Web design - digital media

What makes a good ecommerce website?

To find the answer we need to look at ecommerce design as a whole and ask a few questions as we go through the process to find the solution.

Most people have shopped online and made a purchase.
Now we ask ourselves a few questions.

  1. Was it easy to find the product you where looking for?
  2. Was all the information you needed clearly displayed?
  3. Where you informed of delivery or additional charges prior to purchase?
  4. Did you feel the transaction was secure?
  5. Where you shown larger images if required?
  6. Was the whole process simple and easy to use?

You probably answered NO to a few of those questions!

Now that we know what is wrong with a bad ecommerce website we can create a good ecommerce website by carrying out a few simple steps during the initial design process of your ecommerce site.

  1. Always ensure that the website navigates gracefully to the individual product. This is good for you and good for Google too! For example your product is a Grey Nike Football shirt. You would use Football Shirts in your main navigation, followed by the brand name then the product name. Ideally this should be displayed as breadcrumbs too. i.e Football Shirts > Nike and also in the URL so it would look like www.yourdomain.com/football-shirts/nike/grey-shirt.html 
  2. Display as much relevant information about the product as you can. Some websites only display a single line of text relating to the product. Ideally you want to see all the different options and sizes and specifications relating to the product. If there is an overload of information this can be tabbed so the customer can click on the specificatio9n they are looking for. Plus again this is great for your search engine positioning.
  3. Always show the full billing price. If delivery,  VAT, Tax or additional price is not displayed this can be confusing and misleading for your customer. So always make the full price clear from the start.
  4. Website Security and confidence. When a customer enters in their personal details and credit card number this needs to be carried out under SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or https. Often a pop up will appear in the browser window to let the customer know they are in a secure area along with the padlock. Another point on ecommerce is the web design and the quality of the web site design.
  5. Show larger images in the same window. If you have larger product images show them to your customer, even alternative views of the product. Often customers need to see the back of products. Your customer is thinking of lots of questions before making that purchase, so show them everything you have to offer.
  6. Ensure the buying process is easy. Do not force the customer to login to make a purchase. This is bad practice unless it is a membership site. A customer does not want to say “Where they heard about your site”, or even tick that box to recieve spam email. They need an instant confirmation email of the product purchased and if possible delivery details.

Do you really know your customers?

Most business owners will say Yes! When in reality they do not. Have they spoken to customers that have made purchases? Have they asked about their shopping online? Is there anything that can be done better? Making your website the best it can be for your customers is the key to online success.


2 comments for “What makes a good ecommerce website?

  1. June 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    LOL Thanks, Yes I know my customers!

  2. Paul
    January 23, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Hi Steve,

    Good post (still ranking 1st page on my search term) Just to let you know there is a HTML error on your use of ‘ across the page.


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