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Web design plays a vital role in creating a successful eCommerce site. The best product in the world can easily be overlooked if the design isn’t there to back up the presentation.

The best part about web design and tips is that much design advice is based on data and case studies. While there’s always room for creativity and inspirational expression, data-driven advice warrants tangible results.

The goal is to sell more of what your brand has to offer. Whether it’s through crafty design elements or bold statements that will leave customers curious to know more.

A great web design inspires users to take action, but also helps to strengthen the trust that users have in your brand. The action is what drives sales, and design is there to help encourage users to perform actions like buying or reaching out.

This article is for anyone looking to polish the design of their eCommerce website. It doesn’t matter if you use WordPress, Wix, BigCommerce, or a custom eCommerce platform. The lessons and tips outlined below apply universally as modern design principles.

Tell a story

telling a story with web design
Example of storytelling by Tens

Great products have great stories behind them. Anyone can slap together an eCommerce site and sell whatever they want. But not anyone can create a successful brand image around their product.

Your ability to tell a compelling story about your brand is going to help with developing a strong brand image. Also, storytelling fosters loyalty. Customers are more likely to remember your brand if they feel like you’re sincere and personal. And the best way to get personal is to tell a story.

  • What made you create your product?
  • How did your product affect your life?
  • What is your future vision?
  • Who is your target customer?

Once you start answering these questions, you can get a much clearer idea of how to structure your eCommerce design. Make users feel like they are part of something special.

Wouldn’t you want customers to return to your store because they have been left inspired?

Create less choice

Walden being bold with their product promotion.

There is nothing more obnoxious than a sloppy store navigation experience. The goal of selling is to get users to add items to their shopping cart. But if your navigation provides hundreds of options, users will quickly lose their patience and leave the site altogether.

Walmart is a great example of what not to do unless you wish to scale for long-tail sales. Their navigation provides an overly saturated list of navigation options, making you feel dizzy by the time you’re done finding what you need.

Simple eCommerce navigation // Mercari

The easier it is for customers to find a specific product, the more time they have to read about the product — and in the end, make a purchase.

Useful: Experiment with drawing up a navigation structure using Sketch, Photoshop, or any other wireframing tool. Analyze the process of users coming to the homepage, browsing a directory, and finally reaching the product page.

This is arguably one of the most important design tips for eCommerce sites.

Color inspires emotion

Simple and clear colors make for pleasant user experience.

Colors have had a psychological impact on sales long before the digital revolution. Understanding the different types of emotion that colors can invoke, you can design your eCommerce site to match certain feelings and vibes.

Here is a chart showcasing emotions commonly associated with different colors:

color psychology.001

Depending on your product and target audience, you can use color to invoke certain feelings. For example, if your store is selling environmental products or produce, the color green is going to complement the sense of nature.

According to research, it takes roughly 90 seconds for customers to formalize their opinion of a product. And a large amount of that interaction period — about 70% — is set on the colors exclusively.

Consistency matters

Storytelling School for Families – Bedtime Stories

Users remember your brand design, not because of a catchy name, but because of the overall brand image you present. Regarding web design, this is mostly to do with how you structure your pages.

Are you using the same fonts and colors across all pages? Strong typographic patterns can instill a memorable experience in the minds of your users.

Further, if you use a variety of different colors across multiple pages, you risk of coming off as a multi-varied brand.

As a result, if you wish to be recognized and remembered, it’s imperative to focus on using similarities in your design patterns. Even if your product has a lot of branches, designing pages with similarities in mind only helps to create a stronger brand presence. And that’s the ticket for boosting your sales.

Experiment with urgency

creating urgency in ecommerce web design

Urgency is predominantly based on offers and exclusive deals. As seen in the above photo, Bestbuy use the upper part of their homepage to highlight irresistible deals. But, are there other methods to promote a sense of urgency?

One of the biggest reasons for customers abandoning their shopping cart is the high prices for shipping. So, this creates an opportunity to capitalize by offering special deals on shipping costs.

This also is a tactic that brands like Bestbuy employ. And Amazon is known for its Prime service. Prime users get free shipping on almost all products exclusively. You can also encourage users to spend a certain amount on your store, and in return get a free shipping rate.

Another form of urgency is limiting the available stock for a certain product.

limited stock urgency ecommerce

Here is a beautiful holiday-based crewneck sweatshirt. The offer comes with free US shipping but is available only for a certain period. This is a prime example of urgency that’s used in designing eCommerce stores.

Can you think of any other ways in which to promote urgency? We would love to hear your thoughts and success stories.

Clear and beautiful photos


There is plenty of data to back up the claim that high-quality, relevant, and visually appealing images help to increase conversion rates. And we’re not talking about product images alone.

The imagery you use in your overall design can have a huge impact on captivating users attention.

A great photo instills emotion, creates a sense of identity, and is easily remembered. The average person can recall up to 2,000 images with near perfect accuracy.

That being said, products won’t sell unless there are photos to back up the product design. It’s crucial that you as an eCommerce store owner do your best to captivate your product’s essence through high-quality photos.

Best of all, you don’t need to hire an expensive photo rig to get the job done. There’s plenty of tutorials and how-to guides on making exceptional product photos using nothing but your phone or an inexpensive camera.

Sites like Pexels and Unsplash are well-known for providing stunning and professional license-free photography.

Become the customer

become the customer

Web design has two sides to it, professional and subjective. Professional side has everything to do with following UX and UI trends when structuring a design.

The subjective side requires you to step back and look at your design from the point of view of a customer. A site visitor if you will.

  • How do you feel about the overall design layout?
  • Are you able to find the information you require quickly?
  • Does the navigation make sense?
  • Is the product description loud and clear?
  • How quickly can you reach the checkout page?

By answering these questions, you can notice any inconsistencies that need addressing.

Use A/B testing often

a-b testing.001

As we reach the final part of our design tips for eCommerce sites, let’s close the list by discussing A/B testing.

A/B testing is necessarily the means to use two different websites layouts simultaneously. A is one version, and B is another.

Then, after some time has passed, you can compare the metrics for each version separately. The metrics you can monitor include conversion rates, usability, and overall interaction for different parts of the layout.

Even a small change in design can have drastic improvements in user engagement. Likewise, trying out different color variations and more can give you a much clearer idea of where to focus on for your future designs.

Wrapping up

The design is an ever-changing landscape. Understanding patterns, user behavior, and the latest trends can give you the edge to boost your sales.

Our design tips are targeted for anyone looking to improve the user experience of their eCommerce site.

So, don’t waste a minute and get to work! We would love to hear how these tips helped to shape a better design on your eCommerce store. If you are in need of some expert designer, then you can always check out 99designs.

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  • Alex Ivanovs
    Alex Ivanovs is an experienced Digital Marketing specialist. His work is featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, TheNextWeb, Huffington Post, and other thought-leading platforms. When not actively writing on tech, he can be found sharing…

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