Good e-commerce design is essential to keeping visitors’ attention and moving them toward the sale. An effective design can be beautiful, efficient, and persuasive all at the same time.
Ideally, e-commerce design should provide a compelling experience that helps your brand stand out. That said, lots of factors can distract users from your message.
By ensuring your design is truly aligned with customer needs, you can help visitors maintain their focus and achieve their goals on your site. That gives you the opportunity to foster trust, inspire engagement, and motivate them to return.
Here are six tips that can help you deliver a powerful e-commerce design:
1. Keep Navigation Simple
Navigation should be clear, easy to read, and uncluttered by other clickable things. Add “breadcrumbs” on each page so users can follow them to previous pages without scrolling or clicking the back button, which can be imprecise.
2. Test Designs on Multiple Devices
Since mid-2016, about 60% of online searches have come from mobile devices. That number is growing with mobile adoption: 77% of U.S. adults have a smartphone, with older and lower income Americans joining the trend. In short, customers are very likely to find you through mobile.
With that in mind, it’s essential to test each e-commerce design on multiple devices before it goes live. Designs should be responsive for smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Try them out on popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, too.
3. Optimize Loading Speed with Lazy Loading
One of the first rules e-commerce designers should keep in mind was uncovered before the term “e-commerce” was ever used: It only takes one second for a user to notice a delay on a website. For seamless interactivity, a design should facilitate fast load times.
An easy way to do this is through lazy loading, a technique that loads page elements only when the user scrolls to their position. This asynchronous loading method conserves the user’s bandwidth and allows large pages to flow smoothly.
4. Create Compelling Product Pages
Product pages are where the magic happens—shoppers either decide to make a purchase or put it off for another day. To minimize distraction, a product page should have few outbound links and light navigation: It should be as focused as possible on the single action you want users to take: add to cart.
Make sure your buy button is easy to find, with contrasting colors and an eye-catching call to action. Small changes on your product page can make a major difference, so use split testing to validate them. This ensures your product pages get more compelling with each iteration.
5. Use Compression to Make Images Work Faster
When all is said and done, images usually contribute the most to load time for any page. Images can speak louder than words, of course, but they can also introduce delays that leave users eager to move on to a more rewarding task.
Many content management systems offer image compression modules that allow graphics to load faster without sacrificing appearance. Combined with lazy loading, this helps you make your website more welcoming for users with limited bandwidth or older hardware.
6. Implement Encryption for Your E-Commerce Site
With huge data breaches making the news on a regular basis, the average consumer is much more aware of the importance of data security. Although they might not be IT experts, savvy online shoppers know they need to look for the handy “lock” icon.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption helps you protect your customers’ sensitive information while instilling trust in your brand. There’s also a pragmatic reason to embrace it. Google is using security as a ranking factor, giving sites that use encryption a leg up on the competition.
The Bottom Line: User-Centered Design is Central to E-Commerce Success
Whether you’re a graphic designer, a programmer, or a marketer, the key lesson you can take from these tips is the same: Focus your design on what serves your customers. Ruthlessly edit out anything else, even if it seems trendy or clever.
Just like in “real life,” your e-commerce design only has a few seconds to make a first impression ... and whatever that is, it’s likely to stick. Keep your design simple and fast so your message will get through and make a genuine connection.