It is a mistake to think that the advent of the internet and ecommerce has made business any easier. Certainly, it has increased convenience for consumers, but for those actually in business it has only changed the rules of the game, albeit significantly. Essentially, modern ecommerce sites are working with a new retail reality, but they are still competing ferociously, and the majority still fail. Seen like this, ecommerce has brought with it many new challenges.

One of those new challenges is standing out. So, it’s much easier to start a business these days, right? All you need is a website, right? Well, yes, but that’s a privilege open to everyone – and it’s much easier for a website to go unnoticed than a traditional physical retail store.

Naturally, the solution is innovation. But innovation needs to be based on a foundation. If you seek to create a unique website by ignoring all the tried and tested rules of website design and doing your own wacky thing, then you’ll create a unique website alright – a uniquely bad one. This website will likely have a high bounce rate (if leads are generated at all), be difficult to navigate, and customers simply will not find what they’re looking for. This will prompt them to leave, and all they need to do is click that ‘x’.

Toe the Line as Far as You Need To

An innovative website will naturally break the formula at one point, but if you don’t know where it’s acceptable to do this, then the enterprise is doomed to failure. Here are some elements that your website should certainly have.

Easily Navigable

And this means that the website structure is simple, and information is presented in as few individual pages as possible. Visitors should be able to view products in a list with others or alone, and generally speaking, no page on the site should be more than three clicks away from the landing page. And that landing page should offer everything the visitor needs to make a further move.

Simple Aesthetics

Yes, you might be able to make a complex and colorful site work, but it’s difficult. Generally, block colors and lots of negative space are the way to go.


You should include CTAs, which are interactive prompts for the visitor to take further actions such as browse inventory, sign up for a newsletter, or make an account. This pulls in traffic and keeps it there.

How to Stand Out

So, make sure you do the above – then it’s time to stand out. Azola Creative, a company offering website design services, says that it is difficult to advise on this. If your web designer suggests it, then it’s probably not a unique idea. Nevertheless, here are some ideas to use as starting points.

Creative Bios

This doesn’t work for every business, but showing who your team are, their qualifications (if that’s relevant), and simply what they do is something not too common on ecommerce sites.

Have an Opinion

Naturally, you risk alienating a lot of people if it’s too controversial, but a statement like “We do things this way because we believe in this” can help you stand out if it’s sufficiently unusual.

Avoid Stock Photos

This tip is very well known, but it can still help you stand out if you can pull it off. This is because this is expensive and time-consuming for a lot of websites, and they simply don’t do it.

In the end, your website needs to conform. By conforming, it then has the solid foundation upon which to build something that stands out.