Online Store Design Guide 101 for 2021 and beyond

The eCommerce industry has reportedly witnessed a whopping 27.6 percent increase in online sales worldwide of late. Looking from a global angle, the online retail market has been predicted to touch 4.89 trillion USD by the final quarter of 2021 and the figure will rocket up further in the coming years. Put simply, the eCommerce industry is booming and has experienced exponential growth especially over the pandemic era. A major reason behind such a dramatic growth is certainly the ease of shopping from the safety of home as facilitated by online stores. Again, the eCommerce market is amazingly versatile and caters to almost all niches, ranging from fashion to electronics to home improvement, and what not!

It’s little wonder that it’s about time for all kinds of retail outlets to establish a dominant presence online. Having said that, it should also be stressed that the contemporary eCommerce spaces features cut-throat competition where only the most attractive, user-friendly, and reliable eCommerce stores would be able to thrive.

The post below extends a pro guide on designing an eCommerce store like a boss for 2021 and the coming years.

Techie Tom’s guide on designing a Shopper-friendly eCommerce Store-

Win their trust

Despite the booming growth of the eCommerce sector, a lot of shoppers would still vote for physical stores for the security quotient. An online store lacks the “physical” human-to-human interaction of a brick-and-mortar store which might leave a lot of shoppers apprehensive of making purchases online. Thus, one of the primary aspects to keep in mind before designing a virtual store is assurance of customer safety and privacy. Your online store should take proactive steps in ensuring secure transaction and protection of shoppers’ personal data.

Here are some tell-tale signs that will help an online store to win the trust of the visitors.

Make it look authentic

  • Include picture of the core team of the brand
  • Provide all kinds of contact information possible, including social network links
  • Offer general business information
  • A FAQ page would be handy too

Secure the knot with easy store policies-

  • Mention shipping as well as return policies
  • Provide clear outline on return process
  • Refund policies should be mentioned too
  • Privacy policy should be easy to access and must cover assurance of protection of financial and personal data of shoppers

Don’t over-burden with too much of jargon

Use plain language throughout the site to ensure a user-friendly atmosphere for shoppers. Share reviews submitted by previous shoppers. It’s best to publish the review of each product on its respective product page. Such a layout will help a shopper to reach a more informed shopping decision. Also, it will create an impression that this particular online store is mindful about creating a comfortable and informed shopping environment for the shoppers. Mind it, it will go a long way in pulling in wealth of traffic to the online store.

Bank on Trust Seals

Trust seals help to establish the legitimacy and security of an online store. So, when we are talking about winning the trust of shoppers, we should highlight importance of adding trust seals to an eCommerce store design. They serve as hallmark of authenticity and security, ensuring shoppers that it’s safe to carry financial transaction on the site. It will eventually lead enhanced UX experience and eventually higher sales figures.

Server security is the trump card

Make sure to add SSL certificates to your online store. These certificates serve to authenticate the identity of the site, establishing it as a safe platform before visitors. Precisely, the certificate signifies all user data received by the site is guarded by industry-leading encryption for optimum security. An online store backed by SSL Certificate immediately offers the assurance of “secured” checkouts.

God is in the detail

A true professional, genuine and reliable online store is devoid of all the silly UX mistakes, like broken lines, typos, 404 errors, missing images, and so on.

Hook them in with attractive UI design

You have 8 seconds to create a jolly good impression on the visitors of your eCommerce store. Make sure to up your UI Design game so that your visitors find it worthy to take  a closer look at your store.

Here is a brief on pro UI Design tips for an attractive eCommerce store-

Roll it out with organized visual hierarchy

As per the visual hierarchy rules, the most significant content must be on top of your visual pyramid. A good trick is to use less amount of white space to bring the contents closer rather than shoving down major contents below the hierarchy fold.

Don’t put too much on the plate

Overdesign ruins the game. So, don’t use too many different kinds of font formats, including font sizes, colors, and types.  Contents should not overlap each other, say for example, the text content must not be too loaded with graphics to be mistaken as advertisement. Maintain a lucid and clear flow with background colors as well as high-contrast text.

Brand signature must be omnipresent

Every eCommerce brand boasts its own unique brand identity and that brand hallmark must be present all across your online store. From the colors that you use to the type of graphics to the images to the videos  to the text content- every single element that you will use should bear the signature of your specific brand. Branding consistency helps to create a robust brand-customer relationship.

Pop-ups are turn-offs

Please try to avoid pop-ups in your eCommerce store unless you want to shoo away your visitors right when they reach your store for the first time. The bottom line is pop-ups are serious distractions- also they aren’t really useful in the long run. Yes, sure they feature valuable information but once a pop-up window disappears, it could be a challenge to find that detail again.

Stay consistent with icons or symbols

Please stick to icons or symbols your visitors are acquainted with. Unfamiliar icons might end up confusing shoppers- there is nothing worse for an online store than a baffled shopper. Try to make the whole experience familiar and convenient for your shoppers.

The nuts and bolts of easy navigation

Label it right

Your eCommerce store is bustling with a wide range of products. That’s great – but you must make sure to outline the product categories as well as subcategories properly to make things easily comprehensible for your visitors. Categories should be featured on top navigation bar of homepage; try to use single words for categories.

Make the search a breeze

If it’s too difficult to locate and find your products, your goodies won’t sell- no matter how amazing these are. So,  be mindful about the search function- it should be strategically designed to help visitors find their desired products in a snap.

Here are some tips to be followed for the search function of your online store-

  • Auto-complete function

Auto-complete search function will make it easier for shoppers to find products they are exactly looking for. Easy find of products go a long way in boosting sales.

  • Omnipresent search

Place search box on every page of your site and that too in the same location. The placement must be easily visible, recognizable, and accessible. The most ideal placement for search function is top right corner or top center.

  • Answer to all queries

The search function should be able to provide answers to all major queries customers might have about products and the store. These include product attributes, product categories, customer service details, and so on.

  • Easy sort and filter

Each shopper has his/her own preferences while looking  for a product in your store. Your online store should enable customers to sort the search results conveniently based on their preferred criteria.

Don’t lose on the cart game

Shopping cart is undoubtedly one of the most crucial features  of your online store. It’s the place where your shoppers store the products before making the final purchase. The tips below will help you to ensure a shopper-friendly shopping cart.

  • Offer immediate feedback

As soon as a shopper will send a product to the cart s/he must receive immediate notification. You can use animations (for notifications) instead of texts here as moving graphics draw more attention.

  • The CTA must be loud and clear

The checkout tab must be designed in bold- it’s the most important CTA icon on the cart page. You should also use multiple clickable areas, vibrant colors as well as easy language to ensure the CTA tabs are easy to locate and use.

  • Mini carts are a major help

Mini carts allow shoppers to store products to carts but without leaving their current page on your store. It’s a handy widget that enables shoppers to find, navigate, and also add on more products. Now, these widgets must be linked to main shopping cart store online page always.

  • Easy modification

We all go through serious brainstorming before making a purchase. It’s not uncommon that your shopper might chance upon a product that she would like more that the first product she had saved in the cart. It’s most likely that now she would want to delete the first one from the cart and add the second one to it instead. Your job is to make sure the whole process of removing a product or adding a new one to the cart  is a breeze.

  • Focus on product details

Products stored in your cart must be displayed with all major details, like name, image, size, color, price etc. The product display on the cart must also allow shoppers to get back to main product pages right from the cart.

  • No hidden surprises please

Cart abandonment can be a major cause behind failing sales of an online store. And, a primary reason behind cart abandonment trend is unexpected shipping costs which might come as a jolt to shoppers. So, please be upfront about the entire cost breakup when you show the final price on the product page. You should also clearly mention the expected delivery date.

Check out the Checkout

The very success of your eCommerce store boils down to one single thing end of the day- how many people have or how many products have been checked out. In other words, what’s the rate of conversion? Here are some pro tips to help in designing a truly appealing checkout page that would boost conversions for your store.

  • Keep it compact and simple, reduce fields and steps for completing a purchase
  • Vote for easy single-page checkout
  • Vouch for multiple payment options
  • Error notifications should be clearly defined and must be sent out bang on time
  • Registration must be optional- one major thing that online shoppers hate is “pushy” stores
  • Offer multiple support options, including phone, email, and 24/7 live chat option by real human customer care executives
  • Integrate Progress bar to help shoppers keep track of their browsing or shopping journey
  • Every shopper must receive “Confirmation” mail or message after payment and delivery

Your shoppers are expecting a cutting-edge and attractive eCommerce store that can assure completely hassle-free navigation, product search, and shopping. Make sure your online store checks all the boxes and guarantees an enhanced online shopping experience for visitors.

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