As a business, you can have an amazing product, great prices, and multiple language options, but the design of your website will still be the first thing most of your customers judge your brand on.
With the same tools available to businesses large and small, ecommerce websites can now create a positive first impression, reinforce credibility, and turn your visitors into customers with just a few key design elements.
So, with ecommerce sales booming across the world, here are five vital design tips for ecommerce websites, both local and international.
1. Create a visual hierarchy
The visual hierarchy – the arrangement, size, color, and contrast of visual elements – is useful to determine their relative prominence and the order in which they are seen by customers.
This is crucial when it comes to designing an ecommerce website, as not all elements on your page have the same importance, and seeing them in different orders can have a different impact on visitors.
Visual hierarchy gives you control over what your potential customers see first. When you use the visual hierarchy on your ecommerce website, you can guide a visitor’s attention from interest to conversion. Instead of determining sizes, positions, and colors randomly, be aware of the effect you’re creating and use it to your advantage.
When selling internationally, you can create the optimal impact for different markets. For example, the price can be the most important factor for a certain international audience, while it could be free delivery for others. It’s all about determining which factors create the most effective path to conversion.
2. Make it personal
When testing the Highrise marketing site to see what type of website design can increase paid signups, American software company Basecamp proved that more personal images of people helped increase conversions.
People, facial expressions and body language plays a big role in shaping viewers’ perceptions, and according to Basecamp, the success behind the theory was because the models used looked friendly, non-techie, and approachable.
Ecommerce stores can take this one step further with hyper-personalised images, text and languages to make consumers feel more connected.
This is especially important for big-named brands, as consumers tend to feel better affection for more local and independent stores because it gives them a greater sense of a community.
Using localised images of people can help build an instant connection with international customers – markets which would have previously gone untapped before.
For example, Clarins localizes its imagery based on the country it’s targeting, using European women on their French website and Korean for the Korean website. Something that sounds so simple yet helps increase conversion rates by around 20%.
3. Proof is in the pudding
It’s always reassuring to read a positive customer review about a brand or product you’re interested in. In fact 92% of consumers are more likely to trust recommendations than any other type of advertising.
So why not use it to your advantage? Instead of just talking about how amazing your brand is or how useful your products are, prove it. Anything from customer reviews and case studies to awards and social media following can be used to build consumer trust.
When it comes to social proof, the more reviews the merrier. According to Orbit Media’s analysis, 43% of Amazon’s product detail pages consist of social evidence and reviews.
Social proof is again important for multilingual websites. Customers need that extra reassurance when they are shopping from overseas, so reviews from your domestic market can help convert international visitors.
4. The bigger the better
How long is too long when it comes to web page length? In a Crazy Egg case study, extending the page length by x20 resulted in conversions going up by 30%.
A SerpIQ study found that all of the top 10 results in Google search rankings had more than 2,000 words, with the higher-ranking pages having more content than those that ranked lower. This, combined with longer sessions and the chance of receiving more backlinks, makes long pages more SEO-friendly.
Research also shows that visitors prefer scrolling over clicking. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, people learned and got used to scrollin, thanks to the long web pages of the 90s, and this digital habit still lives on today. Scrolling feels automatic and easy, whereas clicking requires extra action.
But don’t just fill pages with irrelevant information to make them longer. Longer pages give you the opportunity to have more sections, white space, and visuals, so use it to make your content visually appealing and easily digestible.
As different languages take up different amounts of space, international websites and content need to be adjusted on translated pages to make sure you follow the best multilingual SEO practices and ensure that long pages improve search rankings in international markets.
5. Avoid carousels
The use of carousels — multiple images that can be displayed in a single space by rotating left and right — are a popular ecommerce design choice as it’s a practical solution for showing multiple product images. But research suggests against using them.
A study by Notre Dame University web developer Erik Runyon showed that among the 3,755,297 people who visited their homepage, only 1% clicked on an item in the carousel.
Carousels are usually controlled with arrows or small bullets which makes it hard for visually impaired visitors to navigate, so if you don’t want to alienate some of your visitors, avoid using carousels.
Try stacking images so that visitors can easily see all of them by simply scrolling through, or consider using Smart Content to personalise the experience for each visitor based on their interests and previous actions on the site.
To make sure that your images are effective in converting international visitors, use images with translated text as click-through rate will likely decrease if international visitors can’t make sense of them.
Credit: Augustin Prot, CEO, Weglot