Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series. Please click here for part two.Gone are the days where a good product was all you needed in order to make a profit. Commerce has not only shifted, and lives, online, it has made major moves towards mobile, increasing the importance of mobile-cross platform design.For e-commerce websites, the way the site is designed can have a huge impact on the sales and experience a consumer has, which in turn can lead to an increase or decrease in sales. Not only is the experience important, but making a good impression with new visitors will lead to better customer loyalty and retention.But what makes a good e-commerce website design? A well-designed e-commerce site will offer the consumer an easy navigation experience from homepage to checkout. However, there are key elements that are critical to creating a stellar user experience.First and foremost, you need quality product and lifestyle photos. Whether you are building a site from scratch or using a template based theme, the quality of your photography can have a huge impact on how you brand.One of the easiest ways to improve usability is with the nature of your product photos. The product detail plays a pivotal role on how a shopper is able to relate to your product. High-quality photos are a given, but what you need to take into account are interactive features.In addition to zoom capabilities, think about 360 views that allow the viewer to feel like they are in charge. While in a store, a shopper can pick up the item and feel it in their hands. That same experience has to be translated online, providing images of every side of a product for a more tangible experience.Next, unique layouts that focus on key elements, such as showcasing products effectively on the homepage, tells a story and allows the consumer to see products at first glance rather than having to click into internal pages. This organization will result in better conversion as will original touches such as graphics, textures, and fonts.The last key structural element is easy navigation across the platform. This does not mean you rely solely on a good top bar navigation but are making sure your categories are well organized and that you have enough inventory. Additionally, you want to make sure that you have effective search features and filters in place which will allow your customers to find exactly what they need.Be sure to read the part two post which talks about creating a great e-commerce website design, including establishing emotional connections, adding “try before you buy” features, and creating a seamless experience.
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Melissa is Hawke Media's Creative Director, leading a team of web and graphic designers building beautiful websites and creative assets for clients in all categories.