12 Essential Features of Every Successful Ecommerce Website Design
Statista reports that e-retail revenues worldwide are projected to grow to $4.88 trillion by 2021. That's why every retail business should consider hiring an ecommerce website design and development company to start selling online.
While the quality of the products you sell is essential, it’s the design for your ecommerce website that ultimately tempts potential customers to purchase your products. During the planning period (wireframing and mockups) before developing an online store, our clients often ask us if there is a special set of features that can set a successful ecommerce website apart from the rest.
To answer this question, we’ve compiled a list of the 12 best ecommerce website design features that every successful website absolutely must have to stay competitive in the market. We will subdivide all these features into 4 categories: website navigation, products, marketing, and purchasing.
Website navigation is one of the most important factors of an ecommerce website design. Navigation should be intuitive and logical. If a visitor can smoothly access your online store’s products/services and find their descriptions, the chances of visitors turning into customers increase considerably.
A “breadcrumb” is a perfect example of a superior website navigation element. You can usually find breadcrumbs on ecommerce stores that have a large number of categories organized in a hierarchical manner. Breadcrumbs are a list of links indicating the location of the user within the site’s hierarchy separated by the symbol (>).
These effective visual aids don’t just tell people where they are on your ecommerce store, but they also help Google work out how your site is structured. Breadcrumbs facilitate website navigation by making it simple for users to move between a product catalog, categories, and homepages.
Thus, superior navigation helps potential customers find what they’re looking for without hassle. Alternatively, poor navigation frustrates a user and may even cause them to leave your ecommerce store.
The question then is what actually constitutes as superior navigation. The main idea is to present a clear path from the landing page to checkout with the help of a user-friendly menu, advanced search function, and customized call-to-action.
- A user-friendly menu
One of the most crucial aspects of a professional ecommerce website design is a user-friendly menu. We recommend putting the menu in a prominent place and making sure the categories and products in each category are properly named. Usually, we implement our customers’ Mega, Dynamic, or Drop-down menus on their Magento websites.
A Mega menu is a great feature that simplifies website navigation, allowing customers to quickly access different pages across the website. It combines text, links and graphic elements.
A Dynamic menu builds menu trees that expand when selected by drawing the necessary data from the database. This makes it easy for the customer to view only those menu items that interest them.
A Drop-down menu allows customers to take a shortcut to the product category or subcategory they are searching, while also providing the possibility to promote certain products or offers.
- Advanced search function and filtering
Product search and filtering are top ecommerce website design features as they enable customers to find the products they are looking for quickly and with ease. Filters allow shoppers to narrow down product lists and focus on the products they’re actually interested in, skipping over the pages and products they don't need.
Just look at Turcom (a Turkish consumer electronics brand), which was developed by our team. One of the best features on their ecommerce website is their instant search function. All customers need to do is type the first character and the website will predict what they are searching and show results as they type.
- Customized Call-to-Action
A call-to-action (CTA) is aimed to encourage customers to take an action you want them to do. Call-to-action buttons form direct points of connection between customers and the retail business from the first interaction to conversion.
Implementing a call-to-action button is one thing, but crafting a customized call-to-action that customers really relate to and act upon is a whole different ballgame. On the Marimekko (a Finnish design company) website developed by our team, customers are encouraged to explore their new collection via the CTA button “Shop Now.”
To buy products online, people need to understand what an ecommerce website sells and easily browse to discover what products are available and which best suit their needs. The path to products must be wisely designed to convey differences among various product categories and among individual products, and therefore help customers purchase the item they are interested in.
Let’s talk about three key things you should have when displaying your products in your online shop: product images, catalog, and product page.
- High-quality photos
Ecommerce websites should display high-quality, large, and eye-catching photos optimized for page load. Just think, when you are shopping, would you purchase a product that looks poor? You may be selling the top quality products in your ecommerce store, but if the photos of your products look bad, people are unlikely to buy them.
Make sure that your photos can be viewed from different angles with text directing the customer’s attention to a call-to-action. For instance, take a look at the Amsale homepage. A highly detailed background photo displays what the product is and the CTA button “Be Inspired” implies “click here to purchase the wedding dress.”
High-resolution images like this, combined with CTA, do an incredible job of giving information about your products and motivating your customers to look at something specific.
Your ecommerce website design shouldn’t be focused only on your homepage. You should also use high-quality product images throughout your design at the product page or product catalog.
If you really want to provide the best user experience, use a 360-degree view to let customers spin the items left and right from every angle possible. We implemented a Magic 360 extension on Dumpfi’s online store to allow customers to get a feel for the product.
- Product catalog
Creating an information-rich product catalog is a major key to converting potential customers into loyal clients for ecommerce retailers. A product catalog is a detailed document related to a store’s inventory which usually includes product images, product information, delivery options, price, company name, handling charges, stock keeping unit details, the available quantity, color, etc.
How your catalog is organized significantly influences buying behavior. Products are generally organized into groups of categories, for example: Clothes, Shoes, Bags, and Accessories. The Clothes category might be divided into subcategories such as T-Shirts, Tops, Tunics, Sweaters, Coats, Jackets, Dresses, Skirts, Pants, etc. Moreover, you can break these subcategories down further. The Dresses subcategory might be divided into Casual, Formal, and Cocktail.
Showcasing such structured and diverse categories helps customers understand what your website offers and makes it easier to browse the products they are interested in.
- Product page
An effective product page can help you convey the value of the products offered on your ecommerce website. The product page shows customers what the products look like and helps them understand if they want to purchase the items.
Encourage customers to continue exploring your website and products by including a section for featured products, best-sellers, exclusive items, related products, or top savers. Furthermore, you can also show bundles of products that are frequently bought together for the upsell. Successful ecommerce companies implement CRO (conversion rate optimization) techniques on their product pages such as customer reviews, product recommendations, pop-ups, and micro-animations.
Using micro-animations on an ecommerce website can really increase the overall experience and highlight areas of a page where you’d like your customers to focus. Micro-interactions can provide useful visual feedback, display products more effectively, and make navigating more natural. Typically, micro-interactions take the form of confirmation messages, hover animations, scrolling visuals, transition animations, sound effects, and error messages.
The animation above occurs when customers add the product to their shopping cart. It’s engaging and fun, providing feedback that indicates the product has been successfully added to their shopping cart.
Make sure your online store allows you to create and manage discount coupons, special offers, gift cards, and pricing rules. These marketing tools mentioned below can help you to upsell and cross-sell your products.
- Product reviews
Reviews are creative ecommerce website design features that help to drive social proof and improve customer loyalty. Customers read reviews and about 88% trust online testimonials as much as personal recommendations. Depending on website functionality, ecommerce stores can apply modules from the most popular review platforms such as Yelp, Trust Pilot, and Facebook.
Encouraging customers to write feedback on the products gives your website credibility as it shows that you have real paying customers. Furthermore, customer reviews will add keywords to your online shop, which improves your site SEO (search engine optimization), another main element for any ecommerce website.
Take a look at the Watches of Mayfair (a luxury brand supplier). We implemented custom widgets from the Trustpilot consumer review website to increase credibility and provide social proof. Of course, you always take the risk of getting negative reviews, but the potential advantages of customer reviews outweigh the disadvantages.
- Special offers and discounts
One of the key aspects of the top ecommerce website design is suggesting unique offers and discounts to the customers. Your ecommerce website will benefit from having discounts, offers, and freebies listed right on your product page. Many ecommerce sites use special offers in their standard marketing techniques via email, social media, or text messages.
Creating promotions will motivate people to purchase more because they’re saving more. Limited offers give customers the now-or-never drive to finish purchases while they’re already on your site instead of saving it for later. For instance, we implemented an orange “On Sale” sign to let customers know that the product is sold with a discount.
What’s better than savings? Free shipping! People are likely to complete an order and purchase the product if shipping is free, thus, reducing a customer’s shipping fees will eventually increase your sales.
In a brick and mortar store, you choose a product, wait in a queue, pay at the cashier, and leave. Simple, right? So why shouldn’t it be just as easy on an ecommerce website?
A minimalist design with an easy-to-use checkout, well-designed shopping cart, secure payment options, and various shipping possibilities are key drivers that make it easier for the users to buy products.
- A well-designed shopping cart
A shopping cart is the number one requirement for all ecommerce websites. This is where your customers keep their products to continue with the checkout process. A shopping cart should be simple to use. It has to give customers the option to add or remove products to the cart, change quantities, choose shipping options, enter promos, or purchase something else. A shopping cart layout also needs to have a simple visual design, displaying company branding (colors, logo, motto) and including prominent checkout buttons.
We integrated an Abandoned cart module to the Marimekko website with notifies customers about the products they added to their shopping cart but didn’t purchase. After getting a personalized email notification, the customer could easily recover their shopping cart by following the link in the email and completing their purchase.
- An easy-to-use checkout
The average online shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.89%. This can be damaging to your retail business, especially if you consider how much it took to gain visitors to your ecommerce website and turn them from visitors to customers, only to have them head elsewhere at the very last moment.
One of the reasons for cart abandonment is too long or complicated of a checkout process. Make your customers fill out only the information that is necessary to purchase, including mailing and billing address, credit card number, and shipping option. Anything else can cause frustration, and customers will either abandon your site or make their purchase but choose not to return.
Customers usually don’t want to browse through more than a couple of pages. That’s why we integrated a One-Page Checkout extension on Turcom’s website to reduce shopping cart abandonment and increase conversions.
- Shipping options
The ability to order online and receive the product on time can help to drive sales and create return visitors. Make sure you choose the best shipping software for your ecommerce businesses.
Furthermore, it’s crucial to allow your customers to select the type of delivery options for their orders. The system also needs to automatically calculate the shipping fees and include delivery time and options for faster delivery.
For example, DHL and FedEx provide real-time shipping rates. By integrating FedEx API on Turcom’s ecommerce website, we made it possible to display a predicted time of delivery, which increased user trust.
- Secure payment options
Similar to shipping, the payment option is one of the most important features of an ecommerce website design. A credible ecommerce store should have a secure payment gateway such as PayPal, Stripe, and Braintree. Furthermore, your customers should be given the possibility to select from a list of various payment gateways as different payment options are popular in various parts of the world.
Mobile ecommerce sales are projected to make up to 67.2% of total ecommerce sales in 2019. So, don’t forget to add Apple Pay as a payment option on your online store to capture more orders from mobile devices.
Elogic has a wide range of experience in implementing the best ecommerce website design features, including payment gateways. For example, we implemented a Pay With Amazon button on the Moun-It checkout page to let customers make a payment directly from their Amazon account.
Launching a successful ecommerce website can’t be done overnight. You should not only select the right platform, but also provide your customers with the top ecommerce website design features to make the purchasing process as seamless as possible.
In this article, we mentioned the 12 best ecommerce website design features every ecommerce website should have. You can also add other features depending on your business’ scope and products.
When you’re ready to commit to setting up your store, make sure you select a reputable ecommerce website design agency who has extensive experience and is aware of your business requirements to provide you with the best solution.