Finding a great website designer for an e-commerce store can be a bit of a challenge. An aesthetically-pleasing design is important for online stores, but there’s a lot more you have to consider when it comes to e-commerce design over other types of websites.
Customers come to your store looking for products that will satisfy their wants and solve their problems. To cater to your customers’ motivations for visiting your site, your store’s layout and design needs to create a user experience that makes searching for products a breeze. A positive user experience leads to happier customers and more sales. All too often, though, design elements that create friction lead to abandoned carts and fleeing customers.
This means that you don’t want to just hire any designer you can find. Even if it ends up being pricier than the alternatives, you need to find someone who’s proficient in e-commerce design and can help you create a beautiful and functional sales funnel that captures your audience and effortlessly guides them to checkout.
Here are some of the best ways to find expert designers for your online store.
1. Ask Your Network
Whenever you need a reliable designer, your first step should be to ask the people you know. Put out a call to the business owners, professionals, and influencers you’re connected to, which includes those within your LinkedIn network. Let them know specifically what you’re looking for.
Some connections might return with some recommendations for designers who can handle your e-commerce project. These are likely some of the most trustworthy recommendations you’ll receive, since most professionals want to avoid making bad referrals and then have it reflect poorly on them.
Prioritize recommendations from people who have actually worked with the designer and have first-hand knowledge of the experience. This way, you can ask them questions and get some honest feedback. It’s probably best to avoid friend and family referrals unless the designer has a strong portfolio.
2. Check with Other Store Owners
If you’re prepping to launch your store or considering a redesign, then you’ve probably been checking out other e-commerce stores to see the layout of their sites and carts. When you spot one that you really like, reach out to the owner of that site or business.
Let them know you’re working on your own online store and you’re struggling to find a good designer. Compliment their site and ask them if they wouldn’t mind sharing the name of the person or agency who handled their design. Alternatively, you could check the footer of the site. It’s not uncommon for an agency to leave a link to their site, similar to how an artist signs their work.
3. Platform Experts
A number of popular e-commerce platforms attract designers who specialize in working specifically with that platform. This is one of the best ways to find a designer who can deliver exactly what you’re looking for. In addition to being familiar with the environment where you’ll be hosting your store, which expedites the design process, most platforms have requirements for someone to be classified as an expert.
For example, Shopify has a dedicated list of expert designers and developers to choose from. Each designer is rated with reviews and testimonials from previous shop owners who used their services. You can even post a job for your Shopify store and receive pitches from experts who want to help with your specific project.
If you’re still struggling to find a good designer within your budget, then Upwork can be a good place to turn to. Formerly Odesk and Elance, the combined platform is used by tens of thousands of professionals and agencies from around the world that are looking for freelancers.
Create an account and post your project to Upwork, providing details and specific needs for your e-commerce store. Designers will then bid on your project, which allows you to view their project histories and reviews from other buyers. This lets you sort through your options to see who offers the best mix of skill and experience, as well as the best price. Then, you can work with your selected designer with your payment safely secured in escrow until the project is completed to your satisfaction.
5. Theme Marketplaces
The Envato marketplace network is a vast collection of design elements and designers, with everything from developer code to audio, video, photos, and website themes. Part of that network is ThemeForest, a collection of free and premium website templates – including e-commerce storefront designs.
Aside from sourcing layouts for your Shopify store, it’s also a great place to find designers for your store. Look at some of the top-selling, most popular e-commerce themes in the marketplace. From those pages, you can locate the designer or agency that created the theme. Many designers also provide custom design services, and focusing on the top-selling, highly-reviewed themes will ensure that you find someone capable of delivering exactly what you need for your store.
6. Professional Groups
While it’s not necessarily the fastest way to find a quality e-commerce designer for your site, joining a few of the more active professional groups on LinkedIn that are focused on e-commerce and site design can get you in touch with some phenomenal designers.
Rather than ask the group to help you find a designer, look at the content they share and the interactions between members. View active designers’ profiles and don’t miss those who exhibit experience and authority in design. Be sure to also check their LinkedIn profiles for recommendations from past clients.
It might take some time to sort through messages and observe engagement, but it’s a good strategy for finding a designer who can tackle your specific project’s needs.
For Shopify sellers, the expert directory is the easiest way to find a highly-rated e-commerce designer if you come up short on network referrals. Among the six options mentioned above, you should be able to find the perfect designer who can bring your brand to life and create a beautiful and engaging design for your storefront.
Have you had experience with Shopify’s expert designers and developers? Share your experiences with me in the comments below.