I love designing online store layouts because they marry function with flair. Whenever I start a wireframe, I consider which tools my customer will need such as an overview of categories, featured collections, sales event art, and links to their loyalty program. Then, I layer design elements over these key sections to create a beautiful online store — starting with the homepage.
Online Store Layouts
Most online store layouts focus on four key areas. First, the homepage offers a first impression. Second, the “Shop All” or “Shop” page becomes a prime spot for customers to search your categories and view top products. Third, the actual product listings follow a flexible, eye-pleasing format. Finally, a resources section (often using a sticky post system) gives you a place to curate helpful, engaging content to keep your brand top-of-mind.
- Navigation: Limit your main navigation to 3-5 parent pages such as “Shop,” “About” and “Contact.” If you have resources like a blog, buyers guide, or care tips, find a way to next those together as well. Ideally, your subpages will fit naturally under a few obvious parent pages.
- Cart: Make sure your cart is easy to find in your header section. Customers will want to access it as they shop in your store.
- Social Media: Find a discrete and sensible place to link your social media accounts. Most shoppers will expect them at both the top and bottom of your website.
- Hero: Develop a hero that immediately sets a visual tone for your store. This key area should contain a call-to-action that pushes them to your main shopping page.
- Categories: Your categories should be in your main navigation, listed under the “Shop” parent page. Additionally, you should feature them in a block on your homepage.
- Featured Products: Keep your homepage fresh by adding a “featured products” section. These can be items on sale, new items, or your most popular items.
- Brands: If you retail well-known brands, be sure to include their logos on your homepage. Or if you have your own collections or branded products, list them instead.
- About Section: For customers who want to read more of your story, preview your brand with an “about” section. Then, include a link to your full story on an “About” page.
- Location: If you have a physical location, highlight that with an image and address on the homepage. This can add to the visual effect of your store by helping the customer imagine your mom-and-pop shop.
- Loyalty Program: If you offer a loyalty program, feature that on the homepage as well. Make it easy for the initial sign-up and then, push them through to a more robust form in a later email.
- Articles: If you offer resources, like a blog, include previews of the best posts on your homepage.
- Footer and Contact Information: Most brands repeat their store name and logo in the footer. They also offer click links to important customer service pages like “Shipping & Returns” and “Contact”. Website visitors also tend to check this area for contact information such as your store address, email address, hours, and location.
- Categories: Consider featuring your categories in a visual format on your main shop page. Then, link to the child pages accordingly.
- Tags: Use tags to help customers sort your products. Just be consistent in how you use them by keeping them organized in a spreadsheet.
- Search: Shop pages benefit from a search function, often in a sidebar.
- Featured Products: Featured products can sit below the categories to show customers the items you are trying to move.
- Upsell/Cross-sell: Breaking your products into collections can help you create items to upsell or cross-sell.
- Featured Image: This key image will be the first to appear as the page loads. It’s also the one that will generate as a preview when someone shares a link.
- Gallery: These supporting images allow customers to view different angles and options for your products. Consider leaving room for styled shots too.
- Short Description: Keep this to 3 sentences or less to introduce your customers to your product.
- Long Description: Divide this information into sections with bullets to help sell all the features of your item.
- Cross-Sell: Create an area to generate related products that a customer may want to purchase.
- Featured Content: At the top of your blog page, you can choose a few key stories to highlight. These can be evergreen, popular articles or seasonal posts.
- Search: Consider adding a search just for your resources. It helps people navigate to that content more quickly.
- News: A popular category for websites, news articles allow you to release updates about your store.
- Ideas & Inspiration: Customers enjoy hearing from experts and actual users on how to get the most out of products. Use these stories to keep your visitors engaged.
- Care & Cleaning: These tips are great for SEO. Listing tips to care for and clean your items will draw in potential customers who are already using similar products.
- Partnerships: If you have partnerships that generate content, use this area to feature their information. Sometimes, wholesalers even offer tools that your customers will enjoy using.
- Tutorials: Break up your customer’s frequently asked questions into tutorials. These can be videos or text with images.
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