Website Design

26 critical eCommerce Website strategies that can make or break your online business


Designing and developing eCommerce website can be challenging, but if it has all the right elements, it will ultimately pay off in dividends. You don’t need a salesperson to run this online store, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, booking orders from customers automatically, without any human intervention. But the biggest question is how to persuade online visitors to spend more than 30 seconds (average time a person spends on an eCommerce website), browse through available products, make a selection and complete the checkout process to place an order. Here are 26 critical strategies to provide the best-possible online customer experience and boost online sales:

1. Product Demo Videos

Video is a great way to show buyers what they’re really getting. When we think of demo videos, electronic gadgets come to mind, but it can be for anything, including clothes to show how they will look like while in motion. The video will help persuade the online visitor in buying the product.

2. Boost your Ecommerce Sales with Promotions and Special Offers.

There are different ways of offering promotions / discounts / offers to not only attract visitors to your website, but to convince them to make the purchase. Here are a few options:

  • Percentage-based discounts – Full retail price is shown, but striked off with the sale price.
  • Buy One, Get One free – Who doesn’t love free stuff
  • Quantity-based discounts – If a certain quantity is bought, you get a percentage off the total price or get an item free. This can be attractive to consumers as well as distributors looking to buy in bulk.
  • Reward points – With every purchase, customer earns reward points, which can be redeemed towards a future purchase.

3. Free shipping

Your eCommerce site is up, a customer loves what you sell, and just before they hit “confirm purchase” they abandon the sale. Why? It’s no secret that everyone loves free shipping. Shipping charges during the checkout process contribute significantly to cart abandonment. Apart from eliminating an expense many of your visitors may be expecting, free shipping can simplify the entire sales process. Research shows that 93% of online shoppers say free shipping would encourage them to buy. Your company doesn’t necessarily have to eat the shipping costs, you can simply “hide” your shipping charges by embedding them directly into the price of the product.

4. The WOW Factor

We have all heard of that “wow factor” that gives customers a unique experience they won’t experience anywhere else. You want your customers to feel that way each time they visit your site, through the design and layout, stunning images, and outstanding content. You want them to spend more than the average 15 seconds a person spends on a website because you offer something unique and amazing.

When designing your e-commerce website, always look for ways to make it a more pleasant experience for your customer. Think of their expectations when purchasing items from your website, and then work to move beyond those expectations to create an unforgettable experience. For example, once an item is placed, you can provide tracking information similar to how Amazon, or you might want to send status update emails on where the ordered product currently is.

5. Build Credibility

People are much more likely to buy from a website with proven credibility than the one that feels fake and looks unprofessional.

You need to prove you exist by giving a place and face to your organisation. You can do this by listing your address and phone number.

Another great way to show there is an organization behind your brand, is to show them the people behind the scenes. You can put images of your employees; headshots with brief bios or group photos of different teams.

You can also earn your customer’s trust online by showing them recent press releases, news stories and third party endorsements of your brand. Whether it is announcing a new partnership or landing a big deal—tell your customers about it on your website! These events lend you credibility and can help increase your online conversions.

6. Online Reviews and testimonials

Online reviews and customer testimonials are the best way to gain credibility as a reputable business online. In fact, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Because they provide otherwise wary shoppers with a sense of trust, and trust is what ultimately gets people to buy. Reviews from real-life customers help to lower the barrier to buying. A properly positioned positive review can mean the difference between a sale and an abandoned cart.

7. The checkout process is too complicated, or too short

When a customer gets lost in too many steps during the checkout process, there is a high likelihood of abandoning the shopping cart completely. Inversely, that customer might run away if you ask too soon for the payment details. These are important things you must take that into consideration when designing your website.

8. Not Addressing Security Concerns

Take every precaution you can to protect your sales data to keep your customer’s accounts secure, and then tell them about it in your privacy policy. Make this policy readily available to them on your site; when it’s buried in your site, they will think it’s not important to you. Also, incorporate a design element that lets them know their information is safe with you.

Make sure your site has SSL, so that all data to and from your website is encrypted. That way, even if someone steals it, it will be useless for him/her.

9. Update your website

You should always keep your website current. Even if your product line rarely changes, you should update your site with new pictures, news items, videos and landing page videos, blog posts, or other interesting pieces of online content to give your customers a reason to visit your website on a regular basis. It also helps with SEO, as Google looks positively towards websites that are updated regularly.

10. Add an Exit Intent Pop-Up

Capture website visitors that otherwise would have left your website. Of course, you need to give them a reason to subscribe or to provide an email address, so offer a free guide, discount, or another treat that goes in line with your brand. If you’re not already actively building your list, this should be the first thing you add to your ecommerce marketing strategy.

11. Capture Abandoned Carts with an Exit Intent Pop-Up

If someone takes the time to put an item in their shopping cart, they’ve shown a great deal of interest in buying what you’re selling. They’re so close to converting, so make an effort to get them to complete their purchase.

For one reason or another, tons of shoppers leave their carts abandoned without completing their purchase. Which is why shopping cart abandonment recovery is one of the most powerful ecommerce marketing tactics around.

To capture some of your potential customers before they abandon their cart, add a specific exit intent popup on your cart page. For example: If a visitor adds something to their cart then goes to the cart page and then decides to leave the page, a pop-up will appear offering them a discount if they purchase within the next 4 hours or day. You can set a percentage discount and time frame that fits your eCommerce store and this offer would only show up on the cart page.

12. Send Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails

You can use smart remarketing tactics from CRMs like HubSpot to send highly customized emails to shoppers that have abandoned carts. This is where your eCommerce email marketing skills come into play.

13. Get People Back to Your Website with Remarketing

Facebook and Google do an amazing job of giving you the opportunity to track the actions of your sites’ visitors in order to optimize the way you market to them. A simple string of code can provide you with a huge amount of information on your potential customers

For example, Facebook allows you to create remarketing campaigns that show specific ads to visitors who have viewed particular product pages or left items in their cart.

If the shopper still hasn’t purchased them after a few days, you can boost the efficacy of these ads by offering them a coupon code in an effort to entice them back to your site.

14. Create Highly Valuable Blog Posts

Blogging allows you to drive traffic, build a community, and engage with your customers on a whole new level. Creating content that is helpful, entertaining, and engaging will allow you to answer the questions your potential customers are asking and introduce them to your brand in a low-pressure environment.

Create guides that show off how your products are used in real-world applications. Make sure to keep it visually interesting and focus on creating highly valuable content. Quality over quantity is the name of the game.

Blogging creates eCommerce marketing opportunities on a massive scale and learning how to do it well should be a priority for an eCommerce store.

Consider this: 79% of companies that have a blog report a positive ROI for inbound marketing.

15. Share User-Generated Content

When your customers post pictures to Instagram or upload videos to Facebook or YouTube, ask permission and repost them. Share them on your social media, blog, and through content marketing.

The more people that see the honest, positive feedback of an excited customer, the better.

Sales are all about trust and eCommerce stores can have a harder time earning that trust without a brick-and-mortar location. This is especially true of smaller stores that most people don’t know. Use user-generated content to help people feel confident in their decision to buy from you.

16. Create Power Posts – Onsite SEO

One of the best ways to drive tons of traffic to your online store is through SEO and most effective strategy to boost your onsite SEO is to create power posts. Power posts are massive articles of approximately 2,000 words or more, which is full of useful information on a particular topic of interest.

What differentiates a power post is that it is a standalone resource that makes it easy for your reader to understand the subject without having to do any other research anywhere else.

One of the other defining attributes is that it’s better than anything else available on the subject. Longer, more informative, and SEO-optimized. It’s also really nice if it’s professionally designed and has great photo or video content to make it more visually appealing.

17. Send Wish-list Reminders

Do you have some customers, who have added products to their wish-list, but never had the courage to follow through with the purchase?

They put those items there for a reason, and you may just have to be the one who reminds them what they’re missing out on. Send them an email with a link to their list. You may even want to include a limited time discount coupon to get them excited and create a sense of urgency.

18. Nurture Visitors into Subscribers and Subscribers into Customers

Not everyone who visits your store will be ready to buy, but make sure you collect their email addresses. Once you have visitor’s email addresses, you’ll want to nurture those leads with a series of automated emails with valuable product knowledge, promotions and offers.

Send them informative and insightful content that they can engage with, and you’ll be able to learn their buying preferences based on their interaction with each email. HubSpot, a popular CRM has the ability to connect with your online store to send them emails based on pages they have visited or products they showed interest in but didn’t buy.

19. Quality product images

The value of good imagery is undeniable for all web design projects, but probably even more so in eCommerce.

Eventually, a good product image is what makes the sale, or at least participates in the sale heavily. Use not only product images (on white backgrounds), but also “in-use” images – images where a person can be seen using the product. This works great for showcasing the lifestyle associated with the product, which is often a powerful selling mechanism. Especially for things like clothing, furniture, or appliances. Wherever possible, go for large images. The data seems to be clear on this one, large images bring more sales. And most importantly of all, make sure that the images are mobile optimized and that they work with no glitches.

20. Keep the website speed in mind

It is obvious that the more feature-rich the design is, the more time it’ll take to load, but even the slightest delays can mean serious losses for an eCommerce business.

Just to give you an extreme example, if Amazon increased their page load time by just +100ms, they would lose 1 percent of their sales, which means Billions of dollars. For a more hands-on example, research has shown that 40 percent of all visitors will bounce if a web page takes more than 3 seconds to load.

What this means in plain English for a web designer is that if the web store built isn’t optimized enough, and it takes more than just a couple of seconds to load, then the whole effort that went into building the website is wasted. Therefore, always test your eCommerce design on the exact server environment it’s meant to run on, and make sure that everything loads in less than 3 seconds. If it doesn’t, then go back to the drawing board and optimize it further.

21. Design the checkout experience as well

The checkout experience, from adding a product to the shopping cart to the final confirmation page is the most critical element of an eCommerce website, when it comes to sales. Therefore, all steps in it should be carefully thought through.

Most eCommerce platforms have all of that already built in, so we can feel tempted to leave things as they are. However, those are not always the most optimized checkouts, simply because they need to function with a large number of site designs, different page templates and layouts. Some compromises had to be made. That’s why you’re better off handling the checkout design by yourself, and making sure that it’s optimized for your specific products and type of customers. A valuable tip is to use progress bars (or some other indicators) to show the visitor that they’re on the right track to complete their purchase and how much longer will it take. Another useful tip is to display a summary in a sidebar throughout the checkout process.

22. Use large, bold typography

These days, having custom typography on a website has become much easier to achieve than just a couple of years ago. This has opened a lot of possibilities for modern eCommerce designs. After all, if you want to make a sales message or a headline visible, why not just use huge and bold typography for that?

23. Related Products

Having some sort of “related products” listing is a store owner’s best way to generate more sales without spending more funds on marketing. A related products block is usually placed beneath the main product description.

24. Mobile-responsive eCommerce Website

Having a mobile-responsive website is a must these days, considering that more than 65% of web traffic is generated from mobile devices. So it is important that website automatically adjusts itself depending on the size of the screen, so that all pages are presentable and readable.

25. Website Layout

  • There’s too much going on — A website that contains too many images, text, or colors makes it difficult for visitors to sift through all the information and find what they’re looking for. Chances are, they’ll leave the website and move to one with a better layout and design.
  • There’s too much to do — Most visitors prefer simplicity, so they’re less likely to stay on a website that involves too much clicking and scrolling to find the relevant information.

26. Visible Hotlines and Live Chats That Allow for Better Communication

Even if all product information, including the image, price, and description is already available on the website, some customers might still have other inquiries about your business or product. So it is important to always keep communication lines open between you and your customer. Otherwise, the visitor might move on to the next e-commerce site in search of answers to their queries.

Make the interaction easier by adding visible hotlines and live chat features on your website that are available 24/7. That kind of customer service will be appreciated by the visitors and will help convert them to paying customers.

All customers want is an easy, online shopping experience with a variety of available products at a reasonable price. If the eCommerce website doesn’t seem professional, secure, and convenient with least no. of clicks, you will observe high bounce rate or high cart-abandonment rate. With 26 eCommerce website tips and tricks explained above, you will observe a high conversion rate, which translates to high online sales.

If you are not sure that your eCommerce website is setup for success, we are happy to do a free audit and share a detailed report with our findings. Simply reach out to us at (437)223-1771 or

2 thoughts on “26 critical eCommerce Website strategies that can make or break your online business

  1. Hi Amir,
    The biggest challenge all small businesses face is how to grow their business by increasing sales/revenue. You can increase sales by promoting / marketing your products and services to your target market / ideal customers. There are many marketing tactics available, but the most effective ones are Digital Marketing techniques. I have explained it in more detail on my blog here:

    Hope it helps.

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