Designing an E-Commerce Website: The Do’s and Don’ts

Posted by Prospero Team | March 14, 2024 | website,
Designing an E-Commerce Website: The Do’s and Don’ts

The success of your new e-commerce business can depend on the design of your online store or website. Emotions and impulses can influence consumer decisions, so you must design a site that provides the best experience to buyers. 

This short guide can help e-commerce business owners who are still uncertain about how site design can impact their store’s profitability. After reading, you can understand the steps and practices to avoid when building your e-commerce platform.

The Do’s

Retail ecommerce sales report

Image from Forbes

The e-commerce industry is booming, with retail sales worldwide forecasted to reach $8.148 trillion by 2026. To take advantage of this growth, you must put customer experience at the forefront of your e-commerce business strategy, even when designing your website. 

Here are simple steps to ensure your site will appeal to your target buyers:

Publish high-quality images and videos

When designing your e-commerce store, you must showcase your products by having high-quality digital photos for each item. Product information should highlight its details and features so site visitors can see if what you have is what they want.

While you can take pictures using high-definition cameras, you should still hire a professional photographer. The reason is simple: maintaining a professional appearance is critical for your business. You want to avoid using generic internet images, as customers prefer unique visuals that showcase the unique details of what you are selling. Using clip art and illustrations may not be enough in this regard.

Compelling photos and videos of your products and services are crucial in converting visitors into buyers. More specifically, product videos can be influential and can serve as marketing material for potential customers.

It is crucial to capitalize on the persuasive power of different media to attract potential buyers. However, using high-resolution and professional-looking videos and images is vital, as low-quality visuals may demonstrate carelessness and may deter customers.

If photography is not your forte, try hiring a skilled and professional photographer to ensure a polished look for your product images. You can also subscribe to a stock image service to organize and manage all your original photos. Remember that your website’s pictures and videos create the initial impression for visitors, so make sure to give a lasting and positive impact when first-time visitors get to your platform.

Use consistent brand language and color

The distinctive language and color palette you choose for your site can play a pivotal role in setting your platform apart from other companies offering the same products you do. These elements form the identity of your brand. 

Sticking to a consistent brand language and color scheme is crucial for ensuring the immediate recognition of your company. When customers spot your logo on products, the colors serve as a quick identifier, encouraging brand recall.

The significance of maintaining consistency in your brand’s color cannot be overstated, as it is often the most glaring aspect customers remember about your brand. 

Even when contemplating a rebrand, you must uphold your brand’s primary color and tone to sustain brand recognition. This way, customers can readily identify your business through its familiar colors and language, even during a brand transformation. 

It is essential to consider all mediums where you plan to market your brand, whether on the web, clothing, mobile platforms, signage, or other channels.

Optimize for mobile users

In the era of smartphones, a significant chunk of online shoppers use mobile devices when making purchases. In 2023, mobile e-commerce sales grew to $2.2 trillion, making up 60 percent of the total global sales.

mobile ecommerce sales reports

Image from Statista

The numbers show that failing to make your store mobile-friendly may result in losing potential customers to rival businesses. Mobile visibility should be a top priority if you want to keep your existing customers and appeal to new ones.

While your e-commerce website may appear polished on a laptop or a desktop, take the time to consider its presentation on mobile devices. If any part of your e-commerce design fails to load correctly on mobile, adjustments are necessary to elevate mobile-friendliness. 

Today, some e-commerce platforms offer built-in website design features. However, you can always choose to outsource web development services to ensure an optimal mobile experience.

For customers, few things are more frustrating than a slow-loading website, especially if they are on a mobile phone. You want your mobile website to load in less than three seconds, preferably less than two. 

You can also speed up loading times by optimizing images, using caching plugins, and trying other strategies. These measures contribute to a fast-performing e-commerce website across all mobile devices.

Add calls-to-action

Call-to-action (CTA) buttons are crucial in boosting customer engagement within your website, especially when selling products. Without a clear CTA, customers may feel uncertain about the next steps, resulting in wasted time and funds on ineffective marketing efforts.

Strategic CTA placements are crucial to ensuring their effectiveness. Make sure to place them somewhere visible, like the front and center parts of the pages. Customers prefer clarity from the outset, allowing them to proceed with their purchases quickly. 

Refrain from burying CTAs in obscure positions or overwhelming visitors with excessive information. This blunder can negatively impact your website’s conversion rate.

The Don’ts

You will need to develop an effective web design strategy once you have decided to start an online store. Whether you plan to build a new site or use an existing solution, the design mistakes below may discourage potential customers from doing business with you.

Use too many pop-ups

Pop-ups can be helpful features on a website that can grab the attention of site visitors. You can add a pop-up to offer live chat support, which is becoming more popular among customers.

live chat support report

Image from Computer Generated Solutions, Inc.

While pop-ups are deemed helpful for an e-commerce website, an excess of them can be irritating. Too many pop-ups may push a customer in the midst of paying for their purchase to abandon their cart and look for alternatives. They can disrupt the buyer journey by diverting attention from more relevant actions.

While pop-ups are helpful, they are not a requirement for e-commerce sites. Moreover, hackers can exploit them to compromise a website’s security, potentially leading to malware downloads on the user’s device.

Unnecessary pop-ups may be distracting and can pose security risks. Negative experiences leave a lasting impression on buyers, especially if your business is a fledgling e-commerce website. Instead of overwhelming users with excessive pop-ups, prioritize making a positive first impression.

Fail to uphold promises

Failing to uphold your promises can be a crucial mistake, especially now that customer expectations are exceptionally high. Keeping promises is significant for a brand, and companies that consistently achieve this standard are in a solid position to grow.

For example, a fintech firm is offering private loans for college with no additional fees, late fees, or insufficient fund fees. By keeping this promise, the company gains its clients’ trust and builds credibility for its brand.

The example shows that failing to keep promises also impacts customer loyalty. By successfully delivering on your promise, you are building the foundation of deeper engagement and trust between your business and your customers.

Remember that fulfilling promises requires going above and beyond to make a lasting impression on customers. If you claim to offer lower prices than your competitors, then you must actively demonstrate it through your actions. Consistently delivering on promises is crucial to building trust and fostering strong connections with your customer base.

Require shoppers to register

Today, the most successful entrepreneurs discourage requiring customers to register before purchasing. Buyers may find the registration process bothersome, leading them to abandon their carts. 

Moreover, some customers who are uncomfortable with registering before a purchase may provide inaccurate data when compelled to do so. Instead of requiring them to register, you can give them the option of social sign-in. This way, you increase the likelihood of customers returning to your store and spending more.

Buyers also want to keep the purchasing process as quick as possible. By subjecting them to a lengthy registration process, you are hindering their actions and discouraging them from completing their purchase.

Offer no return and exchange policy

According to marketing consultant Invesp, buyers return 30 percent of products bought online, while they return only 8.89 percent of products purchased from brick-and-mortar stores. With a return and exchange policy, you can address delivery mistakes and ensure your customers get what they want from your store.

report on products ordered and returned in brick and mortar stores

Image from Invesp

Once you start an online store, you must develop a shipping and return policy that would suit your target customers. Remember that your strategy can significantly impact a customer’s purchase decision and either seal the deal or discourage a sale. 

Depending on the products you offer, your shipping and return policy should cover essential information such as:

  • Items eligible for return
  • Products eligible for exchange
  • Availability and form of refunds
  • Responsibility for the shipping cost of physical items

By adding this policy to your website, your customers will be well-informed about the steps to take to return a product, reducing the likelihood of frustration. Without this information, your buyers may have difficulty trusting your brand. The lack of return policies can also result in unnecessary time spent on customer service queries.

Underestimate website speed and performance

In a recent survey, mobile users were asked how long they would wait for a web page to load before leaving the site. The most common response was five seconds, and 16 percent of the respondents said they were willing to wait for only three seconds.

website speed report

Image from Statista

Your website should provide a seamless user experience, allowing visitors to browse products and services effortlessly. An effective e-commerce website should have user-friendly navigation so customers can find what they want. A good shopping cart incorporates a straightforward menu and easy-to-navigate features.

In today’s fast-paced world with countless consumer choices, there is no room for slow responses. You must optimize your website for speed to meet user expectations if you want to rise above your competitors.

Regular checks are also essential, allowing you to identify elements slowing down your platform. These elements could include issues with images, plugins, or caching mechanisms. Addressing these problems ensures a smooth and swift user experience, contributing to the success of your e-commerce website.

Build an E-Commerce Platform That Customers Will Love

An efficient e-commerce website is essential to capitalize on opportunities for increased product awareness and digital brand enhancement. With an optimized design, you can boost store traffic, increase product visibility, and deliver a personalized user experience.

Today, building a successful and secure e-commerce website requires little to no technical expertise. You can now create an online store that seamlessly integrates the crucial elements of content, commerce, and convenience. This capability enables you to provide a user-friendly and engaging environment for your customers, ultimately contributing to the success and growth of your digital presence.

Author’s Bio

Ivan Serrano is a versatile and insightful writer specializing in business, technology, and finance since 2015. His compelling articles and analyses have graced the pages of publications like Bitcoin Magazine, SmallBizClub, StartupNation, Namecheap, and Time Doctor. With a knack for translating complex topics into engaging content, Ivan continues to be a sought-after voice in the intersection of modern technology and business trends.


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