Are you thinking about opening your very own online store?
In this case, you should know that this is probably the best time to put theory into practice and invest time, money and energy in a project of this kind. An online store could give you the chance to supplement your income and become a respectable player on the e-commerce market.
Internet Retailer indicates that online businesses will continue to make a considerable profit over the next few years. As a matter of fact e-retail will represent a very lucrative sector, displaying significant increases in terms of both popularity and profitability. Online shoppers in the United States will spend $327 billion in 2016, up 45% from $226 billion this year and 62% from $202 billion in 2011, according to a projection released today by Forrester Research Inc. In 2016, e-retail will account for 9% of total retail sales, up from 7% in both 2012 and 2011, according to the report.
A timeline introduced by Statista clearly reflects the fact that online shopping is so much more than a trend. It has become a habit and at this point it is considered the most convenient method to purchase goods and services by a various categories of buyers. Statista reveals that “the number of online shoppers in the United States has increased since 2010. In 2010, 172.3 million U.S. citizens were online shoppers and had at least once browsed products, compared prices or bought merchandise online. That year, e-commerce sales in the United States amounted to 228 billion U.S. dollars.”
Creating and implementing a beautiful website to support your new, Internet-based business venture shouldn’t be a challenge. As a matter of fact, excellent designer advice can simplify your mission, enabling you to take pride in a beautiful, properly optimized, user-friendly online store in 3 simple steps:
First Step: Select and Customize a Template that Suits Your Online Store
This is a very important first step of your shop building process that requires all your attention. Most ecommerce platforms let you choose from a plentitude of appealing design templates created by respectable, well-known designers specialized in user-oriented web design. It is highly recommended to pick a template based on several factors, including the following:
The particularities of your niche
Your taste and personal preferences
The needs and expectations of your targeted audience
The type of products that you are planning to commercialize
After selecting a particular design theme that appeals to you the most, you can customize it as you see fit, by adding certain key elements, such as banners, logos or graphics to enhance the functionality of your website and give it a personal touch. After tweaking the design options, all you have to do is insert your web content and get ready to organize your products in an ideal manner.
Second Step: Insert Your Web Content and Highlight the Uniqueness of Your Products
According to the Economist, “Online commerce has grown at different rates in different countries, but everywhere it is gaining fast. In Britain, Germany and France 90% of the rather modest growth in retail sales expected between now and 2016 will be online, predicts AXA Real Estate, a property-management company.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that all Internet-based companies can and will bring a considerable profit in the long run.
However, recent statistics reflecting the increased popularity of online stores led us to believe that with the right tools and the most appropriate design and marketing strategies, success is just around the corner in this field of activity. After choosing the ideal storefront, the second step would be to insert your content and reflect the unique features and benefits of your products. To obtain excellent results, it is highly recommended to rely on the guidance of an experienced website designer with extensive designing experience.
Third Step: Make Sure Your Store Is User-friendly and Displays a Consistent Look
Consistency is the key to success in any field of activity. In this case, if you plan to launch an online store, it is always a great idea to discuss your options with an experienced website designer. Your main goal should be to come up with a fully-functional website that:
Displays a user-friendly, intuitive architecture.
Can be accessed by a wide range of clients using a great variety of gadgets (laptops, phones and tablets) to land on your website.
Displays a recognizable, consistent look.
The last aspect is particularly important; because a messy image will never help you promote your business and take it to the next level. Be very careful when it comes to selecting and implementing fonts, color schemes, graphics and several other major design elements that influence the look and feel of your website. To allow you to avoid common pitfalls and misguided decisions, some of the most respectable ecommerce platforms give you the chance to consult a team of experts (designers, programmers and marketers) to create, improve, launch and manage the perfect online store in a cost and time-effective manner. 24/7 customer support is a great advantage, simplifying your daily decision-making processes.
Examples of 10 most beautiful Online Stores
Since we’re among like-minded people here, we can admit that the Muppets poster on the homepage certainly temporarily distracted us from Blik’s design, but it wasn’t long before we were once again focused on the attractive layout.
Founded in 2002, Blik bills itself as the world’s first removable wall graphic company. The whimsical design of the site goes perfectly hand-in-hand with the cute, modern posters, and if you manage to close the site without buying at least one product – we’re impressed.
The Converse website is a perfect combination of interaction, design and stunning photography, and will probably end up keeping you busy far longer than you would expect it to.
Our favourite feature by far on the site is the ability to filter designs by colour, so each page becomes a beautifully colour-coordinated showcase of some pretty cool shoes.
Dakine is a store specializing in the skater, surfer, snowboarding world. With everything from clothing to tools to bags, there’s a lot of products featured on the site.
The homepage layout with a grid of active photos, along with a bold font pulls the viewer right in, makes navigating the site to your preferred products as easy as ever.
Of course Etsy is an an e-commerce site which needs no introduction.
What really stands out about the site’s design and layout is the way that editors painstakingly go through the thousands of daily submissions, and create a gorgeously colour-coordinated front page.
Its attention to detail coupled together with a clean and minimal design make it one of the prettiest online stores on the Web today.
You would only expect the best from an online design and art store and Hu2 definitely delivers.
The homepage features some of Hu2′s main collections, as well as some select t-shirts, stickers and posters. The London and Paris-based design agency is best known for its eco-decals that fit snuggly alongside electricity switches and outlets, as a beautifully designed reminder to conserve energy.
Mac Cosmetics is another online store which takes the full-screen approach to the design of its site, but opting for a darker colour scheme.
The black background, neon accents and borders, along with full screen photos of the products make it a joy to navigate the site.
What are you favourite, beautifully designed online stores? Let us know in the comments.
Pussies on Parade
Pussies on Parade is a little slice of heaven for Web designers and cat-lovers alike. Featuring the coolest little collection of kitty paraphernalia, the site is a one page grid of cards, posters, candles and more.
The hot pink accents and modern kitty logo give the page that little extra bit of kick that it needed to earn it a spot on this list.
Rice Bowls is an awesome organization with an awesomely cheery website which is only fitting for what they do. Order a rice-bowl for free, and use it to keep your spare change. Once it’s full, you can crack open the bowl, and send the equivalent amount via Paypal or by check. The money goes towards fighting hunger around the world.
The online store features some awesome t-shirts, and one t-shirt can provide 40 meals for an orphaned child. The site’s colourful design, touching photos and great graphics make it an easy choice for this list, and the fact that it’s all for a good cause, is the cherry on top.
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Swissmiss here at The Next Web, and by extension we love Tattly just as much. In keeping with Swissmiss blog design, Tattly is another easy-on-the eye, beautiful site, with clean and simple lines.
Of course the über cool removable tattoo designs that are featured on the site don’t hurt either. The available temporary tattoos will appeal to any geek, designer, or just about anyone who has a taste for something a little different and creative.
Clothing store Zara gives shoppers a beautiful full-screen experience which really lets the fashion photography on the site come to life.
The site does exactly what it aims to do – make viewers lust after Zara’s threads. The snowflakes fluttering across the screen accompanying the winter collection usually come across as pretty cheesy on most websites, but for some reason, it simply works here.
The full collection is featured in a simple, minimal grid, while each piece opens up in an individual full screen photo.