Building an ecommerce site that customers love largely comes down to two things: sweating (and testing) the small stuff, and understanding human psychology.

How do people view, browse, and use your site? While testing will be the final judgement for what works on your site, conversion studies can be a great place to begin when designing your site.

Today I'd like to go over five big ecommerce design mistakes that I commonly notice on far too many of the shops that I visit.

Be sure to take careful note if your site is making any of the following mistakes, and try implementing A/B tests with my corrections; I have a hunch you'll see a noticeable change in your bottom line!

1. Lack of a Clear Value Proposition

One of my favorite conversion experts, Peep Laja of Markitekt, has the perfect quote for why communicating your value to customers is so important:

Your value proposition is the #1 thing that determines whether people will bother reading more about your product or hit the back button. If I could give you only one piece of conversion advice, “test your value proposition” would be it.

A strong value proposition is your argument as to why customers should buy from you when they could buy from the competition. This is especially important for ecommerce, because why should customers buy from you when they could buy from Amazon?

2. Misguided Product Descriptions

We all know that product descriptions can be extremely important, but oftentimes ecommerce store owners include or remove them at abandon.

3. Failing to Properly Utilize Quality Images

If you happen to sell items that are mostly dependent on looks (like the Pottery Barn example above), you should know by now that the visuals that you use are incredibly important.

In fact, one case study from Visual Website Optimizer showcased how an increase in ecommerce image size improved conversions by a notable amount:

Variation 2 with the large images and product description viewable on mouse over was the winner. It resulted in a straight 9.46% increase in sales (96% chance to beat original).

4.) No Visual Hierarchy or Attention to Fitt's Law

You don't need to be a web designer to understand the importance of a visual hierarchy.

With a visual hierarchy in place, it's easy to navigate a website because actions begin to become recognizable due to the site's design. It becomes apparent that all accent colored text is a clickable link, and that base text is unclickable, used only to complement the site's overall background color.

One part of this hierarchy is the use of Fitt's law. In essence, the law states that eyes are drawn to larger items which makes them more clickable (duh). Therefore, important elements should be made larger and stand out from the rest of the page.

5. The Site Doesn't Look Trustworthy

When competing against the big boys of ecommerce, there is one thing you need to realize: their brand recognition means that they don't have to prove to people that they are trustworthy.

Just because you are trustworthy does not mean customers will believe you.

Your site has to reflect your willingness, ability and track record for delivering on your promises.

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