10 Design Elements Every eCommerce Site Needs to Increase Conversions
by Ruthie Carey
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Marketers are constantly railing on the importance of a robust SEO strategy, clever social media marketing efforts,cultivating eCommerce brand loyalty and the like. However, in the process, many end up overlooking the critical necessity of designing an eCommerce site that converts.
After all, it matters not how well a site ranks, how much traffic it drives from social media, or how awesome its loyalty program is if it is unable to convert visitors into customers.
Therefore, it is also vital for sellers to focus on on-site design ideas to improve conversions.
When aiming to increase conversion rates on an eCommerce website, it is vital that sellers not overlook any part of the customer journey. This means that it is necessary tooptimize landing pages, product listings, checkout processes and ensure that everything in-between is also carefully designed with conversions in mind.
Truth be told, navigation is a critical element for driving conversions.
Navigation menus should not be big and bulky, containing every possible choice that visitors have at their disposal.
Instead, retailers will want to limit their navigation menu to a small handful of category options. From there, sellers still have ways of helping consumers quickly get to the items that they are seeking.
Firstly, for those who are still on the home page, it is wise for retailers toimplement a search bar that will get visitors to where they are going in just a couple of clicks.
For those who click-through to a category page, the inclusion of filters is an intuitive way for visitors to narrow down products to only those that they are interested in viewing.
The bottom line here is that navigation menus should be streamlined, uncluttered, and easy to understand.
This means most site design ideas to improve conversions hinge on merchants having a mobile responsive website.
Frankly, at this point in the evolution of eCommerce, a responsive design is one of the most foundational design elements in boosting conversions.
Mobile devices are rapidly becoming the dominant means of shopping online. If retailers are not catering to this growing audience by implementing a responsive site design, they will lose out to the competition in the years ahead.
That said, if sellers want to outpace their retail rivals and prepare for the next iteration of eCommerce, it is likely wise to shift focus from responsive web design todeveloping a progressive web application, as these can be a game-changer for eCommerce brands.
The fact is that human beings are visual creatures. Therefore, our minds tend to react in certain ways to specific colors and color patterns, thereby making the strategic use of color a great way to help drive more sales.
When it comes to color and site design ideas to improve conversions, it is important for retailers to take the time to A/B test different color palettes, as different colors often convey different emotions.
However, like psychology itself, the use and application of colors in marketing are not immutable, meaning that people will not always react to certain colors in a uniform way.
While it is wise for merchants to select specific colors based on the emotions that they typically elicit, it is also vital that sellers select ideal contrasting colors for elements like CTAs.
The idea here is to get critical page elements to “pop” and draw in the consumers’ attention. Using this strategy, retailers can help guide consumers through from the first click to conversion.
4. Consider Utilizing the ‘F’ Layout
Through the use of heat mapping technology, many researchers have found that a visitor’s natural way of scanning a web page follows an “F” pattern.
This means that upon landing on a page, people will start scanning a page from left to right, starting at the top. Then, they will begin to scan down the page, looking slightly to the right about halfway down before casting their gaze down the rest of the left-hand side of the page.
As a result of this behavior, the bottom right of a page tends to receive the least amount of attention.
Where site design ideas to improve conversions are concerned, this is incredibly useful information as retailers can take advantage of this knowledge by implementingan “F” pattern layout, thereby drawing more attention to the most important objects on a page.
Similarly, items that are less important can be relocated to areas of the page where a visitor’s eyes are less likely to fall.
By taking this approach to website design, retailers can significantly increase the likelihood of visitors engaging with critical website elements, thereby accelerating the potential for increased conversions.
Compounding matters even further, mobile users are even less forgiving of slow-loading sites than desktop users are, thereby making site speed optimization absolutely essential for a variety of reasons.
That said, there are a variety of ways in which merchants can decrease load times and boost conversions. Some of those tactics include:
Eliminating redirect chains
Utilizing a top-notch hosting service
Developing a progressive web application
Using a content delivery network
Disabling unused or outdated add-ons
Integrating Accelerated Mobile Pages
Enabling browser caching
This is just a shortlist of the techniques retailers can use to help elevate their site speed to produce a better user experience, thereby helping to increase conversions.
6. Highlight Product Reviews
Concerning site design ideas to improve conversions, providing website visitors with social proof that an item is worthy of their hard-earned dollars (and that the brand is indeed reputable) is absolutely essential to elevating sales.
For those who are somehow unfamiliar with the concept,social proof is a term coined by author Robert Cialdini in his 1984 book Influence. In essence, social proof is the idea that people will basically copy the actions of others when they find themselves in uncertain situations.
As far as site design ideas to improve conversions go, this means thatgarnering eCommerce reviews and displaying them prominently is vital to converting new visitors into customers.
That said, all product pages should have the average star rating of an item clearly displayed in an obvious location. If a visitor clicks a product’s star rating, they should be taken to a selection of customer reviews.
This common design strategy enables consumers to quickly obtain an honest opinion about a product from previous purchasers, thereby increasing their likelihood of converting (that is, if the product reviews are favorable).
7. Exit Popups
In the broader discussion of site design ideas to improve conversions, popups are a bit of a controversial subject. Some merchants are not a fan of popups, and others are advocates.
No matter which side of the fence people fall on regarding popups, the data shows that they work. After analyzing a staggering two billion popups,a 2019 Sumo study found the following:
“Some pop-ups see conversion rates as high as 50.2 percent! But the average conversion rate of the very best pop-ups was 9.28 percent. To put that into perspective, if you get even 150 visitors per day to your site, you’d have 418 signups in a month… The average pop-up conversion rate is 3.09 percent. Most pop-ups fall into this category… So, while 3.09 percent might seem small, imagine you have 100,000 visitors on your site. That turns into over 3,000 subscribers. That makes the 3.09 percent average seem alright in retrospect.”
While merchants should want their website to be so well optimized for conversions that consumers would never want to leave without making a purchase, this is simply not feasible.
Therefore, deploying exit popups can be a powerful means of reeling potential buyers back in before they leave.
By utilizing exit-intent popups to make a valuable offer (such as free shipping, 10 percent off their first order, etc.), merchants can successfully persuade those who were ready to leave into converting and becoming a new customer.
While there are many tactics that can be implemented in this area of the site, one of the most advisable is to eliminate forced account creation, as this accounts for 49 percent of abandoned carts. Therefore, it is critical to give consumers a guest checkout option.
Outside of that, the absolute best thing a merchant can do to increase conversions is to create a two-page checkout process.
By condensing and simplifying the checkout process in this way, retailers can ensure that consumers don’t second-guess their decision, get confused during the process or enable anything else to interrupt the transaction.
This clearly shows the conversion-increasing potential of a truncated checkout process.
9. Provide Different Payment Options
As it stands, the number of payment options that consumers use regularly continues to grow. Where eCommerce is concerned, shoppers pay for their purchases using various debit and credit cards, a variety of cryptocurrencies and a slew of digital wallets like:
The bottom line here is that the more payment options that retailers provide to their audience, the more likely those shoppers will be to convert.
10. Use Negative Space Advantageously
In website design, whitespace is typically referred to as negative space. On the other hand, positive space is all that contains the elements of a website. Therefore, the negative space is everything in between those components.
Contrary to its name, negative space is actually a positive thing when it comes toenticing website design strategies. After all, without a healthy dose of negative space, eCommerce websites would be a cacophonous, cluttered, unreadable, unusable mess.
However, negative space is not simply the space between the larger widgets on a page. Negative space also encompasses the area between paragraphs, lines of text and the like.
It is essential for retailers to pay attention to all of the negative space on their site to ensure that everything is legible, scannable, easy on the eyes, and easy to navigate.
If retailers fail to optimize the negative space on their website, consumers could find the experience to be too busy and unpleasant. As a result, they will likely abandon the store without converting.
It can be quite a bummer to produce a meaningful amount of traffic through marketing strategies like social media, email marketing, SEO and the like, only to have a dismal conversion rate.
However, these site design ideas to improve conversions can aid retailers in remedying this situation.
By implementing the concepts listed above, merchants can successfully elevate their on-site user experience, thereby driving more conversions.
A graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, Ruthie joined Visiture in 2020 with a liberal arts degree steeped in writing, editing, and content marketing. Interests include hiking with her black labrador Derby, spinning front row at CycleBar, and frequenting Cava.
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