There’s more to an ecommerce store than the product it sells. Imagine you had a brick and mortar store. You wouldn’t just worry about the products outside and let the shop front rot and displays fall to pieces. The same applies to design a web store. Many ecommerce stores will fail because of poor design choices, no matter how good the initial idea is. Here are some of the most common design mistakes ecommerce stores make, and how you can fix them.
The worst thing an ecommerce store can be is untrustworthy. The appearance of a website is a huge factor that customers consider before they shop with it. If you don’t pass basic checks for legitimacy, they simply will not shop with you. Once a customer has doubts about you it’s almost impossible to get them back.
It sounds simple enough to get right — we all shop online and we all know a dangerous website when we see one. Yet, when we’re designing an ecommerce store it can be easy to get carried away and forget the simple things that make trustworthy. Letting your website design become dated can also have a huge impact on how people view it. If you start to look like something from the last century you may not lose existing customers, but new customers will be deterred.
How to fix it:
Becoming trustworthy can be as simple as making sure your website is up-to-date with industry standards. In addition to this make sure your website is full of clear social proof. Score and ratings from trusted review websites are a huge factor new customers look out for before deciding whether or not to shop on certain ecommerce stores. Social proof is a vital element for gaining trust online, so integrate it into your design.
When it comes to ecommerce website design, simplicity is key. There’s no great mystery as to why a user is on your website, so don’t make it difficult for them to shop with an overthought design. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel, so finding products and purchasing them should be as simple as possible.
Try and imagine yourself as a new user visiting your web store for the first time. If you’re confused by the layout, messaging and options available then there’s a major problem. Studies have shown that shoppers are actually overwhelmed by having too many choices online, which is so frustrating for online retailers with a large product range, but keeping things limited can avoid ‘choice overload’.
How to fix it:
Serious using experience testing is the first step. Find out when a user is likely to first encounter a problem or struggle to find the products they want and adapt the journey from there. It’s also vital to consider which landing pages your marketing is sending users too and if the customer route from there is obvious.
If you hadn’t noticed already, everyone is shopping on mobile. In fact, 49% of all website traffic came from smartphones in 2010. You can design the sleekest, most up-to-date desktop ecommerce store, but if it’s not responsive on mobile you’ll miss out on almost half your potential audience.
Bad mobile web store design turns away shoppers like nothing else. If their preferred device isn’t supported they will not shop on your store, and go somewhere that does. A difficult shopping experience on mobile and tablet can give your ecommerce store a bad reputation and be a slight against the brand you’re trying to build.
How to fix it:
One of the best investments an ecommerce store can make is in a high quality mobile responsive website. Make sure text is large enough to read on these devices and the user experience is conducive to how they use a mobile. If you’re unsure about your mobile theme you can test it on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Imagery is important in ecommerce. No one is going to buy a product they’ve never seen before. On the other side of the coin, bad product imagery can cost you a sale. If your product imagery is of bad quality or generic it can make you seem less invested in what you’re selling.
Visitors are a lot less likely to read a full product description than look through a selection of images. If they aren’t getting what they want to see from your images they will shop from a store that offers more visual insight. Poor imagery can also put your entire website theme and design out of sync. If it clashes with your website it can ruin the aesthetic or worse if the images aren’t optimized it can slow down your web store.
How to fix it:
Don’t settle for stock images. Instead, invest in shooting the products in a creative way that’s unique to your brand. Build this style into the overall design of your website so as to avoid clashes. You should also invest in new ways of display products, such as video, to compete with other ecommerce stores that have moved beyond just static images.
Hiding contact information
The boring bits are sometimes the most important. Your ecommerce store will be carried by the basics, and great Contact Us and About Us pages are just that. A design that overlooks these crucial elements is one that doesn’t understand its visitors.
Users will go looking for this information for a number of reasons. They might want to call you to see if you’re legitimate or get help with a purchase. Or they’ll want to check where you are based to know where they’re shopping from. If your design doesn’t make these pages obvious then users will search elsewhere. Do not underestimate how frustrated a user can become by not being able to find these pages. If there’s one emotion you don’t want your ecommerce store to conjure, it’s anger.
How to fix it:
Display these pages clearly at both the top and bottom of your store’s menu. This is where users will be looking for them so don’t get too creative and let the information speak for itself.
Ecommerce web design thrives off doing the basics well and throwing in little snippets of creativity to stand out from the competition. If your store is suffering from bad design know that this can be changed to get your store back on track.