Ecommerce web design is designing an e-commerce website with the purpose of selling goods or services to consumers, typically involving multiple web pages and/or multimedia content.
Ecommerce websites are business-driven websites where businesses can choose to use web technologies as part of their commercial strategy. They typically include product catalogs, shopping carts, payment gateways, and more.
To design an e-commerce website, a designer must understand how to design for online sales by incorporating web usability principles and following the basic standards of User Interface Design. An effective e-commerce website includes complete navigation structures, simple messaging structures, product image/video presentations, accessible shopping carts, well-organized product catalogs, clearly labeled contact information, and more. Many e-commerce websites are built using Content Management Systems (CMS). These CMSs provide the ability to update pages without having to know HTML or other coding languages.
The History of E-commerce Web Design
The history of web design began with the development of the first websites in the 1990s. Initially, all web designers used desktop publishing tools like Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Dreamweaver to build websites. As the browser wars began, more people turned to WYSIWYG editors like Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia Dreamweaver, which gained industry popularity by offering a WYSIWYG interface enabling users with no technical knowledge to build websites easily. Web design is now an essential part of running any website business due to the popularity of, and the requirement to have a web presence.
What Entails E-commerce Web Design
Web design is one part of a broader Internet marketing process called conversion optimization, or conversion rate optimization (CRO), which can include email marketing, search engine marketing, social media marketing and display advertising as part of the wider strategy for websites that sell products or services.
Designers may work independently or contract out their web design skills to web design companies or web development companies. Some have a specialization in a certain technology, while others can perform a wide range of design skills. Web designers often work on a freelance basis, but some web design and web development companies will employ in-house web designers. The term “web designer” is normally used to describe a skilled professional who designs pages using standard web technologies (such as HTML and CSS), and accessibility guidelines such as the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), while web developers are skilled professionals who are responsible for implementing the design, including coding and programming any dynamic aspects of their websites.
The Goals for E-commerce Web Design
A good e-commerce website should accomplish two goals: attract customers and generate sales. Once you have your website up and running, the next step is to improve your site’s ranking in search engines so that it will appear higher on the list of results when potential customers search for keywords related to what you sell. The ultimate goal here is to drive more traffic back to your website and ultimately increase conversions.
E-commerce Web Design Tips to Attract Traffic
1. Have a clean looking site
Your e-commerce website is essentially an online store, and it should be designed with your customers in mind. If the design of your website appears cluttered or amateurish, potential buyers will most likely look for a more professional retailer.
2. Use popups sparingly
Popups are useful for increasing sales because they bring your products in front of the customer at just the right time. They should not be seen as a license to spam your customers with too many popups though.
3. Include live chat support
Although it may seem like one more unnecessary feature, live chat support on your website can boost conversions by as much as 20%. This is particularly true for websites that sell items that are more likely to be impulse buys.
4. Get social
If your website is not already connected to the social media profiles of your business, then now is as good a time as any to do so. This will allow you to communicate with prospective buyers who are likely to have questions about your products or services.
5. Offer options for customized products
Although not all e-commerce sites offer this feature, many would greatly benefit from it. Whether you are selling clothes or construction equipment, offering the option to customize your product with the buyer’s preferred choice of color, size and features will drive sales.
6. Include customer reviews
Using the same concept behind sites like TripAdvisor and Amazon, adding customer reviews to your website has two distinct advantages: First, it gives the visitor an impression of the quality and condition of your product. Second, it tells other potential customers that there are people out there who like the stuff you sell.
7. Offer discounts and incentives
People like getting a good deal, and an online store that can offer a great discount is a website worth checking out. Offering discounts or special incentives for first-time customers, returning customers or new subscribers to your mailing list will gain you more sales.
8. Use "Live Chat" for customer service
Providing excellent customer service is one of the best ways to retain existing customers and increase new business. Many e-commerce sites do not need a full-time staff just to answer simple questions from customers, so using an online chat platform such as Olark or Zopim can be a good alternative.
9. Use a secure website SSL certificate
A certificate of security (also known as an SSL certificate) will let customers know that the information they provide when making a purchase is safe and encrypted.
10. Know your target market
Knowing who will be buying the products on your website at what times is simply good business. You need to understand who these people are, what they like and where they hang out so that you can promote your site the right way.
5 ECommerce Design best Practices
1. Limit on-page navigation [15%]
The main takeaway from this point is that even though the number of links on a page may increase sales, it will decrease the overall engagement on your site or store.
2. Easy to find 'add to cart' button [10%]
Make the process as seamless as possible and you will be rewarded with more sales.
3. Design is king [20%]
If you feel like e-commerce design isn’t something you’re interested in, don’t worry; many designers and agencies are willing to help with that.
4. Easy checkout process [30%]
When people put stuff in their cart it’s usually because they intend to purchase it so don’t make them jump through hoops later on.
5. Don't ignore mobile shoppers [15%]
Make sure your site or store works well on mobiles or be prepared to lose potential customers.
It is no wonder that e-commerce sites are increasing in popularity these days. With more and more people preferring to transact through the Internet, it only makes sense for businesses to follow suit and offer online shopping facilities to their customers.