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20 Tips for E-Commerce Design Usability

The opportunities that e-commerce is giving to the new generation of businesses is immense. But in an increasingly crowded marketplace, how can you stand out?

20 Tips for E-Commerce Design Usability

With technological developments and the way that the internet is evolving, one area that is becoming increasingly popular is e-commerce. There are many benefits to running a business almost entirely online, including little to no overheads, and being able to market to the whole world and not just to people who are local to you.

There are also many benefits to online shopping, both with convenience to shoppers not needing to leave the comfort of their own home, and of course with businesses being able to pass on cost savings to their customers.

There are many people who are seeing the benefits of running an e-commerce business, and selling online, but this means that competition is rife – after all, you are now competing with the whole world, not just other local businesses. So it is now more important than ever that your e-commerce website both stands out and is easy to use. This way, you can ensure that people come to your online shop, and that they return.

So, with this is mind, here are 20 tips for e-commerce website design, which will make the customer experience one that is conducive to buying, and then coming back to you as opposed to your rivals…

1. Searching – Use your e-commerce website design to make sure that it is easy to find what they are looking for. People often use the search bar function, so make sure that it is easily found and obvious what it is – like at the top of each page.

2. Stock Availability – E-commerce website users get easily put off if they go through the whole process and the find that the product is out of stock. They will almost certainly give up and go somewhere else. Make stock availability obvious straight away.

3. Shopping Cart – you want to make the buying experience as easy as possible, so use your website design to make sure that the shopping cart is prominent all of the time, and your customers can see easily what they have in it.

4. Mega-Menu – Particularly if you have a lot of products, you might want to think about putting a mega- menu into your website. It can help your e-commerce website customers easily find what they are looking for and help to improve their overall experience.

5. Everything is important – The best website design uses a concept which is that every single thing on your site needs to be made to encourage buying and better the overall customer experience. There is nothing that will 'do'.

6. Original and Unique – Just as in the offline world, people who are buying online like to buy from somewhere that is original and unique somewhere that is memorable. So try to incorporate this into the design of your website.

7. Product Overview – A useful feature to have on your site is a product overview on your products page. It can tell visitors a little about the product without having to go into the specific product page.

8. Cleanliness – Again, just as in the offline world, people don’t want to shop in a dirty store. So keep yours free of clutter, annoying pop ups and advertisements so that your visitors are more likely to buy.

9. Product Variations – Try to make product variations such as different colours and sizes as visual as possible. This will register much quicker in the minds of potential customers than long winded explanations or descriptions.

10. Call to Actions – Make your 'call to action' buttons as obvious as possible. For example, the most important call to action button will probably be 'Add to Cart' so make it as prominent as possible, to make it easy for people.

11. Filters – Again, simplicity is the key. Make your product filters as easy and logical as possible to help your potential customers find that they are looking for with as little stress as possible.

12. Photos – One of the most important factors to the success of your e-commerce site is that you need to have decent photos of your products. People want to be able to see properly what they are buying before they buy it, so take as many realistic photos as you can, from as many different angles as possible.

13. Navigation Tools – you might want to think about implementing a site navigation tool such as Breadcrumbs which helps customers navigate your site better – especially if they have found you through as search engine.

14. Prices – Don’t add in charges at the last minute. This is extremely annoying and off-putting for a customer and enough to turn them away forever. Make sure that you are open with delivery charges etc. so that customers know as early on as possible how much they are going to be charged.

15. SEO – Design your site with SEO in mind from the outset. This will help you no end in your future SEO efforts.

16. Social Media – Bear in mind that you – or others might want to share information on social media so add buttons to help them to do so. Make them prominent and easy to find – but not as prominent and easy to find as your 'add to cart' buttons!

17. Newsletters – In terms of direct marketing, it doesn’t get much easier than compiling an email list of people who have shown an interest in your site. So catch them while they are there, and offer a free newsletter in return for their email address through a subscription service.

18. Reviews and Testimonials – Reviews and testimonials now play an important part of the online selling process. People want to buy recommendations, not just completely out of the blue. So ask your customers to leave reviews and display them in a prominent position which s close to the product which is being reviewed.

19. Checkout – Remember that selling is your goal. So make it is easy as possible. Don’t put in unnecessary questions or blocks, or try to sell extra products. This is annoying and can make people give up.

20. Contact – As an online store it is vital that you give your customers contact options as there is no specific premises that they can go to. At least give an email address and phone number. You might also want to think about social media pages and live chat features.

When you are designing your e-commerce website, it is important that attention is paid to every little detail as it can all impact on the experience of your customers. And this is of course what will make or break your business.

If you have any questions about online e-commerce website design, improving the customer experience or attracting traffic to your website, get in touch with Studioworx either via email [email protected], telephone +44 (0)1603 274285.

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