Ecommerce Website Design Best Practices and Examples – Forbes Advisors

eCommerce Website Design article image


Creating the best ecommerce website design and user experience (UX) can be a challenge. A good UX combines multiple design choices for website information architecture, site-wide navigation, and individual page layout. Each decision may change your sales potential in some way.

With margins so low, e-commerce companies can’t afford to make bad design choices. Use this list of ecommerce website design examples to learn design best practices that other retailers are using to succeed.

1. Use hero product photos on your homepage

Best practices and examples of ecommerce website design


A crisp, high-resolution product image on your homepage instantly grabs the consumer’s attention. Our brains process visual information faster than text, so hero product shots can also help new visitors understand your main value proposition and get excited about your offering.

More interestingly, the Baymard Institute found that shoppers are more tolerant of technical glitches in the performance of e-commerce websites featuring vibrant images. If he sells one major product such as Cricut, you can use a standalone hero image. Or create a carousel to spotlight different categories of products. Update your carousel regularly to inspire repeat customers with new and seasonal products.

2. Help users find what they need on your homepage

Best practices and examples of ecommerce website design

verve coffee roasters

A “signature” product hero image on the home page is one good UX practice. But what else should the store’s home page display?Show popular product subcategories on subsequent screens to direct the user to other areas of his website.

By highlighting different categories on your home page, shoppers can go directly to more relevant site areas without having to rely on your site’s main navigation or search functionality. Minimizing steps in the purchase path is one of the popular conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies for e-commerce websites.

Verve Coffee Roasters is slowly rolling out their full inventory on their homepage. With each new screen, the coffee e-tailer displays the latest coffee blends, seasonal summer products, and classic categories of coffee blends.

3. Provide visual product previews

Best practices and examples of ecommerce website design

neiman marcus

Improve visual merchandising by adding a ‘quick preview’ option to the results displayed on the product category page. When browsing an online store, many shoppers can be wary of accessing product listings. Forcing multiple tabs to open and flipping back and forth between product listings and individual product pages are also frustrating, especially among his users on mobile.

The “quick preview” feature allows users to stay on the main product listing page and quickly explore multiple products before finalizing their selection. This design technique is particularly well suited for visual products such as clothing, accessories, jewelry, and furniture.

4. Create useful content taxonomies

Best practices and examples of ecommerce website design


Retailers with large product catalogs should focus more on website taxonomy. A website taxonomy is a logical structure that you create to group different pages into categories so that users can better navigate between them.

Divide your product catalog into appropriately sized categories and subcategories. The goal is to create a set of mutually exclusive category scopes so that the same product is not listed multiple times in the same category or subcategory. IKEA solves this problem by grouping all products into easy-to-understand categories and subcategories.

Directing users to an overly narrow category range can cause users to underestimate the size and variety of your inventory. Conversely, too many choices within a single category can overwhelm shoppers. Also, don’t use shallow parent categories (textual descriptions that don’t lead to their respective subpages). This method wastes valuable virtual space within a limited navigation menu.

5. Design a compact hover-based dropdown header menu

Best practices and examples of ecommerce website design


A huge header menu obscures the screen and hides the information on the browsing page. Many shoppers can accidentally trigger the dropdown header menu area (especially on mobile), so it’s best to keep it visually compact like Casper. Additionally, his excellent UX practice for e-commerce websites is to program hover delays. This is the minimum amount of time the user has to hover over the header area before the dropdown menu is displayed.

A delay of 300-500 ms is optimal to prevent “flickering” behavior and accidental menu activations. The best e-commerce websites use intelligent mouse-path algorithms to analyze users’ cursor movements and predict intentional actions. This is another way to prevent accidental triggering of menus and other hover website elements.

6. Minimize Form Fields on Checkout Pages

Best practices and examples of ecommerce website design


The average completion rate for checkout forms on e-commerce websites is 46.4%. If you lose more customers at this stage, reduce the number of required form fields and checkout steps. The average checkout flow has over 5 steps and 11.8 form fields.

However, eight total form fields are sufficient for many e-commerce websites. Request only the information necessary for shipping and payment. Defer account creation or loyalty program subscriptions to the next screen or another step after purchase.

Follow-up order confirmation emails can always remind you to create an account. At this point, the user is excited to complete the purchase and is more likely to complete account registration or sign up for a loyalty program.

7. View product reviews and ratings

Best practices and examples of ecommerce website design


Shoppers mostly rely on verified product reviews when making purchasing decisions. Statistically, a product with 5 reviews can sell 270% more than a product with 0 reviews. Design a review area if your goal is to maximize your conversion rate. We recommend displaying numerical ratings next to each product, like NIOD, and detailed customer reviews at the bottom of the product listing page.

To get more product reviews, you can also design a standardized product review form that encourages writing. For example, provide drop-down lists of choices for age, product size, preferred fit, or other criteria that shoppers deem important. Templates reduce the cognitive load a person experiences when viewing a blank page. It also helps you get more valuable feedback and accurate ratings.

8. Minimize onsite pop-ups

Best practices and examples of ecommerce website design


Pop-ups are considered annoying and confusing, especially if they are programmed to appear automatically within seconds of visiting the page. Instead of highlighting important information like discount codes, feedback forms, and live chat support as self-launching popups, design them as static, sticky UI elements.

Purple added a sticky bar above the current promotions header menu, hiding “chat” and “feedback” behind the peripheral zone buttons. All this information remains within immediate reach for the consumer, but without distracting them from browsing available inventory.

9. Create a prominent search bar and keep it visible

Best practices and examples of ecommerce website design


Site visitors canseek‘ is used as an alternative strategy when you get stuck in navigation or want to find a specific product or page quickly. Like the main website navigation, the search bar should look good.

Wayfair makes smart use of sticky search bars to help shoppers navigate their vast product catalog. It stays visible as the user continues to scroll through the product list. You can also make the search bar stand out more by using a thick border, a contrasting background color, or a different font.

10. Include Search Autocomplete

Best practices and examples of ecommerce website design


Search plays an important role in customer interactions. But typically one in ten search queries on the web is misspelled, and typos are common on e-commerce websites. Search autocomplete helps minimize the impact of minor typos on product discovery.

However, many e-commerce sites either don’t support auto-complete spelling suggestions or are unable to provide relevant product results for mistyped queries. This is an oversight, as the onsite search autocomplete feature can help retailers significantly improve their conversion rates.

At Amazon, shoppers who use onsite search convert 12.29%, compared to 2.17% for shoppers who don’t use the search feature. That’s a 6x conversion rate and additional revenue.

11. Provide direct access to products with inspirational images

Best practices and examples of ecommerce website design


Lifestyle and inspirational visuals help shoppers better visualize products in real-world settings. Product presentations, like catalogs, also offer great opportunities for upselling. You can get users to buy entire ‘rooms’, ‘looks’ or ‘routines’ and improve your Average Order Value (AOV) this way.

However, it can be difficult to find the pictured product or buy the whole look if you are not provided with a clear path to select the products shown.Currently Top Performance more than 90% of e-commerce websites include links to products illustrated with inspirational visuals. Another option is to curate your recommendations in the carousel view under Lifestyle Shots.


The goal of e-commerce website design is to turn casual browsers into loyal brand shoppers.

To do that, test different strategies to improve website navigation, checkout flow, product presentation, and customer support for all issues. UX design is a constantly evolving field. Form new hypotheses and hypotheses, test them on your site, and develop new “best practices” for your brand.


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