The rules for e-commerce and the rules for design are many times contrary. Although minimalism and streamlined interfaces and limited text (as well as messaging) are commonly associated with some of today’s best design projects they may not be practical on a retail site. For ecommerce sites, conversions are the ultimate goal. You would really like to entice users to buy as many items as possible. That’s exactly why some of the latest web trends such as minimalism may be counterproductive.
Features vs. Function
While designing for ecommerce, functionality is the core. Shopping websites need features that are easy to use, secure, trustworthy and at the same time provide enough information for users to make a buying decisions. With all this, an ecommerce site might include a few less trendy features, but will definitely include all the needed functionality.
When it comes to shopping, users want experiences that are tailored to their requirements. Personal interactions should take only a glance. Simple welcome messages that address a particular user can create a huge impact on your sales. Shopping cart reminders that tell users about their un-purchased items can actually urge them to make a purchase.
An ecommerce website needs to guarantee security not only for the users, but also needs to have a robust security to stand as a trustworthy place for users to shop. So, features such as lock icon that comes from using HTTPS, a secure network connection, etc. should be included. To achieve this, ensure that your site is well organized, with a defined grid system, typography hierarchy and image guidelines for a design that feels more trustworthy for the customers. The customers should not have to think twice before making a purchase.
Designs for websites should be simple and readable at a glance mainly because, it’s a known fact that user’s attention span is very short. On an ecommerce site however, the opposite is true – information overload is always welcome! Users need information to compare items, and understand the specific details about products and learn everything they can before making a purchase.
Plenty of Calls to Action
Every time a product appears on the screen, there should be a direct path for the user to buy it. Use bright colors and simple language to make call to actions visible direct and easy to use. Call to action defines the ultimate user experience with your website.
Certain extra design details are what differential one ecommerce site from another. Your site should feel special and lavish for the user. Here’s where the specific design elements such as great space, photography, animation and effects are most important. Every click should make the user want to click again, whether you are creating an e-commerce site or not.
When it comes to e-commerce websites, some of the biggest design “trends” may actually fall a little behind overall design. This is mostly because users need to feel safe on e-commerce sites, and user flows need to follow commonly-accepted patterns.
Commonly accepted patterns, easy search and navigation and trust can outweigh the need for a trendy look and feel. But it’s possible to try both. You can design a mix of old and new and create a merged customer experience in a single package.