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Focusing on your ecommerce website’s usability always adds a competitive advantage. Consumers today prefer the sites that provide the best shopping experience.
According to a report published by Bigcommerce, the global B2C ecommerce market is likely to hit record growth with the revenue of almost US$2-trillion in 2015. With a market that offers such huge potential, it is only normal that online retail industry is trying best to appease the customers by providing the best possible shopping experience.
But the question is: How to do it? Following the popular UX design trends is one way of doing it. Here are 6 usability design trends, eTailers need to follow this year, if they are not doing it already. Some of these are also applicable to web-to-print stores, especially those in B2C print service and any other service based industry.
1. Flat design
Flat design is a popular trend seen in Apple’s iOS 7, Windows 8 interface and in many other leading websites. This web design strategy focuses on strong color along with interesting fonts while avoiding drop shadows or similar designing practices.
There are certain advantages of using flat design for your eCommerce website. It features simple user interfaces, which makes it easier for designers to make them responsive. The graphics used in the flat design are again relatively small in file size. The result is faster loading pages. Moreover, you can use as a differentiator for the sites. Here are some good examples of how you need to apply flat design in your ecommerce website.
2. Finger friendly interfaces
Mobile friendly and responsive no longer add a competitive advantage to online stores; they are a necessity now. And almost all online retail websites have incorporated the mobile-first design strategy. This leads to another trend of using more finger-friendly interfaces. Although the trend was introduced last year, it is still in vogue and likely to retain its popularity in the coming days as more and more users are now using tablets and smartphones to interact with webpages via fingertips or a stylus.
As a result, we will continue to see fewer content sliders, using which online retailers can show more information in a relatively small screen space. The downside of this trend is that, such designs usually have relatively smaller next buttons, making it challenging for smartphone users to browse through the slides.
3. Large product images
When it comes to images, especially product images, the bigger the better. The ground rule, however, is to ensure that they must not affect your website loading speed.
There are several reasons behind the popularity of this particular trend. It is often associated with the increasing screen sizes and resolution, while many argue that large product images are used for creating more spacious visual designs as well as to add the benefit of user experience. Whatever the reason is, ecommerce websites have largely embraced bigger product images.
Such images provide more visual details. For example, larger images on an apparel website help buyers get a better idea of the cloth material and sequences, which can better motivate them to make a purchase decision. In fact, a picture is worth a thousand words when it comes to usability testing for ecommerce websites. Users often depend on images to glean product details and larger images with multiple view option are your best bet to provide more product details without writing a wordy description.
This trend is not just limited to the product pages, online retailers are also using larger images on their category pages so that buyers can see the detail early and explore the right products easily.
4. Large and flexible typography
Typography has been a major element of web design this year. And large is not just limited to the product images. Flexible and large typography is working just as well in terms of a responsive design. Designers today are using more fonts and using them better. They are getting bolder and more creative when it comes to typography in order to stand out in the crowd.
Flexible and large typography comes across as the best possible way to break the conservatism and homogeneity in web design, especially in using typography. This trend allows designers to create unique and bold ecommerce websites, while keeping the content legible. However, designers must keep the flow of the text in consideration when using flexible and large typography.
The rule of thumb is to keep the text readable, irrespective of the users’ device.
5. Using video content
Ecommerce marketers have been leveraging video for a long time now. They are using video content to sell products as well as to attract customers.
But this year, many popular ecommerce brands are using compelling product videos on their product pages, blogs and on YouTube or other video sharing sites to market their products. Some are also using videos as background images for their home pages.
The most popular ways to incorporate videos on your ecommerce websites are to include product demonstration videos, how-tos and tips and suggestion videos.
6. Easy-to-use coupons
Users have long struggled with coupon codes to get discounts on ecommerce sites. Fortunately, some online retail brands are making it easier for their customers to apply discounts. In fact, a few of them are also now receiving such discounts automatically. For example, discounts that are advertised on a website are applied automatically to users who qualify. In case of coupon codes, ecommerce websites are making it easy to enter and apply long before the buyer proceeds to the checkout process.
Applying discounts early in the shopping process has its benefits and online retailers are largely leveraging the trend. Doing otherwise will only frustrate your buyers to the point that they would probably abandon the cart and go elsewhere.
Just like the previous year and the years before that, 2015 is also a ‘year of the consumer.’ Buyers today have more power than ever, given the choices and option they have. Online retailers and ecommerce brands therefore need to design their storefronts keeping their buyers in mind. Analyse the buying behavior when strategizing your ecommerce web design. Give your buyers what they want and you will never have to bother about sales and revenue again.