Common design mistakes to avoid when creating an ecommerce website
local seo optimisation
by Rudi van der Westhuizen

In the world of ecommerce, your website is your storefront. It’s where potential customers come to browse, learn about your products, and make purchases. You pay a lot of attention in a store making sure that the layout is perfect and that the products are displayed in an appealing manner and you should do the same for your website. Your website’s design plays a critical role in your success as an ecommerce business. However, designing an effective ecommerce website is not easy, and there are many common design mistakes that can impact the user experience, and ultimately, your bottom line. 

Take note of the most common design mistakes to avoid when creating an ecommerce website.


  • Poor Navigation

Navigation is a critical component of any website, but it’s especially important for ecommerce sites, where customers need to be able to quickly and easily find the products they’re looking for. Good navigation should be intuitive, with categories and subcategories that are easy to understand, and with product pages that are easy to navigate.

One common mistake is to make the navigation too complex, with too many options or unclear labelling. This can make it difficult for customers to find what they’re looking for and can lead to frustration and ultimately, lost sales. Remember, a confused customer won’t make a purchase.

  • Cluttered Homepage

Who likes walking into a shop that is cluttered with old products, miscellaneous items and old flyers of the past promotions? NOBODY! The homepage of your ecommerce website is often the first impression that customers will have of your brand, and it’s important to make a good one. However, many ecommerce websites make the mistake of trying to cram too much information onto the homepage, which can lead to a cluttered and confusing design.

A cluttered homepage can make it difficult for customers to find what they’re looking for and can make it hard for your website to stand out from the competition. Instead, you should focus on a clean, simple design that highlights your most important products and features and that makes it easy for customers to navigate to the rest of your site.

  • Poor Mobile Optimisation

With more and more customers shopping on their mobile devices, it’s essential that your ecommerce website is optimised for mobile. This means using a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes and that provides a seamless user experience on both desktop and mobile devices.

Many ecommerce websites make the mistake of designing primarily for desktop users and neglecting the needs of mobile users. This can lead to a poor user experience on mobile devices, and can ultimately result in lost sales.

  • Lack of Search Functionality

Search functionality is essential for ecommerce websites, as it allows customers to quickly find the products they’re looking for. However, many ecommerce websites make the mistake of not providing a robust search function, or of making it difficult to find.

A good search function should be prominent on your website, easy to use, and should return accurate and relevant results. Make sure to include filters and sorting options that allow customers to refine their search and find the products that meet their specific needs.

  • Inconsistent Branding

Consistent branding is important for any business, but it’s especially important for ecommerce websites. Your website is an extension of your brand, and it should reflect the same values and messaging that you use in your other marketing channels.

Many ecommerce websites make the mistake of using inconsistent branding across different pages, or of using different fonts, colours, and styles that don’t align with the rest of the brand. This can lead to confusion and can make it difficult for customers to understand what your brand represents.

  • Poor Product Photography

In ecommerce, product photography is everything. Online shoppers aren’t able to feel and see the product in person, so you have to create an experience for them that is as close to the real thing as possible. The product photography is the main way that customers interact with your products, and it can make or break a sale. Many ecommerce websites make the mistake of using poor quality or low-resolution images, or of not providing enough images to help customers make an informed purchase decision.

Good product photography should be high-quality, with multiple images that show the product from different angles, and that provide detail on features, materials, and other important information.

  • Slow Load Times

In today’s fast-paced world, customers expect websites to load quickly. In fact, studies show that customers are more likely to abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Slow load times can be caused by a variety of factors, including large images, excessive scripts, and poor hosting.

To avoid slow load times, make sure to optimise your website for speed by using compressed images, minimising scripts, and using a reliable hosting provider. You can also use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to identify areas of your website that may be slowing it down and to make optimisations accordingly.

  • Poor Checkout Experience

The checkout process is where the rubber meets the road for ecommerce websites, and it’s important to make sure that the experience is seamless and intuitive. If your checkout process is complicated and confusing, you’ll have a lot of abandoned carts and lost sales.

To create a good checkout experience, make sure that the process is simple and straightforward, with minimal steps required to complete the purchase. Provide clear instructions at each stage of the checkout process, and make sure that customers can easily edit their cart or shipping information if needed.

  • Lack of Trust Signals

In ecommerce, trust is everything. Customers need to feel confident that their personal and financial information is secure, and that they can trust your brand to deliver quality products and services. Many ecommerce businesses make the mistake of not providing enough trust signals, which can make customers hesitant to make a purchase.

Trust signals can include things like customer reviews, security badges, and return policies. Make sure to prominently display these trust signals on your website, and to use them to build confidence and trust with your customers.

  • Ignoring User Testing

Finally, one of the most common design mistakes in ecommerce is simply ignoring user testing. User testing involves gathering feedback from customers about your website and using that feedback to improve the user experience.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming you know what your customers want, or of relying on intuition or best practices to guide their design decisions. User testing can provide valuable insights into what customers actually want and need, and can help you identify areas of your website that may be causing frustration or confusion.

Creating an effective ecommerce website is a challenging task, but by avoiding these common design mistakes, you can improve the user experience, build trust with your customers, and ultimately increase sales and revenue. Keep in mind that designing an ecommerce website is an ongoing process and that it’s important to continually test and refine your design to ensure that it meets the changing needs of your customers. Contact Media Matters to find out more about how to stay attuned to the needs of your customers and how to create a website that is both effective and profitable.

The Author

Rudi van der Westhuizen

Rudi also joined the MM family in 2021. His strengths lie in digital marketing with an emphasis on eCommerce, tech, SEO, search engine marketing and website development. With Brad, he runs his own agency in South Africa, while partnering with us to help support our own national and international clients. Rudi’s passion is new technology and getting excited around digital innovation and how it can help businesses to grow and thrive.
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