Good design is good business. Steve Jobs is a visionary who put design and customer experience at the heart of Apple. It is this philosophy that catapulted Apple to become a billion dollar brand. Steve once said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back towards the technology – not the other way around.”
Without any doubt, design and customer experience are directly related to each other. They are like two sides of a coin. You sacrifice on design, it impacts customer experience negatively. And, negative experience in the ecommerce industry means bad business.
- So, how do you future-proof your ecommerce store design?
- How do you stay updated with ecommerce design trends that seem to change every now and then?
- What should you expect to change in the way your online store is designed and made to work in 2018?
This blog is an attempt to answer all these questions.
We did some window shopping (literally!) at some major online stores and took hints at how ecommerce design is going to evolve in the coming days. We are hardly a few weeks away from the holiday season of 2017. It is better to start prepping your store now, than regret being late.
1. Personalization will gain prominence
Advanced analytic technologies, like Machine Learning and Big Data, help online retailers know their customers better. It is now possible to identify at which phase of the customer journey did a customer stop, what was the reason that made them stop and how it can be prevented.
Store analytics also shed light on major granular level customer behavior which help in personalizing the store experience accordingly. 2018 can be rightly expected to be a year of hyper-personalization. Online streaming services like Soundcloud and Spotify are leading the pack by offering their users the choice to customize their feed to specific genres. Sooner or later, the same personalization experience will carry forward to ecommerce too.
2. Video will win full-blown images
If a picture can speak a thousand words, a video can speak a million words. The power of video is already proven by the massive rate at which live streaming, video on demand and user-generated videos are being shared online.
Online stores will also join the bandwagon, but with a slight difference. The home pages and product info pages will integrate more videos and less of full-blown images.
Will this slow down the page loading speed and overall experience? Slightly, but, even that can be fixed with video compression programs which are easily available online.
3. Functionality will be first priority
Despite all the hype over designing, functionality and user-friendliness will continue to remain a priority for store owners. Design elements like menus, buttons, CTAs, etc. will be designed keeping in mind the user perspective and how it will affect their buying decision.
Even the current design trend is to make the customer pass through the decision stage and reach the checkout page at the earliest with minimum steps involved. Checkout processes like one-step checkout will be adopted by store owners in large numbers. The recent rollouts by Magento has also streamlined the payment process to make checkout easier for customers.
4. Call-to-action buttons will be more action oriented
Until now, CTAs have been used at predictable places, like at the home page banner or at the bottom along with a lead collection form. This is all set to change.
CTAs will now be seen in several pages across the website where customer interest would be at its peak. The text and appearance of the CTA will also be highly personalized to entice the customer to click. In other words, CTAs will become more actionable. ‘Know more’, ‘Talk to us’, ‘Click Here’ and such generic CTAs will fade out giving more prominence to custom CTAs that are native to the product or service.
5. Typography that stands out
Times New Roman is hardly seen nowadays. Roboto, Droid, Helvetica, Sans, and Sans Serif are the fonts that are much in use. Even these fonts will soon be replaced by bold, artistic, curvy or even customized fonts. Also, large fonts are attention-grabbing, can make great use of white space and also give a feel that stock images may not achieve.
Typography fonts are lightweight in size and can be scaled to any size to express an emotion or a message. Online stores can use them creatively to design logos and custom CTA buttons that visitors and customers can relate to easily.
6. Grid layout that blends into whitespace
Online store has long since been displaying their products in neatly distributed grids. The trouble was that showing endless lists of products in a single page consumed too much of data for the user.
This can be avoided by tweaking the design to show only first ten listings or load the subsequent products only if the user scrolls down. This will also help reduce the loading time of the store, thus, uplifting the overall user experience.
7. Custom illustrations
Vector graphics and illustrations from stock image sites have been a great solace for designers. But, they have been overused to a level where it is easy to spot the same illustration being used by many websites for the same purpose.
In 2018 and beyond, customer illustrations will be more personalized to align with the specific business message. Illustrations with subtle animations can also be expected to gain momentum.
These are the 7 ecommerce design trends that are expected to shape user experience in 2018. User interfaces and elements will undergo a sea change delivering unique digital experiences that are far better than what we have today.