Building the image of an eCommerce brand is one of the most important aspects of running a successful online business. You need a visual layout that not only offers customers a smooth shopping experience but will make an impression on them.
But just like everything in eCommerce, a site’s design needs regular attention and tweaking to ensure it’s reaching its full potential. Even then, every so often, there comes a time when an eCommerce site needs a total redesign to keep up with technology and the competition. If it’s been a few years since you’ve looked at how it all looks, then now is a good time to start.
If you’ve already built up an eCommerce site, then you will be acutely aware of how big a task this is. Hiring a competent agency with a demonstrated understanding of the platform you operate on is a great place to start. If you’re operating on BigCommerce or Magento, choose a BigCommerce or a Magento development agency.
That is because redesigns are not just about appearances. There are so many parts that need to come together to ensure a smooth upgrade.
Every component of a new layout needs A/B testing, content needs to be reviewed with SEO in mind, and the marketing team needs to be informed of how your new site will work, to name but a few.
The enormity of a complete redesign is so big it’s no wonder essential details are easily overlooked.
Here we will detail some things to be particularly careful about when conducting the much-needed refurb.
Key things to focus on during the redesign
1. Mobile-first design
Designing for desktop users has reigned supreme for as long as anyone can remember, but now mobile is king.
The upward trajectory of mCommerce was already staggering, but the pandemic has taken it to new heights. In 2019, 63% of all eCommerce traffic came from mobile users, which accounted for roughly 2.3 trillion dollars in sales. In 2020, mCommerce spoke for over $2.9 trillion in sales and north of 70% of traffic.
Simply put, if your site design is not well optimized for mobile phones and tablets, you’re missing out big time.
The demands of mobile users are changing. In the past, slower loading speeds, layout shifts, and jumbled-up contents were more tolerated as the technology was new and online shopping was primarily done on desktop computers.
But as the technology has improved, the time has come for eCommerce designs to move with it. Customers want the smoothest possible experience, so make sure all your pages are as well optimized as they can be to facilitate this.
Creating a good user experience for mobile browsers fulfills all the same objectives as traditional UX. Furthermore, mobile UX is a Google search ranking factor, so having it up to scratch will improve your SEO.
2. Selling is your focus, don’t forget
It’s easy to get bogged down in the aesthetics and visuals when planning a redesign. However, don’t forget that you’re running an eCommerce business, and the design needs to keep that in mind – you would be surprised how many people forget that.
This is the most fun part of redesigning, but unfortunately, it’s just a part of business, and the goal here is to improve your conversion rates and not create a work of art.
Your new design needs to represent all the characteristics of your brand whilst still clearly functioning as an eCommerce site. Videos, images, and interactive media are great and should definitely be included where appropriate, but ultimately every element should push towards the same goal. Images and videos need to answer as many potential customer questions as possible. Product descriptions need to be the same but remain clear, concise, and compelling. Your call to action buttons, especially your purchase-related ones, need to be easily identifiable and accessible. Your customers should be able to navigate your site like they’ve been coming there for years. Doing this properly is what makes or breaks a redesign.
Bottom line, a good designer is a UX & UI designer that works in a conversion rate optimization agency.
3. Redesigning can damage your SEO
SEO is not just about keywords. Multiple factors affect search rankings, such as loading speed, user experience, and content quality.
Redesigning an eCommerce site can have an impact on one or all of these things.
Consequently, this can deal a blow to your rankings. This is where you have to make a decision. SEO can be repaired, so if you’re willing to start again with a redesigned SEO strategy, that makes it less of a concern. However, SEO takes months to develop with no guarantee of enjoying the same success as before, so it’s a real risk going down this route.
Otherwise, the best practice would be to carefully consider how your new site design could damage your SEO and do your best to minimize it. Start by identifying what works on your current pages and think about how you can either keep it in place or gently alter it. Paying attention here and hiring an agency with a proven track record in this field could save you a mountain of trouble in the future.
4. Own the new look
Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want your revamped site to look like and don’t agree to things in the pre-design stage that you don’t like or that you know won’t work. Don’t agree with stock imagery.
Your redesign has to reflect the soul of your business and highlight what makes it unique. As the business owner, you are best placed to know how this can be achieved.
Furthermore, be aware that how things look in the early pre-design stages doesn’t necessarily reflect exactly what the page will look like upon launch. Make sure you choose an agency that takes the time to keep you up to date and asks you for feedback throughout the construction process and make sure the site they’re making for you is one that will sell.
5. Don’t forget about marketing your redesign
You’ve hired an excellent agency to help you with your redesign. In that case, you should feel pretty confident that all components have been appropriately A/B tested and that customer journeys have been considered.
However, people are instinctively resistant to change, especially when they hold loyalty to something. Things are no different in eCommerce. Your current customers will love your site just the way it is, and all the testing and UX developments in the world won’t convince some of them that change is needed.
As we’ve previously stated, there is much more to conducting a successful redesign than what we’ve mentioned here. But the sheer scale of the job means that many details can slip through the net. Bear these tips in mind, and life will be that much easier.
The best way to nip this in the bud is to prepare your audience for the change. An effective digital marketing campaign can do this for you. Tell your customers that something new is coming but only hint at what it is. This way, they are prepared, but you give yourself the chance to build excitement and generate traffic quickly after the launch.