With plenty of useful free tools for the web designer’s toolbox, it gets you wondering: What about those web designers who are focused on building ecommerce stores?
An ecommerce website is far from simple, and it requires tools and design tactics that you generally wouldn’t need when creating a standard website. From shopping cart plugins to drag and drop ecommerce site builders, the options are endless when it comes to handy ecommerce creation tools.
That’s why we put together a list for you to print out or bookmark for your next ecommerce store install. Let’s take a look.
In terms of tools for designing ecommerce websites, you’ll want to ensure that the site has a nicely designed shopping cart and checkout. If you plan on building the website on WordPress, we recommend using the WooCommerce plugin. It’s a beautiful option that installs just like any other plugin, allowing for product uploads, digital sales, lots of integrations and more. The cool part is that plenty of WordPress theme developers create themes that work perfectly with WooCommerce.
An essential part of ecommerce customer service is an online chat module. There’s really no reason to design your own, so we recommend going with a tool like Zopim, which has various features for chatting with customers from multiple devices, seeing which customers are on your site and being able to cut in on their shopping process to help them out. Zopim integrates well with most ecommerce platforms.
Once you’ve implemented your shopping cart, you need a payment gateway, and none of them are better than Authorize.net. The company offers reasonable rates and the ability to accept payments everywhere. This comes in handy if you run a brick and mortar store along with your online shop, or if you provide services where you may have to accept payments through a mobile device.
When designing graphics for your ecommerce store, you want to make sure that they look professional. Canva provides a wonderful solution for quickly designing images for anything from presentations to blog posts. This works particularly well for ecommerce stores since you can make product images and promotional banners without spending much money or time.
If you don’t want to go with a more advanced system like WordPress or Magento, Shopify has the full package when it comes to designing your ecommerce site and selling items online. You basically just sign up for an account, choose a theme and start uploading your products. Various design options are available and you can always punch in your own CSS and HTML to customize the store.
Product videos are necessary for boosting sales through an online store, and Videolicious is a handy tool that helps you make short videos from your iPhone. With just a few steps you can create a tutorial on how to use your products or even just talk about product features.
At some point you’ll need images to round out the visual aspect of your online store. If you’d prefer not to spend lots of money on these images, the Flickr Creative Commons database is filled with photos that you can use in your designs or in blog posts you create to boost your search engine rankings. The only downside is that you generally have to credit the photographer, which may not work for some of your designs.
One element that often goes forgotten in an ecommerce website design is an area to accumulate feedback from customers. Luckily, SurveyMonkey has you covered in terms of designing, building and posting your own surveys. Each survey you make has embeddable code for you to quickly place it on your website.
Visually has a variety of tools and services for designing visual content, but we like it best for generating infographics. This ties into the blog that you should have on your ecommerce store, since you can quickly build infographics that examine trends or stats in your industry. This type of content is known to get shared quite a bit online, improving your content offerings and helping you move up in the search engines.
The AddShoppers tool is a must have for any ecommerce website designer, since it provides social tools for boosting your online presence. For example, AddShoppers offers sharing buttons that get implemented directly on your site, and you can implement a social login to make it a little easier for people to get onto your site. The tool also provides a handy social rewards program that you can try out for rewarding your most loyal customers. Along with a trending wall, social analytics, behavioral targeting and Facebook retargeting, you can’t go wrong with this one.
If you plan on selling digital products through your online store, the Easy Digital Downloads tool helps with providing a sleek checkout process, discount codes, data exports, dozens of extensions and support for several payment gateways.
The Launchrock company is all about offering a site builder for making free and beautiful landing pages. This is more of a tool that would help complement your ecommerce site, since it’s for making landing pages that you might utilize for individual products. All the designs are completely responsive, and the beautiful templates are easily implemented for your own use.
Although this isn’t exactly a tool you would use to design your ecommerce store, analytics are important for evaluating how your designs work and to see whether or not people are responding well to the way you setup your ecommerce shop. Use Google Analytics to review where your traffic is coming from and to see if your sales funnels are working as they should.
Author bio: Catalin is the founder of Inspired Magazine, a daily blog about everything design & development. He’s a big fan of hot jazz and hot soup.