11 Web Design Principles (and 3 Bonus Tips) to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rate in 2022

Along with pricing, market fit, and the product itself, web design is one of the primary factors that determines whether or not a potential customer makes a purchase on your website. 

Great web design is not just a beautiful website. Great web design also persuades users to take action through various principles, colours, shapes, and words. 

And ultimately, web design is largely responsible for how many products you sell on your eCommerce store. 

First, we’ll dive into eCommerce conversion rates, then we’ll get to how you can design your website to improve. 

What is conversion rate in eCommerce?

Conversion rate is the percentage of users that convert on your website, calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the number of visitors

In the case of eCom, your store’s conversion rate for purchase events is often the most important conversion rate metric. That’s because this purchase metric ultimately determines how much money your store makes. And because it’s the most important, it’s the one we’re going to focus on here.

Just as a note however, there are other conversion rates to consider such as how many people signed up for your email list after viewing a pop-up or registered for an event after being shown a splash page. 

What is a good eCom conversion rate?

Generally speaking, a “good” eCom conversion rate is generally between 2% and 4%.

However, certain industries have higher or lower average conversion rates. Similarly, different traffic channels have varying rates. For example, email marketing often converts at a higher rate than other channels such as SEO.

What impacts conversion rate?

There are so many things that affect conversion rate. In addition to web design, factor such as pricing, product to market fit, shipping times (and costs), lack of social proof, and so many more influence conversion rate.  

Why is web design important to conversion rate?

As mentioned earlier, eCommerce web design is not just about building beautiful websites. It’s about building functional sites that make people want to buy your products.

With poor web design, all of that time & money you spent to acquire users with SEO, Google Ads, email marketing, etc. will be wasted.

But with good web design, those users will convert again and again.

So without further ado, consider these 11 design principles when designing your eCommerce website.  

11 web design principles to increase your eCommerce conversion rate this year (in 2022)

1. Keep it simple

Oftentimes, web designers get carried away with web designs by trying to show off their skills. This is rarely a good thing.

Instead, great websites are easy to read, have plenty of space, and organized in a way that guides users to a specific action.

2.Clean up the main navigation and other menus

If users are looking for something, they’re going to start by looking at the main menu. So make sure that the most important links are present: products, contact information, about page, etc. 

If you have a lot of products, make sure they’re sorted in easily identifiable collections/categories which users can easily locate in a drop-down menu or by using filters on product pages. 

If users have trouble finding something, they’re going to leave your website. 

3. Add social proof

People rarely want to be the first to purchase something. Put them at ease by displaying reviews & testimonials from previous customers. 

Eliminate their doubts and they’ll purchase almost instantly.  

4. Reduce friction in the checkout process

This is one that a lot of eCom brands get wrong.

If someone has already added a product to their cart or is ready to checkout, don’t try to slow them down.

Eliminate any unnecessary steps between the add to cart action and the complete purchase. 

Capture only the important information (billing, shipping, etc.) and use up-sells and cross-sells sparingly to increase average order value (AOV). 

5. Use clear CTAs

Be explicit about what action you want users to take on your website.

For product pages, try using creative & actionable CTAs like “Get it Now” rather than just “Add to Cart. ”

For limited-time sales or events, try something like “Don’t miss out” or “Act now before it’s too late!”

Make your CTAs stand out with larger fonts, bigger buttons, and brighter fonts.

If you take away anything from these web design ideas, let it be this. Too many websites miss out on conversions because their CTAs don’t stand out. Don’t be one of them. 

Design your high converting eCommerce website!

See what we did there?

6. Use high-quality images & video (and optimise them)

Avoid using stock photos & videos at all costs.

Not only are other brands using them too, but they’re generic and won’t help improve your conversion rate. 

Use high-quality photos & videos that make your brand stand out.

Photos are great and have a rightful place on any website, but videos are the future. It’s no longer a question of “if” your brand should use video, it’s a question of “how.”

And the answer to how? Short and sweet.

The average human attention span is just 8 seconds, meaning you have less than 8 seconds to capture a viewer’s attention before they keep scrolling or leave your site.

If you’re creating video content for your eCom website, keep it under 8 seconds. If you’re creating long-form video content, make sure to change ideas every 5-10 seconds to keep viewers engaged. 

BONUS: Compress your images before uploading them to your website to reduce file size and improve page speed, another important aspect of UX & web design. There are plenty of free tools available online to compress images without sacrificing quality. 

7. Use channel-specific landing pages

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve clicked on a paid ad only to be taken to a brand’s generic product page, or even worse, their home page. 

Take them exactly where they want to go. Don’t make them do any of the work. 

If users are entering through a paid channel, make sure the landing page matches the ad headline & copy that they clicked on. Otherwise, they’ll leave your site and you’ll have wasted money on the click. 

If they’re entering from an email campaign about a new product or collection, make sure they land on a well-crafted product collection page. 

8. Upgrade your product pages

I’ve seen way more bad product pages than I have good. Fortunately for you, it’s incredibly easy to level up your product pages.

Sell the benefits, not the features

This is a timeless copywriting trick. 

Consumers don’t care about the features, they care about what it can do for them and how it will make them feel. 

Let’s say you’re selling weight loss supplement…

Consumers don't care that the supplement contains all the necessary daily vitamins or that it only has 10 calories.

They care that it's going to help them gain self-confidence, take their shirt off at the beach, and improve their quality of life.  

Again, sell benefits, not the features. 

And if you’re really looking to upgrade your product descriptions, pitch your customers like friends, not strangers

Use simple language and sell them as if you’re chatting with a friend. 

Use better product photos & videos

We already talked about optimising photos & videos on other pages of your website, but the ones on the product page are arguably the most important.

Again, avoid using any stock photos or videos from manufacturers or online marketplaces. They look generic and won’t help you sell your product.

Swap these stock images & videos for user-generated content (UGC). UGC is great because not only is it unique to your brand, but it’s another form of social proof that shows potential customers exactly how previous customers felt about the product. 

Consider asking your top customers to submit UGC. Or, if you’re still in the early stages of building your customer base, ask some friends if they’ll model for you. 

Potential customers want to see people like themselves using the product. So make it happen and watch your conversion rate skyrocket. 

9. Use pop-ups

Digital marketers & web designers alike are often split on whether or not to use pop-ups.

On one hand, they argue that users find them distracting and will exit the site once they see a pop-up.

On the other hand, they’re incredibly valuable if used properly. 

Let’s say you’re looking to build your email list so that you can notify subscribers about brand news, upcoming product launches, sales, and more. 

Displaying a pop-up that only asks for their emails is a poor user experience, which is what we’re looking to avoid. 

Now let’s say your pop-up offers them 20% off their first purchase if they subscribe. Now you’re more likely to add that user to your list and they’ll continue to shop so that they can use their discount. 

And be sure to test which pop-up offers have the highest signup rate. For example, try A/B testing 10% off vs. $10 off (adjust those as needed for your company) to see which has a higher subscribe rate. 

10. Apply urgency

Online shoppers purchase products out of urgency all the time because they don’t want to miss out.

Create FOMO by showing a countdown timer for when a sale is ending or a notification for a low stock warning .

11. Test, test, test!

All of these principles are meant to increase your eCom conversion rate. But unless you’re constantly testing what works for your audience and your products, you’re missing out on revenue. 

Test different video lengths & formats, different CTAs, and landing page designs to determine what works best for your brand. 

And 3 bonus tips that will maximise your conversion rate

Bonus #1 - Offer free (and fast) shipping

Consumers are accustomed to free (and fast shipping). In fact, 25% of potential customers abandoned their cart due to high or unexpected shipping costs.

If you can’t offer free shipping without destroying your margins, just raise the product price.

Once they’ve made a purchase, make sure to ship their order as soon as possible. 

Bonus #2 - Reclaim potential customers with email marketing

Speaking of abandoned carts…

Don't miss out on a potential customer just because they abandoned their car or browsing session. 

Use automated email sequences to send emails to those potential customers telling them that they "left their cart behind" or "Hey, we saved your cart for you."

These sequences are the gifts that keep on giving.

Bonus #3 - Increase AOV with cross-sells and upsells

Upsells and cross-sells are a great way to increase not only your eCom conversion rate, but also your AOV. 

By offering a similar product to the one they’ve already added to their cart or bundling similar products together at a discount, you’ll increase AOV and conversion rate. 

Put these tips into action (and test them!) and watch your conversion rates climb.

Or, if you're not feeling up to it, get in touch with our web design team and we'll build you the eCom site of your dreams.