How Amazon’s Design Makes It One of the World’s Most Visited Sites

Amazon’s Design

Amazon, the global e-commerce giant, is a household name. The term has become synonymous with the website rather than the largest river in the world. 

It is among the top-ranking websites and its US sales grew by 44.1% during 2020, reaching $318.41 billion. In 2021, this figure is expected to reach $367.19 billion–a growth of 15.3%.

It’s currently the third-largest company globally in terms of revenue, after Walmart and Petrochemical Corporation (China). 

Amazon’s Design
Source: Repricer Express

The COVID-19 pandemic caused Amazon’s sales to shoot up and its valuation increased by 67% between March 2020 and March 2021. 

Amazon was originally launched as an online bookstore by Jeff Bezos in 1994. He had always wanted the company to be “an everything store.” Thus, the company has gradually broadened its product and category coverage.

Amazon continues to grow by offering a variety of products and services apart from online retailing, such as electronic services, computing services, consumer electronics, digital content, and local services like groceries. 

Amazon’s Design
Source: More Than Digital

Its success can be attributed in a large part to the seamless shopping experience it provides customers. Apart from strong customer service, innovation, and strong leadership, the company has paid great attention to website design. 

The intuitive elements of its website have made it a platform that consumers cannot do without. 

Here are some key statistics to help you understand just how popular Amazon is:

  • Amazon’s share of the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1,000 website visits on Thanksgiving grew to 23.9% in 2021 as compared to 22.1% in 2020. On Black Friday, it’s share of web traffic rose to 22.3% as compared to 20.8% y-o-y. 

The customer experience that Amazon provides is considered the benchmark that other retailers aim to reach. There’s even a term for the way that Amazon shapes customer expectations and buying habits – the Amazon effect.

Let’s take a closer look at the elements of Amazon’s design that have made it one of the world’s most visited websites:

Focus on function over aesthetics

Amazon’s Design

For a website as popular as Amazon, you’d be surprised to see its cluttered and busy design. Instead of creating a minimalistic and beautiful site, the platform chooses to focus on the simplicity of process, function, and experience. 

Customers can view products quickly, compare prices, read reviews, and buy products with the click of a button. 

Amazon makes use of four key design principles:


For an awesome shopping experience, pricing and purchase processes should be clear and easily understandable. 

With features like Amazon Prime and free one-day shipping and two-day shipping, the company has eliminated the hidden costs of shipping and removed the perception that online shopping is slower than shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.


When users have a choice between different products or different variants, a good user experience enables them to easily understand the different features of the products so that they can make informed choices. 

Amazon sells a wide variety of products, thus it is a difficult proposition to help customers understand the attributes of any product they want to buy. It solves the problem by creating product pages with a consistent layout across all categories. The underlying structure and modules remain the same irrespective of the product type. 

Users know where to find product descriptions, reviews, or prices. The consistency of experience helps them understand the features of any product quickly and easily.


Amazon hosts third-party retailers and sells its own products as well on its e-commerce website. It is a challenge to maintain a consistent experience while generating trust. 

Amazon’s design is such that third-party retailers do not get their own storefront, but when users buy from these retailers, they feel that they’re buying directly from Amazon. 

Amazon’s Prime benefits extend to these third-party vendors, too, so the platform makes shipping and returns consistent across retailers. This helps build trust among users that if they buy a product from Amazon, they’re guaranteed speedy delivery and hassle-free returns.


People aren’t always sure what they want, and Amazon’s robust search engine helps them solidify their vague ideas by displaying contextual search results. The search bar is the focus of the site’s design, because it’s what users depend on to find exactly what they want from the massive amount of products available.

Amazon’s search interface, which includes the column of filters to the left and the nested category navigation, adapts to search interactions to display what users are looking for. An important feature of the nested category navigation is the fast reaction speed of the dropdown menu. Users can get an instant glimpse into each subcategory available.

The predictable website hierarchy ensures that users know how to find the products they want with ease, thus getting closer to the point of conversion.

Implement a powerful internal ecommerce search engine

Amazon’s Design

Amazon’s UX is driven by search so that visitors are more likely to find the products they’re looking for and make a purchase. Currently, it sells more than 350 million products on its site, which includes 12 million products sold by Amazon itself. 

The search bar is prominently displayed at the top of every page. It not only helps visitors find products but also filter, refine, and view search results clearly. The advanced product filtering function allows visitors to filter to the exact product specification and color they’re searching for. 

It improves the user experience because visitors don’t have to browse through hundreds of products to find what they want. Visitors can also search through entire books using the “Look Inside” and “Search Inside” features. 

Amazon’s search algorithm is called A9, after its subsidiary company which manages SEO. The search engine and algorithm determine which products are the most optimal matches for the search query. Then each product is scored based on how relevant it is to the user.   

Amazon’s ranking algorithms adapt to the users’ past purchasing behavior and search patterns to understand what is important for them. Since it’s a product-based search engine meant to help people make purchases, the searches are transactional and not informational. 

An interesting addition to Amazon’s search capabilities is the scan-to-search feature. It’s indicated by the camera icon to the right of the search bar on Amazon’s app. 

Initially, visitors could scan things like artwork and logos using their phone cameras and find relevant products on the website. After Amazon added augmented reality (AR) to the feature, visitors can scan everyday objects around them and find similar products on the platform. They can also project images from the Amazon store onto their surroundings to understand them better.

Design a reassuring product page

Amazon’s Design

Amazon’s product pages are designed to generate trust and emphasize value and convenience. The platform aims to increase sales by reducing as much friction as possible around the buying process. Its product pages are regularly split-tested to optimize conversions.

On the product page, visitors will find an easy and streamlined path to purchase. 

  • Plenty of white space is used to emphasize the product and its features and benefits. 
  • Customer star ratings and reviews are placed just below the title of the product to ensure that visitors see it immediately. It gives the product and the brand credibility and social proof. It also reduces customer anxiety at checkout by helping them understand the product and its uses better. According to Baymard Institute, 95% of users depend on reviews to help them make purchasing decisions.
  • Questions & Answers are a great way for sellers to demonstrate their customer service and build trust by interacting with potential customers. They are also a powerful tool to convince visitors to complete their purchases. 
  • Certain products and categories also offer enhanced zoom to allow visitors to take a closer look. It is a comparable experience to holding the product in your hand. 
  • The order details section makes use of black bold text to draw the eye to power phrases like “Free Shipping,” “Want it tomorrow?” and “One-Day Shipping.” People want purchases cheaper and faster and these elements ensure that they know that buying on Amazon will guarantee that.
  • The CTA button “Add to Cart” is highlighted to encourage visitors to take the next step in the purchasing journey.

Every element on the product page reaffirms the benefits of buying from Amazon and reassures visitors about a high-quality purchase. 

The clean and organized layout offers a smooth browsing experience, thus increasing optimization rates.

Create a fast and friction-free checkout process

Amazon’s Design

Amazon’s checkout UX is clean, simple, and has as few steps as possible to take the visitor from the product detail page to completing the purchase. 

The fewer the clicks, the more likely it is that visitors will complete the purchase. It’s very easy for visitors to add a product to the cart or use the “Buy Now” button to move to the payment page. 

Wharton University termed Amazon’s one-click ordering button a gamechanger for e-commerce UX. The ability to enter billing, shipping, and payment information once and then click a button to complete a purchase was a major innovation when it was introduced in 1999. Since its patent expired in 2017, other retailers have attempted to copy this UX element that shook up the ecommerce industry.

Amazon’s quick checkout process reduces friction and cognitive load. It works by collecting the least amount of information required at checkout to make purchasing simple and fuss-free.

The system also helped enable other features like voice shopping via Alexa, Amazon Pay, and the creation of the interaction design for Amazon’s Dash buttons.

Amazon also has a customer service chatbot to streamline post-purchase support. While chatbots are nothing new, Amazon has preferred to keep its bot technology simple to meet the user’s most important needs. 

It employs a decision tree bot instead of one driven by AI or natural language processing. The company has deduced that customers simply need a clear path to resolution instead of being able to answer complex questions. Hence, its bots have just enough information so that they’re equipped to handle the task.

Amazon didn’t make a song-and-dance about its chatbot when it was first rolled out but it’s an important step toward frictionless shopping.

Provide relevant product recommendations

Amazon’s Design

Amazon’s algorithm personalizes the homepage content to match the customer’s search interactions and purchase history. This helps improve future purchases. 

Homepage elements that change based on the search function are:

  • Personalized recommendations
  • Recently viewed products
  • New products
  • Shopping cart

By displaying relevant products on the homepage, Amazon also subtly indicates a clear path to purchase. 

Such personalization makes it more likely that visitors will find what they want easily and will return to the platform when they think of online shopping next. Hence, it boosts both the conversion rate and customer loyalty. 

Amazon displays a “Recommended for you” section on its product pages to encourage a larger order value and ultimately, a greater conversion rate. Three types of product recommendations are displayed based on the user’s purchase history and search interactions:

  • Frequently bought together – Relevant products that complement the product the user has placed in the cart or is currently viewing are displayed. For example, if a user is shopping for an ink pen, Amazon may show recommendations for premium ink brands or ink cartridges. 
  • Customers who viewed this item also viewed/Customers who bought this item also bought –  When users are looking at a product, they will be shown which other products Amazon customers viewed/bought after viewing/buying that product. 
  • Related to items you have viewed – Amazon displays products related to the product a user has viewed but not bought.

Final Thoughts

Amazon’s website design is neither simple nor visually breathtaking. The paradox of a cluttered website having an awesome user experience has confounded designers.

However, the site’s secret sauce lies in its emphasis on user-friendliness and functionality to create a fluid, frictionless, and streamlined shopping experience. 

Amazon’s search engine function is state-of-the-art helping users sift through the huge inventory to drill down to the exact product they’re looking for.

Even though the company does not talk about design explicitly, the convenience that the site offers through its design innovations has been instrumental in its thumping success.

Further reading


  1. Great article… thank you. People keep telling me my design is too cluttered, but it consistently out-sells the “pretty” designs that the “professionals” come up with. I have never understood filling up the screen with a big picture instead of giving customers information that will help them right now.

    I am definitely bookmarking your article so I can refer to it in the future.

    Thanks again.



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