When it comes to ecommerce sites, there’s a pretty simple formula, right?

You just need a few products, a shopping cart and some form of gateway to accept payment. Then, the sales will just start rolling in.


As much as I wish ecommerce web design were this easy, sadly it’s not. Though a cart and a payment gateway are certainly crucial components, there’s a lot more that factors into an ecommerce site – especially if you want it to be a successful one.

Are you looking to build an ecommerce site for your company or business? Then look beyond the basic formula, and make sure your design includes these vital must-haves:

1. Fast Loading Times

Studies show that if your pages take longer than 3 seconds to load (yup, just 3 seconds!), 40 percent of your visitors will jump ship. And if that’s not bad enough, slow loading times can affect your search engine rankings, too, so it’s a double whammy.

2. Mobile Functionality & Responsive Design

Mobile sales account for about a quarter of all ecommerce sales, and that doesn’t even include tablet users! If you want your site to be profitable, it absolutely has to be optimized for both mobile and tablet use. The best way to do that? Choose an ecommerce web design firm that specializes in responsive sites. That way, you can rest assured your site will load properly, function well and look great no matter what device your customers are using.
3. Up-selling and Cross-selling Tools

Up-selling and cross-selling are some of the best ways to increase shopping cart totals and make more money off your site. Use the sidebar area, footer and any other open real estate on your product pages to incorporate these elements and promote other items on your site that may go well with, complement or improve the product the customer is already purchasing.
4. Simplified Checkout

More than half of online shoppers abandon their cart before finishing the deal. Why? Because it takes too long. People shop online because it’s fast and convenient. The moment it becomes the opposite, they’ll leave and find somewhere else to make their purchase. To prevent this from happening on your site, make sure it has a simplified checkout process – one that’s quick, easy and simple. Don’t make customers log in, enter a bunch of information or create an account before they can buy. If you can create a one-page checkout or even a one-click checkout option (like Amazon) you’ll see the best results.

5. Reviews

People are wary about buying online, simply because you can’t feel or see the products before you actually purchase them. Having real-life customer reviews on your product pages can help put shoppers at ease. It gives them access to unbiased, third-party details about your products, and it helps them make a more informed, educated buying decision.

6. SSL and Security

Possible identity theft is another reason people shy away from online shopping. They fear their credit card details, personal information and other data is going to be stolen if they enter it on a website. To ease these customers’ worries, it’s important to have a SSL layer in place, as well as other security measures on your site (like VeriSign, BBB Accreditation, etc). Make sure you display the certificates for these security measures on each page of your site, too, so every shopper is sure to see them.

7. Customer Service

Like I said, the intangibility of online shopping is difficult for many people. They’re afraid to purchase something sight unseen, and they have a lot of questions and concerns while shopping. You can help circumvent these concerns by having easy, fast customer service available. Online chats are particularly effective, giving shoppers a way to speak to a company representative right on their screen.

8. A Good Search Box

About one-third of all online shoppers use the search box to find their desired products. The best part about this? Most of these shoppers are in the late stages of the buying process. They already know what product they want to purchase, so if the price is right, they’re going to buy it right then and there. For even better results, make sure your search is filterable – by brand, by color, by pricepoint, and by any other factor your customers may find important.

While this is certainly not an exhaustive list of EVERYTHING an ecommerce website should have, it does shed light on where you should be focusing your energy as you design, build or revamp your site. With these crucial elements in place, you’ll have the foundation for a successful, profitable ecommerce site that’s sure to makeyour business money. Want more information or need help with your ecommerce web design? Contact Steadfast Creative for a free consultation.

Author Info

Brad Parnell
Founder & CEO

Brad is the Founder & CEO of Steadfast Creative, leading the team in exploring new ways to solve creative problems and bringing direction and vision for the company. His passion is building relationships, providing solutions and empowering his team to send new ideas out into the world. With over 10 years of agency experience serving local and national brands, he is focused on results for his clients and team. Outside of  work, Brad serves on the board of directors at his local Chamber of Commerce and loves giving back to the community and spending time with his wife and kids.