What role does design play in E-commerce?

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and quite possibly the king of E-commerce has said “If you build a great user experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful…” and he’s not wrong. People buy from people but even if your product is the best thing since sliced bread, if people cannot use your site then how do you expect them to purchase from it? And purchase more!

In the world of websites, user experience (UX) is primarily focused on how easily the user can get the information they are looking for. Whether it’s prices, product information, or even reviews, you have to understand what a customer wants and how they feel while browsing your online store to really get the most out of your design.

It’s not hard to see the huge part that UI/UX design plays in the E-commerce world. It’s not just the overall look that affects the user experience, but how a customer feels and what they can gain while browsing your ECommerce store. We are going to show you what areas of your e-commerce business design and UX can impact.

Branding and Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is what makes your business stand out in a crowd and every online store should have a consistent look and feel that a customer can recognise. Think of it like an online window to your company, when they look in, then they should be able to establish that the brand is yours. And when they leave and come back, they’ll recognise your visual brand again – that’s retargeting but that’s another story for another blog article!

When designing your website, it’s important to ensure that each page, banner, and button complements your website logo and reflects the right brand identity. If you haven’t already, ask yourself these questions:

  1. How would you describe your brand? Is it luxurious or is it simple?
  2. What is your target audience? Are they easily available or exclusive?
  3. Does it communicate to potential buyers in formal, informal, or semi-formal style?

By establishing your brand image and message at the beginning of the user journey, you’ll be able to identify how your website should look, where your users should be going and the type of customers that you’ll gain from the site much easier. That coupled with the right tone of voice within the design will make for a much better consistent message for your brand.


“Study shows a website’s overall look and feel contributes 94% to mark a first impression.” (source: https://www.mconnectmedia.com/blog/how-design-is-important-in-ecommerce-website-user-experience/)

Ensures smooth navigation

Any online store has to be easy to use for a visitor. Users should be able to go to product listings and add them to their basket with the utmost ease. A bumpy or confusing navigation could have a big impact on your bounce rate (which can be frightening for your business). There are a number of factors that can contribute to the bounce rate and the overall conversion and a major concern lies with poor website design. Great design is what informs customers about the products.

Good design is well thought out with a “consider” approach and is the key to obstacle-free navigation. The mark of a UX Designer (used to be a Graphic Design FYI) is one who can truly embrace the functionality of over-design. Not only does it make your website more appealing, and your products stand out and sell themselves, but it also ensures optimal functionality as well. Quite frankly the old saying is back in fashion, “less is more”.

Impact on Website Conversion

Quite possibly the single most important metric that determines the success of your website is the conversion rate (CRO). In e-commerce, the sales funnel is a crucial factor in your conversion rates and it can be either fully represented on the website or landing pages. If you implement conversion-centric design elements that guide the user to where you want them to go throughout your funnel then you will see a boost in conversions.

A good place to start would be providing complete product information and clear, interactive images embedded with ideal dimension, size and resolution. Offer a user-friendly website to encourage the visitor to purchase once they’ve found the product they need. Offer them the addition of quick views for after-research activity and offer them the ease of how they checkout even.


“A 2020 survey showed that the average conversion rate of e-commerce websites is 2.86%. It also reported that the average e-commerce website conversion rate in the US stands at 2.63% as compared to the global website conversion rate of 4.31%”
(source: https://www.invespcro.com/blog/the-average-website-conversion-rate-by-industry/#:~:text=The%20latest%20survey%20and%20studies,protected%20data%20on%20the%20web)


(source: https://kibocommerce.com/personalization-software/?utm_campaign=monetate_redirect/resources/benchmarks-research)

We all get asked, “so what’s a good conversion rate then?” The answer is: it varies dramatically from one industry to another and also is impacted by outside influences. All of which can be closely followed and managed with the right tracking in place.

The main question for you should be that IF you are converting at around the average mark, you are under-performing.

Find out what an average e-commerce rate is for your industry and benchmark yours against it. Take a look at Growcode’s 2021 conversion rate market data:

The basics of design for conversion rate uplift

There’s so many ways you can lean on design to increase the conversion rate of a website. And after all, you probably spend way more on generating traffic to your website than you do on converting the traffic that you do get to your store? Here’s the 10 basics of 10 design-led ways to turn your site users into conversions:

  1. Design for a user experience as a priority
  2. Colours need to be considered – people assess your values based on colour instantly
  3. Mobile-First remember!
  4. Use the F Pattern – users almost always start top left, then reading straight across to the top right corner, then move their eyes down to the middle line of the letter F and then moving across.
  5. Rule of Third Rules! GO ahead, draw a grid on your web page, divide the page into thirds both horizontally and vertically, then the four corners of the center square are usually the best areas for priority content like headers and calls to action.
  6. “White space” Don’t make the mistake of filling up all the “blank” space!
  7. CTA Buttons must be strong enough to entice and communicate with consistency
  8. Navigation MUST be easy to use and intuitive.
  9. Use images to give users a stronger nudge in the right direction
  10. Simplify choices – try limiting the amount the user can choose from and prioritise.


Final Points to Consider

In conclusion, if you want a great online store with a low bounce rate, then invest in design. Keep your branding and target audience in mind and aim for a highly functional design aesthetic so that you can profit more compared to the competition.

Know your audience: user research will take the guesswork out of knowing what your target audience wants.
Keep the experience fresh: Implement minor changes or add fresh details to the page from time to time to keep the experience updated (it also helps with your SEO)
Remember consistent branding: Keep your name and logo in the customers mind. Allow them to recognise you and they will come back again and again!

Each and every figure in your conversion report is a real person, so keep them in your mind when building your site. It’s all about bringing a positive experience of shopping for both sides. If you would like to discuss e-commerce design or UX/UI with a member of our design team, contact us today.

Written bybrave

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