eCommerce topped 1 trillion dollars in revenue for the first time in 2012, about 5% of that came in from Amazon. Last year, their eCommerce sales volume was 79.3 Billion dollars and that is in the US alone. How did they get that far ahead? We thought we’ll take a look at Amazon again, this time to see how their store design could influence their shoppers. Here’s what we found, 17 pointers you can use as inspiration for your store’s design.

  • Storefront selection: Relevance is key to success in most shopper interactions. Very often shoppers drop out because they are simply not interested in what they see. On Amazon every time you choose a specific department/storefront everything from that point on: search results, the suggestions etc… are relevant to that storefront.

  • Easy access to campaigns: Very often it’s quite hard to get a handle on all the deals or campaigns on an eCommerce store. Making it easier for shoppers to find them will result in more traffic to each campaign and increased conversion. In the image below all the deals of the day are put right on top so you don’t have to hunt for them. Clicking on the link takes to you a page that lists all upcoming deals as well.

  • Easy to navigate category structure: Restricting the category list to a small number of important, high level categories makes it easier for shoppers to consume that information. Sub categories can be shown only when needed.

  • Clear link to shopping cart: A clear link to a shopping cart makes it easier for shoppers when they want to buy a product.

Search and Product listings

  • Category specific search: Around 30% of the visitors on your store will interact with your site search, all the more reason for you to optimize your search. Allowing customers to choose which category/department they want to run searches in will help them find what they are looking for faster and minimize false positives.

  • Spot categories from search: The intent behind a search for “pearl jam” could just as easily be for T-shirts instead of Music cds. Sorting results by categories will help in this case.

  • Innovative search filters: When you have a lot of products some, filters can help shoppers spot what they need quick. Amazon has some very useful non-standard filters like style, seller, free shipping, international shipping etc…

  • Sorting product listings results: Human beings are probably* the only creatures that actively pick up on and follow trends. We often buy for irrational, social reasons. Useful sort features right on top of product listings, like “4star and up”, “New and Popular” etc… operate on this.

Checkout Stages

  • Distractions right when you need them: Shoppers often buy products impulsively. Amazon capitalizes on this by showing relevant product suggestions on the cart page, increasing the likelihood of shoppers adding something else to their cart before checkout.

  • Just the information you need in the checkout: Once the checkout stage begins the page is totally devoid of distractions of any kind. Just the information you need and little else.

  • Dropout prevention: Data from the Fireclick index indicates that over 65% of eCommerce shoppers abandon their cart. One of the more common reasons for dropouts at this stage is price. Sweetening the deal with any available discounts at this stage will help push shoppers toward a purchase. Amazon does this perfectly, anytime a shopper shows signs of abandoning or editing their cart, information on applicable discounts or financing options appear on top of the page.

Product Information

  • Product ratings: Showing product ratings right next to the products will show your shoppers you have nothing to hide and will help shoppers decide which one to pick, especially if you have a lot of similar products.

  • Stock information: Showing stock information can help create a sense of urgency and push shoppers to hit on that buy button. Amazon also indicates that more units are on the way. This will help reassure shoppers that they can still get what they need if if there’s a mad rush for it.

  • Quick view for reviews: Over 70% of consumers trust reviews more than ads. Making reviews easy to access will help increase trust. On Amazon moving the mouse over the ratings section on top opens a quick view panel for reviews. Similar reviews are also grouped so you can read more on what interests you. Besides, accessing reviews is very easy…it’s right there, just above the product price.

  • Extensive product information: Clear and detailed product descriptions go a long way in helping customers decide, especially if you operate in a speciality goods market.

  • Review comparison: They also compare the best reviews to the worst so a shopper can get both sides of the picture.

  • That extra touch: The review section on Amazon is quite extensive and has quite a few innovative features like “ask questions to customers?”.

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