5 e-commerce design hacks from a pro.

Apr 30 2019 | By contributing author Mark Perini, founder and lead developer at ICEE Social

From my ten years of consulting on e-commerce optimization, I’ve learned that converting online shoppers into buyers is about pulling all the right levers.
Stick to the winning formula (a clean, consistent, and easy-to-navigate website that speaks to your brand mission) and watch your conversions go up. So without further ado, here are the five e-commerce fundamentals you can apply today to deliver on your business objectives.
  1. Decrease page load time.
According to Pingdom.com, the average load time for a webpage is 3.21 seconds.1 If you’ve already launched your site, measure your average page load time and attempt to get your site speed down to 3 seconds. With a lightning fast site you can be assured that you’re on the path to optimum conversions.
  1. Weave your brand identity into every part of your site’s DNA.
Convey your mission statement within the first five seconds of landing on your homepage. While you may have spent a great deal of time and effort making sure your homepage establishes your brand identity, each and every one of your pages should also include your unique brand message.  After all, any page on your site can be the point of entry for a consumer. For example, they could be landing directly on your product pages from a social media post or a third party blog.
The moral of the story: Don’t limit your storytelling to one particular page.
Just take a look at Project MQ, a 2019 PayPal Business Makeover Contest winner. Project MQ does a great job of conveying they’re in the video game industry with innovative, bold imagery. They convey their brand with banner imagery, color scheme, typography (which can have a deep psychological impact on your consumers’ perceptions), and their logo. Design, messaging, and mission should all be interconnected.

  1. Invest in high definition, professional grade product photography.

If my ten years of e-commerce experience taught me anything, it’s this:
People DO judge a book by its cover. When you’re competing with heavyweights like Amazon and Walmart, amateur photography won’t cut it. You need to invest in high definition, professional grade product photography. Your products need to make the first impression count, so make sure they shine. Rayburn Farms is a great example.  Their star product, ginger, practically jumps off the page.

Even if you don’t have the budget to hire a professional photographer, you can create the same imagery magic with a smart phone and a photography light box.

  1. Make sure a shopper is always two clicks away from converting.
Shoppers expect the path to checkout to be quick and seamless. Any lag, delays, or hiccups in checking out can result in cart abandonment and a less-than-stellar impression of your brand.
  1. Showcase your partnership with recognizable brands, especially at checkout.
Reliable, trustworthy brands like PayPal assure shoppers the checkout process is secure and protected. I often suggest to my clients they add a  PayPal Checkout button, so customers who are logged into their PayPal account can check out securely without needing to enter their billing and shipping details. This also has the added bonus of making checkout faster (especially on mobile devices). PayPal Checkout can help give peace-of-mind to both shopper and brand owner, while enhancing the user experience.
Here’s a bonus hint: When you’re finished with all these tips, take it one step further and survey your competitors' sites. Pretend you’re the buyer.  What are your competitors doing right? What can you offer that they can't? Take notes and incorporate what works into your site design. Focus on the customer’s journey without losing sight of their ultimate destination – checkout.  Remember, your goal is to design a site that converts. 
And future-proof your site. While the e-commerce landscape is ever-changing, one concept remains tried and true: Trust is everything. Consumers want to know the brand they’re interacting with aligns with their personal values and delivers high-quality product and consistent services. Once trust is established, you’ve got a customer for life.

About the author.

Mark Perini is the founder and lead developer at
ICEE Social, specializing in the development of Shopify E-Commerce Stores.  The best part of his job is helping businesses take an idea (whether it be fledgling or fully formed) and flesh it out to a flourishing online business venture.

About PayPal for small businesses. 
For nearly 20 years, PayPal is proud to be a partner and platform for over 21 million merchants as they launch, scale and grow. From access to fast funding to getting paid online, learn how our payment and credit solutions can also help your business.


1https://royal.pingdom.com/page-load-time-really-affect-bounce-rate/ Does Page Load Time Really Affect Bounce Rate?l, January 2018.
The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent business, tax, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.

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