So, step 1 is complete. You’ve decided to get started with an online store and you likely know what products you’ll be selling. Now all that’s left is to do is find the perfect e-commerce website template for your business, right? While scrolling through endless free website templates online may be the least of your worries, there’s more to it than you realise.
Your e-commerce store says a lot about who you are as a business, and most importantly a brand. Get it right, and you’ll attract returning customers. Get it wrong, and your online store will be off to a shabby start.
In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to consider when selecting the perfect e-commerce website template for you. We’ll go through:
The technical side of things
The easiest way to get selling online
Now, let’s get started…
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Customising your own website is a big task, and arguably, design plays one of the biggest roles in how your audience will interact with your business. The design and layout of your website will determine whether or not people trust you to deliver on your promise. You may have the better product, but if a competitor of yours has a superior e-commerce website design, then it’s clear who the customer will be spending their money with.
While it may be easy to just go for the template that visually appeals to you the most, there are a few boxes that need ticking first. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
The first thing you need to do before selecting a template is to define your brand, both visually and in the written format. Who are you and what do you stand for? If you want customers to connect with your business, there needs to be a story.
Start by defining your vision, your mission, and your values as a business. This helps to humanise what you do.
Next, you’ll want to set clear guidelines on both your visual and written branding. This means making sure your imagery is fluid, selecting the right typography, creating a uniform photography style and picking a voice for your brand. Being clear from the outset will get you off to a strong start.
The structure of your template can make or break your e-commerce website design. Look at the composition of the template and see whether or not it’s customisable. While visuals are important, if there isn’t enough space for CTA’s or product descriptions, this may not be the template for you. More on this later.
Less really is more. The simpler the website, the easier it is for users to navigate. Sure, it’s tempting to always add more visually, but think quality over quantity. You don’t want to distract from your products or your e-commerce store’s purpose, and that’s to sell. Find the balance with style over substance.
We all know that the majority of people visit websites through their mobile devices. While this may be widely known, it isn’t reflected in the e-commerce website design of a lot of businesses. Take a look at the template design you’re going for and determine how it’ll look on mobile.
You need to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Does your template have the space for you to give them all the information that they need to make a purchase and understand your product?
For most people, this won’t be the fun part of building and customising an e-commerce store, but we need to get technical. We need your store to be attractive, but we also need it to be functional. That’s why we’re going to quickly walk you through 3 things:
SEO (Search engine optimisation)
Plugins, apps and extensions
CTA’s (Calls to action)
When people think about designing a website they think pictures and fonts. But you also need to design your website to be SEO friendly. You can have the most informative, visually stimulating website in the world, but if you don’t have the right keywords or layout, your page won’t rank on Google and people won’t visit it.
SEO seems like a daunting topic but with a little bit of research, you’ll get the hang of things pretty quickly. Make sure you pick a template design with SEO features.
If you’re technically advanced, you may want to pick a template design that needs a bit of tinkering with before it’s perfect. This means customising to be your own with plugins, apps and extensions. If this is something you want to do, picking a template design will be that little bit easier.
If, like a lot of people, you want to keep things simple, find a template that doesn’t require all the extra work.
Let’s be clear, the goal of any e-commerce store is to sell the products it hosts. Some templates allow you to add CTA buttons. If you don’t know what these are, a CTA is a call to action. It’s the button you see that says “Apply now” or “Add to cart.” It’s essentially what turns a browser, into a customer.
Make sure you’re choosing an e-commerce website template that allows you to add CTA buttons, banners and anything else that will help to keep people’s attention on your page.
Once you have your branding cleared up, you need to think about how to get your story out there. There are a few ways you can go about that.
Most website templates should have space for an “About Us” section if you’re looking at one that doesn’t we suggest you pick another. The “About Us” page is where brands shine. This is your moment to show yourself off as a trustworthy, human brand.
All small businesses have an interesting story behind how they started, what inspired their product and why they do what they do. Tell it.
This is your space to connect with your customer.
Customer reviews and word of mouth are everything. Show your website visitors that you put your money where your mouth is.
Start by looking for a template design that has space for, or can be customised to host either reviews or something like a Trustpilot plugin. While simple, a positive customer review can go a long way.
Picking a template with social media integration will help your customers to not only check you out on social media but to also spread the word to their followers, who will also be like-minded consumers with similar interests.
This is a lot of information to digest. Building your ideal e-commerce website is time-consuming, and as a small business owner, there’s a chance that’s time you don’t have. If the idea of designing your own website is too much, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
There are simpler solutions out there. You can get your products out there minus the hassle with easy-to-use tools like SumUp Online Store Starter.
With the Starter plan, you can add your products, business logo, social media links and shipping details all in just a few taps. Interested? You can find out more here.
For more tips and tricks on making business easier, head over to the SumUp blog.