Seamless online shopping experiences are hard to come by. Far too many eCommerce stores are difficult to navigate, and with the competition being no more than a click away, online retailers cannot afford to have poorly-designed sites. Having the best products, lowest prices or fastest delivery won’t equate to success if your customers are confused about where to start. If you want to gain more traction and increase conversion rates, your website needs to be functional, beautiful and usable.
That’s where MEYER comes in! While designing our newest free eCommerce theme, we focused on upping the design game (read: making it look B-E-A-UTIFUL) and using tactics that will turn your site into a conversion magnet. Below are 10 design principles that are sure to freshen up your online store, and that we mindfully adopted when crafting our new Meyer free eCommerce theme.
Choose a Compelling Color Palette
First impressions matter – if this is true “in real life”, this is doubly true on the world wide web. The minute a customer enters your website they are being welcomed by your storefront and introduced to your brand. Choose a color palette that fits your brand and use it consistently and purposefully throughout the site.
The Meyer theme, above, shows how the color palette is used to highlight category pages, buttons and of course, the products.
Use High Quality Photography
Speaking of aesthetics, it should come as no surprise that the quality of your photography is one of the most important aspects of a good eCommerce website. High quality photography sells products, builds trust and enhances your brand image. Product images with transparent or solid background colours work best for showcasing your awesome products and giving you more flexibility with the design.
Simplify the Navigation
An important aspect of the usability of your website are the navigation paths. Online retailers with a large number of categories can often have long and complicated paths to the right products and its very difficult to find beautiful free eCommerce themes that do this well. Mega dropdown menus are an effective way to give instant access to all collections while also keeping the head navigation clean and uncluttered.
Visible Search Bar
Search functionality helps shoppers find what they are looking for, making their shopping experience better. Let’s be real, who has time for clicking through multiple pages and navigations to find what they are looking for? Give ‘em what they want and provide a visible search bar with dynamic results on every page. If they’re already on the product search page, make the search bar is the most visible function on the page.
This is especially important for eCommerce sites that have a wide variety of products sold, such as a furniture store, electronics store, etc.
Easily-identifiable Sales Section
You know customers will make it there eventually, so why hide it? Make the sales section easily identifiable. Everyone wants to view the sales items before they leave a website and you have the items on sale for a reason—to sell. Include a sales banner with a beautiful featured image or bright color to draw customers in.
Integrated Marketing Channels
They’re on the site, now let’s get them coming back for more. Integrating your marketing channels is crucial to building a lasting relationship with your customers and there’s a number of ways to do this.
For starters, include social sharing links so products can be shared through a customer’s personal channels.
Next, include a clear call to action for mail and newsletter sign ups. Newsletters are a fantastic way to keep customers connected with the brand and updated on upcoming promotional offers. Avoid lengthy sign-up forms. A simple email address will do.
If you have a complicated product that requires education, or you want to use content marketing to build your audience, include a blog. Popular or recent posts should be highlighted on the homepage so new customers are instantly pulled to your blog to get more information.
Include Product Extra Options Before Checkout
The checkout process is complicated enough. Include all product extra’s on the product page so customers know exactly what they are purchasing before they enter the checkout. Product extras also give useful actions to the customer that can build a better shopping experience. For example, Meyer allows customers to add items like “Gift Wrap”:
Show Social Proof
When it comes to shopping, most of us are followers. We buy what we know other people like. Providing customers with positive and accurate social proof about a product will often influence them to make a purchasing decision. Testimonials and reviews can be immensely powerful. The credibility of this user social proof is more credible because it comes from other shoppers, and not the brand.
Checkout As a Guest
The final step between you and your profits is checkout. The majority of checkout abandonment happens when customers are forced to sign up before checkout. A guest checkout is a crucial option to highlight at checkout time. The customer can then sign-up on the confirmation page when checkout is complete. This method will increase sales, improve customer retention, and reduce cart abandonment. What more could online retailers want?
Cross-sell Products From Shopping Cart
When customers are reviewing what they’ve added to their shopping cart, you’ve got a golden opportunity to promote other products that may be related using our cross-selling and upselling features. This can help you drive up your average order value and maximize the profitability of your marketing efforts. And even better, it’s built right in to our Meyer theme!
Multi-Step Navigation Checkout
Now that your customers are checking out, we need to make the rest of the checkout process as seamless as possible. A great way to be transparent and simplify the process is to use breadcrumb navigation. This will let customers know where they stand in the purchasing process and feel a sense of accomplishment along the way. How many steps should it take? While there is no correct answer, it’s best to keep things simple and limit the checkout process to 3–5 simple steps.
While Meyer uses a simple 3 step checkout, the great thing about LemonStand is that you have full control to customize your checkout to increase conversions for your business.
There you go! Apply these tips for added design sweetness and your eCommerce site will be fresher than ever before. If you’re looking to implement these tips on a new eCommerce store, checkout our newest free eCommerce theme Meyer, which we’ve showcased throughout this article. And for those who are curious, it’s named after Meyer lemons, which are sweeter than normal lemons.