While a powerful online store builder makes creating a business website simple, trying to tackle eCommerce web design can be intimidating. It doesn’t have to be, though. If you’re looking to increase conversions on your site, one of the best actions you can take is to learn web design. It doesn’t take a master designer to take your Selz store to the next level- just a good understanding of basic design principles and user experience. We’ve put together these guidelines to help you achieve the best store possible. With a little informed decision making, attention to detail, and motivation, you can start to learn web design in a way that benefits your business.
eCommerce Web Design Secrets to Supercharge Your Online Store: 6 Simple Tips
1. Think Ahead
2. Less is More
3. Keep Your Style Elements Consistent
4. Focus on Navigation
5. Choose Images Wisely
6. Keep Customers Comfortable
Spoiler alert: the main key is simplicity. Set yourself up for success by choosing an aesthetic with clear limitations and a small set of rules. These will help you to remain consistent, ultimately strengthening the overall look of your store.
It can be tempting to jump right in and start playing around with your layout, picking whatever colors strike your fancy, and exploring new fonts. Hold on, though. Take the time to explore, and seek inspiration. Remember that no one learns web design instantly. It takes time to develop your designer’s eye.
What are the sites and online stores that you visit time and time again? What are they doing to make your time on their site enjoyable? Pull inspiration not just from relevant web design, but from the theme of your business. Think about the stylistic choices that will best frame your product. Is your brand based around a chic, modern style, or a woodsier, more rustic aesthetic? Are you advertising an all-natural, organic product, or a state-of-the-art, industrial item? If your product has custom packaging, be sure to consider its look as you plan your design. Use these thinking points to point you towards the overall style of your site.
Having a vision of how you want your online store to look will make it much, much simpler to get started and and will smooth out the overall process. As you learn web design, or any new concept, it helps to be able to apply to your own life and goals. So plan ahead for best results!
2. Less is More
It can tempting to instantly fill your site with images and text. You look at the blank slate and think, “there’s nothing there!” But good design is just as much about what you leave out, as what you add. The goal is a calm, organized, aesthetically pleasing experience for visitors to your site.
Embrace blank space. Keep your text minimal. Use headers and sub-headers to keep things tidy and organized. Take a moment to consider your customer’s experience, and remember that most internet users do not take the time to read all the text on a page.
We may be capable of reading a thousand page novel, but something changes about the human attention span once it’s working with a screen. Stay conscious of this when you design your site, and it will be much easier to get the important information across, and will cut back on the amount of questions you receive in the long run.
Provide readers with helpful visual cues that provide them with the information they need, with as little effort as possible. Sometimes, an image, infographic, or video can get information across more effectively than a large chunk of text.
As a general rule, write more clearly and simply than you would otherwise. Avoid lengthy paragraphs. In fact, avoid lengthy sentences. While it may not be the way you were taught to write, consider bullet points. They are a great tool for catching a potential customer’s eye, and delivering all the information necessary in a tidy, concise manner. The most vital information on your page should take the form of bullet points. It will allow readers to quickly absorb information, and enable them to easily skip the stuff that doesn’t apply to them.
3. Keep Your Style Elements Consistent Within and Across Pages
You want your site to create a recognizable brand experience. That’s why it’s important to create a cohesive, streamlined toolbox of your style elements, such as the color palette, fonts, logos, and general layout that you use.
Try finding inspiration in design that speaks to you. If you’re unsure of how to choose colors, there are a wide variety of color palette tools available online. That will show you examples of how certain color combinations work together, and how to avoid combinations that clash. If you’re using multiple fonts, choose ones that complement one another, rather than competing within the same style. For example, if you like calligraphy fonts, just choose one, and use a minimal, sans-serif font to balance it out. This will make your website easier to read than if you are using multiple elaborate fonts.
If you’re using an online store builder, look for one that makes good design seriously simple. Selz offers beautiful, pre-designed themes, just waiting for your imagery and artistic touch. With just a little elbow grease, your vision can come to life within these themes. Selz also makes it really easy to style your buttons and widgets for a unified shopping experience, regardless of whether you’re selling on a Selz domain, WordPress site, or social media. This allows for total consistency across social platforms and independent, hosted sites.
Perhaps the most important action for consistent styling in eCommerce web design is to take a step back. Zoom out. Look at the big picture. Now that you’ve made each and every detail look its very best, how do they all look together? Do your image previews clash? Do some margins need to be adjusted? Does a page look cluttered? Any time you make changes to your site, plan for a quick review and a final round of polishing. Go ahead and run through your creation to check for anything you might have missed. Make it part of your routine to check out your own online store or website, and monitor any design issues that may arise, on both desktop and mobile views.
4. Focus on clear, easy navigation
Navigation may seem secondary to style in eCommerce web design, but it is a huge component of your customers’ experience. As you begin to learn web design, remember that your site has to be just as functional as is it fancy. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your site is, if your customer experiences navigation frustration, you’re much more likely to lose the transaction. Let us suggest a few simple tweaks that ensure easy, intuitive navigation.
The navigation bar is your friend, so invest in making it the best it can be. This component of eCommerce web design provides customer with a clear path to the information and products that they want. Keep things tidy within the navigation bar.Rather than having a ton of options in your bar, include dropdowns to simplify the process for customers looking for a particular section of your site. Make sure your navigation bar carries through onto each page of your site, so that customers never feel lost, and make sure to do the same with your shopping cart.
Use categories to your advantage. If you have a lot of products for sale, creating simple categories can do a lot to reduce buying friction. They can also be a great way to feature specific products- whether that’s grouping together a “Popular” category, or defining an area for “Limited Time Offers,” “Specials,” or “Gifts.” If you’re selling digital and physical products side by side, yuse categories to simplify your selection. Check out this helpful article on building a hybrid store that drives conversions.
It’s always important to consider landing pages. A landing page is the first page that potential customers will land on when visiting your store. What information will they need to know right away? If they’ve arrived from a Google search, how can your site meet their needs or answer their question? Optimize these pages to communicate the essential messaging of your brand. You only get one chance to make a first digital impression, and, as always, attention spans on the web are short. You need to capture the attention of potential customers right away.
When it comes to eCommerce web design, avoid clutter. As much as possible, design each page around a single, clear call to action. This can be anything from “Buy Now” to “Contact Us” or “Explore Items.” What’s important here is focusing attention around the action that you want the customer to take on the specific page. Too many calls to action can end up being distracting. Remember, you don’t want to compete with yourself for the attention of your customers.
5. Choose your images wisely
Whether you’re taking product images yourself or featuring stock photos, try to keep your visual elements consistent and high quality across your site. This often-overlooked element of eCommerce web design can quickly take a store from good-looking to awkwardly unprofessional.
If you’re taking your own product images, take the time to get clear, professional-looking photos. If possible, it’s worth getting shots of the product in context. For example, show clothing on models, show small trinkets next to universal measurements like coins, or ceramic bowls with fresh fruit inside. Remember that these images are a key way that the customer can imagine themselves in relation to your product. You’re providing an example of how the product will fit into their lives. Blurry, low-res, or poorly lit pictures are an instant turnoff.
Remember that images play into the broader visual and color scheme of your site. Black and white photos and highly processed and filtered images can interact poorly with the look of the rest of the site. Use them with caution.
6. Keep Customers Comfortable
Remember that most consumers bring a healthy skepticism to any online transaction. Errors on your pages, long load times, and similar issues can create friction for buyers and lower their confidence in you, and your chance of making a sale. Your goal, then, should be to create the kind of buying experience that lends authority to your site and allows customers to buy with confidence. Don’t forget the absolute importance of choosing a secure eCommerce platform. You can learn web design until you’re a master, but it won’t matter if customers are concerned about their security.
It should be easy for customers to get a hold of you with questions and concerns. Adding an email address or a phone number to the footer of your page is a simple way to enable customers to reach out, but you should definitely prioritize a dedicated contact page as well.
Selling on social? The Selz Facebook chat feature is a great way to allow for greater connection and in-depth communication with customers. And with all social media accounts, be responsive and engaging with your followers to increase brand loyalty and consumer confidence.
Oftentimes, good design isn’t about all the bells and whistles. It’s about creating a fuss-free, easy to navigate customer experience. Your design serves as a frame for your products, allowing them to stand out. When done right, your eCommerce web design can transform your website or online store into a professional, polished, customer-friendly experience. So, indulge your creative side, and make something beautiful.