As an ecommerce website development agency with over 10 years of experience, we have had our share of designing ecommerce websites. There are more than a few questions that need to be tackled along the way from what platform you need to seemingly mundane but important things like maintenance. In this post, we will guide you through the process of finding the best ecommerce website templates, a crucial step in establishing and expanding your online business.
1. What is an Ecommerce Website?
An ecommerce website is essentially an online portal that facilitates the buying and selling of goods and services through electronic means. It’s the digital storefront of a business, where transactions occur over the internet.
Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar shops, ecommerce websites allow businesses to operate without physical limitations, making products and services available to customers globally, 24/7.
These websites range from retail giants like Amazon to small, independent online shops. They include a variety of features to support ecommerce activities: product listings, shopping carts, order processing capabilities, and payment systems. The primary objective is to provide a convenient, accessible, and secure platform for consumers to purchase goods or services from the comfort of their homes or on the go.
Ecommerce websites have revolutionised the way we shop, offering unparalleled convenience, wider selections, and often, competitive pricing. They cater to almost every niche, from general merchandise and electronics to bespoke handmade goods and digital services.
2. How Ecommerce Website Templates Help Expand Your Business
Ecommerce website templates are pre-designed frameworks that help in setting up an online store efficiently and effectively. They serve as the backbone of an ecommerce site, providing essential structure and design elements. These templates are critical in expanding your business in several ways:
Time and Cost Efficiency:
Templates significantly reduce the time and cost involved in website development. Instead of building a website from scratch, templates offer a ready-to-use structure that you only need to customise to your needs.
Ecommerce templates are crafted by professional designers, ensuring your website has a sleek, modern look that appeals to customers. A well-designed site enhances user experience, which is crucial in retaining customers and encouraging repeat visits.
With the increasing use of mobile devices for online shopping, having a mobile-responsive design is imperative. Ecommerce site templates are generally optimized for various devices, ensuring your store is accessible and functional across all platforms.
Ecommerce website design templates come with essential built-in features such as shopping carts, payment gateways, and product display options. These features are integral to the functionality of an ecommerce site and can be complex to develop independently.
As your business grows, your website needs to adapt. Ecommerce designs are scalable, allowing you to add more products, categories, and features as your business expands.
Consistency in Branding:
A good template allows for customization to align with your brand’s identity. Consistent branding across your website helps in building trust and recognition with your customers.
3. Best Practices of Ecommerce Website Templates
When selecting an ecommerce website template, it’s crucial to focus on features that enhance user experience and facilitate business operations. Here are some of the key best practices to consider:
The template should be intuitive and easy to use for both customers and the business owner. A user-friendly design includes readable fonts, clear calls-to-action, and a clean layout. The easier it is for customers to navigate and interact with your website, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
Ease of Navigation:
A well-structured template with straightforward navigation is essential. It should feature a clear menu, logical categorisation of products, and an easy way to return to the homepage. Breadcrumbs, which show the path taken by the user, can also enhance navigability.
Ease of Search within the Website:
Implement a robust search functionality. The template should support search features like filters and auto-complete suggestions to help users quickly find what they are looking for. A good search tool can significantly enhance the shopping experience and reduce bounce rates.
The product pages are where customers make their buying decisions. They should be designed to showcase products effectively with options for multiple images, zoom-in capabilities, and varied angles. Pricing, availability, and key features should be prominently displayed.
High-quality images are critical. Choose a template that supports high-resolution images and allows for multiple photos per product. Images should load quickly and be optimised for both desktop and mobile views.
Detailed and accurate product descriptions help in informing the customer and boosting SEO. The template should provide ample space for descriptive text and specifications, enabling you to add value through useful information and storytelling.
Opt for a template with a user-friendly shopping cart. Features like the ability to easily add or remove items, see a running total, and preview shipping costs can enhance the user experience. The shopping cart should be easily accessible from all pages. An icon at the top right of your screen as you see on larger online stores always helps.
Fast and Short Buying Process:
The checkout process should be streamlined and straightforward. A lengthy or complicated checkout can lead to cart abandonment. Features like guest checkout, saved user information for repeat customers, and clear progress indicators are beneficial.
Minimal On-Site Ads and Pop-Ups:
While some advertising and promotional pop-ups can be effective, they should be used sparingly. Excessive pop-ups can be intrusive and negatively impact the user experience. Ensure your template allows for controlled and strategic use of these elements.
By adhering to these best practices in ecommerce website templates, you can create a shopping environment that is not only aesthetically pleasing and reflective of your brand but also optimised for customer satisfaction and conversion. Remember, the ultimate goal of your ecommerce site is to facilitate a seamless, enjoyable shopping experience that encourages repeat business and customer loyalty.
Let’s now look at the two most common platforms used to easily create an online store, and also at custom ecommerce website design.
4. The Advantages of WordPress Ecommerce Website Templates
WordPress Ecommerce Website Templates are renowned for their flexibility and wide range of plugins, and offer several advantages:
- Versatility: WordPress templates can be used for a variety of ecommerce stores, from small boutique shops to large, multi-product sites.
- Customization: With access to a vast array of themes and plugins, you can customize almost every aspect of your store to match your brand identity.
- SEO-Friendly: WordPress is known for its SEO capabilities, giving you a better chance at ranking higher in search engine results.
- Community Support: A large community of developers and users means ample support and resources for troubleshooting or improving your site.
- Integration Options: Easily integrate with numerous third-party tools and services, from payment gateways to CRM software.
5. The Advantages of Shopify Ecommerce Website Templates
Shopify is a dedicated ecommerce platform that offers specific benefits for online stores:
- Ecommerce Specialization: Shopify templates are specifically designed for online retail, ensuring that every element of the template is optimized for selling.
- User-Friendly Interface: Known for its ease of use, Shopify is ideal for those who are new to ecommerce.
- Built-In Tools: Comes with a range of built-in tools for things like payments, inventory management, and shipping, simplifying the process of running an online store.
- Reliability and Security: Provides robust security measures and reliable hosting, ensuring that your store is safe and always running.
- Mobile Optimization: Shopify themes are generally well-optimized for mobile, a critical factor given the increasing prevalence of mobile shopping.
6. The Advantages of Custom Ecommerce Website Design
Opting for a custom ecommerce website design offers distinct advantages, particularly for businesses with specific needs:
- Tailored Solution: A custom design means that every element of your website can be crafted to meet your exact requirements.
- Brand Identity: Offers the opportunity to create a unique online presence that stands out from competitors and aligns closely with your brand identity.
- Scalability: Custom websites can be built with scalability in mind, allowing for easier expansion and addition of features as your business grows.
- Optimized Performance: By avoiding unnecessary bloat and focusing on what you need, a custom website can offer superior performance and speed.
- Flexibility: Allows for more flexibility in terms of integrations and functionality, as you’re not limited by the constraints of a pre-built template.
Summary of Which Platform is Better
In each of these options, there are unique benefits to consider. WordPress offers low cost, flexibility and control, Shopify provides ease and specialisation, and custom designs deliver uniqueness and scalability. Your choice will depend on your specific business needs, technical expertise, and long-term ecommerce goals. We explore some of the important aspects you should consider in the next two sections.
7. WordPress, Shopify or Custom Design: Which One Should You Choose?
Choosing between WordPress, Shopify, or a custom design for your ecommerce site depends on various factors. Here’s a breakdown of their differences across seven parameters:
- WordPress: Often seen as the most cost-effective website design tool, especially if you opt for free plugins and themes. However, costs can rise with premium themes, plugins, and hosting services.
- Shopify: Offers a range of pricing plans, but each comes with a monthly fee. The cost can increase with the addition of paid apps and higher-tier plans.
- Custom Design: Generally the most expensive option due to the bespoke development work. The initial investment is higher, but it can be cost-effective in the long run for large-scale businesses.
Ease of Management:
- WordPress: Requires some technical know-how, especially for updates, backups, and security management. The use of various plugins can make the management slightly complex.
- Shopify: Known for its user-friendly interface, it’s easier to manage on a day-to-day basis, even for those with limited technical skills.
- Custom Design: The ease of management depends on how the site is built. Custom sites can be tailored to your team’s capabilities but might require technical assistance for maintenance.
- WordPress: Excellent for SEO due to its flexibility in optimization and the availability of powerful SEO plugins.
- Shopify: Offers decent SEO capabilities but can be limited compared to the flexibility WordPress provides.
- Custom Design: SEO-friendliness is entirely in your hands. It can be highly optimized if built correctly, but this requires SEO expertise during the design and development process.
Size of Online Store:
- WordPress: Suitable for both small to medium-sized stores, especially with WooCommerce. However, it might become less efficient for very large stores such as those with 500+ products.
- Shopify: Ideal for stores of all sizes, with robust features to support large-scale ecommerce operations.
- Custom Design: Can be built to handle any size, tailored specifically to the scale of your operations.
- WordPress: Can be optimized for fast loading, but this depends heavily on the chosen theme, plugins, and hosting. Not many developers or marketplaces will focus on optimising your site for speed like ClickBiz.
- Shopify: Generally offers good loading times, as Shopify hosts the websites and optimizes their performance. Higher plans are better than the lower ones.
- Custom Design: Offers the potential for the best loading times, as every element can be optimized for performance.
- WordPress: High degree of customization is possible with a wide array of themes and plugins.
- Shopify: Customization is somewhat limited compared to WordPress, especially on lower-tier plans.
- Custom Design: Offers the highest level of customization, as every aspect of the site can be tailored to your specific needs.
Ability to Find Developers:
- WordPress: Finding developers is relatively easy, given its popularity and large community.
- Shopify: A growing number of developers specialize in Shopify, but the pool is smaller than WordPress.
- Custom Design: Finding the right developer can be challenging and potentially more expensive, depending on your requirements.
8. How to Decide Which Ecommerce Website Template
Deciding on the right ecommerce website template is a significant decision that can impact your online business success. Here are steps to guide you in making an informed choice:
Assess Your Business Needs:
Begin by understanding your specific business requirements. Consider the size of your product catalogue, the functionalities you need (like sizes, colours, customization options), and any specific industry requirements (like age verification for certain products).
Consider Your Brand Identity:
Choose a template that aligns with your brand’s visual identity and values. The design should resonate with your target audience and reinforce your brand message.
Factor in your budget. While free templates are cost-effective, they will lack certain functionalities. Premium templates often offer more features and support but come at a price. A good balance is choosing ClickBiz ecommerce websites. Fully complete websites with free hosting, domain and annual maintenance come for $250.
Evaluate the level of technical skill required to customize and manage the website. If you lack technical expertise, opt for a user-friendly platform like Shopify.
Think about how much customization you will need. Some templates offer extensive customization, while others are more rigid. Ensure the template can accommodate your desired level of customization.
SEO and Mobile Optimization:
Ensure the template is SEO-friendly and mobile-optimized. This is crucial for attracting and retaining customers in today’s mobile-first world.
Consider the template’s scalability. As your business grows, your website should be able to grow with it, accommodating more products, traffic, and transactions without performance issues.
Read Reviews and Check Ratings:
Look for reviews and ratings of the template by other users. This can provide valuable insights into its performance and ease of use.
Test the Template:
If possible, test the template before committing. Many platforms offer a trial period where you can explore the template’s functionalities and ease of use.
Choosing the right ecommerce website template is a critical step in building a successful online store. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about finding a balance between functionality, user experience, brand alignment, and technical requirements. Whether you choose a WordPress, Shopify, or custom design, ensure that the template aligns with your business goals, budget, and capabilities.
It is good to remember that your website is often the first point of contact with potential customers. A well-chosen ecommerce design template can not only make a lasting impression but also facilitate a smooth shopping experience, leading to higher customer satisfaction and increased sales. Take the time to research, evaluate, and test different options before making your final decision. With the right ecommerce website template, you can build a strong online presence and propel your business towards sustained growth and success.