When most brick and mortar stores are turning to eCommerce business, it is obvious that the future of retail will depend on the eCommerce. All the statistics and trends are already indicating to this future. Already in the US, online sales crossed $26 billion by the end of the 2018 year. It will be around $250 billion yearly sales for European countries at the same time. If you add to this figure the sales figure of the robust emerging economies like India, China, Brazil and several others where the online economy is booming, the accumulated figure will cross a few thousand billion. That’s really a big money and considering all the factors the prediction seems to be real, credible and fully justified.
So, nothing really can stop the exponential growth of eCommerce. As a business, you need to decide how long you would take to jump on this eCommerce bandwagon. Do you think building a successful eCommerce website is really challenging? Are you scared of the competition? Let us tell you that the market potential is so big that every business is capable to grab a pie of the booming and brimming eCommerce market provided it follows the tried and tested principles of eCommerce design and development.
Precisely, this is why we are here to offer a detailed guideline about the design and development of an eCommerce store. Let’s start with the design considerations and then about the choice of eCommerce development platforms.
Prototyping and Design Validation
First of all, you need to create a detailed design prototype of the eCommerce store with the layout for product pages, search function, CTA buttons, checkout page, and other sections. After you come up with a design prototype for your eCommerce website, you need to validate and review the same by sharing it with your existing retail customers in case you have already a physical retail business.
In case you are an online startup with no credible exposure into retail, start evaluating the design with your target user groups across social channels. You can also reach out to the industry influencers and take their opinions about the strengths and weaknesses of the design.
A Lightweight Design With A Lot Of Whitespaces
Most online users these days prefer a simple, straightforward and lightweight design that without causing visual distractions or putting cognitive loads directly hits the bulls in the eye, i.e. talks about the products and offerings. So, make sure the design incorporates a lot of white or negative space and showcases the products in a highly organized, visually appealing and engaging manner.
Use Quality Images
The second most important thing about eCommerce web design is to use high-definition product images that can make a clear impression about the products. Low resolution and mediocre quality images can only pull your brand image and reliability.
Design For Branding
Design plays a prominent role in the branding of eCommerce stores as well. Since businesses need to boast of their own personalities to connect to its intended audience and make people remember your brand image, you need to put all efforts together to stand out as a unique online store brand from your competitors. The design elements for branding need to be curved out with an appropriate color scheme for your niche, a clean layout and the use of typography that can perfectly carry the brand message.
Offering navigation elements to help users easily browse the store and find what they need is a crucial aspect of eCommerce design. A good navigation design starts with the placing of menu buttons at the right place to allow easy access while avoiding design clutter. Create navigation that helps users easily find product catalogs, search function, business blog or use filters and tags for finding what they need.
Product Page Design
Design of the product pages or the catalogs involves the most important design decision for the eCommerce web designer. First of all, the design should be clutter-free and there should be enough space for each product to help customers concentrate on each item separately.
Shopping Cart Design
Finally, it is the shopping cart from where a chosen product by a customer converts to actual sales. Naturally, you need to give it an utmost priority in design. Make sure that the shopping cart showcases the product complete with images, price and important details to help users take a last look before ordering. You should also incorporate the promotions and offers in a clearly visible manner to push customers to buy the products.
Choose The Suitable Commerce Platform
Like the CMS systems for any websites, eCommerce stores can also be built easily by utilizing eCommerce CMS solutions that vary from hosted and managed solution to self-hosted ones. Let’s look at the key considerations for picking the right eCommerce CMS solution.
Let’s start with the first criterion, the pricing and cost factor. Remember, free options in most cases involve a lot of development costs you need to spend on building and making the store ready and live. On the other hand, as a startup, you may not need a very expensive solution that only suits a big enterprise. Magneto is good if you can manage to develop the entire store step by step with the plugins and theme options. Shopify is good as a fully managed and hosted solution offered through varying packages.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is the second most important consideration as it can significantly impact the business conversion and audience engagement. Fortunately, all the leading eCommerce platforms including Magento, Shopify, Big Cartel and WooCommerce are fairly easy to use. Shopify as a managed platform offers maximum ease of use while Magento and other non-hosted platforms require some skills and expertise to manage the features.
Customizing with Templates
Ready to use templates and themes help building an eCommerce store quickly while retaining all the scopes of customization. Since a visitor within the first few seconds have an opinion of a website that impacts business conversion, you need to choose templates that can deliver a lean, lightweight, frictionless and performance-focused UI and UX. Magento and Shopify offer the most extensive range of themes including a bounty of free and paid ones. Moreover, they also allow users buying themes from third-party theme marketplaces.
Plugins for Features
Plugins are another area of consideration for choosing the right eCommerce platform. Plugins are crucial to incorporate features and functions to your store ranging from payment gateways to custom filters to checkout features. Magneto leads the pack by offering the most extensive range of plugins for almost all imaginable eCommerce features.
To conclude, eCommerce development now involves the broader challenge of integrating the right feature with the right design elements for delivering a smooth and seamless shopping experience.
Author Bio: Atman Rathod is the Co-founder at CMARIX TechnoLabs Pvt. Ltd., a leading Magento Development Company with 13+ years of experience. He loves to write about technology, startups, entrepreneurship, and business. His creative abilities, academic track record and leadership skills made him one of the key industry influencers as well.