credit card processing

Today's ecommerce market provides a wide selection of goods and services. Unless an ecommere merchant has the benefit of an established brand presence, their products will be competing with hundreds and thousands of similar items. An online merchant needs to build their business with a unique marketing strategy that promotes their remarkable services. Quality shopping carts entice customers to spend more, while poorly-designed ones drive people to their competitors' sites. An ecommerce design strategy must prioritize the shopping cart since this is an area where many companies lose business. Learn and then practice the following ecommerce design tips to creating a sleek shopping car that turns visitors into buyers.

Effective ecommerce design makes online shopping more convenient than physical stores. Using familiar shopping cart icons, like the one above, is one of the basics often missed by eCommerce website designers: Making sure their shoppers know how to get to their store and place items in their basket.

eCommerce Design Layout/Style

A shopping cart's ecommerce design must serve the customers' most basic need: convenience. Visitors should be able to easily navigate every webpage, swiftly browse, receive adequate product information and make confident purchases. Consider the following guidelines when organizing a shopping cart layout:

Include Both A Full-Page Cart And Mini-Cart

Visitors expect mini-carts to appear in the upper-right corner of each webpage. They may display order totals, the number of items and relevant shipping deals. Their mini-cart should have a clickable icon linking to the full page cart. Their full page cart will provide additional information like product details, pictures, shipping options, taxes, remove/edit buttons and clearly marked "continue shopping" or "proceed to checkout" buttons.)

Most customers prefer the traditional shopping cart icon on their mini-carts

Thus it is a safe ecommerce design choice to use the traditional "cart" button. But some retailers have experimented with other attractive symbols.

Avoid Distracting Fonts And Colors In eCommerce Design

In the early days of the internet, crude design elements might be tolerated but with any mainstream product, particularly in the consumer realm, a garish or mismatched fonts, colors and other design elements typically send a signal of a low level of trust and less likelihood of purchasing

Borders Separating Cells Should Be Solid And Definitive

This is in order to guide the user to the appropriate areas in the correct order (to help move them through the sales cycle or funnel) and to prevent any congnitive interference since there is so much information coming at a user at once and they expect standard visual cues to help them recognize where to find things

Provide clearly visible links to their privacy policy, FAQs, and return policies

For potential customers who are later in the sales cycle (who are getting ready to buy), they will often need these "trust" tools to keep them on the checkout/payment path

Consider including a live chat option

Offering live chat or similar support options on each webpage that connects customers with a customer service representative ready to answer any questions they have builds confidence and eliminates many barriers to purchasing

Clearly list the merchant physical address and contact information

Preferably this critical informaiton should not be buried, but rather placed on the homepage or one link away in a top level navigation element like "Contact Us." (This helps establish credibility if the merchant is not already a major brand since customers will be more likely to purchase from a merchant with a documented physical address.)

Optimize Websites For Tablet And Mobile Use

Global tablet shipments reached 26.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. This means that most online merchants will need to incorporate ecommerce design features to meet the expectations of the tablet users who want to touch, pinch and zoom. Create wider navigations buttons, larger fonts, and 360° product images using responsive or adaptive designs and CSS3 media queries or even new "adaptive resolution" technologies that allow a single layout to serve multiple formats.

pinterest ecommerceThis ecommerce design still draw attention to the mini-carts, but use unique icons to appeal to their consumer base. If you decide to trial different icons, analyze their visitor traffic and sales to determine whether or not this strategy is effective for their business.

Ecommerce Design Product Considerations

The products or services are what bring visitors to their site. Effective online retailers will want to make sure their shopping cart provides potential customers with adequate information about these goods throughout the duration of the purchase process. This can mean:

  • Writing brief product summaries with links to more detailed information
  • List pricing, shipping and tax information cleary
  • Listing was/now prices for discounted items
  • Providing blog-style comment fields and ratings systems to leave reviews and opinions about each product
  • Providing popup windows (rather than links that can lead them away and out of the product purchasing cycle) to advertising promotions and free shipping offers
  • Making sure to incent users to provide emails with valued but free items such as samples, product upgrades, instant rebates, etc, then sending email reminders for products left in abandoned carts

Keeping Up With eCommerce Required Revisions

An exemplary ecommerce design includes a shopping cart that allows easy and obvious changes such as items, quantities ordered and more. Customers should be able to manipulate their carts freely and not worry about unintended purchases. This means allowing:

  • Users to add multiple products at once with a quantities option next to the product.
  • Easy and obvious revisions to color, size, model or any other options related to their products.
  • Customers to make changes to their charts without leaving the webpages they are on.
  • From the full-page cart, customers should have the option to delete items, cancel orders or "continue shopping."
  • On the sales confirmation page, clearly explain how customers can cancel their orders if necessary
  • Providing a pre-checkout estimate on shipping so customers know the total price before giving credit card information
ecommerce design processAmazon's checkout process highlights each step at the top of the screen. This ecommerce design eliminates confusion by clearly defining for the customer each phase of the process.ecommerce design trustDell's ecommerce design displays the SSL certificate status and details about their secure shopping guarantee.

Don't Checkout On Optimizing Checkout

A merchant's checkout process must be seamless to convert interested visitors to confident buyers. Avoid long or confusing checkouts in favor of single page checkout processes (like those offered by many third party shopping carts including UltraCart). It has been proven over and over that the longer the process, the more chances given a customer to reconsider a purchase. A shopping cart's ecommerce design should please customers with its efficiency and make them feeling safe handing over their personal information with approaches like:

  • Having checkout buttons on the top and bottom of all webpages.
  • Limiting the checkout to two or three pages: one to review orders and enter billing and shipping information, and a confirmation page to view before placing an order.
  • Showing the customer where they are at each phase of checkout
  • Offering guest checkouts.
  • Offering plenty of payment options including all major credit cards, and even a PayPal account or money order.
  • Avoiding unnecessary fields and organizing those that must be filled out well by groups with headings.
  • Providing brief tips about the checkout process including sample text in fields triggered by links to icons with question marks or another similar convention
  • Including pop up illustrations such as where the CVD number is located on a credit or debit card.
  • Providing a promo code field or a place to enter a coupon
  • Display icons of the SSL certificate provider and having a live link to merchant's entry in the SSL provider's database
  • Listing an order's total value and a customer's total savings.
  • Offering an option to print or email their sales confirmation page.
  • Clearly showing error fields in red.
  • Using the shipping address as the billing address by default.

For new merchants, choosing a shopping cart platform that will help meet these criteria and testing it out before buying is a wise course. Most shopping cart providers will let you trial their software before purchasing it. (For example, UltraCart offers a free 30-day trial for interested businesses.) Selecting an ecommerce design friendly shopping cart platform that stands out in its efficiency to serve their customers is the best step any online merchant can take.