlights where and how to incorporate your brand elements.

4. Photography Is King

Okay, hear us out: We’d never underestimate the value of great content, but content has to share its throne with photography when it comes to eCommerce web design. You’ve likely noticed that the main focus of eCommerce sites is photos.

Like Maybelline, many websites opt to open their home page with a large header image that showcases their latest or most popular product. And as you continue to browse the page, you see more photorealistic depictions of the products in various settings.

The reason that images are so crucial to eCommerce websites is, first and foremost, their ability to build trust. Since buyers can’t touch and examine objects as they would in physical stores, photos are the only way to get to know the product. Thus, high-quality and professionally taken shots are integral to eCommerce web design.

Each product should portray a few images that expose it from multiple angles. It’s even better to give your visitors the option to zoom in as much as they wish to get a closer look at the item.

5. Simple Goes a Long Way

Users prefer simple, intuitive websites over busy ones for one reason — it’s much easier to find what you’re looking for if the web design doesn’t overwhelm you with too much action.

Too many visual distractions, text boxes, and CTAs complicate the decision-making process for the guest. A cleaner page design with purpose-driven text, fewer graphics, plenty of white space, and one focus CTA will create a far more pleasant interaction.

You want to direct customers’ attention to your main message and offers, so make sure that’s where the spotlight falls. With fewer buttons to click and graphics to navigate through, your clients will comprehend your message much better.

A simpler layout will allow your products to shine through in a clutter-free space. In turn, your guests will have an easier time looking through your catalogue and viewing their preferred items.

Of course, you should aim to simplify not only your site’s user interface but also the whole checkout process. From navigating through product pages to completing purchase details, you need to make things as simplistic as possible.

Taking the buyer through unnecessary pages or asking them to disclose too much information will drive them away. So simplify where you can!

Your eCommerce Product Page Design Matters

With the essential practices out of the way, it’s time to tackle the next priority — your product page design. We like to think that a great product will sell itself, but the truth is that the product’s page does a lot of the hard work behind the scenes.

The unique challenge online retailers face is to allow clients to experience a product as fully as possible without physically having it in front of them. Not the most straightforward task, but it’s one that many retailers have excelled at with their intelligent product pages. And that’s precisely what we want to help you accomplish.

1. Diversify Your Images

The dress looks nice, but what will it look like when it’s on? The lamp seems fine, but how large is it placed on a nightstand? These are questions people will ask themselves when browsing your eCommerce website.

So instead of giving them a long and detailed description they might not even read, show a picture instead. They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and it’s certainly true in this case.

Try to think like a customer and show the objects from varying angles and perspectives. Your clients will always appreciate a well-taken, thoughtful product image.

2. Consider Video

Not all eCommerce websites need a video, but having one will be beneficial, especially if your products are rather complex. A short, informative video will reveal more about an item than plain images would. It’s also an excellent way to properly show how to use the product.

Keep in mind that users are looking for short videos 1–2 minutes in length. Anything longer than that might bore the viewer and drag down the page load speed.

3. Provide the Right Product Information

If there’s an area where you can get technical and share all the impressive specs about your products, it’s the product description section. Now, this is not to say you need to spell out every tiny detail about the item. The information you provide should help the shopper make an informed decision and not confuse them.

Another great tip is to notify users when a given item, colour, or size is low in stock. This will trigger the scarcity mindset and encourage shoppers to take action.

Keep in mind that users are looking for short videos 1–2 minutes in length. Anything longer than that might bore the viewer and drag down the page load speed.

4. Display Related Items

Showing related products similar to the ones being viewed will help guests find more items they might like, thus keeping them on your page longer. It’s a wonderful technique to keep shoppers engaged and increase the chances of purchase.

Many eCommerce websites have a “Frequently Bought Together” section that recommends products that work well with the one the user has selected. Amazon is perhaps the most popular retailer that employs this technique.

Amazon recommended items ecommerce websites examples

Best eCommerce Web Design Examples

Google Store grabs the visitor’s attention right from the get-go with its header animation that presents the newest Pixel phone. You immediately see a catalogue of some of Google’s products to facilitate navigation as you scroll down.

NU:RO Watch stands out with its interactive eCommerce website that’s sleek, minimal, and engaging all at once. The watch band changes its colour with the cursor’s movement, which is a small detail but adds a lot of character to the web design.

Our ecommerce website design for Type Department was featured in “Top 10 Elementor Sites of August 2021”. Type Department is a fonts marketplace chosen by creatives at Universal Music Group, WIRED, and Pentagram. The stunning imagery from the designers and the ability to test out the fonts live on the website take Type Department from a standard WooCommerce store to a custom website optimised for users.

The G-Shock web design perfectly matches the rugged, high-end aesthetic of the watch itself. The compact navigation menu directs visitors to the most important pages, while the search bar allows a quick search.

The famous self-cleaning water bottle producer introduces high-quality images, succinct text, and amply distributed CTAs. What makes this site unique is the designated section where guests can measure their impact on the planet through their use of plastic bottles. This reinforces the company’s message and adds an interactive element to the website.

DIY vs. eCommerce Web Design Agency

As a small to mid-sized business, you might not have an in-house team of programmers, UI/UX and graphic designers, copywriters, and other experts responsible for creating a professional eCommerce website. But this doesn’t need to stop you from achieving the latter!

If you have the skills and time required, you can set up your site with specialized eCommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, etc. This is a do-it-yourself approach to building your website that will leave you with a basic, nice-looking, and affordable eCommerce web design.

Another option is to hire an eCommerce web design agency to take care of the entire design and development process. An eCommerce web design company will give you a much more professional and tailored web design custom-made for your business needs.

Increase brand awareness, build trust and drive conversions.
A professional website custom-made for your business increases your customer trust and helps you build a better connection. And once that is done, you can expect improved purchase rates, customer loyalty and brand awareness.

General FAQ

The cost of an eCommerce store depends on the size and complexity. The average price of an eCommerce website varies from $5,000 to $50,000, including design, development, and any other upfront fees. There are also maintenance fees associated with running an eCommerce website.

Building an eCommerce website with limited skills, time, and money is now easier than ever. Online website-building platforms make site creation accessible to anyone. Keep in mind, though, that template-based builders allow little flexibility and customization.

WooCommerece’s integrated payment system, WooCommerce Payments, charges 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction made with U.S-issued credit or debit cards. For non-U.S. cards, there’s an additional 1% fee.

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About Passionate

Passionate is a full service digital agency specializing in providing design, development, marketing, SEO and hosting solutions for startups, SMEs and brick & mortar stores.

At Passionate we pride ourselves on our meticulous attention to detail, speed of delivery and the genuine advice we provide throughout the process! Thanks to the broad set of expertise of our senior experts we are able to plan and work on multiple aspects of your project simultaneously optimizing the overall timeline and cost. 

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