The art of web design is a subtle one. Many people think that they can simply pick a template they like and use it, the truth is that each design should be created for a specific purpose. You must consider the psychology of the customer. It's not just about catching your audience's eye, but about catering to their sensibilities and delivering an experience that is intuitive and highly functional. These are especially important considerations when designing an ecommerce website.
If you want to make a really good ecommerce website, you need to consider these five things…
Aesthetics and Usability
Of course these two are the most important design elements, and they go hand in hand. Form and function shouldn't be considered separately. The purpose of website design is to marry those two elements together in one cohesive package. You are looking to sell stuff and earn money, so your products need to be presented well AND your checkout system needs to work flawlessly. You and your designer should start by mapping your site out with user experience in mind while considering what design elements to pick to present key information in the best possible way. Consider online customers' shopping habits and thinking patterns regarding purchases, and use text, images, structure and even sounds and videos to guide customers to purchases.
This involves a philosophy behind the use of color and anticipating how audiences will interact with the website. Basically, considering how certain colors will make users feel. For instance, red has been found to make people hungry, blue calms people down, etc. Colors can compel users to feel and do a given thing, and your job in designing an ecommerce website (or working with a designer to create one) is to zero in on colors that suit your target audience. From there you can consider which colors will drive them to action. For instance, peppering in red BUY buttons to inspire urgency.
Storytelling is a key principle of effective online marketing generally, and that importance extends to ecommerce website design. Your goal is to get customers to relate to your brand and your products via your website. You can tell that story with the images and words you use. Your descriptions should appeal to your target market’s sensibilities and the aesthetic of your product photos should work well with those words. If your appearance doesn’t match your brand and make a case for why you’re unique and desirable, your ecommerce website won’t be as effective as it could be.
Have you noticed how grocery stores will position their merchandise on shelves to make you go for the more expensive stuff first? They might put the premium stuff at eye level and the cheaper stuff on the top and bottom shelves. Something similar can be done with an ecommerce website. Your site should still consider the user first but highlighting items with high profit margins or items that you have a high stock of and need to move, can help you to increase your profits via the design of your ecommerce website. Pop ups advertising promotions and “suggested items” sections are examples of subtle ways of encouraging sales.
Bottomline: Your products won’t sell themselves. A strong site can is an excellent sales tool that can make the case for your brand. But you have to design it to do that. If you present products well and make it easy to peruse and purchase, you will have a chance of gaining loyal followers. But you can also use design to push them into a direction that is profitable to you. Website design is the difference between hoping for the best and taking your sales prospects into your own hands.
Johann Carpio is a writer for Websitesetup. Websitesetup is in the habit of helping people start their own websites: publishing guides, tips and tutorials. Reach out to Johann on Twitter: @johannrcarpio.