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7 Design Elements Every Ecommerce Site Must Have

You want to establish an online business, and sell some products. You know what you’ll sell; you have most things in place. You just need to find a nice design for your website – so that it looks delicious, is easy to navigate and easy to buy from.
You may have surfed the internet for a while to see if you could find any great themes for your E-commerce Platform, but they never seem to satisfy your needs. There’s always something wrong, either the overall color scheme doesn’t suit you, or the little details ruins the rest of the design.What is wrong?

I’ll tell you. You’re trying to satisfy your needs with a “one-size fits-all” solution. It rarely works, and there’s a very good reason for that. Everyone is different. So is businesses, especially online businesses. This, of course, applies to websites as well.
Instead of trying to find a theme, which almost always lets you down, try to define the elements that will eventually make up the site.


7 Design Elements Of a Ecommerce Site


Home page

Obviously any site has a home page. But the home page in your store should not be a coincidence.
Your homepage must show the door to specific categories when a new visitor arrives. Your top categories should be present on the home page – a way in.

You need to guide visitors of your home page, through to the department of your store you’re most proud of, or the products you’d rather sell. Home page visitors are often browsers, killing time, maybe looking for a new bike, nothing in particular. This is your chance to tell them what they need!
Remember that loads of visitors will never see your homepage. Visitors often go directly to product pages from search engines, and such – but that’s a good thing, since they’re probably closer to making a decision.


Category page

Since the home page is showing the door, you need the room the door leads to. This can be your category pages, and a category page is a tricky thing.
Most E-commerce platforms deliver the category page as a list of product, and nothing else. This should not be the case for your Ecommerce site, since visitors who browse your site should get more value from a page they see often, than just a list of products.
Summarize your category at the top with images
Bullet points (Unique Selling Points)
A featured product
Products on discount
Make it easy to scan the page, to immediately see what this category contains.
Don’t forget to socialize – this is a great place to have a Facebook Like button, a Twitter button and any other social buttons.


Product page

The product page is where all the magic happens. Ultimately, to buy something, any user must go through this page (in most situations).
This is extremely important that your product page present your products in the most desirable way. Images are a must, video is sometimes better.

Relevant information must be provided – such as price, SKU, whether or not the product is in stock, delivery information, product specifications – the list goes on.
Don’t make the mistake of just copying the description the manufacturer provides on their website, since this could give search engines an indication of duplicate content. Write great content!


Shopping Cart

Being an Ecommerce site, users must be able to add products to their cart – just like they do in any regular store. What you should decide is how you want your shopping cart delivered to the user?
Should it even be named “Shopping cart” in the first place? Are you better off with “Shopping bag”? How should it look? Knowing your customers is important, so do think of them as you decide.


Checkout Flow

Being an Ecommerce site, you need a checkout flow just like any other store. This is another very important step to get right. Think about how you can guide your visitors through the process easily.
Is it too complicated to do in one step?
Is this a place for you to up-sell?
Which payment methods do you want (or need) to accept?
Should the visitor be able to edit the cart, while checking out?

It all depends on what you’re selling, and who you’re targeting. How internet savvy is your customers? Take a look at the demographics, and design something that caters to their feelings and emotions. Take their side – make them take yours!


Order Thank You Page

Many forget this page. This is the page your customers will see right after they’ve placed an order with you. And when they’ve just done that, they’re in a state of mind where they trust you, they look forward to receiving whatever they just bought, and you have a much better chance to make them sign up for your newsletter, follow you on Twitter, or like you on Facebook.
Think about yourself, and think back to the latest purchase you made online. Wouldn’t it be very likely that you’d take another action after completing a purchase, if you were asked for it?


E-mail design

When you’ve got all the design elements on your website nailed down, don’t forget the look and feel of your e-mails. You should be sending e-mails that instantly displays similarities with your site, so the recipients will know an e-mail is from you.
It should be a simple one-column layout with your logo at the top and using the same colour scheme as your site does.

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