Ecommerce Website Design 101

February 26, 2024
8 min read
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Ecommerce website design can be defined as the art and science of creating visually appealing and functional online stores. In an era when shopping online is ubiquitous, the design of an ecommerce website is key to attracting and retaining customers. Why?

Because the ecommerce landscape is getting increasingly more competitive, influenced by shifting customer behaviors post-pandemic and the availability of diverse design alternatives, both free and paid, that reshaped the approach to ecommerce website design, with countless themes, also both free and paid, and cost-effective, swift design alternatives. You can read more about it here.

Ultimately, good design is not exclusively about beauty. Because design is how it looks, how it works, and how it makes you feel, ecommerce web design is also about differentiation and positioning.

In this article, we’ll review our favorite tips, examples and ecommerce design trends to stay ahead of the website design and ecommerce game.

Key Elements of Good Ecommerce Website Design

What to consider when designing an ecommerce website? Well, there are a few essential elements that make a good ecommerce website design. But listing them may not be that easy. First, because there are many aspects to consider, and they change. And secondly, because those elements will depend on what you need. 

Again, good eCommerce website design is one that works.

Having said that, here are a few things to consider. 

Homepage Design

A crucial aspect of ecommerce website design is the homepage, or virtual storefront. If you build’em but they can’t tell what you build, they may come, but will not buy. Your UVP (Unique Value Proposition) must be clearly conveyed in your homepage, as well as your brand identity, given that you have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression.

Your homepage should have engaging visuals and be easy to navigate with clear links to product categories. It is also the place to highlight special offers or featured products to capture attention. But beyond engaging visuals and clear website navigation, it's essential to tailor the homepage to the unique identity of your brand.

Product Page Design

The product page is where the conversion journey intensifies. It's crucial to maintain a balance between creativity and structure to provide an engaging and also informative experience. In other words, you can get away with some added creativity or lifestyle content, but you don’t want to deviate too much from what works.

Key Elements in Ecommerce Product Page Design include:

  • Gallery to showcase high-quality images.
  • Clear pricing information.
  • Displaying product availability status.
  • Incorporating customer reviews for social proof.
  • Detailed descriptions and comprehensive product information. No one can beat J Peterman at that
  • If it matches your brand voice and tone, they can also be fun.
  • Clear shipping details and delivery Information.
  • Add to Cart and shopping options in a streamlined purchasing process.
  • Technical Specifications.
  • Lifestyle content for a richer experience.

Checkout Page

A well-designed checkout page contributes to successful conversions by ensuring a seamless and user-friendly experience. Here are key strategies to enhance your e-commerce checkout design. By implementing them, your e-commerce checkout design can significantly contribute to a positive user experience, ultimately driving successful conversions.

  • Payment Options: Cater to diverse preferences by providing multiple payment options, tailored to your target audience's needs.
  • Keep It Simple: Minimize fields and steps in the checkout process to reduce friction. Consider defaulting the shipping address as the billing address for simplicity, and ideally, design a single-page checkout.
  • Make Registration Optional: Allow shoppers to complete their purchase without mandatory account creation. Highlight post-purchase registration benefits, such as faster checkout and exclusive offers.
  • Use Clear Error Indications:Provide real-time error notifications to guide users in correcting mistakes. Place concise error messages near the relevant item for quick notice and understanding.
  • Keep People on Track:Implement a progress bar in multi-page checkouts to show the remaining steps. After purchase, display a clear order confirmation and status with shipment tracking.
  • Support: Include live chat or contact information during the checkout process for immediate assistance, preventing users from leaving the site to seek answers.

Shameless Hall of ECommerce Website Design Fame

Here are a few examples of our own.

Shimoda Designs

Shimoda Designs is an adventure camera bag company that provides backpacks, rollers and accessories designed through real-world experience in the mountains and other extreme terrain. The website makes you feel immersed in adventure.

This landing page includes a combination of promise, rhythm, images and headlines to create an engaging lifestyle narrative.

Gravity Backdrops

Gravity Backdrops offers quality backgrounds for photography and video. The design is elegant, simple and responsive. Their site features an intuitive, straightforward navigation with clear paths for users to search and explore products, offering an enjoyable user experience. 


A clean, modern design with an outstanding use of high-quality visuals, showcasing their products effectively. A responsive ecommerce site that adapts well to various screen sizes, ensuring a seamless user experience on different devices.

Gravity and Nanlite

TL;DR: If in doubt, check Apple. Renowned for its exceptional design principles, which seamlessly integrate aesthetics and functionality, Apple can teach inspiring lessons for ecommerce website design including an emphasis on clarity, simplicity, and intuitive navigation, great attention to details, engaging visuals, and prioritizing user experience.

Best Practices for Ecommerce Website Design

Think SEARCH first

Prioritizing search functionality can significantly enhance user experience. With the rise of ecommerce AI powered search engines, there are a lot of affordable tools to make your search faster, smarter, personalized and capable of giving your users a search-first shopping experience. Some examples include:

  • Algolia: The tool is recognized by businesses and developers for its ultrafast performance and developer-friendly approach. It offers a fast, smart, and personalized search experience for users, allowing for efficient navigation through products.
  • Doofinder provides advanced search technology with intelligent suggestions and auto-completion features that elevate website search functionality, providing product suggestions relevant for users.
  • Advanced Commerce: As its name suggests, Advanced Commerce goes beyond basic search functionalities and provides a comprehensive solution, integrating advanced search capabilities for a more streamlined and personalized shopping journey enhanced through intelligent search algorithms.

User-friendly Navigation

This is a cornerstone of effective ecommerce website design. Navigation is not static. It’s live and dynamic and must be regularly updated to promote your best categories. Dynamic and regularly updated navigation ensures that users can easily find and explore your best categories. Opt for an uncluttered design with smooth transitions between pages and Implement a clean and intuitive navigation structure to increase user engagement and satisfaction, which is the fuel for conversion rates.

Mobile Responsiveness

According to DataReportal 2023, more than half of online shoppers worldwide use their mobile phones to buy products online at least once a week. In March of 2023, the largest share of e-commerce shoppers in the US were adults aged 18 to 24. Adults between the ages of 25 and 34 made up almost 32 percent of the e-commerce mobile audience. 

Check analytics for audience insights, as different demographics have distinct mobile usage patterns. 

Responsiveness is a must and not having it is having two of your birds killed with one stone. Mobile-friendly sites not only cater to a wide audience but also positively impact SEO, as Google prioritizes responsive design over non-responsive sites.

Good stuff 

You need good content. Craft content aligned with your brand's voice and tone. In your site, implement collection pages and showcase lifestyle content .

Depending on your vertical, it could be a good idea to share content on a blog with insights attractive to your target audience.

A picture is literally worth a thousand words

Invest in high-quality, visually appealing photography. Capture unique styles and angles whenever possible. Utilize Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) for fast image delivery. Clean galleries with zoom options enhance the visual experience, captivating and retaining customer interest.

Localization: the world is your oyster

Designing ecommerce websites for an international audience presents both challenges and opportunities. Localization is crucial, considering language differences and cultural nuances. Adapting design elements to cater to diverse preferences and incorporating multiple currencies ensures a seamless global user experience. While challenges include addressing varied regulations and preferences, the potential for expanded market reach and increased sales outweighs the complexities.

Customer service is design too

Provide clear shipping information, fast, no problemo support, and live chat options. Implement warranties and registration seamlessly into the customer journey to increase trust and satisfaction.

What is the cost of ecommerce website design?

How many angels can dance on a pin head? It could be anything from zero to 1M. What is the average cost to build an ecommerce website? It all boils down to a combination of the following:

  • Quality: The level of design quality you desire for your ecommerce website will significantly impact the cost. High-quality design often requires more resources and expertise, influencing the overall budget.
  • Time: Urgent projects or those with tight deadlines may incur additional costs and higher risk of unforeseeable incidents, which tend to happen more when you’re running against the clock.
  • Platform and tech stack: The choice of ecommerce platform and the underlying technology stack can influence costs. Custom solutions or advanced features may require more investment compared to using existing platforms and standard technologies.
  • Agency: Whether or not you will hire a professional ecommerce website design agency, an investment that can help you leverage their expertise to bring high-quality, effective design to the table. We think you should. Obvs. 
  • Your own revenue: Consider your own revenue and budget constraints. Your investment should align with your financial capacity and expected returns.

Ecommerce Website Design Agencies

There are quite a few agencies that offer ecommerce website design services. There’s one in particular that won Agency Spotter’s Best Digital Agency in 2019. They’re also the oldest BigCommerce partner agency in Europe. Ok. It’s us. Call us.

Final Thoughts on ecommerce website design

Like most business-related things, ecommerce website design is an ever-evolving discipline. As technology and consumer behaviors evolve, so should your ecommerce website design strategy. The importance of user experience when you design ecommerce websites cannot be overstated. It goes beyond aesthetics, focusing on functionality, differentiation, and positioning and crafting an immersive brand experience. 

Staying ahead requires a dynamic approach, aligning design choices with brand identity, customer preferences, and technological advancements. From homepage design to product pages and best practices, there are several key aspects that contribute to successful ecommerce websites. By focusing on creating a seamless and intuitive user journey, online retailers can significantly improve customer engagement and drive higher conversion rates. Additionally, incorporating personalization features and leveraging data analytics can further enhance the overall shopping experience, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

If your goals require it and your budget allows it, leveraging the expertise of a professional agency can lead to a successful online presence. Again, we can help. Check out our ecommerce design and development model or give us a call.


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