cartoon colorful people assembling an ecommerce website design like it is a puzzle

eCommerce Website Design

Are you interested in eCommerce website design? Let us explain the basic concepts and what is involved when you start your eCommerce business. With just a few clicks or taps, we can order products from across the globe and have them delivered to our doorsteps. As the world shifts more and more towards online shopping, the importance of eCommerce website design becomes even more pronounced. If you’re a business owner looking to dive into the online marketplace or an enthusiast curious about the world of ecommerce, this guide on ecommerce website design services is for you.

Ecommerce website design is not just about aesthetics; it’s about creating an optimal user experience, building trust, and converting visitors into loyal customers. A poorly designed ecommerce site can frustrate users, leading to cart abandonment and decreased sales. On the other hand, a well-designed website can provide a seamless shopping experience and boost sales and brand loyalty.

Key Features of Quality Ecommerce Website Design

Accessibility is a pivotal aspect of any quality ecommerce website design, ensuring that all potential customers, regardless of their abilities, can use and navigate the site efficiently. An accessible ecommerce website design not only provides an inclusive shopping experience but also broadens the potential customer base and can improve SEO.

Here are some key features of a quality, accessible ecommerce website:

1. Responsive Design: This ensures that your website displays correctly on a variety of devices and screen sizes, from desktop monitors to smartphones. An accessible responsive design takes into account touch screen navigation, screen reader compatibility, and adaptable layouts.

2. Keyboard Navigation: Users should be able to navigate your website using just the keyboard. This is essential for people who cannot use a mouse or touchscreen.

3. Alternative Text for Images: All images should have alt text that describes the image content. This is vital for visually impaired users who use screen readers. It’s especially crucial for product images in an ecommerce setting.

4. Easily Readable Text: Opt for high contrast between text and background and use fonts that are easy to read. The website should also allow users to adjust font size without breaking the site’s layout.

5. Clear and Consistent Navigation: Menus and site navigation should be clear and consistent across all pages. This helps users, especially those with cognitive disabilities, to predict where they will find information and navigate more efficiently.

6. Descriptive Links: Links should have clear and descriptive names. Instead of generic phrases like “click here,” use descriptive text like “view women’s shoes.”

7. Closed Captions and Transcripts: If your ecommerce website has videos, ensure they are equipped with closed captions. Transcripts should also be available for audio content.

8. ARIA Landmarks: Use ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) landmarks to make it easier for screen reader users to navigate your content. These provide information about features like navigation bars, main content areas, and footers.

9. Form Accessibility: All forms, including the checkout process, should be accessible. This includes clear labels for all fields, error messages that are easy to understand, and ensuring all form features can be accessed with a keyboard.

10. Skip to Content Option: This allows users to skip repetitive content (like navigation) and move directly to the main content of a page.

11. Test and Audit Regularly: It’s essential to continuously test your ecommerce website with a variety of tools and actual users to identify and rectify any accessibility issues. There are online services and software that can help you audit your website for accessibility.

An accessible ecommerce website is more than just a nice-to-have feature; it’s a necessity in today’s digital age. Ensuring your website is accessible not only provides a more inclusive user experience but also positions your brand positively in the market. When designing or revamping your ecommerce website, always prioritize accessibility to ensure everyone, regardless of their abilities, can have a seamless shopping experience.

ecommerce website design banner with office in the background

eCommerce Website Platform Choices

The platform your ecommerce website store is built on can significantly influence the user experience, scalability, and overall success of the online business. Let’s delve deeper into the details of the commonly used ecommerce platforms mentioned earlier:

1. Shopify

  • Overview: Shopify is a hosted ecommerce platform that offers businesses the tools to set up and run their online store. With its easy-to-use interface, even those with limited technical knowledge can effectively manage their stores.
  • Features:
    • Hosted Solution: You don’t need separate hosting. Shopify takes care of hosting your site.
    • App Ecosystem: Shopify has a vast marketplace of apps to extend the platform’s capabilities.
    • Themes: An array of customizable themes (both free and paid) that cater to various business needs.
    • Security: Provides SSL certificates and is PCI compliant to ensure transaction safety.
  • Pricing: Shopify operates on a subscription-based model with several tiers to fit different business needs. They also offer a ‘Lite’ version for selling on Facebook and a POS system.

2. Magento

  • Overview: Owned by Adobe, Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform known for its flexibility and scalability. It caters primarily to medium to large-sized businesses.
  • Features:
    • Open Source: Being open-source means that it’s highly customizable. If you have the technical know-how (or hire someone who does), you can modify Magento to your heart’s content.
    • Extensions: A huge marketplace of extensions to expand store capabilities.
    • SEO-friendly: Comes with advanced SEO features out of the box.
    • Multiple Store Management: Can manage multiple stores from a single backend.
  • Pricing: While Magento Open Source is free to download, you’ll need to consider hosting, domain, and development costs. Magento also offers a premium version, Magento Commerce, which comes at a substantial price but includes cloud hosting and additional features.

3. WooCommerce

  • Overview: WooCommerce is a free, open-source WordPress plugin. It effectively turns a WordPress website into a fully-functioning ecommerce store.
  • Features:
    • WordPress Integration: Perfect for those already using WordPress and familiar with its interface.
    • Extensions: Thousands of plugins and themes available to enhance its capabilities and design.
    • SEO Advantage: Leveraging WordPress’ robust SEO capabilities.
    • Customizable: As with most open-source platforms, if you can code it, WooCommerce can likely handle it.
  • Pricing: The basic WooCommerce plugin is free. However, costs can arise from purchasing premium themes, plugins, or extensions, and of course, hosting and domain costs.

While these platforms have their own sets of advantages, the best choice ultimately depends on your business needs, technical expertise, and budget. For small businesses just starting, Shopify might be the easiest way to jumpstart their online presence. At the same time, a business with a substantial budget and a need for customization might lean towards Magento. Those already familiar with WordPress might find WooCommerce the most seamless to integrate.

Whatever the choice, ensure that it aligns with your business goals and provides the flexibility to grow and evolve as market dynamics shift.

Branding in Ecommerce: More than Just a Logo

Branding is an essential aspect of any business, both offline and online. It’s the embodiment of who you are as a business and how you want your customers to perceive you. In ecommerce, where customers cannot physically interact with the products before purchasing, branding becomes even more crucial. It serves as a bridge of trust and authenticity.

1. Customer Trust and Recognition

A cohesive and professional brand presentation in your ecommerce store assures customers of the quality and legitimacy of your business. Consistent branding, from the logo to the color scheme, fonts, and imagery, ensures that customers can immediately recognize your brand wherever they encounter it, be it on social media, advertisements, or even in physical stores. This familiarity breeds trust, a cornerstone for online transactions.

2. Conveying the Brand Story

Every brand has a story to tell, a mission that drives them. Ecommerce website design, tailored to a brand’s identity, effectively conveys this story. Whether it’s through the visuals, the copy, or even the user experience, a well-branded ecommerce site gives visitors a sense of what the brand stands for and its values.

3. Setting Yourself Apart from Competitors

The ecommerce space is crowded, with many businesses potentially selling similar products. Customized branding ensures that your business stands out in this sea of sameness. It accentuates your unique selling propositions and ensures that visitors remember your site and products over competitors.

4. Enhancing User Experience

Good branding isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s also about user experience. For instance, a luxury brand’s website will likely emphasize minimalism and high-quality visuals, ensuring that their target audience — those looking for luxury items — feels at home. On the other hand, a fun, quirky brand targeting millennials might have a vibrant, interactive design. Tailoring the ecommerce website design to align with brand identity ensures an intuitive and pleasant browsing experience for the target audience.

5. Emotional Connection

Effective branding can foster an emotional connection between the brand and the customers. This connection often translates to brand loyalty. When customers feel aligned with a brand’s values and ethos, they’re more likely to return for repeat purchases and become brand ambassadors, spreading the word to their peers.

6. Guided Decisions

A clear brand identity can guide business decisions, especially in the ecommerce space. From what products to feature, the promotions to run, to even how customer service interacts with customers, branding provides a roadmap for consistency across all touchpoints.

In essence, branding in the context of ecommerce website design is not a mere afterthought. It’s foundational. A brand-centric design approach ensures that every aspect of the website, from the homepage to the checkout, resonates with the brand’s identity, values, and promises, leading to better customer trust, enhanced user experience, and increased business success.

SEO and Ecommerce

SEO is pivotal in driving organic traffic to an ecommerce store. When done correctly, it ensures visibility in search engine results, bringing in potential customers actively looking for the products or services you offer. Here’s an in-depth dive into SEO for ecommerce and the myriad of options available:

1. Keyword Research

The cornerstone of any SEO strategy is understanding what terms potential customers are using to search for products or services you offer. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs can help identify these keywords.

  • Long-tail Keywords: These are longer, more specific keyword phrases. They may have lower search volumes, but they often have higher conversion rates. For example, “men’s leather brown Chelsea boots” is more specific than “men’s boots.”

2. On-Page SEO

Once you have your keywords, they need to be incorporated on your website.

  • Product Descriptions: Ensure that product descriptions are unique, high-quality, and incorporate target keywords. Avoid using manufacturer descriptions, as they may result in duplicate content issues.
  • Meta Titles & Descriptions: These are the snippets shown in search results. Ensure they’re compelling and contain your primary keywords.
  • Image Alt Text: Search engines can’t “see” images. The alt text describes the content of the image to search engines, enhancing product image searchability.
  • URL Structure: URLs should be clear, concise, and descriptive. Avoid strings of numbers or irrelevant characters.

3. Technical SEO

This relates to the more technical aspects of your site that affect its performance in search rankings.

  • Mobile Optimization: Ensure that your ecommerce store is mobile-friendly. Google’s mobile-first indexing is now the norm, meaning it uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.
  • Site Speed: Page loading times are crucial. A delay can lead to cart abandonment. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can provide insights into what’s slowing your site down.
  • Secure & Accessible Website: Ensuring your website is accessible to search engines and is secure (HTTPS vs. HTTP) can aid in better rankings.
  • Schema Markup: This is a code that helps search engines return more informative results for users. For ecommerce, this might include product ratings, price, and stock level.

4. Content Marketing

While products are the main focus, additional content can drive traffic and enhance authority.

  • Blogs: Regularly updated blogs can answer customer queries, provide value, and incorporate keywords that might not fit on product pages.
  • How-to Guides & Tutorials: Especially valuable if you sell products that require assembly or specific usage instructions.
  • Videos: Product demonstrations, unboxing, or user testimonials in video form can enhance engagement.

5. Link Building

Having other reputable websites link to your ecommerce store can significantly boost SEO.

  • Guest Blogging: Writing articles for other sites in your industry can provide backlinks to your store.
  • Influencer Collaborations: Engage with influencers in your industry to review products or feature them on their platforms.

6. Social Media & PPC

While primarily seen as separate from SEO, they can indirectly impact your organic search rankings.

  • Social Media: Regular posts, stories, and engagement can drive traffic to your site. While social signals (likes, shares) aren’t direct ranking factors, there’s a correlation between social activity and ranking higher.
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC): Google Ads, Bing Ads, and even sponsored social media posts can drive immediate traffic to new product listings or special promotions. This can lead to increased organic visibility over time.

7. User Experience (UX)

  • Site Architecture: A logical layout and intuitive navigation can reduce bounce rates. The easier it is for customers to find and purchase products, the better the signal to search engines about your site’s quality.
  • Internal Linking: This keeps users engaged longer, linking them to related products or content on your site.

While a beautifully designed ecommerce website is vital, SEO ensures that it doesn’t remain a hidden gem in the vast digital ocean. Taking a holistic approach to SEO, encompassing everything from keywords to user experience, ensures not only increased traffic but also a higher probability of conversions and repeat customers.

Post-Launch Services

The journey doesn’t end once the website is live. Regular updates, bug fixes, and potential redesigns as trends change are all a part of maintaining an ecommerce site. Most ecommerce website design services offer post-launch services to ensure the website continues to function optimally.


In the vast and ever-growing world of ecommerce, having a well-designed website can be the difference between success and failure. As the digital storefront for a business, it must offer a seamless, pleasant, and trustworthy experience for users. Whether you’re just starting or looking to revamp your online presence, investing in quality ecommerce website design services is a step in the right direction.

At 181 Creative Agency, we provide a comprehensive ecommerce solution tailored to your business needs. Not only do we design visually compelling websites, but we also ensure they’re discoverable by your potential customers through our cutting-edge SEO strategies. Our holistic approach encompasses everything from meticulous keyword research, on-page SEO optimization, to technical backend refinement, ensuring your site performs at its best in search rankings. But our services don’t stop there; with expert content marketing, strategic link building, and leveraging both social media and PPC, we drive consistent, quality traffic to your store. Partner with us, and let our all-inclusive service transform your ecommerce vision into a successful, visible, and profitable reality.

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