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7 Must-Have Design Features of an E-commerce Website

Written by
Carlos Cerritos
Published on 
August 21, 2020

"Don't judge a book by its cover" is one of the oldest adages out there, but unfortunately, that advice simply doesn't apply to e-commerce website design. In fact, the opposite is true. When trying to convince online shoppers to use your site, you've only got an average of 50 milliseconds to make an impression.
That's all it takes for a user to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they'll stay or leave. That's why it's so crucial that you've got all of the right web design elements in place so that they'll stay, and crucially, buy products from your e-commerce website.
Given that this is the case, what are the must-have design features of an e-commerce website?

1. Easy Navigation

You won't make many inroads with your e-commerce site if shoppers can't understand how to use it. It's always best to invoke the principle of Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) to leave visitors to your website in no doubt of how to navigate to where they want to be.

According to a recent survey undertaken by HubSpot, 76% of consumers said the most critical factor in an e-commerce website's design is "the website makes it easy for me to find what I want." So you should never ignore your website's navigation, and it's actually one of the most significant difference makers.

2. Friction-less Checkout

The aim of an e-commerce website is, of course, to sell products. Therefore high on the must-have design features of an e-commerce site list is a hassle-free checkout process. Regarding checkout design, you should always offer the option of checking out without creating an account since it's the second-highest reason why people abandon their cart.

You also need to have a payment gateway set up that accepts a range of payment methods, as everyone has different preferences. If they arrive at the payments page and discover you don't support their preferred payment option (e.g., Apple Pay), they'll become one of the 70% of shoppers who bail at the final hurdle.

3. Fast Load Speeds

E-commerce sites are data-heavy entities. They are stocked full of product photos and videos, which is why you need to work with a web design agency with expertise in optimizing website loading speeds to avoid bad user experiences.

Time and attention are today's most valuable commodities, and if you fail to deliver what shoppers are looking for quickly, they will abandon for your site for another. The stats back this assertion up, with online retailers, losing at least $2.6 billion in sales each year to slow loading speeds alone, and half of all shoppers expecting a website to load in less than two seconds.

4. Mobile-First Design

Your e-commerce site is dead in the water if it doesn't perform well on mobile devices. This year, mobile devices have accounted for 70% of all internet traffic. Furthermore, mobile e-commerce revenue already accounts for over 50% of total US e-commerce revenues.

These figures are only going to rise as smartphone use continues to increase across the United States. Not to mention that Google openly admitted back in 2016 that it was beginning to rank the best performing mobile sites first. By 2020, those changes will affect all websites. Therefore, creating an e-commerce website that considers the needs of mobile users first (known as mobile-first design) will not only benefit your sales, but it will boost your search rankings too.

5. Gorgeous Product Photography

Pictures can really paint a thousand words. It's crucial to remember that your images and videos sell the product, not the text. The more photos, the better, as consumers want to see every possible angle. 

A video of your products in action is even better. 97% of video marketers reported that video increased user understanding of a product, and 76% said video helped them increase sales. So don't hold back on imagery when constructing your e-commerce website. Just remember to work with a team experienced in compressing these files to ensure that you retain those all-important fast loading speeds!

6. User Reviews

User-generated reviews are also a vital piece of the e-commerce jigsaw puzzle. First of all, reviews influence $400 billion of total e-commerce sales revenue. As if that wasn't convincing enough, 97% of consumers report that the customer reviews they read influence their purchasing decisions.

Therefore, user reviews are another one of the must-have design features of an e-commerce website. By adding these to your product listings, you can build social proof and really skyrocket those conversion rates.

7. Security and Trust Features

Trust is another critical aspect of successful e-commerce sites. You've got to earn customers' trust to make sales. That's why you need to have security features that give them peace of mind conspicuously displayed within your website's design. Of course, you should start by making sure you use secure hosting with an SSL certificate (the padlock symbol in the browser), ensuring that your site can be trusted to handle sensitive personal information.

Next, you have to build trust at the most crucial moment, the checkout. While some shoppers may see the padlock on their browser, others may need more encouragement. That's why it's a good idea to design your checkout pages in a way that prominently displays the security badges throughout the payments process, emphasizing that you should be trusted as an online retailer.

Secure All of the Must-Have Design Features of an E-commerce Website with Faith Designers

When trying to locate a top design web design agency in the Raleigh, NC area, you need to ensure that they include all of the must-have design features of an e-commerce website listed above as part of their service. Skip any of these, and you could find yourself struggling to make those vital online conversions.  

Here at Faith Web Designers, we've designed many e-commerce websites for our clients. We ensure that the focus is always placed on crucial web design elements and user-experience (UX) processes such as friction-less checkouts, easy-to-understand navigation, and high-converting product listings that both look great and load fast. 

So if you would like to have an initial conversation with me (Carlos) about designing a high-performance e-commerce website, don't hesitate to get in contact to discuss your project in more detail.

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