What makes a great eCommerce Website?

Are you looking for a new ecommerce website but you’re wondering where to start, or what pitfalls to avoid? Hopefully we’ve taken some of the mystery out of it below. If you still have questions we’d be happy to have a chat about any upcoming online store projects you have coming up.

What makes a great eCommerce Website?

In recent years eCommerce has been growing and growing, and then March 2020 hit and our shopping habits went out of the window in a flash. Online sales now account for approximately 30% of all retail sales in this country, a trend we don’t see changing.

So if you’re not selling online, why aren’t you?

If it’s because you’ve looked into it before and you’ve always been scared off by hefty price tags, things have changed. We pride ourselves on offering real value for money, with unrivalled customer service. Don’t believe us? We’ll put you in touch with some of our previous clients.

We can offer turn-key eCommerce website design, that is either managed or self-managed, and that isn’t subject to monthly fees, or subscriptions. Where’s the catch? There really isn’t one, our proposal will be comprehensive and totally transparent, don’t like it, there’s no obligation.

But we want to put our money where our mouth is, below is what we feel are the building blocks to a successful and profitable online shop, give us a call once you’ve read it to discuss your new ecommerce shop, and start selling.

Mock-Up showing Three iMacs displaying pages from the CNC Creations ecommerce website
responsive website mockup showing the whittle and flame ecommerce website design on two devices

Keep it Simple, Stupid

Do not over complicate things, whether it be design, colours, layout, menu structure, hierarchy, purchase options, shipping options. The less confusion the better, make your customers shopping experience as quick and as painless as possible.

Try to avoid banner ads, pop ups, anything superfluous, though don’t forget well placed upsells or cross sells, if done right they can be helpful for your customer.

Build your Brand, Build Trust

We’ve all been on a website to buy that obscure christmas present for a loved one, but it looks a bit shady, the logo doesn’t look quite right, there aren’t any contact details, no obvious way to get in touch… don’t be that website.

Establish a brand, and develop a company ‘face’. Depending on your industry this could be in tone of content, style of imagery, layout, and many other design features, all of this will help develop a feeling of safety for your online store.

I’ve always liked using 3 words to describe a business, or a culture of a business, use it to work out what your business or web store stand for, and try to translate that into design elements, fonts, colours, imagery etc. 

And unless you’re trying to stay hidden put your contact details all over your website, make it easy for prospective clients to ask questions, make it even easier for customers to get great service if they have any issues with an order they placed. Customer reviews directly affect search engine ranking, and we all know, a bad review can cost you dearly, make customer service your no. 1 priority.

a tablet on a white background displaying the waitrose website
Mock-Up of a Microsoft Surface Tablet and Phone Showing Responsive Website design by Pinnacle Creative Website Design Agency

Maximise User-Experience

This comes back to keeping it simple, and there are a huge number of ways you can ensure the user-experience on your eCommerce site is maximised:

  • Organise your shop in the easiest way possible, have a plan in place before you start for the sales journey, plot how a customer will interact with your site and the number of steps they have to take, keeping these to a minimum will improve conversion rates.
  • Keep menus short and sweet with comprehensive hierarchy structures. Remember a customer wants to find what they’re looking for within 3 clicks.
  • Check out the competition, even in the most obscure industries there’s probably someone out there selling online, look at what they’re doing, good or bad, look at the layout, design, imagery and make yours better and more appealing to your customer.

Ultimately the more you put yourself in your customer’s shoes the better your site will become.

Make your pages easy to Scan

One of the hardest things we all have to do is sit and write engaging, useful content, but do you want to know the bad news? About only 20% of content on a website actually gets read, sorry for that, depressing huh?

So that means if you’ve got something to shout about, highlight it! Use titles and subtitles well, this works both ways because H1, H2 and H3 tags are vital to search engine optimisation, but also make your customers lives easier when searching your content. 

Use bold text well, or even pull out quotes. Break up your text in obvious ways, use imagery well, and keep sentences and paragraphs short, nobody is on your website to read war and peace, get them the information they need in a timely manner.

Use great Images

There is nothing worse than bad product photography, make sure items are well lit, positioned on a white or neutral background and then saved at a good resolution.

If the product is quite detailed you might want to show multiple angles, or you might want to have a roll over image on your product page to ensure people can see the finer details.

Use a professional photographer if necessary, remember all you’re doing is building trust, whether you’re selling micro components or houses, people will not buy anything if they can’t see it, so spend your money here and your conversion rate will improve.

Categories and filters

This really ties in with user-experience, but it’s such an important element, it needs it’s own category (see what i did there). Think carefully about how you can categorise your products, if it’s something like clothing, you’re probably not going to have too many issues, if you sell assorted things for the home, then you’re going to want to put a lot of effort into making it easy to drill down into your categories, and think about items that can sit in more than one.

Categories can also have a great deal of SEO weight behind them, so do your keyword research for these, and never forget, you might know your industry off by heart, but do your customers? Look at search volume before you go ahead and create your product categories.

Filtering will help your customer – usually once they’re in their desired category, think about the way you’d like to buy products, it could be weight, thickness, colour, size, price, star rating etc (if you’re planning on doing this). Doing this will help your customer get to the product they want, it might even be an upsell for you if they didn’t know they could afford something they didn’t know they could.

a computer monitor displaying the crew clothing fashiion ecommerce website design
iMac computer displaying Ecommerce website shopping cart page

Make the checkout process quick and easy

There are so many payment processing options these days, and particularly on the platform we recommend there are loads of built-in options available to you. But it make it as quick and painless for people as possible.

Integrating google pay, paypal and apple pay will help customers (particularly those on mobile devices) check out quickly and easily.

On woocommerce it is a 10 minute job to install either paypal or stripe, and stripe is clever enough to work out whether you use google pay or apple pay. it also keeps your fees low, meaning you only pay per transaction, other subscription-based services are available, but that means you’re paying whether you’re selling or not. If you’re an established webshop this might not be an issue, but if you’re dipping your toe in the water as an ecommerce startup with a new website without much domain authority, then one of the former options is probably better for you.