Many e-commerce shop owners find handling the finer points of website design to be a considerable obstacle. Your user interface can make or break your e-commerce site’s success, so there’s a good reason why online store owners spend so much attention on the subject.
Most newcomers to the e-commerce industry have a pretty solid idea of what they’re looking for in terms of design. For the most part, they take one of two paths towards realizing those designs during the development process.
Hiring a Designer. This is a great option for any store owner with sufficient resources to invest. Hiring a professional is the best way to ensure you get a modern, well-designed user interface that looks great and loads quickly. Finding the right designer can be a challenge, however – be prepared to spend some time “auditioning” potential ones.
Use Readymade Templates. Many on-the-go e-commerce entrepreneurs choose to use the readymade templates most e-commerce platforms make available. You won’t be able to use powerful customization features without learning how to design, but you can always hire specialists to develop your site later on.
Both are viable options for designing your e-commerce store. Your intended audience and site-specific needs will determine which is best. Below, we’ve gathered some examples of particularly well-designed websites, and some comments on just what makes them so effective.
Linksoul is a Georgia-based retailer that primarily sells golfing supplies and accessories. One of its homepage’s biggest attractions is the selection of large photographs that link to different parts of the site. By making the Shop New Arrivals button the centerpiece of their homepage, the company entices visitors to go click and begin shopping. Below this, visitors can link to the company’s Instagram feed, video content, or blog (creatively entitled “Journal”).
The site’s design could be improved by reducing the amount of navigation text on its upper header – the Info, Looks, and Journal tabs are redundant in most cases since users can access these pages easily throughout most of the site. A useful design addition would be adding an Add to Cart button next to each product so that users don’t have to click through to each one in order to make a shopping list.
2. Child of Wild
Child of Wild is a California-based jewelry retailer with a spectacular design concept. By focusing on attitude-driven product photography and minimizing text, the website draws users immediately into its world of bone jewelry, dream catchers and bohemian accessories.
This website has great product pages. They are clean, product-centric, and easy to access. The site’s top navigation bar makes it easy to move laterally from product to product or to separate collections, brands, and more.
Repeat visitors to the site will notice that the newsletter pop-up only occurs once. This is important because although newsletter pop-ups help stores build their email list, users rarely enjoy being bothered by them – once is enough.
BlackVue manufactures and sells dashcam products. Since the company needs to cater to both retail and wholesale users, the homepage shows no prices. In order to purchase a single product directly from the site, users must click through the product description page onto a separate retail product page – this lets the company avoid competing with its own distributors.
The only significant drawback to this website’s design is that the homepage’s Blog and About sections are very text-heavy. Large, click-friendly images would do a better job at enticing users to read about the company’s products and history.
Boston-based agency JD Softtech is responsible for this website. For a deeper look at how BlackVue’s designers created the website, read their in-depth case study.
4. Grado Labs
Luxury headphone manufacturer Grado Labs understands the power of imagery. Grado knows that the vast majority of their website visitors are already late in the sales funnel – the company’s stellar reputation ensures that users are already somewhat familiar with the brand – so they focus on using powerful imagery to draw customers towards their product selection without relying too much on text.
The only drawback to this company’s website design is that it tends to load slowly. As Yoast points out, loading time is very important for SEO and for mobile sales – you will lose customers if you fill your pages with too many high-resolution photographs. Grado’s luxury appeal means that it doesn’t have to rely on SEO the same way a mainstream audio electronics company would, however.
5. Badland Saint
Badland Saint has a clean, product-centric website that is light on text and big on imagery. By eliminating most of the extra design elements crowding other jewelry and accessory webpages, it is able to place focus completely on the products it sells.
While company’s home page earns points for its huge banner, it loses its effectiveness on mobile devices since the banner images get smaller while the product images stay the same size. Ideally, the mobile version of the website would perform better if it responded differently – particularly when it comes to the menu and empty cart logo both located just above the main banner. This draws attention away from the banner and away from the products.
6. 22 Bicycles
Selling a bicycle online is hard work – most customers want to test-ride the product before paying for it. 22 Bicycles uses design to overcome that obstacle to great effect. In particular, the sliding two-layered text and imagery background on the homepage creates a powerfully attractive presentation. The site then goes on to explain the various components that make 22 Bicycles special.
Although the site is text-heavy, the size and beauty of its imagery draws customers into learning more about its products. With this site, the only design flaw is that it has a tendency to set colored text against similarly colored backgrounds – distracting at best, confusing at worst. Text boxes would make the brand’s messaging more visible.