The eCommerce industry is growing and changing at a rate that is faster than you imagined. From just a handful of companies listing their products online for sales, today, there are hundreds of businesses that have taken to digital.

Over the years, the way an online shop is set up to the way an online shopper is expected to interact with it, has changed drastically. To deliver the customers a seamless shopping experience, businesses need always need to remain on their toes to keep up with the trends.

Apart from competitive prices, the way you design your online store also has an impact on the sales and revenue your website generates. So here’s taking a look at the top eCommerce design trends for 2016:

1. Storytelling

The one way to stand out from the crowd in the highly competitive eCommerce landscape, is to give your online store a personality of its own. Storytelling gives you the opportunity to present your brand in a unique and compelling way. A good story isn’t just able to establish an immediate connect with the audience but also helps boost customer loyalty and sales.

So instead of just listing down the products your online store offers along with competitive market prices, introduce a storyline to it.

While most eCommerce businesses aren’t able to implement storytelling on their website, there are a few like businesses like Bonobos that are definitely leveraging from the tactic. They created an ‘about us’ page that speaks of how their brand came into being and why they offer what they do – making it not just an interesting read for their visitors, but also helping them understand the core values of the business.

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2. Rich media

Visuals have always been the best way to grab an internet user’s attention. But apart from high definition visuals, brands have started making use of rich media on their websites to engage their visitor’s better.

Many eCommerce websites have started using rich animations to make the online shopping experience of their visitors more seamless and enjoyable. Rich animations enable the business to offer a more intuitive platform to their customers.

For example, Nixon has animated their product/collection selection element on the website. When you hover over an image of the collection on their homepage, it gets slightly highlighted.

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3. Typography

Content marketing is trending and when we say that ‘content is king’, it actually does hold true even for eCommerce websites. The way you represent content on your website plays a huge role in delivering a good experience to an online shopper.

This year will see brands tapping into different aspects of content representation – primarily, typography. Responsive typography doesn’t just highlight the value proposition that you need to bring immediate attention to, but also works well on all sorts of devices. This ensures that each of your target online shoppers are delivered a seamless experience.

For example, Nasty Gal uses large typography along with a high definition image on their homepage to promote their brand’s message.

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4. Full scape backgrounds

Apart from typography, what most eCommerce businesses are now tapping into, are large or full scape backgrounds. While this trend has been followed by many business websites over the years, eCommerce is just starting to see it in action.

Using high quality and large product images as backgrounds for collections or using product videos on web pages, compels the online shopper to ‘get the look’. Apart from being able to deliver a richer shopping experience to your visitors, they also help the most extensive of online stores look clean and professional.

For example, above mentioned eCommerce store, Nasty Gal actually uses a product shot on their homepage to draw a visitor’s attention immediately to a particular range on their website.

5. Dynamic search

With businesses trying to deliver a personalized experience to their target audiences at every level, dynamic search functionality is the latest to enter the eCommerce design trends. Online stores with a lot of product ranges or inventory will be seen using this search functionality to dynamically display relevant products to their customers.

For example, when you start typing into the search box of Nordstrom, it dynamically starts displaying the closest products to it. This ensures that even when the visitor has forgotten the product name, he can refer to those suggested to him by the website and easily find what he was looking for.

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6. Card-like layouts

As material design continues to trend in the design industry, this year will see eCommerce businesses adopt different aspects of it. The vibrant, content focused design style enables online stores to create a tangible and playful online shopping experience for their visitors.

With the emphasis on visuals increasing by the day, this trend is all set to continue rising in the  eCommerce industry. Case in point being, the usage of card-like layouts. Cards are not just known to deliver a richer, neater experience to website visitors, but are also known to be highly responsive and are one of the core components of material design, as stated by Google.

For example, LetterNote makes use of large square cards on their homepage to display the various product ranges their website has to offer.

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7. Non-intrusive promotions

Initially, eCommerce businesses focused a lot on promoting their ongoing sales and discounts. They used various popups across their web pages to ensure that their visitors did not miss the new deal. But as a result of over zealousness to promote a sale, most of these businesses lost their customers due to a bad browsing experience.

This year sees a shift in the use of overlays and popups by businesses. The eCommerce stores are now focusing on keeping the browsing and shopping experience of their visitors undisturbed. To promote their sales, you will see them using exit intent overlays, constant header bars, welcome popups, one-time action triggered overlays – anything which is non-intrusive in nature.

For example, E-yup used an exit intent overlay by Exit Bee to promote an ongoing offer on their product. The overlay only showed up when the visitor displayed an intent of leaving the website without purchasing any product. This approach did not disturb the browsing experience of the shopper and at the same time, held him back a little longer to consider making the purchase on the deal offered.

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Over to you

eCommerce is becoming an increasing competitive industry. Businesses are trying to offer similar products at competitive prices to the same target audience, making customer acquisition a common challenge.

With the industry only growing, it is important that these businesses focus on creating a seamless experience for their target customers. The more their shopping experience is closer to real-like physical shopping, the more likely they are to convert.

Here are a few more reads that we suggest for eCommerce businesses to achieve their desired amount of sales:

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Vanhishikha Bhargava

Content Marketer at Exit Bee. Most of the times found trying to create compelling copies for blogs and digital campaigns, keeping a watch on what's happening on social media or ranting on Twitter. At all other times, not found.

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