min read

E-commerce website design: What works & what doesn't

Is the era of in-person shopping behind us? Sure, there’s something to be said for the dated thrill of visiting a brick-and-mortar store, but in the UK alone, a cool 60 million of us are now shopping online. We 21st-century consumers want convenience, ease, and instant results — but we’ll also settle for 2-3 working days if express delivery is unavailable.

So, if you’re a fledgling business looking to increase your sales, you’ll need an enticing website that users can visit to be converted into loyal customers. However, there are between 12 and 24 million online stores currently in operation — so how do you set yours apart? And what does a successful e-commerce website look like?

At Shoreditch Design, we’ve designed sites for some of the greatest up-and-coming brands. If you’re looking for inspiration, stick with us as we reflect on some of the criteria we follow to build truly great e-commerce websites.

What should a good e-commerce website have?

Good web design forms the foundation for your customer’s user experience, and ultimately, whether they’ll want to come back and shop with you again. You wouldn’t return to a physical store that had its shelves upturned, lights flickering and cables falling from the rafters — so following this same logic, it’s vital that the online shopfloor you present is professional and inviting.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to good web design, but there is a set of principles that should be considered when planning a shopping site. Here are some of the top elements that an e-commerce website should have.

1. A streamlined ordering experience

One of the biggest challenges for web designers is creating a streamlined ordering process for a complicated product. When you’re ordering goods online, there will invariably be some degree of choice involved — whether it’s as simple as picking the correct size, or something more complex, like configuring furniture dimensions. But whatever you’re selling, you can prevent friction by presenting a simplified breakdown of the options to buyers.

For example, when we designed a new website for health food brand Brodo, we used design to help simplify the mix-and-match checkout process.

To begin, we sketched out simple, appealing designs that clearly explained the key ingredients in Brodo’s products, coloured consistently with the light, bright palette that their audience is familiar with.

Then, we created attractive ordering assets that made putting together a basket as user-friendly as possible. This encourages shoppers to tailor their orders to their tastes without overwhelming them with a never-ending set of options, which could delay conversion. In turn, this helped to inform Brodo’s subscription-based selling model, which is currently proving very popular in the wellness industry.

2. Professional product photography

This one might seem like a given — but you’d be surprised just how wrong some e-commerce companies get photography. When you’re selling online, your customers can’t tangibly experience a product before purchasing — if it’s food, they can’t taste the flavours, if it’s clothing, they can’t inspect the hemlines, and so on. As a result, it’s your responsibility to provide detailed, professional images of your goods that present them as the objects of your customers’ deepest desires.

This was our ambition when we put together the home and product listing pages for Scandi clothes brand Ganni.

It’s not solely about showing off beautiful products beautifully though — it’s also about making them stand out from the crowd. We took Ganni’s shots and made the garments the focal point of each listing page, using a simple colour scheme and monochromatic typography to draw the eye to the contrasting hues and textures of their clothes.

When designing listing pages, you don’t want to distract from the product — so white or neutral-toned backgrounds are the gold standard. Our end result was simple and effective, communicating who Ganni is as a brand while making it easy for consumers to browse, inspect, and find the products they like the most.

3. Content that builds trust

Another piece of the e-commerce puzzle is this: how do you get an audience of prospective customers to trust you? As we’ve discussed, they can’t get to grips with your products firsthand, so how do they know whether it’s wise to invest in your business? After all, everybody’s had it happen: you order a product online, eagerly await its delivery, and then receive something that looks totally different to what you ordered. Or, you might be unlucky enough to never receive it at all.

Good e-commerce web design holds the key to building trust with shoppers. This was our focus when we designed a new web experience for health and fitness brand Smart Protein.

Our first step was to design a web layout that exuded their brand identity. We already had the colour gradients ready to go, so we applied these across the site to give it a consistent aesthetic and an air of professionalism. Next, we put together engaging infographics which displayed statistics and customer testimonials, to increase the brand’s perceived credibility.

Sites that fail to provide social proof are missing out on a valuable opportunity to build customer confidence — which is especially important when dealing with products relating to health.

How to design an e-commerce website

It almost goes without saying, but there are a lot of different design elements that you need to consider when planning an engaging, user-friendly site. The very best e-commerce websites have hit the nail on the head in balancing effortlessly cool aesthetics and functional usability, even on mobile screens where there is less real estate up for grabs.

And at Shoreditch Design, good web design is our bread and butter.It’s not just the e-commerce brands discussed here that have entrusted their web design to us. We have an extensive portfolio of work across all verticals — so if you need an experienced e-commerce web design agency, you’ve found one in Shoreditch Design.

Work with Shoreditch Design

We combine our creative vision with best-practice e-commerce web design principles, working with our clients every step of the way to create eye-catching designs. We don’t just make sites that convert — our designs engage, build trust, and streamline the ordering process for every single customer. After all, this is what will keep them coming back purchase after purchase.

Whether you have a concept already in mind or you want us to handle those fiddly early stages, we’re all ears. Take a look at some more examples of our work for the web or contact us today to chat about your design needs.

Say hello!

Book an intro meeting with us

We can discuss, your project, our services, relevant past work, our rates, and how we can work together, or email us at hello@shoreditchdesignstudio.com