Factors to Consider When Designing an eCommerce Website

Before various eCommerce platforms emerged, going into entrepreneurship was nothing more than a pipe dream for most people. Now, this dream is within reach of anyone who possesses enough initiative and perseverance to tackle the process step by step. Brainstorming the right web design is vital when building an eCommerce website. With almost 48% of people deciding whether or not to navigate through your website just by looking at the design, everything from colors, fonts, and images to written content and graphics has to be implemented in a way that will persuade your customers to make a purchase.
The industry’s best eCommerce designs are those that attract potential customers, provide premium user experience, and communicate brand value.
If you are looking to join the bandwagon and create your online store, stick with us to the end of the article, as our web design agency in Chicago reveals the most important factors to consider when designing an eCommerce website.

Choose your platform

An eCommerce platform is an online software application that provides a ton of design flexibility and integrations while building a store. Some of the most popular shopping cart platforms are:

  • WordPress / WooCommerce: Its relative ease of use and versatility due to a large number of plugins available make WordPress the most popular content management system across the globe. If you choose to build an eCommerce website on WordPress, you’ll need to opt for an eCommerce plugin that provides the proper functionality. Powered by WordPress, WooCommerce is a free shopping cart software that offers a plethora of themes and add-ons. Its setup wizard will guide you through the entire process, and you’ll have your online store up and running in no time. Since it is an open-source platform, WordPress is also the most popular choice for building a custom-coded website. It provides endless opportunities for customization during the eCommerce website development process.
  • Magento: This powerful eCommerce content management system offers many functionality and customizing options. The only downside is that it has a steep learning curve and requires a few development skills to set up correctly.
  • Shopify: Shopify is a SaaS platform that offers excellent eCommerce design solutions, an elaborate toolkit, and various multipurpose themes such as Vendy. With its drag and drop visual editor, you can build your online store in a matter of hours. It is an all-around shopping cart software both beginners and pros can use for designing eCommerce website.

Pages that impact the conversion rates

Among the most important factors to consider when designing an eCommerce site are eight crucial pages that impact the conversion rates the most. These pages are:

  • Homepage
  • About page
  • Category page
  • Product page
  • View cart page
  • Checkout page
  • Subscription form
  • Search results page

Though all of these pages serve different purposes, they still need to follow the best design practices in terms of being easy to navigate, featuring fast loading times, and connecting with your target audience.

It is never a good idea to jam everything into your homepage. Instead, it would be best if you found that golden ratio – a perfect balance between showcasing your products, displaying product descriptions, and emphasizing brand consistency.

That being said, let’s dive deeper and explore how you should use web design elements to create a profitable, one-of-a-kind eCommerce store.

Designing with trust and security in mind

Online shoppers are cautious and quick to abandon a website that doesn’t feel trustworthy. That’s why one of the first factors to consider when designing an eCommerce website has to be providing secure transactions and personal data protection. Following the latest eCommerce technology trends can help you keep your web stores safe.

You can use multiple methods to instill trust in your target audience. First and foremost, make sure to keep your message simple and easy to understand. The best way to do so is to write in plain language and avoid legal or internal jargon.

Now, let’s explore other elements that communicate trust with potential customers:

  • Provide an overview of your business
    • Display general information
    • Include photos of people that run the business
    • Display contact info
    • Link to social media accounts
    • Create a FAQ page
  • Outline store policies and make them easy to access
    • Shipping and return policies
    • Elaborate on the return process, and the products included
    • Display privacy policy that covers customers’ personal and financial info

Share product reviews 

Product reviews will help your customers find out more about the products you offer. They can resolve any concerns they might have and provide a good user experience. You can even take it up a notch and provide information about the reviewers so your customers would benefit from other peoples’ opinions.

Consider integrating business online reputation management software with your eCommerce site. It will help you monitor online reviews and recognize the problems your customers are facing. Understanding your target audience is the first step in improving every eCommerce marketing category and turning a good eCommerce website design into a great one.

Use a secure server 

If you expect your customers to share their personal information, you have to assure them that the information will remain secure. The secure sockets layer (SSL) authenticates the website identity and encrypts personal data. Implementing SSL and displaying SSL certificate badges will indicate that you value customer privacy and your checkouts are secure. When building an eCommerce website on Shopify, you won’t have to worry about getting an SSL certificate, as it is already included in the price. On most other platforms, you need to buy it separately or check with your hosting provider whether their services include SSL certificate implementation.

Display trust seals 

Trust seals verify website legitimacy and security. Some trust companies even offer insurance if the transaction turns out to be fraudulent, adding an extra layer of protection to your shoppers. Recognized trust seals often result in increased sales since they assure potential customers that the transaction process on your eCommerce site is secure.

Keep an eye on details 

This goes without saying, but let’s state the obvious anyway. If you want your eCommerce website to evoke a sense of professionalism and help you achieve business goals, it is of utmost importance to avoid typos, missing images, broken links, 404 errors, and other elements that break the user experience.

UI design

Moving on with factors to consider when designing an eCommerce website, let’s talk about the look and feel of your digital store. After all, that is what creates first impressions. It takes around 50 milliseconds for a person to determine whether they like a website or not. That’s staggering!

It is easy to conclude that the opinion they get during that tiny amount of time drives their subsequent actions. It seems that time is of the essence, and you don’t have much of it to spare. So, let us rapidly check how to organize the first thing that meets the eye of your potential customers – the user interface.

Prioritize branding

Your branding is the DNA of your business, and as such, it requires a lot of deliberation. So, put your thinking cap on and ensure that your branding reflects who you are as an eCommerce company, what your message is, and how you are different from your competitors.

Branding plays a massive role in establishing meaningful connections with your target audience. That’s why it is vital to take time to define your brand and then infuse it into your design.

Make branding apparent throughout the entire website. Pick colors that align with your brand and set the style in tune with the type of products you are selling. It is essential to provide a consistent brand experience across all channels, including social networks, website pages, and mobile apps. Creating a website mockup design can help you with planning out branding elements on your eCommerce site.

Focus on a consistent brand color palette

Your eCommerce website needs to ensure consistency in both the colors and fonts. It is thought that each color evokes a specific kind of emotion and determines the type of user response. If you still haven’t decided on the colors of your brand and store, maybe this guide can help.

factors to consider when designing an ecommerce website

A defined color pallet is vital for any brand, so we suggest you base your choice on your target audience, products, and value proposition.

Adopt visual hierarchy

It is best to display the most important content of your eCommerce website above the fold. It will help you with retaining visitors’ attention. In cases when that is not an option due to a lack of real estate, you should consider using less white space and bringing items closer together instead of pushing valuable content below the fold.

Don’t exaggerate

Make sure not to overdo your design regarding fonts, sizes, and colors. Text that looks more like graphics often gets mistaken for an ad. To make your content legible, combine high-contrast text with background colors. Avoid using more than three fonts in your eCommerce website design, and try to find the right font size so every blog reader can easily understand the body text.

Use symbols that are easy to identify

Your shoppers shouldn’t have a hard time identifying the meaning of your icons and symbols. To avoid any possible confusion, we suggest you stick to known symbols throughout your website and provide labels for icons.

Avoid popups

Popup windows can only distract your website visitors. Regardless of the information they may contain, your users are most likely to ignore and dismiss them. That’s why we suggest you avoid them altogether.

Make navigation frictionless

In this section of our article about the most important factors to consider when designing an eCommerce website, we’ll explore ways to organize your navigation in a manner that provides a superb user experience.

Navigation should provide your customers with an easy way to browse your website, searching for products. Too much friction can negatively affect your conversion rates and revenue, with customers giving up halfway through the process. Before launching an eCommerce site, the best practice is to user-test site navigation. Now, let’s check some of the major elements of frictionless navigation.

Define product categories

Your navigation should clearly display the set of categories you offer. Think of the way to group your products into categories and subcategories that make the most sense. It is best to use single words to label the range of products so your website visitors would be able to scan through them quickly. Make sure to user-test your navigation as much as possible to provide the best user experience for your shoppers. As an experienced web design company, we can assure you that the more seamless the navigation is, the more your shoppers will enjoy their time in your online store. Smooth navigation is often a factor that separates a good eCommerce website design from bad ones.

Product search

To put it simply, your shoppers won’t buy the product they cannot find. With that in mind, let’s see how you can organize your product search so your customers will always be able to find the product of their interest:

  • Make the search box omnipresent: Make sure to place the search box on every page. The box needs to be highly visible and, above all, implemented in positions where your users expect to find it. Most eCommerce websites put the search field in the top right or the top center position of the page or on the main menu.
  • Support all types of queries: Your search should support various queries like product names, categories, attributes, and info regarding customer service. That will allow your shoppers to navigate your website with ease.
  • Include auto-complete: Besides simply helping visitors easily and rapidly navigate to the product of their choice, auto-complete functionality also increases sales potential by suggesting stuff within the area your buyers are already browsing.
  • Include sorting and filtering options: The more choices you give to your customers, the harder it is for them to decide what they want. That’s why you should allow your users to quickly filter their search results by eliminating certain products or categories. Another thing that can help them while searching is the option to sort products based on different criteria such as:
    • Highest price
    • Lowest price
    • Highest product rating
    • Newest products
    • Best selling products

Quick view

Including a quick view of a product will help your users rapidly inform themselves about the most important characteristics of a product without loading a new page. With that in mind, avoid including excessive info. Instead, try to stick to the most prominent details and allow a link for your users to visit the product page in case they find the product interesting. Another feature you should include in the quick preview are Add to Cart and Save to Wishlist buttons.

Special offers

Whether it’s for holidays or some other occasions, buyers are always pursuing discounts and special offers. So, even if the price difference is not that large, place your special offers in a visible place on your web pages so users would quickly identify them. The psychological sense of saving money can drive a considerable number of sales. Every business selling products should consider the right place for special offers in their eCommerce mobile app design.

Product page design

The design of your product pages is definitely one of the crucial factors to consider when designing an eCommerce website. Once your web store visitors find the product of their liking, you need to provide them with the option to find out as much as possible about the product. Your goal here is to create as much of an in-person shopping experience as possible. You can do this by including many images, detailed product descriptions, and any other related info. So, let’s dive in and explore ways to achieve this.

Product images

Since your customers aren’t able to physically interact with the products, it is your job to provide images that thoroughly exhibit all aspects of the commodities. Here is how to make perfect product images:

  • Use white background: It is essential to avoid background colors that distract shoppers or conflict with the products. If you use white, your products will stand out, and the background is unlikely to interfere with the color scheme of the product itself.
  • Use large high-quality images: Large images catch shoppers’ attention. Apart from that, high resolution will allow your users to zoom in and thoroughly examine all the details of the product.
  • Display products from a variety of angles: Multiple images from various angles, as well as close-ups, let your users view the product from multiple perspectives. Though we are not quite yet at the point where we can use virtual reality to shop, we are surely getting there in the future. Meanwhile, including a 260-degree view is the closest thing to providing a physical shopping experience.
  • Include videos: Videos are an engaging way to showcase your products in a short amount of time. You can show the product in use and provide additional info from a user perspective.
  • Be consistent: The product images you use should be consistent across all the pages of your online store. Furthermore, they should be in tune with the overall look and feel of the website. Make sure to use the same main product picture in each section where the product appears. That will make your shop look neat and uncluttered, and you will provide a uniform user experience across the entire website.

However, please note that images are one of the most resource-consuming elements on eCommerce sites. That’s why our web development company in Chicago advises you to optime image file sizes. This approach will help you keep high-quality of your images while ensuring page load speeds remain fast.

Provide the right amount of product info

Give your users a detailed overview of the product so they can make an informed decision on whether to purchase it or not. The fewer questions that remain unanswered, the more likely your customers are to buy the product. Some of the details you can provide are:

  • Availability
  • Different sizes
  • Different colors
  • Dimensions
  • Materials
  • Price
  • Warranties

Employ persuasive design

Allow us to tap into social psychology a bit and assure you that the scarcity principle works in your favor.

The scarcity principle is one of six basic principles of persuasion. It suggests that rare or unique objects, ideas, and information hold greater value than their common versions. In general, humans are more motivated by fear of loss or missing out than by want of gain.

An increasing number of businesses are using psychology to entice customers to take action. You can create a sense of urgency by letting your shop visitors know the number of products left or displaying sale deadlines.

Implementing psychology in your eCommerce site and eCommerce mobile app design can help you get one step closer to achieving your business goals.

Display related and recommended products

Once a customer purchases a product or even simply shows an interest, you can display a similar or a product that others have purchased. There are multiple benefits to this approach. On the one hand, you are improving user experience by guiding your shoppers to products that meet their needs while at the same time cross-selling related products and encouraging them to continue shopping. You may choose to display related products on a product page or in the shopping cart.

Designing a shopping cart

Dedicate special attention to the shopping cart design since this is where your customers review the products they selected and decide whether to proceed to checkout or not. As you can guess, the main objective of the shopping cart is to guide customers to checkout. So, let’s explore ways to implement a user-friendly design that will entice your customers to continue shopping:

A clear CTA

The checkout button should be your primary call to action. Make it prominent and easy to use with bright colors, plain language, and a lot of clickable areas. Also, keep mobile device users in mind when designing a CTA button. Ensure it is placed on appropriate screen areas and functions well on both desktop and mobile devices. A well-designed checkout button can help you increase the number of completed e-Commerce transactions.

Adequate feedback

Once your customer adds an item to the shopping cart, make sure to provide a clear confirmation of the action. Note that users may miss out on the brief and vague text confirmation. It is better to use animation to really attract their attention.

Mini cart widget

You can implement a mini cart widget to give your users the opportunity to add items to the cart without leaving the product page. Also, make sure to link the widget to the shopping cart web page.

Product details

Your shoppers will probably want to inspect the products once again before they decide to check out. That’s why it is a good idea to display various info such as product names, images, sizes, colors, and prices so they wouldn’t have to leave the page. However, you should link the products in the cart to their respectable pages and give them the option to inspect the items in more detail if necessary.

Make the cart editable

Provide your customers with an option to remove or save items and change features such as size, color, or quantity. During your eCommerce design process, ensure cart editing is flawless on mobile devices as well as on desktops.

Eliminate unexpected shipping costs and taxes

Avoid the unwanted element of surprise by displaying shipping options and costs along with the taxes by providing precisely calculated costs upfront. Unexpected added spend is one of the main causes of abandoned shopping carts. It is also a good idea to give your shoppers an expected delivery date.

Checkout page design

A stylish design is not the thing that necessarily brings customers and sales. Instead, the deciding element and one of the most important factors to consider when designing an eCommerce website is an awesome user experience. So far, we have managed to provide that. But now, your customer has reached the final stage of your sales funnel, so we don’t want to mess things up here. Let’s check a few ways to make that final push toward conversion with a well-designed checkout page:

Offer multiple payment options

Your customers are very likely to have different preferences when it comes to payment options. Depending on your target audience, you should do your best to cater to as many preferences as possible. Besides making it easier for your customers to complete their purchases, you will also expand your customer base this way.

Keep things as simple as possible

Reduce the number of fields and steps necessary to complete the order to a minimum. It is a good idea to put the shipping address as a default billing address and allow users to view the cart and enter delivery and payment info on the same page.

Registration should be optional

Don’t chase your customers away by forcing them to create an account before they make their first purchase. Instead, let them register upon their purchase if they wish to do that. If you outline benefits like faster future checkouts thanks to already provided personal info, or exclusive offers and discounts for registered members, you will probably notice more registrations than you expected.

Use clear error indicators

Errors that prevent your customers from completing a purchase are sure to frustrate them. There is nothing new or wrong about that. The only thing worse is not being able to understand why the error occurred. So, instead of displaying error messages upon form submission, make them appear in real-time and next to the field that requires correction. Also, ensure the messages are clear and concise so your users would easily notice and understand them.

Assure your shoppers they are on the right track

If your eCommerce website has a multi-page checkout process, your customers will appreciate it if you include a progress bar of a sort that lets them know the number of steps left until completion. Once they complete their purchase, provide an order confirmation and order status along with shipment tracking.

Provide customer support

You need to provide your shoppers with answers to any questions they might have throughout the checkout. A live chat or contact number should do the trick. When designing eCommerce website, consider highlighting:

  • Live chat option
  • Address
  • Phone number

Final thoughts

The best way to keep your customers satisfied is to provide them with a frictionless online shopping experience. Designing an eCommerce website that brings conversions is more than picking out colors, fonts, and layouts. While these elements are also important, it is the journey that counts the most. If you manage to create a memorable user experience throughout your online store, you are sure to convert even the most passive users into paying customers.

No eCommerce platform works like a magic wand that will fulfill all of your business goals overnight. But as we are nearing the end of today’s article, we have a strong belief that you’ll be able to use our advice to your advantage and build a professional, attractive, and user-friendly eCommerce store that will make customers return over and over again. In the end, we’ll leave you. with this message:

Fast growth opportunities and relatively low online market share allow new players like you to outrun some of the current industry leaders. To maximize your chances for success, you need to stay on top of B2C and B2B eCommerce trends. It will allow you to adapt to the ever-changing eCommerce landscape and get more website design ideas.

Brian Djordjevic
About The Author

Brian Dordevic

Brian is Marketing Strategic Planner with a passion for all things digital. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or schedule a consultation call with him.

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