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Ramona Caselli
5 May 2016
Reading time: 4 min

Web design for your e-commerce: 5 mistakes to avoid

Online shopping is a rapidly growing sector. Today more than ever, it is vital to structure your e-commerce website to offer the best user experience, including from mobile devices.

Making an e-commerce platform is perhaps a more delicate task than designing your physical store: there are no sales assistants to help customers choose, no guided tours and no engaging exhibitors. Everything happens on just a few screens made up of images and texts.

In the last posts, we outlined a guide to marketing automation and clarified some hints and tips to develop a digital strategy. Now (with the reverse approach), we’ll take you through the most common mistakes made when designing an online sales platform.

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Text and thumbnail images

Mobile shopping is an increasingly important part of the vast world of marketing: the number of users accessing the Internet from smartphones and tablets has almost overtaken access from PC.

With this in mind, a website brand must be absolutely easy to use from the small screens of mobile devices. Texts and images (whether photographs or illustrations) which are too small, hinder the customer’s interaction and discourages them to continue, running the risk of losing potential buyers.

The watchwords are “responsive web design“: a graphic design technique that allows you to change the layout and number of items depending on the screen size.

Contacts and hidden company profile

Any online purchase is based on a relationship of trust, which encourages customers to give their credit card details and other personal information. From a user’s perspective, it is essential to imagine that behind an e-commerce there are real people who are ready to intervene in case of any problems, just as a sales assistant would in a physical store.

Hiding your contact information and company profile does not help to build up a relationship of trust.

Long and complicated buying process

The more obstacles there are in the buying process, the more chance there is that the customer will stop browsing. This is why it is necessary to develop a checkout process which is as easy, fast and simple as possible.

With this in mind, the customer journey map is a good tool to design your website experience. You can use it trace the path the user takes with your products and services: the individual steps of the process, people’s needs and expectations, the touchpoint (first contact, purchase, support), the relational cycle channels (online shop, call center, email, apps), the emotional state (from positive to negative).

No product suggestions

Why not offer other purchasing ideas? We recommend using a platform that allows you to include other suggestions alongside the product description – the so-called related products.

It’s even better if you have the chance to select them manually, for example creating an outfit for the product in question: this is a great way to boost your number of sales.

Too much design, too little product

Last of all, a key guideline for all of the previous points: never forget the purpose of an e-commerce: to sell your products – this should never come second to the design. The graphic elements of your website are not an end in themselves but must serve a purpose for the product presentation, to enhance them and not divert the attention away from them.

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Ramona Caselli

As a Digital PR & Co-marketing specialist, communication is my music, the web is my tool and events are my stage. I oversee relations with the media, customers, partners and influencers, using my cross-cutting knowledge gained by developing online and offline marketing campaigns.

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