What only a few and most daring dreamers could have imagined two decades ago, when the Internet was only grasping at the surface of our daily lives, it now has become a reality. eCommerce accounts for more than $2 trillion in sales today and it is expected to jump up to $4.5 trillion in 2021. Online sales have a huge market share and now that most of the people are always connected to their mobile devices, no marketer or business owner can ignore the eCommerce phenomenon.
Regardless of what you are selling, you need a constant online presence. The best way to do it, however, is through an eCommerce website, that stays open 24/7/365 for its customers.
Just because you have set up your own eCommerce website does not mean that you will instantly be successful. Apart from your own marketing and advertising strategies, there are also a few important things to look for when you create an online store or if you want to keep it updated to fit the latest requirements in web design and customer needs.
To this end, let’s take a quick look at this year’s upcoming eCommerce Web Design Trends. Whether you are just starting with the online sales industry or, if you are trying to update your eCommerce store to the latest trends, the following advice will most likely help you stay ahead of your competition and keep your customers satisfied.
1. Voice-activated user interfaces/actions
Most of the people already use voice-activated interfaces (VUI) when they talk to Siri, Cortana, Ok Google or Amazon’s Alexa. They are already accustomed to interacting with their devices through vocal commands and we expect this trend to conquer the eCommerce scene. Maybe we won’t see voice-activated online stores just yet but this is a trend to look for during 2018 and the next couple of years.
Why? Well, we’ve all seen how customer behavior impacts every industry and how every new technology adapts to it. It is only expected that once these VUIs have become popular during the last few years, to see similar technologies taking over other areas of interest as well. One of these areas, considering the popularity, is the eCommerce industry.
2. Mobile friendly design/Dedicated mobile apps
According to Statista, the smartphone penetration rate in the US only has been growing over the past few years from 20.2% in 2010 to a staggering 68.9% in 2017. Moreover, is expected that 80% of the US population will own such a device in 2022. This means that no eCommerce website owner can allow himself to ignore this channel. If you want to be successful as a seller in 2018, you need to update your eCommerce website to a mobile-friendly version and allow this huge demographic group to easily shop at your online store.
“As of March 2017, 80% of top Alexa websites were mobile adaptive”, Impactbnd.com said. Therefore, if you have the required budget, you can take a step further and also consider creating your own dedicated mobile app for your store. Your customers will find it easier to shop through an app. At the same time, you can keep them engaged through push notifications and creative content displayed inside the dedicated app.
3. More video content
Video content is trendy in 2018 and it has been as such since the launch of YouTube. Why not use tips & tricks videos in your own eCommerce store? Why not describe your products through professionally shot video clips that can present them better than a few chunks of copy text?
Take for example this product page from BeardBrand. It features a short description of the product that tells the customer everything he needs to know about it. It also features a couple of videos that depict the product in use, very helpful for the customer as well.
4. Speed and security
Speed matters. It matters a lot. According to Kissmetrics, “half of the web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online”.
You can perform a speed test with Google’s Page Speed Tool and find out what can you do in order to make your website load faster.
Another thing you should think about is the security of your website and of course, your data. Consider acquiring the services of a virtual private network, especially if your website is on a locally based server located at your office. A VPN may also keep you secure and anonymous when you are researching your competition and you don’t want them to know it. As a business owner, even if your eCommerce is only a small one, you will always have to conduct such researches and you will need to keep things private. If you want to learn more about what a virtual private network it and how you can use it on your server you can read this guide published by The Best VPN.
5. Sticky navigation panel
A fixed navigation bar, that follows you as you scroll down the page, is not a new thing. It has been around for a while and it will continue to be a central design focus in 2018 as well. Consider updating your website if you don’t have already implemented a similar feature.
Why? People use to navigate through different pages and categories and scroll down to see more products. Keep them engaged and make the navigation easier for them by allowing them to access the navigation menus wherever they are on your website. Also, it will help them to always see the shopping cart button, especially when it shows updates on the products selected for buying. Here’s a good example of a sticky bar from National Trust:
“Microinteractions have the power to encourage users to actually interact. They are a strong instrument that helps to form habit loops”, Nick Babich, Editor-in-chief of UX Planet, writes. “Facebook’s notification about the incoming message is a good example of habit loop: red badge and whitened icon (cue) indicate there’s a new message, which makes the user click the icon (routine) to chat with their friend (reward). After a while, users automatically click on the icon when they see the red badge” he added.
How can you integrate Microinteractions into your eCommerce store? Well, you can do it by simply rewarding customers for their actions, whether it’s a simple newsletter signup or a product added to their cart. Also, when users interact with your website, you can use animations to trigger reactions. If different sections of the website animate instantly when the client scrolls over them, you can also define these features as Microinteractions.
Here’s a great example of a simple micro interaction designed by Tamino Martinus:
7. Personalization and branding
A successful website design starts with branding elements. It cannot be the other way. The more personalized your eCommerce store is, the more interactive it may feel to your customers. Start with the logo, a good choice in typography and of course, visual elements that are aligned with the core values of your brand.
What visuals can you use in 2018? Well, the same visuals that were used before will suffice, if they were already updated with the latest eCommerce web design trends, your customers’ needs and of course, your brand image. You can populate the eCommerce sore with branded visuals in header images, backgrounds, forms, and all the web elements where you interact with your customers or where customers interact with your store. Branding is important because it may help you strengthen your company identity and make it easier for your customers to recognize you and identify your brand.
If you are an eCommerce store owner, or a marketer working for an eCommerce business, you may already know that success depends on many different things. What’s important, besides your marketing campaigns, however, is to stay up to date with the latest eCommerce web design trends in your industry and make sure that technically speaking, you do everything that needs to be done.
We’ve covered some of the most important trends in web design here and hopefully, we’ve learned together some things about how to make your online store visually attractive, fast and secure according to the latest market requirements.
What other trends or recommendations you would like to add to this list?