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Do’s and Don’ts of Ecommerce Website Design and Development

Last Updated on 14th May, 2024 | Ecommerce

Do’s & Don’ts of Ecommerce Websites

Build an Ecommerce Website – What to Do and What Not

Crafting a successful ecommerce website requires careful attention to both the design and development elements. The “Do’s & Don’ts of Ecommerce Websites” outline essential guidelines to create an engaging, user-friendly, and high-performing online store. From optimizing the navigation and product presentation to ensuring secure checkout and responsive design, these best practices can make or break the customer experience.

By understanding and implementing the right strategies, businesses can enhance their online presence, boost conversions, and foster long-term customer loyalty. This comprehensive guide explores the key dos and don’ts that every ecommerce entrepreneur should keep in mind when building or enhancing their digital storefront.

1. Ecommerce Website Design

A clean, intuitive, and aesthetically pleasing website design is the foundation of a successful ecommerce platform. The visual presentation impacts first impressions and guides the user experience from product discovery to checkout.

The Do’s

  • Consistent Brand Language and Colors: An ecommerce website’s design should reflect the brand’s image and identity through consistent use of logos, fonts, color schemes, tones, and messaging. This creates familiarity and helps customers connect with the brand.
  • Mobile Optimization: With over 60% of shopping traffic coming from mobile devices, ecommerce sites must adopt a mobile-first approach. Simple navigation, readable fonts, clickable elements, and fast-loading pages are essential for satisfying mobile users.

The Don’ts

  • Cluttered Design: Too many elements like promotions, ads, icons, and animations can overwhelm users. Stick to a clean, minimalist aesthetic for easy scanning and navigation.
  • Ignoring Color Psychology: Colors evoke emotions and inform purchases. Cooler shades like blue and green denote trust, while vibrant reds and oranges call to action. Ensure your color choices align with branding and conversions.
  • Underestimating Website Speed and Responsiveness: 53% of mobile site visitors leave pages that take over 3 seconds to load. Invest in fast hosting, compress files, and optimize code to deliver lightning-fast speeds. Slow sites frustrate customers and hurt SEO.

💡 Key Takeaway: Consistent branding, mobile optimization, minimalism, and strategic use of color increase engagement and conversions for ecommerce websites. Technical optimizations drastically improve user experience.

2. User Navigation

Seamless navigation ensures customers can easily browse products, access information, and make purchases without friction. Optimal site architecture and intuitive menus enhance user experience.

The Do’s

  • Enhanced Visual Appeal: By employing high-quality images and captivating visuals, you can significantly improve the attractiveness of featured products and the overall aesthetic appeal of the homepage, thereby increasing customer engagement and sales.
  • Responsive Design: Ensure the website is optimized for various devices and screen sizes, providing a seamless browsing experience for customers regardless of their device.
  • Intuitive User Interface: Design an interface that is easy to navigate and understand, minimizing confusion and maximizing user satisfaction.
  • Personalization Features: Implement features such as personalized recommendations and tailored content based on user preferences and browsing history to enhance the shopping experience.
  • Efficient Checkout Process: A checkout process, achieved by reducing the number of steps required to complete a purchase and offering multiple payment options for convenience, is crucial for enhancing user satisfaction and increasing sales conversion.
  • Customer Support Integration: Integrate live chat or support ticket systems to provide real-time assistance to customers and address any concerns or questions they may have.

The Don’ts

  • Missing “About” Section: It’s crucial to include an “About” section detailing your brand story, values, policies, and contact options. This provides visitors with insight into your company’s ethos and establishes transparency.
  • Excessive/Disruptive Pop-ups: Ensure a seamless browsing experience by refraining from intrusive pop-ups that demand email sign-ups or aggressively push promotions. Let visitors explore your website freely before presenting any offers.
  • Information Overload: Organize content sensibly across pages and tabs to avoid overwhelming visitors with too much information on a single page. Clarity and simplicity in design enhance user experience.
  • Irrelevant Product Recommendations: Enhance user engagement by offering personalized product suggestions based on data such as purchase history and browsing behavior. Tailoring recommendations ensures relevance and increases the likelihood of conversion.
  • Compulsory Account Creation: Streamline the shopping experience by offering guest checkout options and refraining from mandating account creation. Eliminating barriers to entry encourages seamless transactions and improves customer satisfaction.
💡 Key Takeaway:Intuitive navigation architecture, including categories, filters, and search, makes ecommerce sites shopper-friendly. Provide ample product information while avoiding disruptions.

3. Product Presentation

Creative and strategic presentation of product catalogs is vital for capturing interest and enabling informed purchases.

The Do’s

  • Providing Comprehensive Product Information: Ensure that your product listings are rich in detail, including titles, engaging product descriptions, and key attributes such as size, color, and material. Incorporate high-quality images, videos, specifications, and shipping information to offer a comprehensive overview for potential buyers.
  • High-Quality Product Images: Elevate your product presentation with professional-grade photography and 360-degree views, allowing customers to examine items from every angle. Visual clarity enhances confidence in purchasing decisions.
  • Leveraging Product Videos and Testimonials: Enhance customer engagement by supplementing product listings with informative videos, demonstrations, and testimonials from satisfied buyers. These resources provide valuable insights and bolster credibility, fostering trust in your brand.
  • Optimizing for Search Engine Visibility: Improve the discoverability of your products by strategically integrating target keywords into product content. Optimizing for search engine visibility increases the likelihood of your pages ranking prominently in relevant search results, driving organic traffic to your site.

The Don’ts

  • Using Blurry/Low-Quality Images: Present your products in the best light possible by ensuring that images are crisp, clear, and high-quality. Detailed imagery allows customers to assess product characteristics and make informed purchasing decisions accurately.
  • Withholding Shipping and Return Policy Details: Establish trust and transparency by clearly outlining shipping costs, delivery timelines, and return policies upfront. Providing this information empowers customers to understand the complete purchasing process and make decisions confidently.
  • Overselling Product Features: Uphold your credibility and trust with your audience by refraining from overstating product features or benefits. Authenticity is the cornerstone of building long-term relationships with customers. By accurately representing your products, you show respect for their intelligence and expectations.

💡 Key Takeaway: Thorough and engaging product catalogs with abundant visuals, information, and optimized content aid conversions by instilling confidence. Avoid misleading buyers.

4. Customer Support

Providing prompt, personalized support across multiple channels is paramount for nurturing customer relationships long-term.

The Do’s

  • Being Present Where Customers Are: Ensure accessibility and convenience by providing support across various platforms such as phone, email, live chat, social media, and messaging apps. Meet customers on their preferred channel, demonstrating a commitment to seamless communication.
  • Offering Multiple Support Channels: Empower customers with flexibility by providing multiple avenues for contacting support, including phone, email, contact forms, live chat, and social media. Catering to diverse communication preferences enhances customer satisfaction and engagement.
  • Providing Timely and Personalized Assistance: Prioritize customer queries with prompt and personalized responses tailored to their individual needs. Avoid generic, templated messages in favor of authentic, humanized interactions that demonstrate genuine care and understanding.

The Don’ts

  • Neglecting Customer Feedback: Foster a culture of listening by actively soliciting customer input through surveys, reviews, and feedback mechanisms. Analyze this valuable data to identify pain points and areas for improvement, demonstrating a commitment to continuously enhancing the customer experience.
  • Failing to Address Customer Concerns Promptly: Prioritize responsiveness by promptly acknowledging and addressing customer complaints before they escalate. Swift resolution not only prevents negative publicity on social media but also reinforces trust and loyalty among customers.
💡 Key Takeaway: 24/7 support across diverse channels with human interaction provides exemplary service essential for loyalty. Acting on feedback also improves customer experience.

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5. Checkout Process

The checkout process significantly impacts conversions and overall customer satisfaction. Ensuring it is short, smooth, and secure is imperative.

The Do’s

  • Streamlining the Checkout Flow: Enhance the user experience by creating a seamless checkout process for efficiency. Minimize steps and reduce friction by implementing features such as auto-filling fields wherever possible, simplifying navigation, and offering guest checkout options.
  • Offering Multiple Payment Options: Provide a range of payment methods to cater to diverse customer preferences and enhance convenience. Popular choices include credit/debit cards, digital wallets, installment plans, and cash on delivery (COD) to accommodate various purchasing habits and needs.
  • Providing Clear Shipping and Return Information: Build trust and transparency by clearly communicating shipping costs, delivery timelines, and return policies before the checkout stage. Ensure customers have access to detailed information about charges and procedures related to shipping and returns to prevent surprises and reduce friction in the purchasing journey.

The Don’ts

  • Complicated or Lengthy Checkout Process: Simplify the checkout experience by minimizing mandatory fields and unnecessary steps. A streamlined process ensures efficiency and prevents customer frustration, ultimately improving conversion rates and satisfaction.
  • Limited Payment Methods: Enhance customer convenience and accessibility by offering a wide range of payment options tailored to your target audience’s preferences and industry standards. By accommodating diverse payment modes such as credit/debit cards, digital wallets, and alternative methods, you can cater to varying needs and increase conversion opportunities.
  • Lack of Trust Signals: Build credibility and reassure customers by prominently displaying trust signals throughout your website. Incorporate security seals, customer testimonials, and transparent policies to establish legitimacy and inspire confidence in your brand. These elements not only alleviate concerns but also foster trust, encouraging visitors to complete their purchases with peace of mind.

💡 Key Takeaway: Optimizing the checkout process by making it quick, convenient, transparent, and secure is critical for converting shoppers into paying customers.

6. Ecommerce Platforms

Selecting the right ecommerce platform is imperative for building a fully-featured online store with room to scale. Conduct thorough research to choose software aligned with business needs and goals.

The Do’s

  • Assess Business Requirements: Begin by conducting a thorough analysis of your business needs, taking into account factors such as the types of products you offer, expected sales volumes, your business model, available budget, technical expertise, and any existing systems that need integration. This assessment will help you identify the essential features your e-commerce platform must possess to meet your specific requirements effectively.
  • Prioritize Core Platform Capabilities: Focus on selecting a platform that excels in handling critical functions crucial to your online store’s success. Ensure the platform provides robust capabilities in areas such as content management system (CMS), search engine optimization (SEO), inventory and order management, seamless payments integration, and comprehensive reporting tools. Prioritizing these core features will lay a solid foundation for your e-commerce operations.
  • Evaluate Mobile Commerce Options: Recognize the importance of mobile commerce in today’s digital landscape by exploring platform options that offer responsive templates, progressive web apps (PWAs), and native mobile apps. A mobile-friendly store ensures accessibility and a seamless shopping experience across various devices, catering to the preferences of modern consumers.
  • Consider Scalability: When selecting an e-commerce platform, anticipate future growth and scalability needs. Choose a solution that can accommodate your business’s expansion without requiring costly or complex migrations down the line. Scalability ensures that your online store can adapt and grow alongside your evolving business requirements.
  • Compare Pricing Models: Take a comprehensive approach to evaluating the cost of ownership for different e-commerce platforms. Consider not only the monthly subscription fees but also transaction charges and potential growth costs associated with scaling your business. Comparing pricing models will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and long-term business goals.

The Don’ts

  • Opting for Cheapest Platform: While choosing a low-cost e-commerce platform may seem appealing, it’s essential to recognize that these options may lack the critical features necessary for the success of your online store. Investing in a more robust platform upfront can save you from potential limitations and frustrations down the line.
  • Overpaying for Unnecessary Features: Conversely, be cautious of overpaying for enterprise-level platforms with an extensive array of features if a mid-range solution can adequately meet your business requirements. Assess your needs carefully to avoid unnecessary expenses and ensure that the platform aligns closely with your specific requirements.
  • Building a Custom Platform: While custom development may seem appealing for its potential to tailor every aspect of your e-commerce solution, it often entails higher upfront costs and longer time-to-market. Consider pre-built platforms that offer a balance of customization options and ready-made features, providing a quicker launch and lower long-term maintenance costs.
  • Choosing Without Testing: Prior to committing to an e-commerce platform, take advantage of free trials or demos to thoroughly evaluate the platform’s suitability for your business. Test the admin interface, customization flexibility, ease of use, and performance to ensure that the platform meets your needs and aligns with your workflow preferences.

💡 Key Takeaway: Choosing the right ecommerce platform is pivotal for efficient store management, maximizing revenue, and minimizing costs. Align platform capabilities with current and future business requirements.

7. Payment Gateway Integration

Integrating a trusted payment gateway is non-negotiable for accepting online payments securely and expanding payment methods.

The Do’s

  • Assess Needed Payment Methods: Consider the preferences of your target audience and ensure your payment gateway supports popular options such as credit cards, e-wallets, UPI (Unified Payments Interface), EMIs (Equated Monthly Installments), and other relevant methods. Offering a variety of payment choices enhances convenience and accommodates diverse customer preferences.
  • Compare Transaction Rates and Payout Cadences: Conduct thorough research to compare transaction rates and payout cadences offered by different payment gateways. Opt for a gateway with competitive fees and timely payouts (daily or weekly) to effectively manage your cash flow and minimize transaction costs.
  • Ensure Seamless Technical Integration: Select a payment gateway that seamlessly integrates with your e-commerce platform through plug-ins or APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). This ensures smooth technical integration and facilitates a hassle-free payment process for both you and your customers.
  • Provide Payment Gateway Recommendations: Based on your experience and industry insights, recommend preferred payment gateways that offer the best user experience and functionality for your particular e-commerce platform. Consider factors such as reliability, security, ease of use, and compatibility with your chosen platform to guide your recommendations.
  • Set Up Fraud Prevention Tools: Utilize the fraud prevention tools provided by your chosen payment gateway to enhance security and minimize the risk of fraudulent transactions. Features such as Address Verification Service (AVS), Card Verification Value (CVV) checks, 3D-secure authentication, device fingerprinting, and transaction scoring help safeguard your business and protect against potential fraudsters.

The Don’ts

  • Sacrificing Security for Lower Fees: When selecting a payment gateway, prioritize security over cost savings. While opting for a gateway with lower transaction fees may seem enticing, compromising on security can lead to costly consequences, such as fraud-related losses. Invest in a reputable payment gateway that offers robust security measures to protect your business and your customers’ sensitive information.
  • Neglecting Compliance: Ensure that the chosen payment gateway complies with relevant data security standards, regional regulations, and industry-specific requirements. Non-compliance can result in legal repercussions, financial penalties, and reputational damage to your business. Prioritize gateways that adhere to established compliance standards to mitigate risks and maintain trust with your customers.
  • Not Testing Integrations: Before integrating a payment gateway into your e-commerce platform, conduct thorough testing in sandbox environments to identify and resolve any issues or discrepancies. Testing ensures that the integration functions smoothly, transactions are processed accurately, and data integrity is maintained. By testing integrations before going live, you can preemptively address any potential issues and provide a seamless payment experience for your customers.

💡 Key Takeaway: Choosing the right payment gateway ensures seamless onboarding, secure transactions, fraud prevention, optimal user experience, and compliance. Don’t overlook testing and security.

Final Thoughts

Designing and developing an exceptional ecommerce experience requires meticulous attention to elements like intuitive design, seamless navigation, SEO friendly content, stellar support, and frictionless checkout. Avoiding common pitfalls like a cluttered interface, lack of mobile responsiveness, inadequate product information, and a complicated checkout flow is equally important.

Continuously optimize and elevate the website by listening to customer feedback. Provide the complete omnichannel package with reliable backend inventory/order management and fast shipping. While the dos and don’ts covered in this guide provide a strong foundation, persistently innovating and tailoring experiences to customer needs is key to thriving in the dynamic ecommerce landscape. The most successful online retailers go above and beyond to understand their audience and always stay one step ahead of expectations.