Top 6 Ecommerce Mobile App Design Tips for Improving Sales

Published: January 6, 2017

9 min read

Last updated: May 2, 2022

If you already have a Digital E-Commerce Product (like an app or a website, or even both), you definitely know that appropriate design and customer-centred UX means a lot to the success of your business. So this article will be the most relevant to you in the following cases:

  • You have an E-Commerce Mobile App or Website that was developed some time ago and now needs to be updated to meet the latest Design Trends in order to raise your Sales.
  • You already have an E-Commerce Business but now you decided to create an Application and want to make sure that it has a right and up-to-date mobile app interface design.

In this article, we’re going to give you 6 helpful eCommerce app design tips from our UX-wizards that will help you to increase your key business metrics: conversion, add-to-cart and other rates.

Let’s take a closer look!

👍 Tip # 1: Put All Key Elements in the Thumb-Friendly Zone

Appropriate placement of elements can encourage users to take specific actions or to complicate this journey for your audience. Therefore, check if all of your key elements are located in the thumb-friendly zone. What do we know about this element of the eCommerce mobile app design?

The Thumb-Friendly Zone is a space on the screen which a user can easily reach with his thumb while holding his smartphone with the same hand.

Since most people use their smartphones with the right hand, the thumb-friendly zone includes the lower left corner and the centre of the screen. Other elements can be placed anywhere on the screen except for the upper left and lower right corners. Take a look (you can also check it on your own smartphone):

Examples of a thumb-friendly zone

Examples of a thumb-friendly zone

The key idea here is simple as that: if people can’t easily reach something, many of them won’t even take an effort. So what buttons should definitely be within the mentioned zone?

  • Add to the cart from the product screen.
  • Proceed to the payment screen from the cart screen.
  • Pay at the payment screen.

By the way, the same rules apply to mobile-friendly websites.

📱 Tip # 2: The Three-Tap Rule

When designing an eCommerce mobile app or website, it’s important to keep its structure clear.

The Three-Tap Rule says: it should take no more than 3 taps from a user to get to any of the products he wants to buy.

To meet this requirement, you can arrange your products in the following order:

  1. Categories.
  2. Sub-categories.
  3. Products.

But also you can use tags to arrange products into specific categories, like “Christmas Sale”, “Gift for your Valentine” etc.

Of course, the search bar is also an essential element of the UX design for mobile apps and sites. It helps users to get directly to the Product they’ve been looking for.

Make sure your app has a clear structure

Make sure your app has a clear structure (image by JuneWong🐱)

If you want to provide even better functionality, think about the Smart Search. As users type in the first letters, a number of possible options and suggestions to choose from will be displayed. Thus, you will not only save users time and improve their Buyer Journey but will be able to show some hot picks up front.

The Three-Tap Rule can be easily transformed into a general eCommerce Mobile App Design concept for you: the fewer steps all processes (like browsing products, adding to the cart, paying) take, the better.

🔐 Tip # 3: Avoid Long Sign Up and Checkout Process

Generally, never ever ask your client to sign up before you really need their personal information for the checkout. And even when you ask him for his information during the checkout, try to keep it as simple as possible and ask only the information which you critically need, it should fit into the screen of his smartphone without scrolling. Period.

People find a long multi-page signup or checkout process boring. They just don’t have the patience for this, especially mobile app users. What’s the usual result? Correct - abandoned carts and your lost profit.

Social networks already have all the information about us. So why not consider them as tools? One click - and registration in the app through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram profile is complete! Your customers will appreciate saving their time.

An option of buying as a guest works great as well.

Using social media has an additional advantage. Your users might enjoy:

  • Sharing what they buy;
  • Looking at who else got this product;
  • Reading other people’s reviews.

Seeing that someone else, especially someone you know bought your product already increases the client’s commitment to purchase it.

Sign Up Process should be fast, simple and not mandatory

Sign Up Process should be fast, simple and not mandatory (image by Taè Prasongpongchai)

The same is true for the Checkout Process. You don’t want your users to leave your App with their carts full of your goods, do you?

To avoid this, you have to make the Checkout Process as smooth as glass. Talking more specifically, here are a few UX mobile app design tips to ensure flawlessness:

  • As it was said before, the buttons “pay” or “checkout” must be located in the thumb-friendly zone.
  • Allow users to easily modify the order (for example, change the number of products).
  • Use autofill fields. According to Salesforce, such a small change can result in 4.85% increase in conversion.
  • Implement error messaging (which tells them where they have made a mistake) so you don’t lose customers and their orders due to an accidental mistake.

📱 Tip # 4: Stick to the Minimalist Design

The simpler your interface is, the more likely it’s for your clients to find exactly the product they were looking for, so avoid UI-Junk.

While working on the eCommerce app UI design, think about your first-time users. Your app shouldn’t have complicated guidelines and instructions for use. Interfaces should be intuitively understandable, too.

Also, your app should look native. Consider that every mobile OS has its own style guidelines:

  • Material Design for Android;
  • Human Interface Guidelines for iOS

Moreover, it’s usually recommended to stick to minimalism when designing an eCommerce mobile app. What does it mean in practice?

  • Use simple color schemes.

The best solution is to go with a monochromatic or analogous scheme.

To get the monochromatic color scheme you need to modify the brightness and saturation of a single hue. It will provide you with several different colors that go together well and don’t overwhelm the eye.

A great example of minimalist design

A great example of minimalist design (image by MUSE )

The analogous scheme is based on using three neighboring on the color wheel. Such a scheme allows highlighting the most important data, leaving the mobile app interface design clear.

  • Use only one typeface.

Any professional mobile app design company will tell you that it’s not recommended to use more than 1 typeface in the application. Moreover, a safe bet would be to use the platform’s default font (San Francisco for iOS devices and Roboto/Noto for Android).

Of course, you can use typography as a powerful tool to guide users’ attention. For that purpose, we’d advice playing with size, style, and weight of the chosen typeface, instead of using another font.

  • Pay attention to spacing.

Lines and dividers are well-known tools for delineating different sections on a screen. However, every line makes your eCommerce app UI design look more cluttered up.

Instead, try using shadows, colors and spacing to define different sections in a non-obtrusive manner.

🖥 Tip # 5: All Eyes on Consistency

Keeping your Product consistent is one of the most common mobile app design tips. Actually, it’s one of the key principles of design.

To put it short, we can say that the eCommerce app UI design is consistent when similar elements behave and look the same way.

Consistency can be split into 3 parts:

  1. Visual consistency - buttons, typefaces, and color schemes should look the same.
  2. Functional consistency - interactive elements (like buttons or navigation elements) should work the same on different screens.
  3. External consistency - all your products (for example, a website, an Android application, and an iOS app) should share similar design patterns.

For instance, if a «Buy now» button is orange on one page, it should be orange on all other pages as well.

All "Add" buttons are green while categories are orange - a small example of what consistency may look like

All "Add" buttons are green while categories are orange - a small example of what consistency may look like (image by Omer Erdogan)

Applying principles of consistency to your products will provide your customers with remarkable benefits:

  • Consistency makes your app more predictable (in a good way!) to users. It means they won’t have to learn new ways to use your application or navigate within it. This will help make your audience feel happy, comfortable and motivated to remain engaged with your product.
  • Consistency creates a logical structure of your application and eliminates confusion. It also helps to prioritize content, highlight important visual elements to make the navigation more clear.
  • When users can easily manage what’s under their thumbs, it provides them with the sweet feeling of accomplishment. Naturally, it will evoke a positive emotional response and left them even more satisfied with your products.

If you’re wondering how to design a mobile app for improving sales, the key advice here is to perfect the navigation patterns. It can either create a natural flow for users so they make more purchases or confuse them and leave unsatisfied.

How to find out whether your navigation system is great?

The fastest way to check this is to look at your audience’s behavior: users should be able to explore your website or application intuitively and to complete all key tasks without any help or prior explanation.

So here are a few eCommerce app design tips regarding navigation!

  • Use standard elements.

It may be tempting to stand out and create something totally unique. Yet, the navigation patterns aren’t the best case to get the most out of your creativity.

You can create a better UX design for mobile apps with some standard navigation elements: like the tab bar for iOS and the navigation drawer for Android.

Make sure you have clear navigation patterns

Make sure you have clear navigation patterns (image by Sean Packard)

The same is true for gesture-based navigation. There are some well-known patterns that all modern users intuitively understand without any additional explanations. For example:

  • What gesture would you naturally use to zoom an image of a product? Tap or double tap, right?
  • What is the common way to go through a product page? By scrolling it down.

Using popular navigation patterns allows even your first-time users to successfully interact with the product as they’ve already done this before.

  • Make navigation visible.

When possible, don’t hide navigation options. For example, if it’s a side menu, users should clearly see how they can call it.

The same can be hardly imagined for gestures since it’s a classic example of hidden controls. This is another reason why it’s important to use standard or natural gestures within your application - otherwise, it negatively impacts the UX design of mobile apps.

Also, you can increase the visibility of some navigation elements (a menu button, for instance) by using different colors. Moreover, you can prioritize navigation options by using different colors (for example, to mark high-priority options with brighter hues).

💡 Takeaways

So it seems that we found the key ideas for eCommerce mobile app design. Let’s recall the main mobile app design tips highlighted in this article, which will help you to raise your Sales:

  • It should take no more than 3 taps/clicks from users to get to your products.
  • All the essential elements of your mobile app interface design (like “add to the cart” and “buy” buttons) should be placed in the thumb-friendly zone.
  • Sign Up and Checkout processes should be as short and fast as possible.
  • Stick to the minimalism when designing an eCommerce mobile app. Its key features are simple color schemes, default fonts and appropriate spacing.
  • Make sure your product meets all 3 types of consistency: visual, external and functional ones.
  • Pay attention to the navigation within the app. Users should be able to perform all the main actions (like sign up, take a look at the product, add it to the cart, buy it etc.) without any prior instructions and explanation.

Now you know how to design a mobile app for improving sales. We hope that these tips will come in handy!

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