Ecommerce Website Design 101: How to Position Your Online Store for Growth

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There’s a saying that if you’re not online, you don't exist. A saying that grows more relevant each day as the online marketplace continues to dominate the shopping world. 

For retailers, this should be interpreted as such: if you currently do not have an ecommerce website, you may be preventing yourself from hitting revenue goals and reaching your full potential.  

What exactly does ecommerce website design entail? 

Put simply, it’s the process of creating an online store for your business to sell digitally to target shoppers. To design an ecommerce website, you need to plan, conceptualize and arrange your content and products for effective display on the Internet.

The ecommerce push has already begun, as more companies and more shoppers are turning to ecommerce stores to make their purchases. In 2020, Walmart's online sales increased by 97%. Amazon's Q2 sales and profit growth was 40%. It's not just the big guys either, benefiting from consumers' spiked appetite for online shopping. Smaller retailers such as Howards Storage World and B-Wear Sportswear, among others, are seeing double and even triple-digit growth in ecommerce revenues compared to the year before.

What else do these three companies have in common? Their fresh, modern ecommerce website designs were crafted and optimised for customer conversion.

Here's how you, too, can join the growing array of retailers that consistently beat — and exceed — their yearly ecommerce targets.

What is Required to Build a Beautiful (and High Performing) Ecommerce Website

No matter which type of ecommerce site you plan to build, the first thing you need is an ecommerce platform to help you create the best ecommerce store.

There are three main types of ecommerce platforms on the market:

  • Open-source.
  • SaaS.
  • Headless commerce.

Each of them provides you with a toolkit for creating an online store: page builder, checkout page, payment gateway integrations, and more. The difference between those ecommerce platforms lies in the levels of:

  • Customisation.
  • Performance.
  • In-built feature set.
  • Flexibility.

SaaS platforms offer an out-of-the-box ecommerce store design experience. You can design a store using a drag-and-drop visual editor in several hours, though the tradeoff is limited customisation and incapacity to add custom features.

Open source platforms are like a blank canvas that, with enough time and effort, can be turned into any kind of ecommerce website. However, you are creating everything from scratch, which means having a coder and a designer on call.

Headless commerce platforms are built with flexibility in mind, allowing you to create differentiated shopping experiences anywhere, with a powerful commerce engine on the backend. Unlike other ecommerce options, with headless commerce, the frontend is separated from the backend, allowing you to change your platform at any time. However, a more complicated process does come with additional systems needed. 

You can choose between:

  • Headless commerce and Open SaaS platforms such as BigCommerce.
  • SaaS platforms like Shopify, which does have a headless commerce offering, though with rigid API call per second limits.
  • SaaS website builders like Squarespace and Wix.
  • Open-source platforms like Magento, which doesn't have a native theme editor, and WooCommerce, which is technically an ecommerce plugin. 

Such ecommerce solutions won't limit your design capabilities to create beautiful and unique websites, and you don't need to build core commerce functionality from the ground up.

No matter which store builder you choose to start up with, it is important to make sure that your top pick has the following features:

1. Mobile responsive.

Mobile responsiveness is critical to the success of an ecommerce website. More than 46% of consumers complete their entire purchase process (from research to purchase) on smartphones, with even around 75% admitting that they abandon sites that aren't optimised for mobile. A responsive ecommerce platform can ensure that visitors from all sorts of devices have equally great on-site experience — without any design constraints.

Best Ecommerce Design 1

BigCommerce is a leading ecommerce platform for building a beautiful mobile store, tailored to increase mobile sales without any additional effort. With our platform, users get:

  • Responsive themes.
  • Images sized and served for mobile.
  • Mobile pages built for higher performance and engagement.

2. Customisation opportunities.

“Beauty” is a highly subjective assessment. However, when it comes to web design, “good looks” usually mean a convenient layout, aesthetically pleasing typography and iconography, crisp visuals and other on-site design elements that differentiate your store from others. 

If your ecommerce platform lacks customisation features and beautiful ready-to-use templates, you are stuck with using the same mold as hundreds of other stores, with little room to show how your brand stands apart.

With BigCommerce, organisations can:

  • Completely customise their website with our intuitive visual editor, Page Builder.
  • Drive mobile sales with responsive templates.
  • Build your site in half of the time using modern development tools.
  • Deliver a personalized, engaging shopping experience.
  • Connect with a global network of professional website design experts.

3. User-friendly site navigation.

Navigation is an umbrella term for all the UI elements users can use to reach specific information on your website. These include header navigation menu, product category pages, filters, on-site search and footers. Suppose an ecommerce platform constrains your ability to create custom navigation paths. In that case, you'll end up with a pretty but dysfunctional website few customers will want to use, and your conversion rate will suffer for it.

A quality, simple-to-use site can make a world of difference between a customer browsing and a customer purchasing. BigCommerce's simple, intuitive platform design lets customers check out on any device comfortably without distractions. By simplifying the online shopping experience, we make a once difficult process easy.

4. Provides a compelling user experience.

Delight prompts consumers to complete their purchase and then shop some more. What ignites that sense of delight and takes a brand to the next level? The best marketing tools in the world won’t help if your site leaves them wanting. 

The solution? A well-thought-out user experience (UX).

UX plays a pivotal role in ensuring that your website is not only functional, but intuitive, reliable, user-friendly and easy to navigate. These factors increase the pleasurability of interacting with the site and make browsing a more pleasant experience.

Think higher conversions, repeat purchases, rave reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations. These are significant and can make the difference between the growth and decline of a company. 

How do you determine if your ecommerce platform is UX-friendly? Check out numerous examples of websites built on BigCommerce's platform. Specifically:

  • Assess the basic UI components. Browse the website to understand if you like the navigation, find the layouts effective, and all design elements intuitive and good-looking.
  • Scrutinize customisation opportunities. The more elements you can tweak, the more unique UX you'll be able to create as your operations scale. Remember: what looks like an OK 'starter' practice for a small store may turn into a money-draining liability for larger operations. Make sure that you can toss and add different design elements as your priorities change.
  • Measure the website performance. Page load time and overall website speed add or subtract from your UX. Sluggish pages, glitching design elements, and slow-loading product videos often result from a poor CMS/CDN and hosting provider used by the ecommerce platform.

BigCommerce’s ecommerce platform takes all of this into account, allowing organisations to craft a website that provides a compelling — and ultimately rewarding — user experience.

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Design Differences Between B2C and B2B Ecommerce Sites

To design a high-performing website, you need to understand your target audience and the best way to reach it. Both Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) ecommerce websites have the same agenda — make a sale. But the means toward that goal are somewhat different.

  • For B2C companies, brand awareness is the No. 1 priority. A recognizable brand (think about this when choosing your domain name) with a strong online presence = a higher share of the total addressable market.
  • For B2B companies, the top priority is lead generation. With a niche market and longer purchase cycles, B2B brands need to keep a steady pipeline of warm leads.

Let’s take a look at what this means design-wise.

1. Differences in customer intent.

Both B2B and B2C purchases are sparked by a need. But the underlying motivations behind those needs are different.

B2B customer intent is driven by business priorities and backed by a group of other people (stakeholders, teams, company’s customers, end-users). With many people to please, the product research timelines are longer, and the list of requirements for evaluating products is more detailed. That’s why B2B ecommerce websites dwell more on converting top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) and middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) visitors to prospects and then turning them into customers using a mix of online (email marketing, eBooks, social media, online demos) and offline sales (phone consultations, in-person demos, etc.) strategies.

B2C shoppers act on an immediate need. While most shop around too, comparing product specs and prices, their average time spent at every stage of the sales life cycle is shorter. Unlike B2B buyers who allocate more time to data-based product evaluation and consideration, B2C folks often act on impulse and thus are more receptive to various cognitive triggers, activated by our bias:

Chart Website Design

Effective conversion rate optimization tactics, used by B2C retailers, leverage these biases in design to sway purchase decisions.

2. Purchase process.

More people are involved in the B2B buying process, including end-users and the purchasing agents/decision-makers. An ecommerce website is a facilitating tool that has to inform, support and demonstrate how your products can meet all the organisation’s needs through content, interactive on-site tools and supporting marketing assets. Remember: your ultimate goal is to generate leads, not root for an immediate sale.

In the B2C space, purchase decisions are often emotional and event-driven. The coffee machine is broken? Ok, I need a new one. Oh, those shoes look nice. Where can I buy them? 

Most B2C consumers are in a constant state of product exploration and in-the-background evaluation. When they discover a good offer, they are almost ready to snatch it. In that sense, B2C ecommerce websites need to facilitate discovery and feed into that sense of urgency.

3. User experience.

User experience is equally essential for B2B and B2C shoppers, but it has to account for differences in intent and purchase process. Nielsen group identifies five important differences in UX requirements for B2B and B2C websites:

  1. B2B design must accommodate longer content to support long decision-making and sales process.
  2. All B2B content has to speak to two target audiences — “choosers” (decision-makers) and end-users.
  3. B2B product information needs to be longer, more comprehensive and include a clear overview of integrations, capabilities and regulatory requirements.
  4. Both B2B and B2C customers are price-conscious. But B2B pricing scenarios are more complex. Provide B2B buyers with different pricing ranges variations, pay-per-usage scenarios, or calculators to facilitate decision-making.
  5. Like B2C stores, B2B websites cater to several customer segments, varying in size, industry, and operational budgets. Thus, B2B websites need to design a more diverse, audience-based navigation to cater to all targets.

When designing an ecommerce platform, a B2B organisation must do everything in its power to improve its website’s appearance and design to provide the most exceptional user experience possible. This can be achieved through: 

  • Ease of Use. Everything on the website must be easy to find. The speed and convenience with which a customer can view the site is essential to the buying process. 
  • Logos and reviews. A diverse selection of customer and logos reviews and testimonials can reach a broader audience by providing information that they can trust. 

Calls to Action (CTAs). A customer is interested in a product — now what? Creating calibrated CTAs that draw attention and can point consumers in the right direction will generate leads and raise profitability.

7 Best Ecommerce Website Design Examples

Now that you know how ecommerce web design differs for B2B websites, let’s circle back to B2C commerce and review a couple of examples.

1. Larq.

Larq Website Design

LARQ uses crisp product images and animations to make us genuinely excited about something as simple as drinking water. The reusable water bottle retailer persuades us to join their Bottle Movement and explore more of their stylish products through spot-on copywriting, color-block product features and an interactive plastic waste calculator.

Adding multi-regional capabilities (using BigCommerce) was another pivotal moment. According to LARQ, their conversions increased by 80% within three months.

2. Burrow.

Burrow Website Design

Modular furniture retailer Burrow skipped words in favor of a home page video to demonstrate their main value proposition — assembling new furniture can be fun, quick, and tool-less. Using a mix of product and lifestyle pics, Burrow makes it easy to picture their latest designs in your home, customise them for the right fit, and order in several clicks.

3. Revelry.

Revelry Website Design

Revelry knows that swatches are the shortcut to any bride's wallet when it comes to the bridesmaids' dresses — not to mention free sample delivery and at-home try-ons for the entire party. Both options have a prominent spot on the e-tailer's homepage, along with excellent category navigation that allows customers to discover different dress styles, materials, and colors.

4. Skullcandy.

Skullcandy Website Design

We rave about Skullcandy pretty often, but it's hard to do better than this with an ecommerce store. They expertly offset bright colors with a signature black website design to create a sleek, luxurious feeling. Products are easy to discover, review in great detail on video, and then read on the specs. Though their primary market is audio, browsing Skullcandy's website is a delightful sensory experience due to their expert use of visuals, material design elements and video.

5. Solo stove.

Solo Stove Website Design

Solo Stove website is an admirable example of how to use iconography in ecommerce. The fire pit manufacturer made custom icons for each product category to better convey what they are selling and highlight some of the main product specs. How-to product videos, illustrations and FAQ sections highlight their main point further — their products are durable, easy-to-use and well worth the price.

6. Bliss.

Bliss Website Design

Bliss' website is absolute cotton eye-candy. The spa-powered skincare brand uses three dominant colors — Millennial pink, baby blue and Gen Z yellow — to visually appeal to their primary buyer personas. The funky and friendly brand attitude is further reinforced through microcopy. The wording of button copy, section titles, and form descriptions makes you feel as if you are talking about your skincare routine with a friend.

7. The Mountain.

The Mountain Website Design

The Mountain has all the great design features of an ecommerce website. A straightforward navigation bar featuring main product categories prompts exploration. A service banner, placed under the header, immediately informs about shipping terms and possible delays — good practice for managing customer expectations.

The hero slider highlights the latest seasonal goodies and promos and encourages further discovery. With a wider range of product categories, The Mountain has done an excellent design job of organizing everything in categories to reduce the overwhelming feeling many ecommerce platforms can give you.

Advantages of Using BigCommerce for Designing a Site

The website examples above were all designed by BigCommerce. The quality speaks for itself and here’s why enterprise clients and SMEs alike choose our ecommerce platform:

1. Design flexibility.

Pretty or functional ecommerce website? With BigCommerce you get both.

Think of ecommerce website design as building a house. First, you have to develop strong mortar and outer walls. BigCommerce provides you with the technical 'bricks' to place at the core of your online operations — no-code page builders, secure check-out, SEO-friendly codebase and more. You can mix and match different 'bricks' to assemble a tiny house or a 6-bedroom Victorian mansion.

We also don't limit you when it comes to the front or interior design. You can give your website a fully custom on-brand look without skimming on SEO, usability or security. At the same time, you can customise your back-end to match your operations by pairing the in-built core commerce with external integrations. 

2. 150+ very good ecommerce themes.

If you don’t feel like creating your store design from scratch, you can take a look around our theme store. With 150+ unique designs, you are bound to find something that pleases your eye. Browse options based on grid type, product catalogue layout or industry. You can also review the best ecommerce themes, picked by our staff.

Every BigCommerce theme is responsive, mobile- and SEO-friendly, and optimised for usability. Using a premade theme is a shortcut to designing a great ecommerce website at a lower cost.

3. Customisation opportunities.

What if I want to design a truly custom ecommerce experience? Think third-party integrations and add-ons with AR apps, a custom CDN + CMS to support heavy-duty publishing and an ML-powered product recommendation engine on top with real-time data. Is BigCommerce still relevant to me?

Absolutely. BigCommerce is an open-SaaS platform, meaning our technical infrastructure can be easily connected with an array of other applications through APIs. Our platform seamlessly integrates with external apps and can be integrated within larger technical ecosystems. With the assistance of agency partners like Folio3 that use BigCommerce design services, you can create a store of your dreams.  With BigCommerce, you can use our core commerce features for inventory management, payment processing, shipping, fraud management and more, while using another technology such as WordPress or Adobe Experience Management to power your website's front end. Such a setup goes by the name of headless commerce.

4. Code-free building tools.

If you need less sophisticated but still robust design functionality, we deliver that too. Take our Page Builder — a drag and drop web page editing tool small businesses and Fortune 500 companies use to create attractive landing pages. Using pre-made design elements, you can rapidly prototype attention-grabbing and click-inducing product listings without writing a single line of code. Create interactive customer experiences, level up your content marketing game and add new supporting pages to your sales funnel without calling the dev team.

5. Website performance and security.

Nothing is more essential to the success of an online platform than the construction and performance of its website. With this idea in mind, BigCommerce built its ecommerce platform to remove friction from the customer journey through blazing fast speed, unparalleled bandwidth and multiple layers of security. 

Organisations should spend more time generating sales and less on monitoring and maintaining their site. By leveraging the power of Google Cloud Platform, BigCommerce offers multiple layers of security, bandwidth, and industry-leading speed. The BigCommerce platform is ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certified and PCI DSS 3.1, Level 1-certified as both a Merchant and Service Provider.

All of that speed and security doesn’t mean a thing if the store goes down regardless, due to network errors or hosting problems. Organisations don’t have to worry about that with BigCommerce, as our hosted ecommerce platform has an average uptime of more than 99.99%.

6. Ecommerce expertise.

Building an ecommerce platform can be tricky, and without the help of experts, it is a project that can quickly fall apart. The key to success? Having a complete understanding of the tools you’re working with. 

Have no fear, BigCommerce is here to help withindustry-leading, live support whenever you need it. Paired with invaluable ecommerce advice on our community forums, we’re committed to standing by our merchants as they build out their platforms and businesses.

No other ecommerce platform has the in-house support and services of BigCommerce. Our expertly trained support team is ready to answer your questions and solve your problems 24/7 via phone, email or chat. Most calls are answered in under two minutes, with over 85% of issues are resolved on the first call. Whether you are launching your first online store or your one hundredth, BigCommerce provides the support you need through each and every stage of your growth.

9-Step Ecommerce Website Design Checklist

Even with the best-in-class tools, the design process can get easily derailed without a clear roadmap. What do you need to prepare for your e-store launch?

  1. Homepage.
  2. Category pages.
  3. Product landing pages.
  4. Checkout page.
  5. About us.
  6. On-site search engine. 
  7. Account registration and login forms.
  8. Email subscription form.
  9. Legal requirements.

Let’s tackle all of these one by one.

1. Homepage.

A homepage is the first touchpoint between you and a potential customer — you can think of it as a digital storefront for your online business. With roughly three seconds to make a good impression, you need to be strategic with your design choices on your homepage.

High-performing ecommerce homepages typically share the following elements:

  • A clear set of product categories, either in the header or sidebar section.
  • Hero images (or image sliders) featuring the main product or current offers.
  • Curated presentation of recommended products, trending items, or product categories.
  • Enter and exit pop-up or sticky offers for retention.

The structure above is not cut and dry, though. The look of your homepage will be determined by two factors — your industry and your customers’ preferences.

American Leather’s homepage immediately presents the viewer with their most popular features and landing zones through a clear and informative design.

American Leather Design

2. Category page.

Category pages help organise all your products and facilitate discovery. Digitally distracted customers want instant information, especially on mobile devices. So you need to serve them with quick access to the products they crave.

Apart from being crucial for user experience, category pages also need to be optimised for search engine optimization (SEO). Incorrect parent-child relationships can result in duplicated content and undercut your rankings in search results. Thus ensure that each category page:

  • Has a descriptive, SEO-friendly URL.
  • Features unique texts for category descriptions.
  • Fits logically into your overall information architecture.
  • Features additional filters for sorting product suggestions.

Natori follows all of these principles to create a delightful browsing experience for buyers:

Natori Website Design

3. Product page.

Product page design is crucial for ecommerce. Whether you sell t-shirts or tires, if your listings look unappealing, your traffic and conversion numbers will never go up. At the very least, your product page has to feature:

  • High-quality product photo(s).
  • Product specs: name, color, sizes, prices, key features.
  • Buy and save for later buttons.
  • Detailed product description.
  • Social proof/customer reviews.
  • Related products (upsells and cross-sells).

Then you can spice it up with some extra features — countdown timers, video or AR demos, check-in-store option, back-in-stoke alerts and more.

A product page like Nikon’s is streamlined and easy to use, giving visitors a broad overview of their products while allowing for specificity and comparisons. 

In our previous post, we talked a heap more about creating effective product pages.

Nikon Screen Design

4. Checkout page.

According to Baymard Institute, many factors can prompt a customer to abandon their shopping cart:

Baymard Website Design

Improving your checkout page look and flow can prevent most of these.

  • Enable ‘guest checkout’ for first-time shoppers and prompt them to register an account with you after completing their purchase.
  • Reduce the number of required form fields. On average, ecommerce websites have 12.8 fields in the checkout flow. But you capture all the customer data you need within 6-to-8 fields.
  • Clearly list all of the payment methods you accept (e.g., debit or credit card, Apple Pay, PayPal).
  • Inform customers about all the possible costs pre-checkout. Options include placing a sticky banner informing visitors about the ‘free shipping’ threshold, incorporating handling fees in the product pricing and automatically applying relevant sales taxes pre-checkout.

5. About us page.

Don't treat an About Us page as an afterthought, especially if you're in B2B ecommerce —  52% of business buyers say one of the first things they want to see on the vendor website is the About Us page. 

There are many ways to craft an attractive "About Us" page for an ecommerce company:

  • Tell a story about your products.
  • Introduce your team.
  • Present your company values.
  • Explain how you operate.
  • Talk about your history.
  • Or present your future vision.

Design-wise, keep the text short and to the point. Avoid sales pitches and CTAs, but use good team and product visuals to back up your story.

Grenson’s About Us page is an excellent example of a company telling the story of their history and heritage while selling the future. 

Grenson Screen Design

6. On-site search engine.

An on-site search engine is critical to the long-term viability of an ecommerce website, for both large and small businesses. Making the customer journey as simple and streamlined as possible is the priority for any business. An on-site search engine expedites the customer's journey, allowing them to find their results quickly and without hassle. 

To create an excellent on-site search experience:

  1. Make the search bar easy to discover.
  2. Suggest auto-completes.
  3. Provide results for misspelled words.
  4. Personalize search results using analytics.
  5. Support image searches along with text queries.

Organisations should not forget the mobile experience when crafting an on-site search engine. An ecommerce site's search capabilities must be compatible with mobile scrolling and able to handle a smaller screen. 

Fujitsu’s on-site search engine is thorough and streamlined, with suggested auto-completes and filters for narrowing down search results.

Fujitsu Screen Screen

7. Account registration and login forms.

Don’t brew too much over login forms. They should be short, progressive and frictionless. 

Ask the shopper to provide the basic information first (email/pass) or even log in with one of their social accounts. Remember, every extra step during registration increases the chances of churn. Wait to request shipping and billing details until after the registration is complete. Offer users an option to save and re-use their information in an address book — for everyone’s convenience.

A tedious and overly complicated login form can turn off a customer before they've even made a purchase, preventing a long time customer and removing them from a business' line of communication. 

Clark’s account registration is a streamlined experience while being easy to find and use.

Clarks Screen Design

8. Email newsletter form.

A well-executed ecommerce email marketing campaign can drive repeat traffic to your website and maximise conversions. Before you market, however, you need to build your email list. 

To entice subscriptions, give your newsletter a prominent placement at the homepage and keep a sticky or pop-up version in the footer area. To retain first-time shoppers, you can also pitch a small discount for a subscription.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams places its newsletter form center screen, making it easier than ever to sign up.

Jenis Screen Design

9. Legal requirements.

Before launching an ecommerce website, you must ensure that it is legally compliant with any appropriate data privacy laws. Recent regulations such as GDPR in Europe or CCPA in California directly impact data collection and usage, particularly for larger organisations. If a website uses cookies, that site must ensure that they receive the permission of users. 

GDPR and CCPA have already had an impact on ecommerce websites, with overall ecommerce revenue decreasing by 8.3% the year after GDPR implementation

To ensure compliance to and prior to a site launch, each organisation needs to set up these three things:

  1. Privacy policy
  2. Terms and conditions 
  3. Disclaimers

These can help prevent legal issues that may arise and communicate clearly to your customers that a site’s adherence. The fines for infractions are steep — it is better for organisations to stay ahead of them.

10 Experts Advice on Ecommerce Website Design

We've talked and shown you how a winning ecommerce design looks and what pages it needs.

Now let's dive into the how-to part and talk design tips for store owners.

1. Keep it simple.

Keep Simple Website Design

The path to purchase has to be immediately apparent to the customer. Before adding a new design element to the page, ask yourself: will this help or impede the buyer journey? 

It’s best to start with a minimal landing page. Then add extra conversion-inducing elements as you learn more about your audience behaviors and preferences.

2. Conversion is about satisfaction.

Conversion Website Design

Excellent user experience amplifies the pleasure of interacting with your brand. In contrast, design mishaps chip away that feel-good feeling.

After you are done with the initial design, audit each page to determine where you can remove friction and add extra delight to improve your store conversion rates.

3. A custom store protects you from competitors.

Custom Store Website Design

Branding is a powerful asset for building emotional connections with your audience and turning them into vocal brand advocates. Four out of five customers are more willing to promote a long-time favorite brand. 

By creating a distinctive ecommerce shopping experience, you are securing your spot as a long-time favorite brand, one interaction at a time.

4. A great user experience should always come first.

User Experience Website Design

Attractive prices, cool promos and catchy banners are still important, but their effectiveness shrinks if the overall UX is clunky. Focus on ensuring high website usability and performance first, then work on extra graphic design elements.

5. Embrace flat design.

Flat Website Design

By now, flat design has become a ‘classic’ look around the web — and for a good reason. The main principles of flat design prompt:

  • Clear hierarchy to speed up information processing.
  • Action-emphasizing iconography and adaptive design.
  • Usage of familiar patterns that helps us quickly understand affordances.

All of these elements add up to a great ecommerce experience.

6. Be distinct.

Distinct Website Design

The ecommerce space is getting busier year over year. Your branding, iconography, website features and on-site experience should jointly reinforce your unique value proposition and differentiate your ecommerce business from the competition.

7. Think CRO when designing a website.

Cro Website Design

Back your design hunches by data. Study your customer lifecycle, analyze their browsing habits if you are redesigning or conduct usability tests with a focus group. Learn as much as you can about their browsing habits, then incorporate those findings into your design. Your ecommerce design has to appeal to your target audience, not just be aesthetically pleasing to you.

8. Show, don’t tell.

Show Website Design

Great ecommerce websites visually lead the customer during their journey. Each element plays a strategic role in that discovery process. Tooltips and service texts can be helpful and prompt conversions. 

If you need to explain each new step, the selected design isn’t working for your brand.

9. Don’t make your customers think.

Customers Website Design

Online product discovery and purchases should be intuitive. Present a clear path to purchase to each visitor through navigation bars, straightforward information architecture, and promptly-placed call-to-actions. By minimizing the cognitive load at each step towards a purchase, you increase chances of conversion.

10. Seek first-hand customer data and feedback.

Data Website Design

With many different ecommerce best practices around the web, it may be tempting to use each one. But more isn’t always merrier. Not every practice works universally well for every retailer. 

As a business owner, base your design decisions on first-hand customer data and feedback rather than common wisdom. This way, you’ll create a unique user experience that makes a mark with your target audience and makes them more loyal to your brand.

The Final Word

Building an ecommerce website is easier than ever. It is no longer the overly technical, strenuous process that prevented many large and small companies from participating in the online marketplace.  

Fantastic ecommerce website design now is all about functionality and iteration. Start with the essential pages and design quick prototypes. Test them with your team to make alliterations. Launch a new look and collect first-hand insights from your customers. Between conversion optimization, new product landing pages, and seasonal promotions, you’ll always have plenty of ‘design’ work at hand. 

BigCommerce simplifies this entire process with a platform that allows you to scale as they grow — enabling you to showcase your products and operate and manage your buildings with comfort and ease. 

With the functional and performance requirements taken out of the way by BigCommerce, you can focus on the creative part of the process and outperform yourself with every new design variation. It is no longer simply about building and designing an online store but crafting the ultimate ecommerce site.

Talk to our sales team to learn how BigCommerce can help your online store for growth.

FAQs for Ecommerce Websites

What are current ecommerce website design trends?

As with most things centered online, the dominant ecommerce website design trends follow those of the technological sphere.

Social media dominates online conversations and will soon do the same with ecommerce. From personalized user experiences — designed with dynamic landing pages and data-based product recommendations — to interactive designs, ecommerce websites may soon become even more intertwined with social commerce.

What makes a good ecommerce website design?

Good ecommerce website designs are visible immediately. They typically rely on five key elements:

  • Established brand aesthetic.
  • Clear navigation.
  • Effective information architecture.
  • Optimised product landing pages.
  • Easy checkout. 

While they may seem simple enough, they are often anything but. Your site may have straightforward navigation capabilities, but if your pages are ugly or an eyesore, you won't keep customers on it for long. Each of these five elements relies on each other to construct a quality ecommerce site.

Do small ecommerce stores need specific design elements?

Whether your store handles dozens or millions of customers a year, designing with care and expertise is invaluable in sustaining or providing growth. Small ecommerce stores should prioritize user experience the same way as larger e-tailers do —  meaning using responsive, mobile-friendly designs and ensuring convenient filtering and navigation. 

Visuals and diverse payment systems can play a significant role in online shopping, even for small online businesses. Smaller organisations can make their sites even more attractive for prospective buyers by investing in high-quality visuals and supporting different payment methods.

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Do large ecommerce stores need specific design elements?

For large ecommerce stores, it is easy to rest on their laurels. However, a proactive approach to site navigation and management is critical to sustained profitability. 

Organisations — even larger ones — should spend more time determining the optimal information architecture for showcasing your stock and create different product category groups and sub-groups to speed up discovery. Investing in powerful on-site product search that supports various filtering options — by price, product type, size, color, season, etc. — should naturally facilitate discovery, not ramp up the feeling of overwhelm due to the sheer volume of choice.

Are B2B ecommerce stores designed similarly to B2C ecommerce stores?

B2B ecommerce stores use the same UX design patterns as B2C ecommerce stores but have a somewhat different structure. Since the sales cycle is longer in B2B, these stores focus more on capturing TOFU and MOFU prospects rather than enticing an immediate conversion as B2C stores. 

That’s why some of the key design elements for a B2B ecommerce store are: 

  • Longer product landing pages, featuring demo videos and comprehensive product descriptions.
  • CTA forms offering to request a product demo, schedule a call, etc.
  • Longer check out forms, asking to provide minimum order quantity, offering payment plans and pricing calculators for large-volume orders.
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