For an ecommerce storefront, the quality of your website can make or break your online business. Will your website be easy to navigate? Will the pages load quickly? Will your search system and product filtering work well? Will online shoppers trust your website? There are so many factors that come into play when building a successful ecommerce website.
Let’s go over a few of these considerations! If you are in a rush, scroll down to our Top 50 Ecommerce Websites.
1.) How to Choose an Ecommerce Platform
Do yourself a favor and try out a few ecommerce platforms before choosing one for your next online store. All too often we see ecommerce businesses choose a platform for all the wrong reasons. Don’t make such an important decision because a friend or colleague made a recommendation before understanding your business requirements or product data. At the same time, don’t allow yourself to be influenced by a TV commercial, either.
Here are a few of the factors that go into choosing ecommerce software for your next website:
Product Data Considerations
If your ecommerce website will only have a handful of products you can probably skip this section. Otherwise, before choosing an ecommerce platform, make sure your product data will import into it without unnecessary effort or custom functionality.
We’ve worked on ecommerce developments where data migrations from Magento to Shopify or Magento to BigCommerce required extensive custom coding. For some of those projects, it was due to the product data and ordering functionality being handled within third-party Magento extensions that didn’t have similar solutions within Shopify or BigCommerce. In other situations, it was due to extensive product variations, personalization options, or inventory bundling that made the migration much more intensive.
For new ecommerce businesses with large product catalogs, make sure you actually have product data in hand before starting your project. We’ve worked with numerous ecommerce clients who were under the impression the manufacturer or distributor would have “perfect product data.” This is often not the case! Even if some kind of product data does exist, merging product data between multiple manufacturers or distributors is next to impossible. The way one company organizes and formats their product data is unlikely to match another, making categorization, images, and other important attributes difficult to line up.
Custom Ecommerce Functionality
For the purpose of this article, the last factor in choosing an ecommerce platform we will discuss is custom functionality.
If you are migrating an existing ecommerce website, it is important to make a list of all the custom functionality in your website that wasn’t native to the platform. This includes extensions, plugins, or apps that were installed. It even includes custom functionality created by a web developer you hired in the past. You can’t assume an identical extension, plugin, or app will exist in the next platform. You have to verify this before choosing a platform.
To further complicate that review of custom functionality, you also need to figure out the differences between your current ecommerce platform and the one you’ll go into next. For example, we often hear from previous Magento storeowners they don’t like how Shopify and BigCommerce handle product data. If that is a major concern to you it will be important to investigate those differences further. Likewise, if you’ve become accustomed to Shopify’s use of collections, it might seem unnatural for you to learn how other platforms handle categorization of products.
For new ecommerce businesses, the process is simpler. You just need to make a list of all your functionality requirements and compare that to what the shopping cart provides, or what is offered through third-party solutions. The custom features that remain unresolved will need to be reviewed by an ecommerce developer as a custom project.
2.) How to Start Designing Your Ecommerce Store
Now the fun starts! After you’ve figured out what platform you’ll use for your next ecommerce website you can move onto the design. There are two ways forward from here, let’s discuss both in more detail.
The most affordable way to design your ecommerce website is to start with a third-party template and customize it to be unique to your business. All of the most popular ecommerce shopping carts, like Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, and WooCommerce will have some kind of template marketplace for you to check out. This will allow you to browse through hundreds of pre-made designs and pick one that closely resembles the look and feel you want for your website. You might even find a few free ecommerce templates to try out!
Keep in mind there will be some drawbacks to a third-party template, but that is to be expected. You are saving a lot of money by choosing a template instead of hiring a graphic designer create custom mockups and a web developer to integrate it into a custom theme. If you find certain areas of the theme impossible to modify without the help of a developer, you might want to reconsider if those changes are necessary. It doesn’t make sense to choose a pre-made theme to save time and money on a development, only to hire an ecommerce developer to redevelop it to your satisfaction. If complete customization is what you are after, consider a custom design instead.
If your ecommerce business can afford it, choose a custom design instead of a pre-made theme. The process of a custom ecommerce website typically starts with design mockups in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe XD to help everyone get on the same page for the look and feel of your future storefront. After going back and forth on design revisions, the finalized version of the custom mockup(s) will be passed to an ecommerce developer to integrate into the ecommerce platform’s base theme. The end result should be exactly what you want, without any major concessions within the design. In fact, you’ll have the added benefit of the design being in the ecommerce platform’s base theme, which means you will likely have a faster website, with less code conflicts, than you’d have if you chose a pre-made theme.
3.) How to Make Your Ecommerce Website Impressive
After selecting an ecommerce platform and starting your design, the next part is figuring out how to make your online store generate revenue. It might be a good idea to brush up on the latest digital marketing trends to help spark some ideas. Otherwise, you can check out the websites of the Top 50 Ecommerce Websites that we’ve put together below! This is a specific collection of ecommerce websites within our top ranked websites on the internet!
Within each of these ecommerce stores you’ll find examples of how other ecommerce business are excelling at online business. There are plenty of examples of great ecommerce website templates, custom ecommerce designs, beautiful homepage layouts, creative product pages, social proof implementations, ecommerce funnels, and more throughout these ecommerce examples.
Top 50 Ecommerce Sites
5. Pura Vida
6. Rinse Off
9. Manly Bands
16. Kettle & Fire
19. Magic Spoon
24. Bison Coolers
25. Tess Oral Health
29. Outdoor Voices
32. First Lite
37. Dick Moby
39. Salty Crew
42. Solo Stove
45. Black Diamond
50. Dress Up
How to Design a Great Ecommerce Website
1.) Informative product pages
Don’t let your customer be left guessing when it comes to product specifications. Provide all the necessary details and make them easy to find on every page of your website!
These product pages should include images, videos, or animations that show off the product in use. Doing this will show exactly what you’re selling and increase the likelihood of converting potential customers.
For example, if you’re selling shoes, talk about what the shoe looks like on different types of feet (wide or narrow) because that will be more appealing to certain customers. And make sure to include measurements! Take your product page to the next level with these 12 awesome steps!
2.) Great product image quality
Product images are the first thing your customers see when they’re browsing a website.
Don’t risk turning them away by using low-quality product photos that don’t accurately depict what you’re selling.
3.) Make navigation efficient
Having clear navigation makes it easier for visitors who may be new to your site – or those in a rush – because they can easily find what they’re looking for.
Your site should be simple and easy to navigate because you want your customers to stay on the page, not bounce out of it. Designing with simplicity in mind is vital if you don’t want people getting lost within seconds of landing on your website.
Adding a search bar to your website will allow visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for in one click. This is especially useful if you carry a wide variety of inventory so customers can quickly filter out the items that don’t interest them and hone in on those that do.
4.) Give customers the ability to sort/filter products by price
Everyone has different budgets, so it can be a good idea to allow customers to sort the products by price and other factors, especially if you have a large inventory.
Not many customers will be happy searching through dozens of pages to find something affordable.
5.) Social proof
Social proof has been shown to increase conversion rates, which means product reviews are more than just nice-to-haves for ecommerce websites – they’re critical components of an excellent customer experience.
So, what’s the best way to make sure that you have enough social proof? Get them from people who’ve actually purchased and used your products. This way, you’ll have reviews that are more likely to resonate with your customer base.
Creating a social media contest is also one of the best ways to ensure that customers will share their experiences and get involved in your brand – which not only increases awareness for them, but creates an awesome marketing opportunity for you as well.
Recently, Nike had runners design custom running shoes on Instagram via #NikeID tag to celebrate National Running Day. The campaign went viral because it tapped into people’s passion points (running) while being creative and interesting enough to capture everyone’s attention.
6.) Add personality
Your website needs personality to set it apart from the competition.
Customers want to know that they’re buying from individuals who understand their problems, not from a corporate brand. You can do this is by including quirky product descriptions and talking in a friendly tone-of-voice.
7.) Include customer reviews
Customer reviews should be placed on your website, not just in social media posts.
This gives customers even more information about your products before they buy them. Customers should also get more and more confident in your products as they read through the reviews, which will increase the chance of a purchase.
8.) Social media integration
Your website should make it easy for users to interact with their social media.
This means being able to easily share links to your products on their Facebook page, alongside being able to pin your posts on Pinterest.
Linking to your social media accounts will also do wonders for increasing the number of people who follow you. This is great for many reasons, but mainly because you can retarget these followers with your SMM strategy.
9.) Always check for 404 errors
If customers land on a page that doesn’t exist, they’ll leave and never come back.
It’s important to make sure your website is error-free by checking for 404 errors at least once every six months or so to avoid losing sales because of this issue.
10.) Make sure your website is fast
Speed can make or break your website, so it’s important to optimize speed by reducing the size of media, removing unnecessary plugins or code, and using a premium hosting provider.
You can test your site speed using tools like Pingdom or GTmetrix, which will also tell you what to work on to make your site even faster.
11.) Build for SEO
Your ecommerce site needs to be search engine optimized in order for it to remain relevant and at the top of Google searches. This is how potential customers will find your business and what separates you from the competition.
There are countless ways to make your site optimized for search engines, but consider the following:
Make sure your site has a clear and relevant title, meta description, URL structure, headings (H tags), image alt text, and keyword density throughout the body of the content on all pages.
And don’t forget about internal linking either – use this tactic when possible by creating unique URLs for specific blog posts or product pages (which we can help you you create the perfect product page design) that lead back towards other important sections within your website. It’s crucial not only because it provides better indexing for search engines, but it also helps visitors find their way around your site.
When you have a good SEO strategy in place, then customers will be able to easily find relevant products or services while searching on Google – which means more sales down the road!
Sometimes you won’t be able to rank just the product page for the keywords you want. Consider crafting blog posts detailing the best kind of products.
These long-form content posts often rank for hundreds, if not thousands of different keywords and still get great sales thanks to the product links.
12.) Designing your website with mobile devices in mind
It’s crucial for all websites to be designed with mobile devices in mind, as more people are using cell phones instead of desktops these days.
There are many things you need to do when designing a site with the smallest screens, such as making text large enough for easy reading and avoiding large images that exceed the width of your screen.
13.) Provide multiple ways to get in touch
It’s likely that potential customers will want to connect with your company, whether that’s on the phone or via email.
You’ll want to make sure you have an “about us” section on the site that tells visitors about your business as well as what makes it special – so they’re likely to come back for more!
The last thing we recommend is providing social media links (like Facebook or Twitter) if at all possible. These are great ways to get in touch with people who visit your store without having them leave the page where they spend their money.
14.) Use White Space
White space is the breathing room of any design. It refers to the blank spaces that are left on a website or blog post. This blank space makes the content much easier to digest and helps guide readers through various parts of the site, without compromising brand identity and consistency throughout all pages.
Using white space will draw attention towards certain user interface elements on the page, making it easier for customers to see what you are promoting or selling at any given time.
Having too much text crammed into one area will overwhelm readers and cause them to leave before finding anything useful or interesting on your site.
The best way to overcome this dilemma is by using lots of white space and contrasting colors between background and foreground elements.
15.) Make it Mobile Responsive
The world has gone mobile and that means your ecommerce site needs to be optimized for all devices – including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.
As people browse on the go more often than ever before, it’s crucial to ensure they can find what they’re looking for with a quick search from their phones or other handheld gadgets. If you don’t have a responsive design yet, then there is no time like the present.
Responsive designs allow visitors to access important information quickly without having to pinch or zoom on their screens just so they can read text from far away. This makes browsing an enjoyable experience instead of a frustrating one – so why wouldn’t anyone want this? Not making your site optimized for mobile devices is only one of many reasons why your potential leads may bounce from your site, read more about those reasons here.
If this is out of your comfort zone, then I recommend hiring a professional web designer with experience in responsive web design to get the job done quickly and correctly.
A responsive design also ensures that visitors will see your products in a way they best understand how the product should look, instead of viewing images at an undesirable size or quality because their device couldn’t handle scaling them to fit the screen. This creates a better customer experience which means more sales down the road!
16.) Simplify the Checkout Process
One of the best ecommerce design tips you can get is to make sure your checkout process isn’t complicated for users.
Customers don’t want to go through too many pages when shopping online – it’s simply not efficient and it wastes their time! Having a one-page check-out form that doesn’t require any extra information compared to what they’ve already entered into other fields will help speed up this phase in the buying cycle considerably.
You may also want to implement one-click checkout if your website offers it. This is especially helpful for customers who frequently purchase from you – they can easily find their stored information and check out without having to enter anything else!
One thing that can significantly speed up the process is by having a modern web hosting solution! In our blog article Best Website Hosting For Ecommerce, we talk in depth about what you should be concerned about when you pick out a hosting solution for your ecommerce store!
17.) A/B Testing
If you want to see what works and what doesn’t for your ecommerce site, then A/B testing is one of the best ways to do so.
Testing will help you compare the different layouts and designs of your website to see which one converts better—in other words, brings more users through the conversion funnel!
For instance, you can try testing one landing page against another to see which converts better; or test two different images for a product and measure their success rates.
This is such an important part of the ecommerce design process because it allows you to make changes as necessary based on data rather than opinions – meaning your site will become more effective over time!
Why is Ecommerce Design Important?
Without paying attention to the design of your website, it’s easy to lose customers due to poor user experience. And when it comes down to it, you want your website visitors to be able to easily find what they’re looking for while enjoying the entire process!
When all of these best practices are used together on an ecommerce site that is well-designed, then businesses will have more success than ever before in terms of increasing sales and ranking high on Google searches.
And most importantly, users will enjoy shopping on your site because everything is so simplified – which means they’ll come back again and again in the future!
With that being said, if any of this sound overwhelming to you or your business, then consider hiring a professional web designer who can help your site succeed through A/B testing as well as other design-related tactics.
They’ll do all the hard work for you so that you don’t have to worry about anything – just sit back and watch what happens next!
Final Thoughts on Design Best Practices for Ecommerce Stores
In conclusion, ecommerce design is important – and this blog post tells you why! If your website isn’t easy to navigate or doesn’t load quickly, customers won’t stick around for very long.
You also need to make sure it’s optimized for search engines and that the checkout process isn’t complicated if you expect people to come back and buy more stuff from your business in the future.
Don’t forget about keeping everything simple but making sure it appears professional at the same time! A/B testing can help give insight into what works best, so use it as often as you can.
Still on the fence about whether an ecommerce website is right for you? Check out our other blog post that talks about the advantages and disadvantages of taking your business online!