eCommerce Website Design Principles and 6 Beautiful Designs

ecommerce website design

What Is eCommerce Website Design?

eCommerce websites allow retailers to sell products online, and enable consumers to browse, evaluate, and purchase products from the comfort of their home.

Web design is crucial when creating a successful eCommerce website. eCommerce web design aims to encourage visitors to make purchases using the correct colors, fonts, images, text, and graphics.

An eCommerce website should be user-friendly, making it easy for users to navigate and find the products they are after. It should establish trust and create a strong brand identity. Finally, it should be optimized for conversion, encouraging users to make a purchase, register for the site, and return for additional purchases.

This is part of our series of articles about eCommerce platforms.

In this article:

eCommerce Website Design Principles

To optimize revenue, bear in mind the following nine principles while designing your eCommerce website.


eCommerce sites must be easy to navigate. One way to accomplish that is to group your products under specific categories with a menu at the top that shows all those categories.

Brand Identity

Ensure that your brand is prominently displayed throughout the website. Choose colors that reflect the brand and set a clear style representing your products. To foster a strong brand-customer relationship, ensure that the brand experience is consistent across all channels, whether online, in-store, or mobile.

Trust and Security

Design a site that shoppers can trust because privacy is paramount, i.e., ensure that transactions are secure and that personal data is protected. If shoppers feel your site is not trustworthy, they will shop elsewhere. Also, your payment gateway directly affects revenue; ensure that it’s safe and secure.


A clearly visible search field must be within reach at all times. That way, your visitors can quickly find what they’re looking for without having to navigate multiple times. This feature is particularly attractive to those who already know what products they are interested in.

Product Descriptions

Product descriptions on your site are crucial and can greatly influence purchasing decisions. The more alluring the fonts, the descriptions, the images, and the videos are, the better visitors can relate to their buying needs. Even though product descriptions are not part of the design, paying attention to them can definitely increase your ROI in the long run.

Minimalistic Approach

Typically, eCommerce sites carry a lot of content and visitors must plow through numerous products and related information to pinpoint what they are after. A fancy design would only complicate the picture.

Therefore, opt for a minimalistic design with neutral colors, such as a white background. Minimalism is not simplism, however; your website must still reflect professionalism and polish in brand and design.

Calls to Action

Given that the ultimate goal of your site is to attract customers and generate revenue, calls to action play a vital role there. Make the CTAs as short and clear as possible to align with your visitors’ behavior, some of whom are probably browsing and making purchase decisions quickly.

Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are one of the first things people look at before deciding whether to buy a product. Ensure that the reviews on your products are easy to find and follow. Since people spend a lot of time reading them, make that an enjoyable thing to do, for example, by featuring starred ratings, displaying reviews in an easily readable font, and presenting an average score for the products.

Optimization for Mobile

The mobile version of eCommerce sites must have the same effect on visitors as their desktop version. However, given the smaller screen size on mobile, it’s challenging to bring over the same look and feel and messaging from desktop to mobile and to keep visitors interested and aware of all the purchase options. So, be sure to give your mobile eCommerce site ample attention and adjust its design for usability.

Learn about additional considerations in our detailed guide to eCommerce design

eCommerce UI Design Tips

Here are some tips to help you improve the user interface design for your eCommerce websites:

  • Use visual hierarchy -ensure the most important content appears above the fold, especially on mobile devices. You might need to cut down on white space to fit more items above the fold rather than placing them below.
  • Avoid over-designing the page—don’t use too many font sizes, colors, and formats. If the text is too visually complex, it can be overwhelming or look like an advertisement. Ensuring a sharp contrast between the text and the background is important to ensure the content is clear.
  • Use recognized symbols—avoid using unknown symbols or icons that might confuse visitors. Using familiar symbols keeps your messaging clear. You can further reduce confusion by labeling your icons.
  • Avoid pop-up windows—pop-ups distract and annoy website viewers, increasing the risk of shoppers dismissing the window. If a pop-up contains useful info, visitors might instinctively close the window and struggle to find it again.

When designing your eCommerce website, make navigation as easy as possible. You can achieve this by including the following elements:

  • Clear product categories—the top navigation level should display the site’s categories. Make sure you place products in logical categories with clear, preferably single-word labels to let visitors browse items easily. Conduct user tests to fine-tune your site’s navigation and ensure a positive user experience.
  • Product search—provide an option for visitors to search for specific products they might miss in the catalog. This search function helps shoppers find items and increases the likelihood of a purchase.
  • Filters—provide filtering options to help visitors narrow their search and choose from the most relevant products. Filters save time and improve the UX.
  • Quick product views—quick views of products reduce the time it takes for a shopper to learn about relevant products without loading unnecessary pages.
  • Special offers—many shoppers look for discounts and special offers. Providing exclusive offers can help attract visitors, especially if they are highly visible. Small discounts can have a significant psychological impact and convey the sense that the buyer is getting a good deal.

6 Examples of Effective eCommerce Design

Let’s have a look at several inspiring eCommerce sites with an excellent design.


Dress Up sells women’s clothing online. The site highlights new arrivals, on-sale items, and seasonal promotions in large-font, boldfaced text. Also available is a “Chat with us” feature, which is a rare option for an eCommerce clothing store.

Hebe stands out through its superb photography, an especially important component for online clothing stores. The extra-thick font props up the design even more.

Visitors to Bohemian Traders can easily navigate by category: latest arrivals, occasions, accessories, or on-sale items.

Health and Beauty

Bliss gives off a cheerful feeling with bright colors. The photography is stellar, for example, the large photos on the homepage set the tone for the rest of the design.

Esquido is especially helpful if you’re looking for ideas on how to photograph makeup or beauty products for your eCommerce site. Besides offering a clear branding of its main product, eyelashes, the Esquido site is full of close-up photos of the product and its intricate packaging.

Sports and Fitness

Rusty Surfboards offers a consistent branding experience through outstanding photography and bold messaging. It’s an extremely well-designed site.


eCommerce Website Design with Cloudinary

Images and videos in the e-commerce arena aim at telling persuasive stories pictorially, highlighting product or service features and engaging with potential buyers. Effective visual stories play a major role in positively steering purchase decisions. With Cloudinary, you can display highly performant webpages, win visitor conversions, and accelerate launches.

Cloudinary enables e-commerce businesses to accomplish the following with ease and confidence:

  • Proceed from photoshoot to web in minutes.
  • Optimize experiences to boost visitor conversions.
  • Bring products to life with video.
  • Maintain a single source of truth for media assets.
  • Run efficient marketing campaigns the visual way.

Cloudinary offers seamless eCommerce integrations so that you can leverage its capabilities within platforms like Adobe Creative Cloud, CoreMedia, Contentful, Ibexa, Magento Commerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Shopify, WordPress, and Zapier.

Get a free Cloudinary account and take eCommerce images and video to the next level.

Important: As of 15/12/2023, the Cloudinary app for Shopify will no longer be supported and no new functionality or fixes will be provided. However, those already using the existing app can continue to use it AS IS. You can also submit a request if you’d like to try out this “AS IS” app.

Last updated: Mar 13, 2024