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Do’s and Don’ts for your E-Commerce Website Design


The online shopping arena is getting more competitive with web users feeling increasingly comfortable purchasing goods online. With more people shopping online and new ecommerce websites popping up daily, setting oneself apart from the competition is of the utmost importance for any online retailer.

Web users - your potential customers - are impatient and are shopping via the web because they are looking for an efficient means to find and get what they want quickly.  Make sure your ecommerce website is up to the task by reading the do’s and don’t of ecommerce web design below:  

The Do’s

Do Keep It Simple

Bombarding your web visitors with too much information is a sure-fire way to get them to leave your website rather than sticking around to make a purchase. When too many things are competing for your web visitor’s attention, whether it’s too many blocks of text, too many images, too many calls to action, or too much of anything – people get distracted.  

As an online retailer, you want your web visitors to complete a transaction so you make a sale. To do this, you’ll want the path to purchasing for your potential customer to be a seamless experience without any hurdles or distractions along the way.

Do Care About SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of getting traffic from the ‘organic’ (i.e. not paid) search results. When done correctly SEO can help your ecommerce website rank higher up in search results. That means, when someone turns to Google looking for your service, you’ll be more likely to show up on page 1 of the results. Granted, SEO is not some magical thing you just plug into your website and overnight you’ll end up in the first place. SEO requires a concerted effort and time.

To boost your SEO efforts, create unique product descriptions for what it is your selling. Distinguish yourself from the competition and sell your products using language that your customers will respond to favourably rather than just showing an item number or SKU. This will help your customers learn more about your products and also help search engines find your website. Make a conscious effort to learn more about SEO and implement these techniques accordingly so you can get a leg up on your competition.

Do Make Sure Everything Works

Nothing is more infuriating then when something doesn’t work. The whole point of shopping online (aside from getting a great deal…) is the convenience of it all. You don’t have to head to the mall, deal with lineups and pushy sales people, or parking. You can just go online and get what you want. But, when you’re online shopping experience is met with links that don’t work – well that’s inconvenient!

Especially because the transaction is taking place online, your customers need to trust the credibility of your website and how it operates. If links don’t work, you run the risk of losing your customers because if they can’t get to a link they want to access, how will they trust making a payment on your website. Test your website links and make sure everything works correctly.  

The Don’ts

Don’t Make Your Users Think

Your ecommerce website visitors want to find what they’re looking for quickly and purchase it easily. When there are too many buttons to choose from or too many things to fill out – it offers more opportunities for your customers to halt their transaction or abandon their purchase. By keeping things simple and having an intuitive user interface that is easy to navigate, your customers should process their transaction without hesitation. It is only when there are unnecessary steps to the buying process that customers get annoyed, tired or frustrated and thus, are likely to leave their carts behind without paying. Don’t create unnecessary barriers to the process by making your users think. Just keep things simple and ask only for what is necessary so that your customers are focused on the task at hand – i.e. making a successful purchase.

Don’t Hide Shipping Fees

Do not hide shipping fees, it’s shady and it will lead to shopping cart abandonment. Just be transparent about shipping costs and your web visitors will pay the price you set or not. Or, if you want to just markup the prices of your products (to include shipping costs) and say shipping is free for all transactions – do that. It’s a psychological trick but it works.

See, most online consumers will abandon a purchase when shipping charges are tacked on at the end and are more expensive then they are willing to pay. It’s the surprise of the shipping costs that make them feel like they’ve been tricked and strung along for the ride that they didn’t want to take. The worst part is when you make a web visitor fill out a bunch of information and then show the costs of shipping that they don’t want to pay – talk about a waste of time. And trust us – they’ll tell their friends not to shop at your website. You get it.

Don’t Ignore Customer Service

Perhaps especially because you’re an online retailer, you’ll want your customer service to be impeccable. That means fast email response times, having someone capable handle customer inquiries and disputes, offering instant chat support. Your customer service is what will gain you a loyal client following because you’ll retain the customers you do have and they’ll tell their friends and family about the great experiences they’ve had shopping on your website and recommend you accordingly. Remember your customers are the sort who are comfortable purchasing on the web, which typically means they are also savvy when it comes to leaving online reviews. Be sure to treat your customers with the respect that they deserve so that they speak of your ecommerce site in the best light possible.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when managing your ecommerce website is to think like a customer or online shopper. Ask yourself what you want out of an online retailer? What would your ideal online shopping experience look like? Create that for your customers and they’ll be happy.  

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