Maybe it’s your first eCommerce site. Perhaps you’re a seasoned eCommerce pro. In either scenario, it’s important to select your eCommerce theme very very carefully. The decision you make in your theme selection will likely affect your conversion rate (and your bottom line) more than any other decision you make about your website build.
While you’re perusing web design themes or analyzing your web designer’s eCommerce web design presentation below are 8 essential points to pay attention to while making your selection.
- Clear Imagery & Messaging Above the Fold
- Easy to Understand CTA’s
- Social Media Integration
- High-Quality Images
- Easy to Understand Checkout
- Ratings & Reviews
- Fast Loading Time
- Customizable Category Pages
1. Clear Imagery & Messaging Above the Fold
Textile manufacturing company Earthbound does a great job of communicating the purpose of their site at a glance.
In today’s restless world of instant gratification and short attention spans it’s more important than ever to make sure that website visitors can instantly tell what it is your site offers. If they have to think or wonder if they are on the right kind of site, no matter how clever your web design is, there will be a high chance they will simply click the dreaded back button. In order to convey a clear message, your theme needs to allow for large images and clear typography in the hero image section.
2. Easy to Understand CTA’s
Los Angeles based Patio Covered does a fantastic job of guiding their users to all of their major categories.
Please don’t make it hard for users to find what it is they are looking for! Your eCommerce home page theme should have the ability to provide clear calls-to-action to the most important pages on your website. These could be image boxes that send people to category pages or intuitive buttons guiding people to sale pages. If people can’t navigate to what they came there for they will bounce as fast as they came.
3. Social Media Integration
Neil Patel, the most famous search engine expert on earth, states “Just three years from now, there will be over 3 billion people using social media!”. If your eCommerce theme isn’t fully integrated with social media capability, then you are completely missing the boat. Making sure that your theme allows for your blog and product pages to be shared across all popular social channels is imperative. Make sure your social follow icons can be placed into a sitewide design area like your header or footer, so they show on every page.
4. High-Quality Images
True Linkswear’s imagery is as good as it gets.
It may be a little less about your theme and more about your website assets, but allowing for large images in your web design will resonate better with the visually oriented among us. Making sure that your theme isn’t auto smushing your images into a blurry mess is definitely something you should keep an eye out for as well.
5. Easy to Understand Checkout
John Deer Tractor Enthusiast site, Two-Cylinder, has a super simple one-page checkout.
The customer has looked through your goods. They have actually added a few things to their cart! Now they go to check out and it’s a complicated mess. You CANNOT let this happen. An effective checkout page should have boxes allowing people to ship to the same address as their billing address with a click of a button. The checkout page should clearly show how far along in the checkout process they are and ideally keep all of this checkout business to a single page.
6. Ratings & Reviews
Redd Energy Bar does a fantastic job of displaying user ratings and reviews to help educate potential customers.
A study by the Spiegel Research Center shows how displaying reviews on your website can increase conversion rates by up to 270% and a product having five reviews causes purchase likelihood to increase by a factor of nearly 4x. Buying online is scary. People cant touch and feel in real life before making a decision. Providing social proof through reviews and ratings will help fill that decision making void.
7. Fast Loading Time
Use Pingom’s Website Speed Test to see how well your potential theme performs.
You can’t talk enough about how much site speed matters to an eCommerce site. Make someone wait and they will bail. End. Of. Story. Period. Having a theme that loads fast would be one of the first tests I would run. Find your potential theme’s live demo, then copy and paste the URL into Pingdom to give you a sense for how much your theme could slow down your site.
8. Customizable Category Pages
Sodashi does a great job at showing more than just a product grid on their category pages.
Category pages are one of the most important page types on any eCommerce website, and if you have tried your hand at ranking these pages, you will know that it isn’t easy. Part of the reason is they tend to just be a grid of product images which doesn’t give Google much to pay attention to. Finding a theme that will allow for unique images and text per category could give your pages the bump they need to tip onto page 1.
Follow your Heart and Listen to Your Mind
Ultimately your website needs to represent you and your brand. It needs to resonate with what you are trying to express, and you definitely want to like your new web theme. But ignoring the above 8 points could leave you regretting your decision a few months later. It doesn’t have to be too complicated though. FInd a look and feel that you’re attracted to and then simply make sure you follow the above guidelines and you will likely have an eCommerce theme that will fit the bill!