Do you want to stand out from your competitors in the eCommerce market? Then make sure your store looks cutting-edge and crisp. By doing so you let your visitors know that their convenience is your primary concern.
Keeping your website up-to-date is easy if you know what trends to follow. Today we want to introduce you to our vision of the most effective design techniques of 2016. By implementing them you will enlarge your customer base, increase conversion rates of your store, and build a professional image for your business.
1. Progressive navigation
Navigation, along with the checkout process, is the most essential element of eCommerce UX. By providing informative menus and flexible blocks with featured and similar products you will improve the shopping experience and make it more streamlined. Among the most progressive menu types we should mention mega menus, hidden menus opened with a hamburger button, and sticky sidebars. These types can be combined, resulting in absolutely unique site navigation systems. This responsive Magento 2.0 theme by TemplateMonster is a great example of well implemented navigation.
2. CSS-based effects
Instead of GIF animations and image-based decorations you can use various visual effects created with CSS 3 – shadows, transitions and animations. They are faster, less resource-consuming, scalable and, therefore, look more professional. This approach requires a certain level of coding skills, but you can overcome this problem by picking a ready-made template, where all such effects are already included and available out of the box.
3. Modern layouts
There are lots of different modern-looking layout designs available for eCommerce websites: grid, masonry, full-width, etc. In order to choose the right design you should be clear about the inventory of your future store. For example, if it is focused on selling a single exclusive product, pick a template with the image-first layout and simple navigation; to build a large store with lots of categories opt for a template with grid or masonry layout.
4. Product-first approach
The main purpose of online stores is to sell goods. That’s why you should discard all the unneeded functionality, and bring your products to the forefront. In other words, every page of your online store is a landing page, and it should be treated as such. Many ready-made templates follow this principle, so using them you can be sure that your store is conversion-optimized and effective.
5. Creative typography
Web 2.0 allows for the use of an incredible number of creative fonts in your website designs. Apart from the impressive collection of free Google fonts you can also apply font icons and custom web-friendly typefaces. Typography greatly affects the way your website is perceived by your customers, and that’s why it would be wise to choose a time-tested font combination approved by professional designers. Developers of premium eCommerce website templates often pay special attention to this aspect of design.
6. Large enhanced images
Heavy usage of large images can easily make your website more visually appealing, even if its basic design is minimalist and discrete. What’s more, these images can be further improved with such effects as parallax scrolling, zoom-in and various filters and overlays. To add some dynamism, try incorporating large photos into sliders or other moving elements.
The website below is one of the most amazing implementations of the parallax effect I’ve ever seen; scroll the page to the bottom to see it.
7. Active marketing elements
Don’t limit your on-site marketing to static banners. Pop-up newsletter subscription windows, slide-in sharing widgets, sticky top bars (like Hello Bar), even welcome mats for with subscription forms drastically boost the effectiveness of your social and email marketing. But keep in mind that overusing such elements (e.g. displaying more than two of them on one page) may have the opposite effect. The Magento theme shown below comes with a customizable newsletter subscription window, so you won’t have to install any additional plugins to enable this functionality.
8. Flat and Material design trends
The trendiest options nowadays are the two global design styles – flat and its spiritual successor, Material design. These trends have become popular because of their neutral multipurpose nature, which makes them appropriate for most website topics. This doesn’t mean that you should necessarily use flat design for your future online store – just remember that this option is always viable, in case you run out of ideas. A vivid example is this free OpenCart template, which combines simplicity and convenience.
9. Dynamic functionality
One of the most significant advantages of modern eCommerce platforms is the support of dynamic Ajax-powered design elements – search forms, filters, pop-up quick previews, etc. They allow your visitors to use the extended functionality of your website without leaving the page they are currently on. This saves them a lot of time, especially if they are using mobile devices with a slower Internet connection speed.
10. Integrated videos
Another great innovation available for every online seller nowadays is the use of background and embedded videos. Most of the readymade premium templates support effortless one-click implementation of YouTube videos on their product pages, plus some enable you to place looped videos directly on the homepage. Just a few years ago you wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this trick that easily, but now it’s a matter of less than $150 (the price of a decent premium template).
It is not obligatory to follow all of the trends listed above, but we highly recommend that you adhere to at least half of them. If you decide to expand your store with new functionality, just find and install the appropriate plugins – there are plenty of them available on the web.