E-commerce Web Design Essentials

By: Baron Archer

The number of e-commerce websites currently in operation is said to be in the millions. This means there's huge potential for businesses to reap rich profits by taking their marketing online. If you're a web designer, you know just how lucrative website development is.

This huge number should be cause for motivation. Competing against well-known companies and their online stores is not easy but wholly possible by focusing on the target market and presenting products and services in an easy-to-understand manner. Inspiration can be sought from any one of the top websites out there but make sure you don't forget to follow these important tips.


There's no standard layout as this depends on the client, the designer and what the business is trying to sell. For example, a clothing retail store follows fashion's footsteps so it can't be devoid of trendy elements. Similarly, an electronics store is part of technology and the use of clean lines and futuristic accents complement what's being sold.

Search bar

In a store selling thousands or millions of products, customers don't have the patience going through everything. A visible and properly functional search bar makes it easy to filter items even with the inclusion of filters.


Filters like 'Men', 'Women' in a clothing or footwear store are standard. Under them, more options like 'size', 'color', 'tops/shirts', 'skirts/pants', 'stilettos/loafers' etc must be included. First-time shoppers are taking a risk by shopping online and they'll want to make sure products fit. Filters make the experience easier and give them confidence.


The use of medium to large images is recommended because tiny photos don't show details clearly. High resolution images optimized for fast loading and expansion are close as customers get to touching them. The use of editing software to clean up photos is, of course, necessary but not so much so that products look artificial.

Images for a product should have different views, front, back, side, underside (for shoes, toys, electronics etc). A 360-degree view should be used for complex products with many parts.

Breadcrumb navigation

Breadcrumb navigation gives a user a clear view (through links) of the pages he's visited in a website. An example is Home-Men's footwear-Lifestyle-. This system enables him to go back to any one of the three links instead of pressing 'back' several times on the browser.

Emphasis on clean design

No serious shopper likes a site that's cluttered even if it sells exceptional products. Useless links, a clash of colors and flashing banners that only serve to hurt the eyes must be avoided. Think of what you as a shopper would like a site to be. Even if you're in no hurry to log out, would you shop from a site that's too much on the senses?

Easy checkout

A simple checkout function allows fast purchases. The landing page should be clean and devoid of bright colors and information not pertaining to checkout options. Delivery charges, if any, a short description of the product purchased, payment options, an option to cancel the order, a thumbnail of the product together with links back to the product's landing page and a 'home' option should make up the content.

These tips are basic but make up the foundation of a user-friendly e-commerce website. For inspiration on design, check out the numerous sites on the internet.

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