Any website that you use daily will have updated its design at least once to compete with the latest trends and offer a better experience to users. Websites for e-commerce are no different. In fact, because they seek to win over customers on the spot (make sales) they have the most to gain from staying ahead of the curve.
Smart e-commerce websites look flat and minimalist, allowing the products to stand out. Everything needed for a customer to make a decision to buy should be immediately apparent. The more open the content, the closer you get you giving users the impression that their shopping is near to being finished.
A pared back look is only advantageous if the website loads fast and functions reliably. Your website also needs to translate perfectly to mobile, otherwise you will lose your customers' interest. Depending on your product you may even want to put mobile first.
Ideally each platform should offer the same customer something different depending on their circumstance (at home / on the move). Currently, there is a big emphasis on mobile. Customers expect to be able to browse freely and limitlessly when their visiting an online store on their phones.
Animation has made a comeback, but where does it fit in the context of e-commerce? Designers no longer have to fit all the important information at the top of each page, thanks to our contemporary affinity for scrolling.
Scrolling through a website is how we touch the web. Everytime we scroll we expect the website to react and this goes beyond moving further down the page. Every action can be greeted with something extra: a new colour, another image, or a subtle animation.
- - Hovering the cursor over an image of an outfit reveals new details
- - Scrolling effects animation of the website's background
- - 'Liking' an item brings the button to life - it changes colour and initiates memorable effects
Given the popularity of minimalist design features, augmented reality is great way to introduce a hidden dimension of complexity to your website. It also provides a valuable service to customers, since it can allow them to virtually view products in space, with something as simple as their smartphone.
The golden rule of shopping is making the customer feel comfortable. Designers help make customers' online experiences interactive and this reigns supreme in helping them to develop a sense of trust in your business.
Shopping is a two-way street, so even as we transition into an online norm for making transactions, the journey must still feel conversational and human.
The micro-moment one of the ways we have come to understand mobile experiences. The basic concept is that we go to our phones when we want something. There are four different kinds of wants that represent micro-moments. These are:
- - The want to know
- - The want to buy
- - The want to do
- - The want to go
When designing for e-commerce at least one of these micro-moments need to be targeted for every action that takes place by a user on the website. It is useful to ask "which stage of the journey is the customer at when they're on this page?" and "what kind of want are they trying to satisfy?"
Speed and flow are essential to ensuring a sure and safe passage to the point of fulfilment. The fewer clicks the better. Clever filters on pages with a larger number of items help. Try to find out which pages are most visited and then help people get there more quickly. It might be even be worth adding a direct link on your homepage.
Have a look at our work to see some examples of design done well. If you're on the search for a creative agency to design your website, you're welcome to get in touch with us for a coffee and a chat!