This is an interesting question that we face each day and the way that we look at it is that it is like a piece of art work, some are going to love it and others not so fussed.
With this in mind, we are taking strategies of making the website framework disappear and leave the products to be the feature. Come the end of the day, we are not selling a good looking website, all be it does add credibility but rather the highlight should be on the product and to make this easily purchasable.
With design, there are really only 2 options with the navigation menu, across the top which is our preferred option or on the left hand side.
Why across the top? The enables more selling space for your products. Having the navigation bar on the left reduces the selling space by 20%. Although sometimes unavoidable wherever possible use a mega menu along the top of the website.
Keep to a standard format. Users tend to be lazy and need everything presented in front of them so they don’t need to go looking. Simple is clever in many ways.
Lastly, good images sell! There are lot’s of royalty free image banks like Shutterstock, spend a few dollars on quality images and it will transform the look of your website.
Lastly, recently we worked on a project that is a very successful online business. They looked at the merchant fees that they were paying a decided to implement a merchant fee on the checkout to cover the costs. Sales plummeted!
Even though the cost was less than $20 per order this was enough for customers to say, thanks but no thanks.
In our opinion, reduce the reasons on why not to purchase and focus on how can I make the customer checkout quicker.