There are over 1.75 million merchants selling using the Shopify platform and close to 1.59 million live websites that use Shopify today!
These numbers are only going to keep growing with every passing day. Starting an eCommerce business has gotten so much easier now as compared to how it was just a few years ago.
With platforms like Shopify, you can set up a fully functional storefront in a matter of mere days! It is as simple as uploading your products, picking a plan and going live with your very own online store.
But is just setting up a store enough?
Once set up, your store needs to stand out in the endless sea of ever-increasing merchants on the internet.
Your online store is your storefront; and just like the physical stores, the look and feel of your online store matters a lot.
Great design is your weapon to attract the right people to your brand. It helps convey the core values of your brand along with establishing trust and reliability in just a matter of seconds.
One needs to fully understand that well-designed information generates an interest even before the information is actually processed.
Think about it, would you buy something from a poor-looking online store with possibly an even poorer User Experience (UX)? Most definitely, no!
What do we mean by Shopify store design?
You might point that a Shopify theme chosen from the wide range of available theme templates to set up a storefront is in fact your store design.
Well, yes and no. Sure, the design journey most likely begins with picking a theme but it does not simply end there.
When we talk about design, it covers everything - your branding, the images you use to promote your products, where you use them, how you display them, elements used on the store including illustrations, buttons, banners, pop ups, the number of clicks it takes to successfully place an order and more.
Every tiny little thing counts. Great User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are important and it doesn’t come easy.
In fact, even the likes of Kylie Jenner have taken months to perfect their online store’s look and feel.
Why does your Shopify store design matter?
Your ecommerce website design impacts your consumers a lot more than you realize.
It impacts the impression your brand gives
Poor design screams unprofessional in all ways.
Most user’s base a brand’s value and credibility on its web and app design. You can offer the best of the best products, but have a poor-looking website and hence face the issue of very few conversions.
It impacts what value they perceive of your brand
Shopping journeys and decisions are more psychological than it seems. Reasoning is a cognitive activity that decides how we respond to certain situations. You need to fully understand this to run a successful store.
Just because you’ve set up a store that sells great products or offers great deals, for instance, does not mean consumers will buy from your store — you need to persuade them. Design helps in this persuasion.
How good or bad your design looks can make your products either seem worth the price or not.
It impacts how they interact with your store
If your store design is not impressive enough, consumers wouldn’t like and want to browse through it. This will eventually limit the number of products they go through, leading to lesser conversions.
Design includes how smooth the entire customer journey is while shopping from your online store and it matters a lot.
To put it in numbers, 29% of smartphone users will immediately switch to another site or app if they can't find the necessary information or the site is too slow. 69% of site visitors are more likely to buy from an online store when the mobile site or app helps them easily find answers to their questions (This can be achieved by appropriately displaying product information, for instance).
It impacts what they talk about your brand
In his book, The Design of Everyday Things, Donald Norman writes, “Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible, serving us without drawing attention to itself. Bad design, on the other hand, screams out its inadequacies, making itself very noticeable.”
If your store design is crappy people will notice it. It will have an affect on your sales because your store design actually ends up impacting your reputation.
It impacts your ad and marketing campaign efforts
You end up losing a lot if you ignore the importance of design. You spend thousands of dollars to get people to your website and then your design turns them away. You don’t want that!
According to Google, only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs!
Drawing traffic to your site is one thing. Ensuring customers enjoy the experience of shopping from you is another. Otherwise, they will quickly go somewhere else. There are plenty of other options anyway!
What eCommerce website design strategies should you use for your Shopify store?
1. Choose a theme that works best for your store
Your Shopify store design process begins with picking the right theme. This selection is going to be the very base on top of which other design elements will be built on.
While Shopify does offer a few free templates, most of the other functional templates cost anywhere between $160 - $240.
There are tons of industry-specific themes to choose from, some strongly recommended by Shopify itself.
Now choosing a theme for your store is a very important process. You cannot simply choose any random theme that seems okay. There’s much more to this decision.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
Study what your competitors are doing
Observe what your competitors are doing. Note what works best and what does not. Ask yourself what can you do better?
Figure out your store design budget
Theme purchase is not going to be the only design expenditure in this process. Further investments include multiple Shopify apps and plugins or even hiring a designer to professionally get the design done. You need to properly plan out your budget before jumping into hasty decisions.
What should the overall experience of shopping from your store be like
From bigger elements like the layout to tinier elements like button shapes, everything counts while trying to tie your brand story together. And ultimately, this is going to influence the experience of your users.
What are a few specific design additions you want in your store
You could have certain very specific desires for your eCommerce website store design. These could include how you want your navigation bar to be displayed in mobile view to whether you want infinite scrolling to be included to even sizes of product images. Give it a thorough thought and accordingly pick a theme.
How do you want your products to be displayed
As an eCommerce store, proper and functional product display is necessary. How you display your products varies from industry to industry. For instance, how you display food products is going to be different from clothing products.
2. Reflect your brand story
While a lot of people may argue most Shopify stores look alike, there is still a lot you can play around with and customize to make the store represent your brand.
This means just selecting a template is never enough. You can make a few noticeable alterations and additions like:
Colors have a powerful effect on how we perceive things. Hence, they also play a huge role in understanding consumer psychology.
Choose a color that seems appropriate to your niche. The color red can evoke feelings of romance or danger, blue of serenity or coldness, orange of joy and warmth, for instance.
Figure out what works best for your store.
The way you plan and execute your product photography contributes to your brand story. Lighting, displaying multiple views and perspectives, including a video (if necessary), appropriate background, it all counts.
For instance, using a clean solid background for tech product photography is better as compared to let’s say, stationery items which can be displayed with a neat work-desk background.
Once you work your way around the visuals, you also need to also pay attention to your copy. The tone, formality and sophistication of your copy should resonate with your brand story. Every little piece of verbal content in your store should be coherent across all pages.
Most Shopify themes are customizable. Make the most of this and make all necessary alterations including typography, color, button shapes, slight layout tweaks and much more. The degree of personalization varies from theme to theme. Explore your theme settings and make it work for you.
3. Avoid visual clutter
Don’t overwhelm your users with too much information from the get-go. Allow your design to breathe and do the needful ‘talking’.
Don’t just add everything to your homepage in the hope of gathering maximum attention. What you’re in fact doing is confusing the customer.
A designer needs to believe in the idea that less is more. If everything around screams for the user's attention, consider everything gone unnoticed.
In the world of UI design, both clients and designers may find the urge to put out as much as possible- all right there. What sets apart a great designer is his/her judgment on when and where to set limits.
4. Improve loading time
According to BigCommerce, even a one-second delay in page load time causes a 7 percent loss in conversion and 11 percent fewer page views.
Apart from the obvious effect on the UX, slower site-load can also dramatically affect your SEO ranking.
How can you reduce loading times then?
Avoid third-party themes
You can also use store themes made by a third-party rather than Shopify itself. This comes with its own downsides. While the design could possibly be better, the speed of your site can be compromised.
You most definitely want the highest quality pictures in your store. However, large image files can disrupt your site load time. So, compress these images to have both these benefits.
Remove non-essential widgets and elements
As a store owner, your natural instinct is bound to be to upgrade your site with the best add-ons available. Do not get carried away with impulsive excitement. Remember every additional accessory you add will directly affect your site loading time. So include add-ons after thorough thought and analysis.
Try out Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool to get an insight on your site speed. It also provides advice on how to improve your site speed.
5. Product tags and filters
Tags helps optimize the search results making filtration an easy process for customers. They also help users find similar products.
In the above picture, if the user were looking for something from a particular company, they can easily do that using tags. This improves their user experience.
6. Search Option
Search is yet another useful feature that can enhance the UX of your online store. It is useful for customers who know what they’re looking for.
There are a few key points to consider while designing search experiences on your Shopify app:
- Make your search bar easily noticeable
- Place the search where users expect it to be - usually on the top-right of the page
- Don’t just display a search icon button. Instead, display an input text field too
- Integrate autocomplete functionality to help users
- Integrate suggested results and autocorrect to combat human errors
- Utilize tags to further enhance the user experience
7. Let your value propositions take centre-stage
Let your customers know what value you’re adding to their life. Miss no opportunity to strategically portray your value propositions. Most times, you only have just a few seconds to pitch this to your customers.
Therefore, you need your value proposition to take centre-stage, loud and clear. A crisp headline on the homepage is a great start. You can play around with words here according to what works best with your target audience.
8. Find the right Shopify designer
It is always better to identify tasks that can and need to be outsourced while running any eCommerce business. Do not shy away from reaching out for professional help wherever necessary.
Design is a very vast domain that requires deep knowledge and understanding of the tiniest of tiny details. Get a professional who can make your Shopify store design process a lot easier.
Additionally, contrary to common belief, outsourcing can actually help you save lots of money...and time. It allows you to focus more on other important tasks of running a store. It lets you invest your time and energy in doing what you do best!
That’s exactly what we at XgenTech do! No matter what stage your eCommerce business is at, we help you create unmatched Shopify and Shopify Plus websites that shoppers will fall in love with!
We’re a success-focussed team of eCommerce and Shopify design and development experts that work with global brands to create store designs that tell a story that is impossible to ignore.
From customizing Shopify themes to building unique designs exclusive to your brand, we are a Shopify agency dedicated to your success.
9. Hone in on conversions
Yes, creating an impressive storefront is one thing. But imagine spending thousands of dollars on driving traffic to your store, only to lose them without even getting a subscription!
After working with thousands of Shopify stores, we found that the ones who only focused on design, often saw higher bounce rates and low conversion rates.
The reason? The design lacks the conversion-oriented detail, leading to a visitor feeling all too ‘distracted’ with what is presented to them to even complete a minimum desired action like signing up for your newsletter - let alone actually completing a purchase!
So while you focus on the look and feel, make sure each element also aids to your overall goal - turning the visitor into a subscriber or a customer.
Not sure if your design is causing the drop in conversions? Reach out to us for a Shopify design audit today.
Additional but some must-follow tips
Now, let’s break your site down into 2 crucial pages - product and checkout - and what necessary UI/UX elements should be implemented in them.
Product Detail Page
Use clear product images/videos
Consumers are going to make a purchase decision only after viewing the product while shopping online.
The pictures and/or videos you add need to be vivid, high quality, and zoomable. Additionally, always try to add multiple images from all necessary perspectives. Use at least one image to illustrate how large/small the product is.
Display clear product information
Let’s say, you run an online clothing store. Include everything in this section from size and fit (also attach a size chart) to material and care details to even certain specifications (including length, neck type, transparency)
Additionally, you can also add a small subsection giving style suggestions for that product to help the buyer.
The user needs to know what exactly they are investing in. Providing them with all necessary information about the product not only helps them make a better purchase decision, it also helps them see the brand as fairly transparent, therefore trustworthy. This is a very important element of strategic eCommerce website design.
Display proper price
60% of customers blame unexpected costs including tax, shipping as the reason for cart abandonment.
Let the buyer know how much the actual bill will add up to. Display a clear breakdown of the price like shown below. A clear price display speeds up the user’s decision making process.
It’s also good to highlight any discounts or related offers to further persuade the user to make the purchase.
Delivery and return information
Mention the minimum delivery time, return and refund conditions. This can play a huge role in the buyer’s decision.
Make the buy now/add to cart button visually distinctive
Just adding a button never works. You need to dive into the deepest knowledge pits of UX to properly use them.
The clickability of a button massively depends on the color, size, shape and placement.
Notice how the Add To Bag button is made more visually distinctive to intentionally focus the user’s attention there while the Wishlist button is not as distinctive.
Show related product recommendation
As an ecommerce store, your prime goal is always to increase sales. With product recommendations attached, you can maximize the cross-sell and upsell numbers.
Include social proof
88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Reviews, ratings, testimonials - all these are different forms of social proof. These help develop a sense of trust in your brand. Always make it a point to add a review section.
Add guest checkout option
According to Baymard Institute, lack of guest checkout is the second most common reason why customers abandon their checkout before making the purchase.
Source - Baymard Institute
Provide adequate payment mode options
Payment methods are crucial. However, user preference for different payment modes may change over time. As an online store owner, you need to know the recent trends so you can offer it in your store.
For instance, payment options like Apple Pay or Google Pay are more seamless and smooth in comparison to other modes, so most users prefer these.
Conclusion - Your Shopify store design is important!
Attracting site-visitors is meaningless if they quickly leave without making any purchase. So as important as advertising is in your store sale strategies, retaining the customer interest even after visiting the site is crucial.
This can only be done with great store design. You can reach out to us to create a store design for your brand that is impossible to ignore!