5 eCommerce Website Design Don’ts [TIPS]

e-commerce webdesign dontseCommerce website design is not just about setting up a front-end point of sale shop.

Advertising, search optimisation and  inbound marketing efforts may deliver visitors, but your website has to be usable enough for them to convert.

The fundamentals of design are relatively easy to apply, but there are certain practices that should be avoided.

Check these common e-commerce website design mistakes.

1. Don’t Interrupt

Imagine you find a website with something you want to buy.  You add it to your cart, change a few personal preferences and just before you get to the checkout area, the website requires that you register for a new account. This is a classic case of interruption. Avoid it.

Interruption evokes frustration. Frustration evokes resentment. Don’t interrupt, period.

Other elements of interruption include sudden subscription boxes blacking out the rest of the page, and unsolicited surveys asking you to rate the site before you’ve even had a chance to use it!

Instead of interrupting your customers midway through their purchase, consider allowing the one-off purchase to push through first, and then offer an account for added privileges, bonuses, and perks later.

2. Don’t Use Super Menus

We already covered the “Don’t Interrupt” point, but this deserves a separate mention: do not use super menus.

Super menus may seem smooth, flashy, and impressive, but for a regular website visitor, they serve as a ceaseless source of annoying interruption.

Super menus roll down or expand when the mouse rolls over them – so visitors end up with most of their screens covered by a super menu whenever they unintentionally roll over them.

Super menus work better for tablets and other touch devices because such devices don’t entail a mouse. For other device, it would be good to avoid them altogether.  Better yet,  format your menus in ways that do not hinder your visitors seamlessly using your website.

Also beware of sharing or syndication widgets that act as super menus, they’re just as annoying!

3. Don’t Use Popups

Another form of interruption is the nasty popup. Advertising popups are doubly heinous. The days of interruption marketing are over – it is all about inbound marketing now. Live and breath it.

There are subtler and more effective ways to advertise your giveaway or promo than to stick  it in your customer’s face. Be creative.

4. Don’t Just Sit There

Make your visitors feel the urge to purchase, subscribe or perform the required action. Create a sense of urgency. Use language such as  “until supplies last” and incorporate timed discount sale announcements.

Tell your customers not to miss out by announcing special sales and discounts and indicate a specific time limit. Show it counting down. Better yet, show supplies counting down on “only until supplies last” offers.

5. Don’t Offer Too Much

If you want to showcase your business’ impressive lineup of product categories and sub-categories in full – don’t. Offering too many options causes choice paralysis.

Choice paralysis is exactly as it sounds: consumers faced with too many options leading to no choice.

A good way to circumvent choice paralysis is to display popular items or categories first.  Make other categories accessible for easy viewing only when your customers have indicated they want more options.

Also, if your product lines are fully customisable, consider offering a preset setup with further personalisation if requested.

Master the trick of showing too little vs. showing too much.

In a Nutshell…

When designing an e-commerce website,  remember these golden rules:

  1. Don’t interrupt with annoying elements like super menus and popups;
  2. Don’t just sit there waiting for consumers to decide but create a sense of urgency to call them to action; and
  3. Don’t confuse your visitors with too many choices.
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Omar Kattan is Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital, the MENA region's first specialist content marketing agency headquartered in Dubai. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.

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