People prefer to shop online for various reasons: it’s quicker, easier, less stressful, gives a wider choice, and, thanks to the variety of special deals, it’s often less expensive. But outstanding customer experience can only be achieved with good e-commerce design.
The way people interact with the outside world is constantly evolving and e-commerce evolves with it, recently provided with additional acceleration by the COVID-19 pandemic. The task of modern e-commerce websites is to bridge the gap between how people shop today and what they expect in the digitized future economy. The best way to do it is to incorporate some of the latest e-commerce design trends that will help e-commerce stores cope with the competition, be useful, and commercially viable.
The impetuous progress of mobile technology has changed the way we access and interact with websites. Today the majority (65%) of traffic for retail websites comes from smartphones with 53% of sales happening via the same channel. What it means is that the necessity for responsive design is not an empty sound, that everybody has heard a thousand times, but a must. Optimizing the design for phones and tablets to meet the consumers where they are will help keep them happy and coming for more.
This trend is not losing its relevance, but becoming more powerful. It’s so important now that many online retailers are focusing primarily on the mobile versions of their websites and then adapt to desktop, and they have a point. For example, you can notice how many long-scrolling e-commerce pages there are nowadays and how many websites sometimes incorporate the mobile design elements like the hamburger menu into desktop designs.
The combination of landing pages and product pages
A traditional e-commerce website structure is designed in such a way that a customer starts their journey from the homepage and then goes further by choosing a category on the menu and so on. However, today it’s common for a customer to come from a SERP page, an ad, or a social media post that leads straight to the product or category page.
That is why more and more online retailers design their product pages (or, at least, category pages) using the elements of landing pages like unique selling propositions, calls-to-action, hero shots, social proof, etc. This way the consumers get all the information they need about the store and the product is showcased in a more flattering and informative way. Landing pages are 25% more likely to convert.
The biggest pain of online shoppers is that they can’t get the same visual experience as in brick-and-mortar shops like how a product looks from various angles or how a garment made from a certain fabric looks on a person. Plain texts and simple graphics gave way to more complex and engaging options like consumer-generated media, interactive content, engaging videos, and augmented reality. Modern technologies made it accessible even to small businesses.
Advanced visuals are all about practicality. They give more information on what to expect from the products resulting in higher conversion rates and fewer returns. This will become an even bigger trend in the future. Today, instead of making a ton of photos, you can render one 3D shot that will let you observe a product from different perspectives using a 360-degree view. AR, as an immersive solution, is becoming a necessity now, as businesses struggle to adapt to the impacts of COVID-19. In 2017 IKEA launched an app that allows your mobile device’s camera to visualize how virtual furniture items would look in your living room or any given space. IKEA is experimenting with other forms of AR technology, which proves its effectiveness.
Motion is now more engaging than ever, and also more efficient. Cool CTA graphic designs, icon rotations, loading bars, you name it. It’s catchy, but it does more than just grab attention. It makes the shopping experience more delightful.
In 2020, of all the trends in e-commerce design, the trend with animation and micro-interactions is especially relevant. The potential of this tool is yet to unfold. A lot of UI and UX can be beautifully emphasized with small animations that show where the user has done something wrong or praise them for their patience, gamify filling a multi-page form, make the transition to another page more enjoyable, like in the example below, etc.
Just be sure the animation is meaningful and is properly displayed on various platforms and devices, even those that are not super up-to-date.
Chatbots are not a new subject in website design and development, yet, they are worth noting once more. Because of how advanced they are becoming with every passing year, progressively turning from being a little blunt to intelligent. According to statistics, chatbots are four times more effective at selling products than untrained workers.
They offer discount codes, deliver shipping notifications, act as efficient and inexpensive sales assistants, helping people with purchasing decisions. This way they get a load of work off the online store managers’ shoulders leaving them with the opportunity to further develop their business. Predictions are that over the next three years, 70% of consumers will replace their visits to the stores with their voice assistants.
More and more brands move away from the usual grid and start experimenting with unconventional layouts, like asymmetrical ones or made in the form of a horizontal scroll. They look more dynamic and interactive and help to highlight the uniqueness of a brand. They also give the opportunity to additionally emphasize certain products without overloading a page with too many visual accents.
This trend works best with e-commerce stores with a limited number of products. If there are many items on display, it’s better to stick to the traditional grid layout, otherwise, they would take too much space and make it difficult for a user.
Minimalism with accents
The most common e-commerce homepage design style is still the combination of minimalism and prominent elements like bright colors, large typography, and big background images. Cleanness and “crispness” of a minimalistic layout with a lot of white space feature the products’ functionality while bright accents direct the user’s attention maintaining the focus where it’s needed. For instance, the big background image is a proven way to attract the user’s attention without much effort.
The most preferred colors for backgrounds are white and soft pastel-colors that allow putting the product in the foreground and enhance the contrasting effect of CTAs. What’s more, such colors are neutral which facilitates the design process. They go equally well with, for example, an electronics store as they do with an ice-cream shop.
Typography has become a significant part of the website design fairly recently. It gives a wonderful opportunity to embolden the design without using too many bright colors. Big letters attract attention while giving relevant information about the product.
Personalization and interactive design
It’s important to make sure your message fits with the target audience. Personalization is the key to the smooth shopping experience today as well as in the near future. It’s a win-win situation for both the seller and the buyer. By getting to know the customers’ habits, preferences, and special characteristics, online retailers can give them exactly what they need sometimes even before they know it. Customers get the products that suit them best while sellers manage to streamline the process and boost sales.
Like UI/UX design trends in general, e-commerce design trends tend to favor the interactiveness that increases personalization helping the hesitant first-time buyers make correct decisions. Elements like recommendation quizzes make a website more engaging and also improve the conversion rates. Businesses with personalized web experiences see an average 19% increase in sales.
* * *
In 2019, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to $3.53 trillion and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to $6.54 trillion next year. For web designers and users, 2020 is the year of technological capabilities and amazingly creative solutions. It’s a great year to be creative.
At the end of the day, the viability of any given trend depends on one factor: whether it helps users reach their goals quicker and easier. No matter how nice something looks, the main idea is how useful it is. If a trend doesn’t work out, it gets abandoned. At the same time, it would be unwise to not explore what can be accessed with the help of good e-commerce design. Try out some of the e-commerce web design trends above to make the most of your projects.