You might think that increasing sales requires a drastic change in your marketing strategy or a complete redesign of your store. This might be true in some rare cases, but most often it’s just a matter of tweaking and testing out a couple of website elements and implementing the changes that produce the best results.

A good e-commerce design is critical for turning visitors into paying customers. No matter how good your marketing strategy is, you can only lose customers if your e-commerce store is not properly optimized. These 7 tips will help you optimize your store, increase traffic and improve your sales.

1.      Design with UX in mind

When customers visit your store, you only have a couple of seconds to influence their purchase. User experience or UX for short is crucial for brand recognition, user retention and gaining the trust of your users as quickly as possible. Every little detail you see on your website, ranging from contact forms to product images has the potential to influence a visitor’s decision to complete a purchase. Thus, user experience should be your number one priority and a part of every single design choice you make.

Perform a heat map analysis of your store to determine which store elements are performing the task they are supposed to and which are getting in the way of converting visitors into customers. Consider your website’s design, navigation, usability, and overall visual appeal prior to development. Once fully developed, have a couple of friends or an independent third-party look at your store and tell if they ran into any trouble while using it.

2.      Use minimalistic design

When it comes to e-commerce stores, a simple, minimalistic design will always trump a visually complex site with over-the-top animations and graphics. That doesn’t mean that your website should only be functional and not pretty. In fact, a simple design is not the same as poor design. Strip away all the unnecessary elements that might slow down your website or distract your visitors from completing their purchase. A white background with bold lettering and a clear CTA is more than enough to get the job done while retaining that professional, minimalistic look and feel.

3.      Make the “view cart” button easily accessible

It’s not that uncommon for people to browse through different products only to forget the items they’ve added to their cart. Even less uncommon is for them to change their mind mid-purchase and replace their original choice with something that they find better or more useful. This is exactly the reason why the “view cart” button needs to be clearly visible using contrasting colors and easily accessible no matter what part of the website your visitor might be browsing. At the same time, this button should always allow visitors to see which products and how many of them they’ve added.

4.      Make the pricing options clear and visible

The last thing visitors want when browsing through all the different products is to have the price obscured or difficult to find. This is true for any piece of information a potential customer might need when browsing your store. Honesty is and always will be the best policy in e-commerce, so make sure you’re upfront about the different pricing and shipping options. Hiding information or making it difficult to find can only result in your visitors feeling they’re being deceived or tricked and wreak havoc on your brand. Information such as the price of a product, the total cost and shipping options should always be visible prior to purchase.

5.      Avoid distracting your users

As we already mentioned when talking about store design, you should never incorporate elements that distract your visitors from finding out what they need and completing their purchase. It’s perfectly understandable and even recommended to include some basic info about your brand, link to a blog or an option to sign up for a newsletter.

That said, all those additional pieces of information are a matter of availability and choice. They should never distract visitors and in any way, shape or form diminish their user experience. If you’re not sure how to incorporate a specific element in such a way so it doesn’t distract your visitors, then it’s probably a good idea to consult with web design companies and see if they might have a viable solution.

6.      Optimize product images and videos

Every on-site element needs to be optimized in order to rank higher in the search engine results page and, in turn, generate more traffic and sales. This also includes the images and videos you use for your products and services. Only use high-quality, easily discernable images and use image compression software to reduce their size without sacrificing the overall quality. The lower the size, the faster they will load. If your pages take too long to load, then your visitors will simply abandon your website without giving it a second thought.

7.      Utilize a simple navigation and product organization

A well-designed navigation allows your visitors to quickly jump from one page to another but also lets them know where they are on your website at any given moment. As such, navigation needs to be visible across the store and simple enough so it doesn’t confuse or distract your users with too many options. The worst navigation is often the most cluttered one.

The same can be said about the product organization. Place your products in as few categories as possible and have the different categories easily accessible using the navigation. This way, your visitors will have a glimpse into all the different categories, some of which they might have not even known about.

Effective e-commerce design is not rocket science. All you need to do when designing your store is have the users in mind. Make sure every part of your website easy to find, visually simple and doesn’t distract the visitors from what they came there to do in the first place and that is to make a purchase. You see, it’s more about changing the way you think and placing yourself in your customer’s shoes, rather than spending your entire budget on yet another failed marketing strategy.