Ecommerce is fast becoming the go-to business for entrepreneurially-minded individuals who are sick of the rat race and want to go solo. It’s accessible, democratic, and it has a low barrier to entry so virtually anyone can do it…
But with such a high level of competition, you’re going to need to go the extra mile to make your online store stand out against the rest, and that means delivering an online customer experience like no other. Read on to find out how.
Smooth checkout process
Easily one of the most important aspects of your ecommerce website design is its checkout process. A sizeable 28% of consumers have abandoned an online transaction as a direct result of a negative checkout experience. This is down to a number of factors, such as it being too confusing, too demanding, or simply taking too long.
28% of your customer base is a lot in the world of ecommerce, and when it’s so easy to avoid, there’s no excuse for it. To create a smooth checkout process that keeps your customers in the funnel, try to make it as undemanding as possible.
Keep it simple by combining every required field for payment on a single page. This is often the stage that results in the most drop-offs, so it’s worth streamlining as much as possible. To make it even more efficient, give your customers the option to save their bank details with you to save them the time and hassle on their next purchase.
While ensuring a smooth checkout process should form a significant part of your store design, it doesn’t end there. You should regularly test your process to keep it as efficient as possible. Alternatively, you could invite your customers to give feedback after their purchase to let you identify possible issues as soon as they arise.
Easy to navigate
A strong ecommerce site structure is one that is easy to navigate. Hiding your category, about, or product pages in obscure places will obviously hinder your store’s growth.
To that end, make your navigation menus intuitive to use. If a customer clicks on a link for men’s clothing, they should expect to see further subcategories that help them fine-tune their search. This might seem obvious, but there are plenty of online stores that neglect this vital feature, simply because they don’t think from the point of view of a customer.
And that’s what you should bear in mind: how would your customers, who don’t know your store as well as you do, navigate your website? Keep it intuitive and linear, and help your customers find exactly what they’re looking for.
Keep it clean
For customers, the first taste is with the eyes, from food to films, so as an ecommerce entrepreneur, it’s up to you to make sure that first taste is as delicious as possible.
Look at any ecommerce store online today and you’ll see that minimalism is very much the trend. A messy, cluttered website loses you traffic and detracts from your brand — consumers today are savvy, and they see a poorly-designed webstore as a sign of a poor brand. And it pays off in the long run too. Visual branding is everything in the world of ecommerce, and if you’re planning to sell your business in the future, an attractive storefront will increase its value in the eyes of potential buyers.
When it comes to ecommerce web design, less is more. Flashy animations or gimmicks might impress at first, but they’ll quickly become tiresome. And don’t overuse images either — one or two will suffice.
And it’s not just your design that you need to keep fresh. Your product photography is a vital selling point for your customers, so it’s important that you only strive for the best. Invest in a decent camera to take professional, high-quality shots of your product. Grainy, poorly-shot images will detract from your brand and your sales.
Avoid information overload
As an ecommerce entrepreneur, you’re naturally going to believe in what you’re selling. You’re proud of your product, and you want the world to know just how great it is. So it can be tempting to write reams and reams of passionate copy about each product, enthusing on its many qualities that makes it stand out from the rest.
But this is one of the most common mistakes new ecommerce entrepreneurs make. Including too much for your customers to process on each product page can result in information overload, deterring them from making a purchase.
Instead, pick out the best features of your product and highlight them. Check out this example for a desk lamp from Amazon, below:
The viewer is presented with a concise bullet point list of its key features, helping them quickly and easily identify the features that matter to them most. Customers don’t want to waste time faffing about finding information. They want to make decisions quickly, so make it as easy as possible for them. You can always add extra information further down the page or in different tabs, but try to lead with bitesize nuggets of your best bits.
Creating an ecommerce business requires a lot of effort and consideration, from your products to your marketing strategy. But as busy as you’ll be, it’s crucial that you don’t neglect your store design. Keep it clean, easily navigable, and intuitive to use; and you’ll end up with a store that really delivers.
Kayleigh Alexandra is lead writer and editor at Micro Startups. If you’ve got the entrepreneur spirit and you’re seeking inspiration, Micro Startups is your knowledge hub. From business advice to marketing tips, Kayleigh has you covered. Find all the latest on Twitter @getmicrostarted.