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It’s important to keep in mind that there isn’t a single way to build a great e-commerce website. What follows are recommendations and things that should appear on it. You can include these elements however you want; go crazy with it! Be creative in the way you create a unique experience that fits your brand.
Some of the following elements depend on whether you’re selling a single product vs. multiple products. Obviously, architectures aren’t exactly the same in both cases. A site with thousands of pages is going to have significantly different systems in place to keep everything consistent and organized than a site with only a few pages.
Still, here are a few concepts that apply to online stores of any size.
Some site-wide design elements are expected of any e-commerce website. Some of these help with general navigation and ensure it’s easy to get back to shopping, no matter where you find yourself on the site. Others are present to show potential customers that they can trust you.
Intuitive navigation is the first step to a pleasant shopping experience. Remember that it’s all about finding products easily and having the necessary info at hand, at all times.
Use drop-downs with sub-menu items depending on how many different kinds of products you sell. For clarity, use general terms to segment product items.
– Prominent search bar visible on every page
Here’s a case of something relevant only if your site has a lot of products. Otherwise, it’s only noise. But when applicable, it will help users find exactly what they are looking for, more quickly. They should be able to browse by product categories as well as specific products.
– Cart icon
Not only should it be available from every page on your site, but the icon should also show how many items have been added at any time. Clicking the icon allows users to go back to the cart and access checkout. You could even push it further by enabling a cart preview when a user hovers over the icon. For a single-product website, you might also want to repeat your call-to-action on each page or, at least, on most of them.
– Show known and trusted logos.
Once again, this is not always applicable, but if your website sells big brand names, then you should show it, wherever possible. These logos will add prestige to your business for being affiliated with industry leaders. It also triggers an important user engagement signal I mentioned earlier: trust.
– Customer testimonials
It’s human behavior to seek social proof. It’s a particularly strong concept in e-commerce. You don’t have to wait for a user to land on a product page to show them testimonials praising your services. Customer testimonials can be found on most pages, generally in the footer as to not interfere with the core content.
– Contact and necessary business info
Also found in the footer of every page of your website, is any info necessary to answer main users’ concerns. First & foremost, you want to reveal your contact info clearly. It’s essential that customers feel like it’s easy to join you and that you’re transparent in your communication channels. Other things you should consider adding as links to your footer:
Accessibility is all the rage nowadays, and for good reasons. If we want to make the web a place where anyone can roam without limitations, it’s important to contribute as much as possible.
The least you can do is to support color-blind people. Here are some cool resources to do so:
Now that we’ve covered what should be found site-wide, let’s go more specific.
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