One of the most significant advantages of eCommerce is that merchants can sell products without a physical storefront. However, this also adds pressure to impress site visitors through web design alone. Successful retailers manage to create an environment in line with what they’re selling—and to whom.
First things first: The look and feel of your online store depend heavily on its theme. Here’s more on how to choose an eCommerce theme for your business.
Prioritise usability and trust
Question: What’s one thing all online shoppers have in common, regardless of who they are or what they’re trying to buy? Answer: They seek convenient, trustworthy, eCommerce experiences. If your businesses’s website falls short in this arena, people will simply leave your store and find what they need from a competitor.
Retailers have a short window of time in which to convince customers it’s worthwhile to stick around. According to research from Nielsen Norman Group, the first 10 seconds of a webpage visit “are critical for users’ decision to stay or leave.” Even if you make it past the snap judgement period, many people will leave before the 30-second mark.
In other words, your store needs to make a great first impression—and make it fast. A good theme conveys professionalism and trustworthiness. It also draws on web design principles in line with how people think and navigate. Usability is key here.
Yes, the appearance of your store is important, but a well-designed theme also prioritises a excellent user experience from the get-go. In other words, it’s best when form follows function.
Convey your brand values
Your website’s theme (and content management system) will convey your brand at a glance, so you want its appearance to be in line with your product lineup and your store’s values. Consider customer expectations here. It’d be confusing to visit an online store selling rustic wooden furniture and encounter a sleek, metallic theme. Similarly, customers will get mixed messages from a natural skincare line with a bling-laden theme because they’re expecting simplicity in line with the products. On the other hand, if you sell bold, colourful cosmetics, a muted theme won’t do your brand’s personality justice.
As Practical eCommerce points out, matching your imagery to your brand is essential to reinforcing the brand promise, i.e. what your company can do for consumers. Shoppers need to feel they’re in the right place before they become comfortable making purchases. Your theme must create an immersive environment in line with your brand’s values and offerings—one that’s discernible at a glance.
Ensure mobile readiness
You can view any Shopify eCommerce theme in desktop and mobile formats, for instance. The ability to view demos for desktop and mobile before choosing a theme helps retailers understand the customer experience across devices—something increasingly important as m-commerce becomes more popular and accessible.
According to one forecast, transactions on mobile devices are poised to overtake transactions on desktop devices. Mobile devices were formerly used just to conduct research and browse product catalogues. However, now shoppers are increasingly completing transactions on mobile devices from start to finish. This underscores the importance of implementing a theme that’s usable on a smaller screen. Make sure you know exactly what your theme will look like on all kinds of devices before deciding to use it.
Yes, your eCommerce theme dictates the appearance of your store. However, it also determines how people navigate through your sales funnel and whether or not they develop a rapport with your brand. Choose carefully so you can build a stunning and easy-to-use store.