Function-wise, eCommerce website design is very similar to planning and designing a brick and mortar store. It’s ultimate goal is to make buying as easy and simple as possible so as to encourage people buy, and the best designs and layouts are those that make visitors buy even more than they intended. In eCommerce web design, that usually means streamlining your procedures and improving the way people shop on your site.
A lot of data is involved in the functions of any eCommerce site. But customers always look for (and come back to) the most convenient shopping experience. That means as close to a buy-click-deliver system as possible. Since you obviously need to collect things like addresses and credit card numbers, you should at least minimize the number of steps necessary with an efficient eCommerce website design.
Certain methods are available such that you’re able to collect and store every single bit of data inputted by your customers. Use this to your advantage by grouping similar fields together so that a single input of data can fill up multiple fields. For example, if you ask for a customer’s zip code at the start of a certain procedure, you can already use that data to fill in the zip code and state fields of the delivery address.
Even if the ideal online shopping process is linear, that’s not really what happens in real life. A lot of customers will want to navigate away, look at another page or verify some piece of information – all in the middle of your planned procedure. Your eCommerce website design should be able to accommodate such events instead of being absolutely straight and clean-cut.
At the same time, customers will also want to be able to pick up where they left off after they’ve finished with the other pages. Adding links to finished steps in the ordering process or immediately storing inputted information, for example, could help you do this. Some shopping cart software packages also come with the feature built in.
It’s never good for customers to be unaware of where exactly they are in the ordering procedure. Have they just started, are they around the middle or are they almost done? This is something that customers usually like to know – and is up to you to provide.
Part of good eCommerce web design is making your procedure as simple and clear as possible from the get-go. Some of the biggest retail websites, for example, place a static image on every ordering-related page that shows customers where they are in the order process. It’s small details like that which usually go unnoticed, yet are appreciated hugely.
Just because your eCommerce web design package looks like it has everything doesn’t mean that your customers will immediately take to it. Take measures like beta testing and process timing to see if there are flaws in your design, as well as to determine possible areas for improvement. Remember, the smallest details and flaws could very well drive customers away – straight into your competition’s pages.