How to Design an eCommerce Store

Throughout this lesson, I use AO.com as an example e-commerce site that I think has a great design.

Homepage Design

What to include?

  • Clear navigation
  • Site search
  • Free or Fast delivery
  • Star rated reviews
  • Promotional banners

The purpose of your homepage is to INSTANTLY re-assure your visitors that they are on a reputable retailers site that sells what they are looking for.

And then make it EASY for them to jump deeper into your site via the clear navigation, banners or promotional offers.

What you should also include…

It’s easy to look at leading and successful e-commerce websites and assume what they are doing is the best or right approach, but this isn’t always the case.

Such sites often build their brand through expensive off-line and online advertising and they don’t usually have to consider a site that’s perfectly tuned for search engines in the same way that a small business e-commerce site would.

For example, on the AO.com homepage, there was no text copy on the page at all. Whilst they can get away with this as their brand is well known in the U.K. and receives a lot of traffic off the back of its TV advertising etc., for the average small business e-commerce website it’s important to have 500 to 1000 words on the homepage if you can. The text can be positioned lower down the page so it doesn’t interfere with the user experience, but having text that summarises the products sold on the website, with links through to the main product categories, will help Google understand your site better and will help with your search rankings.

A common misconception…

Over the past 20 years building e-commerce websites for clients large and small, I have repeatedly come across this common misconception from clients… that visitors will mostly arrive at their e-commerce website via the homepage!

For most e-commerce sites this simply isn’t the case, and shouldn’t be.

If you’re creating awesome product pages then people are far more likely to find your product page listed in Google search results than they are on your homepage.

And if you’re doing paid Ads such as Google or Facebook PPC to drive visitors to your site, then you should also be directing them directly to your product or category landing pages that are precisely related to the ad, rather than to your generic homepage.

Of course, this isn’t the case for big brand websites like AO.com (in the U.K.) or marketplace sites like Amazon, as in those cases where the brand name is well known, visitors are likely to simply go to the homepage first.

Category Page Design

What to include?

  • Product category heading title
  • Star reviews
  • Quality photos
  • Product search filters

The purpose of your product category pages is to act as product type landing pages, ideal for SEO and for directing paid ads traffic to.

Your website header should be consistent on the site, with site search, cart, account login, and ideally social links and telephone number.

Product Page Design

What to include?

  • Big product title
  • Prominent product price
  • Star reviews
  • Quality photos (that can be enlarged)
  • Product video (ideally)
  • Short product overview
  • Full product specification
  • Social sharing options

The purpose of your product page is to CLEARLY show the product off to the best it can be through stunning photos, a video, and description.

And then make it EASY for them to order via a clear ADD TO CART button (or ADD TO BASKET in the U.K.).

Cart Upsells

Upsells is a generic word used for a variety of purposes.

Upselling

Upselling is about UPGRADING the customer from one product to another higher priced product. However, cross-selling (below) is just commonly called upselling.

Cross-selling

Cross-selling is about offering additional items to a customer that RELATE to the product(s) they have added to cart.

Checkout

A streamlined checkout like this will maximize conversions.

Remove distractions as much as possible that the customer could click on which would take them away from the checkout.

Have LIVE CHAT available in case the customer has any last minute questions!

Post Purchase

Following a purchase, you need to first thank the customer for their purchase on screen and then ensure they immediately receive an email confirming the items purchased. The email should also give an indication of delivery date if possible. The email could also offer an incentive discount off their next purchase or incentives for sharing their purchase with friends and family on social media (there are usually plugins offering this).

IMPORTANT

Potential customers will drop out at every stage if your website, products, content, and processes aren’t the best they can be!

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