Top web design tips to improve ecommerce

Sam Carden Written by Sam Carden

6 min read   -  8th December, 2023

Top web design tips to improve ecommerce

Discussion around ecommerce often focuses on things like social media, your selling platform or paid ads to bring in more conversions. But when was the last time you took a look at your website?

Websites are vital to any successful ecommerce campaign, as they serve as the shop window, first impression and checkout system for all of your business. Strong ecommerce web design can result in higher conversion rates, lower the cost of your PPC campaigns and increase customer retention. But how do you tackle something as broad as web design, specifically with ecommerce in mind?

It’s not rocket science. But it’s important to know the key areas to focus on. Read on to discover all you need to know:

Keep it simple

Begin with the basics. It’s time to check on each of these elements on your existing website. Are they meeting the mark, or would you benefit from refining what you already have. In some cases, you may decide an entire rebrand or redesign is in order. This is a significant amount of work that will pay off in the long run.

1. Mobile Optimisation

Did you know that 60% of ecommerce sales globally are made on mobile? This has been rising steadily since 2018 (when the total was around 56%) and isn’t set to slow down. So if you’re not yet optimising for mobile, you’re missing out on potentially the majority of sales through your site.

2. Easy to use

The increased use of mobile devices in ecommerce is no surprise. Users want ease of access and convenience at every step of their sales experience. But regardless of what device a user is accessing your site on, you need to make sure finding the best product for them, and going through the sales process, is as straightforward as possible. It’s easy to become blind to your own website. It’s already obvious to you exactly where to go to complete a sale. But is that the case for someone visiting your site for the first time?

3. Clear and simple messages 

Buying anything online shouldn’t be complicated. Especially if the user knows what they are searching for. Ease of use and mobile optimisation both benefit from clarity and brevity. So keep things simple! Experiment with website copy and layout that really guides users to the next step in their buying experience. 

The Customer journey

Once you’ve considered the elements above, you’ll be halfway towards the best version of your site already. Now it’s time to finesse the details and consider the customer journey.

1. Easy to navigate 

A quick way to do this is to include strong CTAs throughout your site, guiding users to the next stage. Keep everything consistent, from branding to the overall message and tone of voice on your site. Ease of navigation also helps build trust in your brand for first-time visitors. And if there’s one thing that helps increase online sales, it’s trust.

Consider the design of every element of your site. CTAs should be instantly visible. It’s also worth being intentional about what lives above the fold on every single page. Many users won’t want to scroll to get to the next step, so give them the information they need, easily.

2. Reduce any friction

Elements like pop-ups, audio or video that auto-plays and complicated menu layouts can have a negative and totally avoidable impact on your user's experience. Aim to reduce friction through simplicity and ease in your design and copy. Remember, less is more, so cut down on clutter and highlight the most useful pages of your site to users.

3. Check out experience

A study by The National Retail Federation found that 97% of people who backed out of making purchases did so thanks to an inconvenient user experience. No-one wants an online purchase to feel like a challenge.

How can you quickly test to see how efficient your checkout experience is? Count the clicks. There should be a minimal amount of effort required by the user to get through to the end of the sale. So reduce the number of steps a customer has to go through to make a purchase. If you’ve got an unavoidably long process that cannot be shortened, progress banners help the user experience.

Cut down on the amount of information a customer needs to fill in and stick to what is required to complete the purchase. Autofill is your friend!

Finally, be upfront about the total cost to each customer. Shipping fees, taxes and any other processing costs can leave a negative impression with customers if they are suddenly added on at the very end of the sales process.

Think like a customer

You may be reading this article and wondering,  “how do I actually know if all this work is paying off?”. You’re not the customer, after all, so it can be tricky to get a sense of what impact your changes are having on the user experience. Luckily, there are some easy ways to get a fresh perspective on your newly optimised site.

1. Customer focus groups 

As much as you can test elements of your site on your own, by far the most useful feedback you’ll receive on the user experience of your site is directly from first time users themselves.

These can take the form of both in-person and online tests. Be selective when choosing a service to help facilitate these important tests. You want to aim for honest feedback from relevant demographics that match your user base. So be picky, as it’ll pay off!

2. Insights 

There are also various tools for testing your website’s usability instantly. These are often services and plugins that you have to pay for, so it’s worth considering a range of options before you invest. 

Once you’ve found a good tool to partner with, test your site at various stages of optimisation. A/B testing can quickly bring options to light before you spend a small fortune going in one direction over another, so knowing what is actually most useful before you build out can save your budget!


We’ve talked before about the importance of photography in ecommerce, as it is one of the most efficient ways of communicating the value of your product or service. So don’t overlook this crucial feature on your site.

Users are in a rush, with no time to read legions of text. We all know that pictures tell a thousand words, so save your web space and use images to show exactly what makes your products so useful. 

A few points to keep in mind:

  • Quality over quantity: You don’t need to curate an art gallery of images on your site. After a photo shoot, you’ll want to decide on picking the most dynamic, engaging and eye-catching images that match that quality and professionalism of your service.
  • Details matter: Users want to see the quality and specificity of the products they are buying, so zoom in on details to highlight exactly what makes your products so special.
  • Cherry-picked products: In some cases, you don’t need every single product to be photographed. 

Social proof 

Ultimately, before a new customer even considers the products that you are selling, they will be making a mental note on whether or not they can trust your site. Users are just as aware of scams and untrustworthy sites as you are, so you want to create an experience that instantly promotes trust in a customer visiting your site for the first time.

Aside from the web design elements we’ve already covered, the best way to build trust is through social proof. So chase those reviews and highlight the ones that really showcase the best your brand has to offer.

Customers want to know what your products and services are really like, when they aren’t being dressed up for marketing and ads. Social proof is a great opportunity to showcase the hidden value, consistency and impact of what you offer for customers. 

A variety of customer demographics can be useful here, if your product is universal with a wide ranging appeal. Similarly, if you know your product is highly specified, highlighting key demographics in your social proof can further position your company as the most relevant for your niche of customer.

In Summary

Web design for any ecommerce site should always be intentional, with the customer experience front and centre. Simple fixes like a review of your existing copy, CTAs or homepage layout can be a speedy way to optimise your site. But if you’re looking for lasting change that takes your site to the next level, it’s time to look into those more in-depth solutions.

Analysis of your customer journey, checkout experience and first impressions of key pages provide a deeper look at your site from a fresh perspective. It’s worth investing in the right services to get you there, and consider your site on both a technical, UX and visual level. Overall, this is a process, so take your time and prioritise what you feel will give you the best return on investment in the long-run. 

It starts with discovery

Speak to us today and let’s start growing your business.

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It starts with discovery

Speak to us today and let’s start growing your business.