Top features for an ecommerce platform

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Frooition provide design services for many ecommerce platforms, including; Amazon, Magento Go, Bigcommerce and Channel Advisor Premium stores.

In our many years of experience we have seen trends come and go, highlighting what customers require in the world of design today.

We have detailed the top features our customers ask for in an ecommerce platform.

1.       Single column storefront

A single column store front creates a logical flow for buyers, there is no confusion about where to look and how to browse the site – you simply read from top to bottom. This format is becoming more popular with the influx of tablets and other devices that do not have traditional screen sizes. Without side columns it is a lot easier to re-size the whole site to fit a smaller display.

There is also a shift towards simple design with obvious navigation.

2.       Fading lifestyle image Hero:

Many store owners are opting for a large, fading central hero on their stores. Used correctly, this is a great feature as it can say exactly what your store is about within a few seconds – after all a picture paints a thousand words!  As it is animated it also creates intrigue and draws the eye in.

It is a great place to re-style and refresh your store – you can easily replace the 3-4 images seasonally to completely change the essence of your store.

It is important to make sure the fading hero isn’t too tall as this pushes the main content of your site lower down and can affect conversions.

3.       Search / Browse the store by product features

Search is great if you know what you are looking for, however if you are just in the mood to browse then searching by product feature is a great marketing tool. If buyers can narrow products down by size and color (for example) then they will see products that appeal to them that they would not have seen by a simple keyword search.

Not all platforms support full filtering however the effect can be replicated through clever categorisation (put a product in the category Mens > Tshirt but also in the category Color > Red).

Frooition also do a lot of work creating drop-down searches that run keyword searches – the benefit of these are that you can specify the exact search term without the worry of spelling mistakes.

4.       Clean white layout with flat design

We are seeing more and more customers asking for clean plain design with minimal effects (such as bevel and shadow).  This tends to create a more timeless design as well as making the product photographs the star of the show. This can also be a good thing for brand marketing as your logo will stand out from the design.

Clean design makes navigation obvious  as the navigation really contrasts against the flatter background.

5.       On page shopping cart

The majority of platforms we design for feature an on page shopping cart, it’s not a new feature by any means but it is an important one. If you keep the cart in a familiar place (top right) the buyer feels comfortable with the layout but also it becomes very obvious what the call to action is for the site: CHECKOUT!

6.       Drop Down, multi-level categories

Drop down multi-level categories are becoming the norm for the majority of web stores. It creates an intuitive navigation experience, start with a handful of high level categories (such as Men’s, Women’s, Children’s) and then distil down through different layers.

The beauty of drop down, descending, categories is even if you have a broad product range your category list isn’t daunting.

It also ensures that your categories aren’t taking up precious real estate and pushing your products below the page fold.

7.       Image based category navigation

Image based category navigation is great for the homepage or landing pages as people make a connection with the photograph and the products – just make sure you have great quality images that evoke the good feeling your customers will get when they receive your product.

Image based categories can also be helpful if you have obscure product ranges or categories that can be confused with others.

8.       Mobile friendly template

Mobile internet and mobile shopping is rapidly chomping at the heels of traditional desktop PC shopping so it is important to have some aspect of mobile site to please mobile shoppers.

There are a number of ways to categorise a store:

  • Mobile incompatible – this means the site just doesn’t load on a mobile device – usually sites that depend on flash for functionality.
  • Mobile compatible – these sites load on mobile and all functions work correctly however the visibility and layout of the site isn’t altered for the mobile device.
  • Mobile Friendly – these are sites that either change the existing layout of the site specifically for mobile (responsive) or they load an alternate version of the site just for mobile devices (None-responsive)

Bigcommerce and Magento Go both have Mobile Friendly templates available as standard.

9.       Product variations that adjust pricing information

Buyers want choice, everyone has different requirements and you can help them to get their perfect product easily using product variations.

These can be as simple as selecting the size and color of a t-shirt to selecting the specification of a laptop. Changing the options can also alter the price (this can be great to hook buyers in with a cheaper item and allowing them to increase the value themselves).

The more advanced products can even allow for customised text and even photograph uploads!

In Summary

The above features are a great recipe for a functional site, however it is important to use them correctly and use them when they are needed rather than having them for the sake of filling a gap.

If you would like to build a store that has the above features, or would like to discuss any of the above features; then contact us today and speak to one of our design consultants!