The Best E-commerce Website Design Practices to Differentiate Your Brand
Your online store is where you prove your brand identity and ask customers to buy into it. You need it to be successful so that customers continue buying here, and not on your Amazon store (where you can lose on customer lifetime value and brand equity).
Some of the reasons why Amazon is the most successful e-commerce website, with 48%of online product searches starting here, are as follows: easy checkout, reviews and proof of the product’s success and realness, images, videos and descriptions of products, cross-selling and up-selling, easy navigation, easy and accessible filtering, and search features.
So how can you be inspired by these elements of Amazon’s success, streamlining your e-commerce website design so that it’s similarly user-friendly and accessible?
Why would consumers choose to go to your website over Amazon? It’s an easy, convenient site which the majority of people are more than familiar with, meaning they can streamline their shopping experience.
So what’s new that you can offer? Some of the reasons why people choose to go to branded websites over Amazon are: they want to buy into your brand, they might feel an affinity with your brand identity, and choose to opt for a shopping experience which gives them a feeling of belonging. Consumers also often are looking for easy and clear return policies, which can sometimes be confusing, or nonexistent, for Amazon products.
So what is going to make you stand out, make the consumer feel an affinity with you brand, and lead to higher conversion rates? The answer is a conversion driven design, with a clear architecture, that creates and upholds a strong brand identity and feeling of community which your consumers can really buy into.
An important part of any e-commerce business is to build and differentiate your brand online. Using expert solutions to help you not only to build your brand identity, but also to design the perfect e-commerce website. But if you’re choosing to design in-house, or just looking for inspiration, we have compiled some of the best e-commerce website design tips to help you really stand out from the crowd.
Unique and Consistent Branding
Your branding decisions are what can make a consumer buy into your brand identity, building trust in your brand and products, and can create an emotional response in your consumer. Before starting any design for your brand, whether it be your social media, e-commerce website or even packaging, you need to start by asking who your target audience is. This can be done by researching the demographics of your consumers. What are their ages, gender, socio-economic circumstances, tastes, and lifestyles? Look at the reviews, see what consumers have responded well to in the past, and what they have disliked.
Once you have identified your target audience, you can start deciding on your branding identity, and general aesthetic choices. Here you can choose one or two typefaces for consistency throughout your website. If your consumers are younger, for example, consider using a modern accessible fonts like Futura or Helvetica. You can also select a color palette that will appeal to your target audience. This can be done with the help of Canva, where you can select and save your pallet, get inspiration, and save the exact hue you have decided on to unify all of your design elements.
Bliss was a finalist for the best e-commerce site designs of 2019, and is a great example of an e-commerce site that has successfully identified, and tailored their design to their target audience. A spa and spa-product brand: their website is targeted specifically to young women. They have chosen contrasting pastel hues, pinks, yellows and blues, and modern, consistent font. Their website is also full of other modern, funky, design elements - such as GIFs and fun graphics and illustrations - to appeal especially to a younger audience.
Your branding should make you stand out from the crowd, be specifically tailored to your ideal customer to create a sense of community and belonging on your site, and most importantly, should be consistent throughout. The modern consumer is used to consistent branding and slick design: make sure you are engaging them to differentiate your brand and increase user engagement.
Many consumers now shop on their mobile devices and are used to these sites being just as flawless as the desktop version. According to statistics, 40% of users will go to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience. Make sure to draw these consumers in with a mobile site that is just as beautiful and functional as your desktop site.
Your mobile site should load properly on the page, and should not require the consumer to zoom or rotate their device to view your products clearly. If you are not a web developer yourself, one easy way to unify your mobile and desktop sites is through Wix. Wix automatically makes you a mobile version from your desktop design, which you can view and edit separately through the eyes of the consumer.
Quick checkout process
When designing your site, your main concentration should be on the needs, experience and wants of the consumer, rather than your own business objectives. If your website is optimized for consumer satisfaction, your business objectives are far more likely to be met: a win-win situation!
With this in mind, the checkout process should be as simple and streamlined as possible. Here are some tips for user satisfaction in your checkout process:
- Don’t force the user through an account creation or registration process. The user wants to purchase the item as quickly and easily as possible!
- Have a stepped checkout process and show the customers where they are along with it.
- Reduce unnecessary and distracting information in the checkout process by creating an isolated checkout area
- Make form fitting easy through best practice and good design: use drop-down menus for lists of options, asterisks for mandatory fields, and make sure elements are aligned and have an easy to follow design which draws the user through it sequentially
- Make your shipping and delivery costs clear up front
- Ensure to reassure your customers that their card details are safe and that any information they provide will not be given to a third party.
Simple and clear architecture
The ordering and information architecture of your site is of the utmost importance for user satisfaction. The main thing to consider is cataloging: your e-commerce site should allow for easy product discovery. This makes the experience simpler for the user and reduces the likelihood of them leaving the page or going to one of your competitor’s, more simplified, sites.
At Seller’s Choice, we would recommend the three click rule of the hierarchy of navigation - from home page to product categories to products. This more minimalist approach is preferred by both web designers and users and is used in the best e-commerce website designs out there.
The most important elements of the best e-commerce website designs are simplicity and personalization. Make sure to create a site which builds a sense of community and is as easy as possible for the consumer to use, and your conversion rate is bound to grow.