How to design online shopping website?

24 Apr 2020
Kate, copywriter
Poor design repels in no time, good design restrains you from leaving, great design makes you want to add the shop to the bookmarks.  
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UI UX design

The importance of design

The gum is usually placed near the cash box. You can find beer near the chips and cheese close to the butter. This is how it works in the supermarket — everything organized by sections, with good lighting and soothing music. They say even that there is a certain hook with product placement. Put what you want to sell at eye level, so expensive kids’ toys are on the lower shelves and expensive coffee — on the upper. And you end up buying gum, and coffee, and this cute thing that bumped into your eye just by chance. Only, it happened not accidentally at all because this is how the hardcore UX design works.

Webshops are digital versions of supermarkets, boutiques, bakeries, and bookstores. Only with digital design, all you have is visual and audio stimuli, minus olfactory ones. However, the purpose is alike — to create a logical and visual structure that will help people to easily find and buy the product. The task of design is to:

  • Increase customer conversion;
  • Lead users directly to what they need = save their time;
  • Catch and keep attention;
  • Improve SEO ranking;
  • Minimize cognitive load (the time users spend straining their mind);
  • Minimize time spent thinking how to use it, maximize time thinking what else to buy.

It is important because, first, people form first impressions after less than 1 second of using a website. “Enter — see the 2000s-styled-page, small fonts, and 15 uncombinable colors — leave the page — never come back”, Any flashbacks? Second, they leave the page when it takes too much time to find something they need. It happens because of the cluttered interface, too much text, too many uncombined photos, and pop-up windows. The more attention breakers your shop has, the more time people will need to find something.

Poor design repels in no time, good design restrains you from leaving, great design makes you want to add the shop to the bookmarks.

How to design an online shopping website?

Step 1: Hire a team of designers and web developers.

Step 2: Drink pina colada on the beach and watch sunsets.

Yes, it can be that easy. With a team of professionals, the process will simplify a lot. They will help you perform research and analysis and advise you on the most suitable website builder. UI/UX designer will create a prototype and developers will turn it into the code. They will show you or your admins how to add and optimize your content. The website is ready to be published! In time, this very same team (if they did their job well the first time) can support you while your redesign and performance improvements. Choosing a team is the best option, especially for complex projects and mid-sized or large businesses. Still, theoretically, you can create your E-Commerce store yourself because there are builders that don’t require coding itself. It will take more time and effort. Plus, the results may be not enticing in the end. However, if you are sure about your aesthetic vision and ability to build logical navigation, try it. We’ll give the instruction and if you feel the need for professional help both for design from scratch and redesign — be sure to contact us! 

Design your own E-Commerce website: Research and Analysis

The first stage of each retail project’s development is the analysis of the product, target audience, and the major problems your customers want to solve by making a purchase.

For example, you sell flowers online. The product itself presupposes some floral design. The dark mode is hard to implement for such types of goods. You will need to add specific info about the shipping because flowers are quite hard to deliver to long distances. Also, your type of product is vulnerable to specific content such as the names and species of plants, their most successful combinations, origin, fragrance, etc.

To create an impressive UI design, you will need to consider your target audience. Who buys flowers most of the time? For example, men get it as a present for their women. Every group of people can buy it for their families and relatives. Companies order them for special celebrations. Wedding agencies decorate halls, etc. Having this information — what design would you rather choose? Minimalist, colorful, or stressed on a certain palette? Will you add just the pictures of flowers or photos from the celebrations?

Finally, the problems customers want to solve. With flowers, the main issue is their freshness and the delivery so that they don’t get hurt. So we add this info and highlight it. Also, some people want only non-cut flowers, and it would be an excellent decision to make a specific category for them. Are users vulnerable to pricing? Allow them to combine bouquet themselves with customizable features and filters. 

How to find out all of this information? Ask. That’s the best way to find answers and follow best practices for E-Commerce website design. Interview your possible users — co-workers, friends, the social media community, random people. Research the reviews of your competitors and analyze their work. Find out their practices of avoiding cart abandonment. 

Choosing the builder 

Shopify allows you to develop a cross-platform selling practice — in your online stores, at other marketplaces (like Amazon), and via social media. It provides a domain, and as soon as you buy it, can you build your design with 8 available free templates. For more, you will need to pay. The inbuilt features here also allow analyzing marketing campaigns on Google and Facebook. However, to have full usage, you will need to subscribe to the plan. Also, it is not suitable for B2B.

Wix provides 100+ pre-made templates. You can choose one, customize it, and change elements; add and withdraw features. This tool also provides a domain so you won’t have to care about it additionally. Wix is also suitable for mobile optimization. However, templates are not interchangeable so you won’t check different designs by one click. If you choose the free plan, there will be Wix branding on your page which is sad, really. Also, the website is not transferable, and to leave Wix and remain your design as it was you will need to pay extra costs.

WordPress provides plans for every budget and at the beginning, it’s possible to use it for free. It is intuitive and includes HTML and Markdown support. As your project grows, you can upgrade for additional features and templates, more storage space, or other business tools. The content management system is easy to learn here. However, customization on WordPress will cost you quite a few dollars, and with complex templates, the loading speed lowers.

Decide on Your Branding to design an E-Commerce website 

This is the most interesting part in terms of creativity. Combinations of colors and fonts, logo, and layout of products — now it’s time for web design art. Here are several tips we have for your UI:

  • Say no to too many colors and too many fonts;
  • People here not to read the blog, so make text minimal and precise;
  • Create a clear offer and value proposition — it should catch the eyes of customers;
  • Decide on your writer’s tone and style. Are you writing with respect or playfully? Can you add some humor or should you keep it serious?
  • Be consistent with the color palette and fonts you chose;
  • For the layout of the products and key elements of the menu, remember — people view websites from the left to the right and from upwards to the bottom;
  • Your logo is something to invest in and outsource to professional designers – it’s what people remember;
  • Pick icons in one style for all key features: cart, payment, shipment, etc.

Conclusion: shopping website requirements and rules

Product pages, menu, and cart — this will satisfy the needs… of a customer from 2000. Today, your webshop has to be more than that, addressing your product’s identity. However, it is the content and interface that have to be unique. Navigation must be predictable so that users didn’t waste time figuring out how it all works.

These are basic rules that every website needs to follow:

Follow Von Restorff effect. If there are two similar objects, the human brain will notice the third that looks different. Use colors and shapes to focus the attention on what you need, e.g. sales, recommended items, 1-3 left items.

Follow Hick’s law. The more things there are on the product page, the harder it will be for the user to make an ultimate decision. Divide everything into categories and provide a detailed filter system.

Make it intuitive. Customers want your website to work like others they’ve used. Menu to the left or upwards, LEAVE button — in red color, descriptions, including size, color, and fabric, zoom for the photo.

Avoid redundancy. Try to declutter the texts, photos, and everything that can unnecessarily draw users’ attention from buying. These distractions can be your logo on each photo, search box with lengthy default sentence, confusing images, bumping messages, too many SALES, 60% OFF, and other promotions. Include only the features customers really use. They are presented below. 

Minimal webdesign

Let the user know what happens. Add the accurate semantic keywords to the products and display the exact number of items in the cart. Show the actual price, not “starting from blah-blah dollars”. Make sure all your promotions are up-to-date and users don’t see New Year discounts in spring.

Stress the relevant info. Highlight special offers, benefits, and perks customers will have from buying, subscribing, or registering.

Analyze and maximize website performance. You need it to understand the weak aspects of your design and what solutions work. There are many analytics tools — Google Analytics and Piwik are great for E-Commerce and FREE! For Crazy Egg you will have to pay, however, it shows heat maps — the places of the website users click on most.

E-Commerce website design examples and trends


It is a perfect solution if you are afraid to clutter your design. Here, the very idea presupposes the dominance of light colors and its combination with only 2-3 other shades. The fonts are consistent throughout all the pages. 

Minimalism stresses more on high-quality photos than texts. It is most suitable for such categories of products like fashion, flowers, cosmetics, sporting goods, mobile phones, and furniture. It has long been a trendy solution and predictions are that it’s will remain so. 

Dark Mode

Black is elegant. Being the opposite of white, it also creates the minimalistic design in some way. In 2020, it is popular as it solves an important task – draws attention instantly because 1) it wasn’t as used before, 2) fonts look brighter on a black background than on the white one. At the same time, if the colors are chosen correctly, you don’t feel overwhelmed with them. 

If each woman must have a little black dress, each designer must at least once work on a little dark website. It is most suitable for videos, DVDs and games, computer hardware, electronic equipment, and car accessories. We have an example of a webshop, selling coffee. Dark more is great here because, well, great coffee is jet-black.


Allow your customers to customize what they see on your website, share animated objects, and experience gamification. It will not only draw their attention but also make them stay on your website longer. 

For example, this web store created an interactive version of discounts. The lottery effect increases the interest in using this feature. It is suitable for all categories. However, don’t overuse it or you’ll end up reminding a casino platform or children gamers hub.  

Social Media resemblance

Instagram and Facebook are becoming a powerful way of selling goods and increasing awareness of your brand. If you are not there – – finish reading this article and create a business account for your project, immediately! Creative and high-quality photos are a must there, and people got used to it so much, they get instantly enticed seeing them somewhere else.  

Your customers may be more delighted to view interesting flat lays and street-fashion photoshoots instead of plain white background and your product. However, it is suitable only for fashion, food supplies, cosmetics, accessories, etc. Still, this trend may enter all other categories soon. 

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Product pages to turn your visitors into the regular clients
Kate, copywriter
Product pages to turn your visitors into the regular clients
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