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Designing an ecommerce website requires a well crafted architecture that incorporates not only the best practices in UI and UX development but also the psychology behind site interaction such as perceived wait time, product anchoring and loss aversion. With over 191 million online consumers in the US, the competition among sites are very stiff. When designing an e-commerce website from scratch, the key is to look beyond the technical aspect of things and consider the more salient features that truly drive up user engagement.

Ecommerce Design Layout

Building ecommerce websites requires careful layout and composition. When developing one from scratch, it is best to start with patterns that are proven to increase user engagement. Start your layout using the Rule of Thirds and Golden Ratio. The Rule of Thirds is a photography method that, when applied to ecommerce design, would allow the symmetrical division of a page to nine equal sections with two horizontal and vertical lines. Each section would take about 33.33% of the space and allow designers to decide which portion to place photos or content with the highest importance. This technique when applied with the Golden Ratio also enables effective content positioning because it is consistent with the Rule of Third’s grid design. From here, the Golden Ratio would give a guide for how much breathing space a page needs to give more emphasis on important products and makes the rest of the content visually appealing.

Choose the right color palette and font

The second most important aspect in building ecommerce websites effectively is to select the right color palette and font. When choosing the right color, remember its consistency with your brand and target market. Knowing the colors’ meaning and their impact on your ecommerce design would help identify the right combination. For instance, according to Shopify, brown evokes a sense of superiority while orange communicates optimism. However, be careful not to overuse colors as it may evoke the wrong feelings to your visitors. Knowing which font to use – serif or sans serif, would also help determine not only your ecommerce design’s readability but also your branding. For example, using Serif fonts will make the site appear authoritative while Sans Serif fonts will evoke a feeling of modernity.

Site Interaction

The manner in which visitors interact with the site and the length of time they spent doing the task is another important factor to consider in e-commerce design. Hick’s Law suggests that to increase decision making capabilities, it is best to reduce the customers’ number of interface objects. In applying this principle, bear in mind that when designing forms that require a lot of information such as a profile page, grouping related information and presenting them wizard style will make a seemingly long site interaction shorter and more manageable.

Response Time

Site performance or the length of wait time greatly affects user engagement. According to Jakob Nielsen, there are three response time limits to consider when creating an ecommerce design. A less than one second response time is the most optimal because it evokes a feeling of control. In this scenario, the user feels as if he’s directly manipulating the computer, making him perceive the site’s response as directly caused by his own navigation. Keeping the website’s responsiveness within one second is favorable because it still maintains a seamless flow of thought. Although visitors may recognize a sense of delay, they still feel in control and are willing to keep navigating the e-commerce site. A website that takes more or within 10 seconds already causes many distractions, making the customer have a lot of options to leave. A 10-second response time creates a lack of control – so it is always best to put a progress bar whenever such scenarios cannot be avoided to build ecommerce websites more effectively.

Anchor and Order Products

Understanding how customers think is key to build ecommerce websites that drive engagement and high conversion rates. The concept of product anchoring or setting a frame of reference for valuation, will lead visitors to buy the product that your ecommerce site really intends to sell them. For example, suppose a prospect is shopping around for a new laptop, the algorithm will first display the most expensive ones, setting a baseline price of what a laptop with such specifications really costs. From there, the site will display all laptops with a lower price range, evoking a direct price comparison. This makes visitors come-up with an easy yes or no decision. The power of suggestion works well for e-commerce sites, just remember to not make extremely high or low price comparisons; rather find the middle ground of both your high and low products, setting a more effective anchoring technique.

Reference and Loss Aversion

To increase user engagement of your ecommerce site, most especially for newly signed-up customers, show them how far they have gone. This could be through a simple progress bar or profile completeness chart, suggesting users to perform a deeper site interaction. To build ecommerce websites effectively, incentivize customers when they interact more through a sense of social recognition, such as awarding them a rising star or pro status.

Loss aversion or the fear of forfeiture rather than gain is another effective ecommerce design strategy. This approach works by showing product offers and how much a visitor would have lost if they don’t avail right away. Following the scarcity principle, web designers can include on their landing page, contents such as: “Don’t lose $20 by signing up today”; or “Don’t lose the Executive Room at 50% off”. This is more effective than a copy that says: “Save $20 by signing-up today” or “Save 50% off the Executive Room if you book today”.

 

Other than these technical, design and marketing approaches to e-commerce design, remember that a trustworthy, transparent and easy to use site are also main drivers of high engagement. To build ecommerce websites effectively, make sure that the check-out process evokes a feeling of security by displaying icons of SSL certificates or other method used for secure payment; and shipping policies together with returns and refunds are also communicated. Ecommerce design can make or break a new business; consider these web design tips before coding starts to minimize rework, and reap the highest customer value in no time.

Categories: Blog, Design, UX/UI
How to design an e-commerce website from scratch

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