Did you know that 7 out of 10 online businesses redesign their websites every 3 years? As a result, market leaders, websites at the TOP of search results, and popular resources are constantly changing. Moreover, some merchants are ready to redo the design immediately after the protracted release of the project.
What does this mean? At least there are objective reasons for introducing a redesign and functional changes on the site, and that the design trends are constantly changing.
Redesigning a site involves changing the external components of the website or its individual elements. These changes themselves can affect not only the way how elements are displayed but also their order, as well as the entire structure of the page as a whole.
In this article, I’d like to discuss the objective reasons and signals that indicate the need for new functionality or design of your e-commerce website.
#1 The Current Design is Outdated
Yes, the design can become outdated. Since the e-commerce website design trends are constantly changing, you should constantly keep abreast of the state of your current design. To prevent it from being outdated, you need to update it. Doing it once every 3 years will be a good choice.
Why does design become obsolete?
Trends are updated annually, and your site must keep up with the times. It’s not about fancy elements or gradients all over the website – everything is far more simple. Requirements and best practices for page design are changing, and users are getting used to a certain arrangement of elements and navigation.
Here is a bright example of how an outdated design might look like in 2021.
It’s not always easy to explain why a site looks archaic, but most users quickly grasp the “ancient” design. An overloaded structure, a distracting background, unreadable fonts, a lot of text, the use of small poor-quality images, and unpopular colors – all these factors are distracting users. They don’t make them want to buy from your store.
Most visitors will initially rate the credibility of your business based solely on its design and content.
#2 Decreased Conversions and Other Vital KPIs
Have you noticed the site is selling worse? The traffic is the same, or maybe even growing, but there are fewer conversions. Or course, this might be a seasonality, which is easy to check using analytics data.
But if the seasonality has nothing to do with it, and users spend less time on site and view fewer pages – it’s time to revise the content and usability.
A drop in conversions means fewer and fewer visitors are interested in what you offer or how you do this. Therefore, the arguments in favor of your company are no longer valid. On the one hand, this may indicate competitors’ activity; conversely, it is necessary to assess the internal factors.
For example, you inform your users about free shipping, while you might also mention how fast the customers will receive their orders. Or a price in the upper market limits and requires argumentation (e.g., extended warranty, original product, unique production, limited edition, etc.). You rely on the strength of the brand and the established beliefs of your audience about the reliability of your e-commerce store.
The redesign will highlight the benefits of your store to customers. This problem is especially acute in products of emotional demand, where the demand depends on how well your products can solve the pain of the customers. Instead of 1 product page design, you can design several different ones and run A/B tests for different audiences.
The content changes depending on the specific audience and their needs. Thus, the design change allows you to analyze the results, keeping an eye on the change in the number of conversions.
#3 Competitors’ Websites Look Much Better Than Yours
There is no business without competition. Your e-commerce store is constantly compared to other businesses operating in the same niche. You need to work out the competitive advantages of your offer and make sure that you are noticed and remembered.
Today, numerous aggregators allow you to compare product prices offered by different vendors in a couple of clicks. Even without these aggregators, potential customers can easily compare the prices. Of course, price is an important factor, however, far not the only one. There is content and pages usability which play a much more important role in the customers’ decision-making process.
Try to use one of those aggregators and see the offers of your competitors. Most often, the price ranges are quite significant! But all stores represented there regardless of their prices gain visits and sell products. The point here is how they highlight their offers and convince visitors that their offer is more beneficial than the competitor’s one.
To see this in more detail, visit the competitor’s website and see whether you:
- Notice that the website is more visually attractive
- Find any good ideas or features that would be nice to implement on your site
- Spend there 10+ minutes exploring the content
- Use it as an example for your employees or developers
If you can answer “Yes” to some of those points, this means that the time for a change has come, and you should start the renovation process of your online store.
#4 The Store is Not Device-Friendly
The share of mobile traffic now exceeds the desktop one, especially when we talk about e-commerce traffic. The age of design is inseparable from its responsiveness. So the next thing you should do is check your website for mobile adaptivity. The older the site, the more chances are that it does not have an optimized mobile version.
If your website now looks something like the one on the screenshot below, this means it’s not device-friendly.
Websites that are not optimized for mobile lose significant amounts of traffic. To fix this issue, you might want to implement one of the following tactics used to make your website more adaptive:
- Shrinking the page width to fit the device’s resolution
- Responsive design
- A separate version of the website design created specifically for mobile devices
About 94% of sites are now being developed adaptive for different screen resolutions. The remaining 6% choose to design and develop a separate version for mobile. This is because the quality of the adaptive design does not differ significantly from the separate mobile version. Still, at the same time, it requires much less time for development, which also affects the final cost of the project.
A separate mobile version is required to make significant changes in the website structure or page layout. Therefore, if your website looks crooked on the mobile screen, it’s time to think about changes and implement them according to the e-commerce website development steps and trends in 2021.
#5 Business Expansion
Any business, sooner or later, faces changes. For example, e-commerce stores may add new products or a whole line of new products or services. Such changes often require a revision of the concept and presentation format.
The current functionality allows you to inform your customers about these changes. However, this solution is not always the best one for several reasons:
- Adding new dropdowns to the header or links to the footer often leads to layout distortion.
- The structure of the homepage does not allow posting additional information. Therefore, users landing here can hardly find these notifications and leave the website.
- The ability to present and describe new products and services will be limited. The info posted in the blog gets lost in the news feed, and old product templates might not meet the requirements for presenting your new services or products.
Thus, when trying to add new pages to the current site design, you should expect the modest presentation of the services, which, more of that, might not be noticed by your users. However, to successfully expand your business, you need to highlight every novelty and make it obvious for every new website visitor and your loyal customers.
#6 Slow Website Speed
Slow loading pages kill conversion. If your site is slow, its redesign will allow you to revise the layout and optimize its desktop. According to the best practices, mobile versions renovate the content and use technologies helping your website pages load faster.
Of course, sometimes compressing images and tuning the server can help to improve the website speed significantly. But if these actions haven’t brought you the desired result, you should start solving problems more globally.
#7 Complicated Navigation
There is a rule: any page on a website should be available within three clicks. However, can you imagine an online store with dozens of categories offering thousands of products from hundreds of different brands without proper product filtering and clear navigation? In this case, users will never be happy to find the needed product in three clicks or less.
That’s why an e-commerce website navigation should be natively clear so that you won’t have to teach your potential customers how they can find the needed product, place an order or proceed to checkout.
Navigation issues often arise if:
- Your business has grown since the last update of the design, and the initial structure of the catalog does not fit the new number of categories.
- When building the e-commerce website structure, you added unnecessary sections, features, content blocks.
- You noticed that the customers get lost in your store structure, the bounce rate is increasing, and the conversion rate has dropped.
Sometimes by finding and removing the excessive functionality and pages, merchants see an impressive improvement in the customer experience and growth in sales.
There are objective and subjective reasons for the website redesign. If you decide to redesign the entire website or its separate elements, keep in mind that these changes can cover not just the visual part of the store but also its functionality. For example, swapping content blocks, changing the size and color of the buttons, and adding more information to the checkout page is considered a redesign. But as soon as you want to add a custom field for promo codes, it will pull along the need to change some backend functionality.
If your website falls under at least one of the named reasons for the redesign, it is worth considering. Found a match for two or more points? Then, start planning a redesign project for your e-commerce store. Hopefully, you don’t want to share your customers with your competitors.
Olha is a Content Manager and SEO Analyst at Whidegroup. Starting as a Content Writer for software and web development topics in 2011, Olha has always been guided by a desire to thoroughly inspect every field of study before writing a single word. She found her passion in e-commerce and delighted in expanding her expertise in web development, analytics, and SEO for small to medium e-commerce businesses.