Ecommerce is a great way to sell products, but even a virtual shopping experience should be backed by efficiency. Your online store should have a functional focus so that shoppers can easily get what they want, without distracting design elements. Fortunately, there are techniques to balance creative and functional design to build a solid ecommerce site.
#1: Navigation and Speed
Ease of navigation is one of the most important characteristics of functionality. A good navigation system keeps customers from wasting time on figuring out how your site works. And minimizing site load times can be crucial as well.
Search Box: Refined searches allow shoppers to find certain products without looking through the entire site.
Logical Categorization: Products should be categorized into groups that make sense to eliminate confusion.
Breadcrumb Navigation: This is a helpful feature for shoppers to visualize where they are within the site, so they can browse without having to re-enter keywords.
Designing navigation in such a meticulous way can be a challenge. If you need some support on the backend, using an online store platform can help you easily build a solid system.
Heavy Testing: Prepare for massive traffic by stress testing your site. There are a variety of services that you can use that will tell you how your site handles massive stress.
Never Trust Just One Host: Consider hosting on some form of CDN service to ensure maximum uptime as site load times are vitally important for preventing site visitors from “bouncing” once they land on your site.
Avoid bloated features: While we all want the coolest features on our site, it’s important to avoid ones that cause friction to page loads. Make sure you’re testing each feature you add to your site to ensure there is little conflict.
Amazon uses all of these features, making navigation of their large number of products manageable, all while putting priority on site speed to ensure fast load times.
#2: High Quality Product Pages
When you walk into a store and the aisles are neatly organized, you’re more likely to browse, right? The same goes for online stores; if the layout is clean, products can be emphasized. Design adds functionality here, with use of white space and limited graphics. Customers have to rely on visual detail to perceive a product’s quality, so it’s essential to use quality images and zoom. It’s also helpful to display color options and related items that customers might like.
Zappos offers great photos, zoom, angles and color options. It even has videos that give in-depth product information.
#3: Build Trust
Customers need to feel safe in their decision to buy online. Build their trust in you with:
Strong branding: Effective branding comes with consistency, so you should have a strong logo and website design that reflect your company’s image. Make sure that the site works well to conduct business.
Contact: Offer ways to contact you so that online shoppers know that if they have questions or concerns, real people are there to help.
Trust marks: When financial and personal information are involved, security is crucial. When you set up payment processing, you can show your SSL Certificate to customers so they feel protected.
#4: Deals/Freebies/Free Shipping
Most people look for the best deals possible, so if you can quickly snag their attention to your site with special deals, they’re likely to stay. You can get creative with the way you present your sales – just make sure they’re attractive and eye-catching.