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6 Ecommerce Design Practices That Can Hurt Your Bottom Line

Digital storefronts have become quite the rage in the past few years. What was once the realm of large sized businesses with dedicated IT teams is today saturated with small businesses. It’s now incredibly easy for mom and pop stores to bring their store online and rival the ‘big boys.’

Piloting this change has been the rise of software solutions which make it easy for small businesses to set up and sell items ranging from apparel, electronics, food, and even medicine.  These software tools require little to no technical expertise and have very little maintenance and shipping costs.

However, when designing your store, you need to be mindful of the best design practices. Even trivial design or typographical mistakes could be the reason potential customers buy from your competitors instead of you. In this post, we will review a few common mistakes that you must to avoid in order to drive sales. Here are six eCommerce design practices to avoid.

6 Ecommerce Design Practices That Can Hurt Your Bottom Line

#1. You don’t elicit any urgency

Consumers by nature are indecisive and will procrastinate on a purchase decision for as long as they can. In fact, 73% of all customers are not going to make a decision based on first impression alone. Adding urgency to your offers makes people take action immediately as it triggers their innate response to avoid missing out on something great.

You can provoke urgency by limiting the time an offer stands valid or by keeping them scarce. Remember to use this tactic sporadically because if customers realize that one expired offer is always followed by another new offer, they are going to stop acting on their instincts to buy.

#2. Your store doesn’t seem trustworthy

Established brands like Walmart or Best Buy are associated with a certain trust and expectation from customers. And this trust comes in handy during online transactions. Unfortunately, lesser known brands and small business stores do not enjoy this privilege. One way to make up for this lack of brand equity is through better communication of trustworthiness. This can be done through testimonials and clear information on returns and shipping.

Nearly two out of three Americans are not comfortable sharing personal and credit card details online. This essentially boils down to the lack of trust in a brand. This is why testimonials are highly effective as they let potential customers witness others having success with your business which increases their trust in you. Additionally, you should also clearly state any unexpected charges such as shipping costs prior to checkout to avoid any sticker shock.

#3. Your visuals are uninspiring

Touch and feel is an intrinsic aspect of shopping at physical storefronts. While it is not easy to replicate this aspect of shopping online, you can make up for this by offering high quality visuals and product descriptions that highlight your products and brand identity.

Make sure you include multiple visuals for each product from different angles so that customers get a complete feel for your product. Back these visuals up with product descriptions that aren’t bland or seem to be copy-pasted from a product manual. Instead, inject life into your descriptions by crafting a copy that tells a great story and engages a reader’s attention. Where possible, add context to each image and description to help consumers visualize how they can use your product.

#4. The site navigation is atrocious

Just as you don’t enjoy digging through shelves and aisles to find a product, your customers online don’t want to solve a maze in order buy what they want. The more you clutter your store’s navigation, the longer your potential customers have to change their mind about a purchase.

Avoid drop-down menus altogether and replace them with product categories and subcategory pages to help visitors visualize your offers. This creates a navigation experience that delights customers and makes it easy to find what they are looking for. Don’t forget to add a search or filter option as well that lets visitors narrow down their choice based on factors such as price, size, or color.

#5. You complicate the checkout process

The checkout process is the final lap in your customer’s purchase journey, as this is where nearly 68% of customers abandon your store. The reason for this high number is flawed checkout processes which feature too many steps or include external links, which distract customers’ attention leading them away from completing a purchase.

Firstly, do away with forced account creation. Instead, allow your customers to provide billing and shipment data and get done with the payment as quickly as possible. If customers are happy with your product or service, they’ll return and willingly sign up and give you their information. Also, consider including an express checkout option for customers who want to avoid going through a large number of steps.

#6. Your CTA is not prominent

A CTA is a critical element of design as it helps guide visitors to take the desired action to navigate towards the next step of their purchase. Unlike popular perception, a CTA does not necessarily have to be bright and distracting. The best call-to-action buttons are those that are subtle and effortlessly drive the user to the next page. Take this page on Shopify for instance – the objective here is to get the user to provide their email and start the trial process. The CTA appears three times within the copy and yet blends with the copy without attracting attention.

You do not have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to writing a CTA. Most customers are familiar with text like ‘Add to Cart’, ‘Make Payment’ or ‘Buy Now’. It’s a good idea to retain these standardized texts within your CTA. This makes it easy for your customers to find the button on your page that will take them to the next step of the buying process.

Setting up your online store requires a lot of design decisions to be made. The tips provided here will help you make the right choices when it comes to presenting your products and offers in a way that incentivizes customers to purchase.

Beyond these tips, you should always remain mindful when it comes to other sections of your online store. Before making certain features or sections visible to your customer, always ask yourself if this increases or reduces friction in the buying process.


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Vic Anandan is a management consultant specializing in technology benchmarking and certifications. He has over 15 years of experience in the industry and has travelled to over 18 countries so far."

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