The Importance of Color in eCommerce – Part I

March 11, 2014


In the ecommerce world, your website is everything.

While the design and functionality, as well as the words and content of your site are critical, the use of color is very important as well. If you took a class in art at any time in grade school, think back to that time. (If you didn’t take a class or can’t remember, we’re about to go over the principle anyway.) You probably learned or have heard about “Color Theory.” Primary colors (red, blue, yellow), secondary colors (orange, purple, green), and all those in between. Each of those colors means something. Red means stop, power, love, etc. Purple is elegance and, with lighter shades, related with romance as well. Each of the colors in the rainbow lend a certain feeling to your website.

Thinking about what colors you use for your website should be an important part of your design process. Not many people will expect to go to a baby clothes site, for instance, and be greeted with a mainly black website with burgundy accents. More than likely, that kind of color scheme fits an upscale restaurant rather than a kids’ clothing store. Think color doesn’t matter? Think again. According to a study conducted by the Seoul International Color Expo, over 92% of people said that color plays an integral part when purchasing merchandise.

Determining the color theme of your website is a good place to start. While considering colors, it’s important to understand the basic “psychology of color,” or what emotions colors evoke. Colors also mean different things in different countries, so make sure you understand what your colors mean for your demographic. If your business is in North America, this Smashing Magazine article and this KissMetrics infographic can help.


When you’re shopping online, all you have is your eyes. There’s no way to feel the t-shirt you’re considering, or smell the candle you’re wondering about. The website is the only resource at the time of purchase. So as an online retailer, making sure your customers not only have a method to purchase your goods, but that it’s on an aesthetically-pleasing website is a big priority.

For this first part in our talk about color, think about the current colors on your website. How many are there? Do you have set colors for different parts of your website (copy vs. headers vs. links, etc.)? If you designed your own website, how did you come upon the palette? If you used a pre-built template or a designer, why did you eventually use the colors they proposed? Now, take the colors you have on your website and compare them to the meanings in the aforementioned articles (and the infographic up above). Do your colors mean what you want them to?


We’ll be back next week with some more tips and dive a bit deeper into color psychology and what it means for eCommerce. Until then, happy selling (& designing!)