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Ecommerce Web Design Trends in 2016

When I first sat down to write a blog about eCommerce web design trends in 2016, I started to reminisce about trends of the past. There are so many that come to mind, but unfortunately they aren’t all good. So I started to look at the history of web design and everything that has led us to this place in the history of the interweb. I was amazed at all of the past trends that I had forgotten about.

If you are a computer geek like many of us, you will probably get nostalgic when you hear references to splash pages, page curl, and skeuomorphism. Then there are the trends-turned-fads that we were happy to see go, like gif animation, website counters, and overuse of gradients. But there are some trends that brought us to where we are today, such as responsive design and flat design. Mobile site usage will continue to drive demand for responsive design in 2016. And what we knew as “flat design” is evolving into some great concepts in website design.

That being said, as a business who provides affordable web design, we’re keen to share with you some of the 2016 eCommerce web design trends that we here at StudioCoast look forward to seeing.

1. Card Layout

Card layouts became very popular in 2015, and we think their popularity will continue to grow in 2016. The design, which originated from Pinterest, took off into the mainstream with its adoption by Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter, to name a few. The design has become popular not only because of how aesthetically pleasing it is, but also because of its compatibility with desktops, responsive design, mobile, and apps.

Card layout is not only popular with designers, it’s also a marketer’s dream. It complements marketing efforts to lure customers with content because it’s so easy to combine images, text, call to actions, and links into one card. One card equals one chunk of information or one thought. Marketers concentrate on getting the attention of the public, who already have a very limited attention span as it is. This makes it easier for the reader to digest information all at once.

On the average website, users take the time to read 28% of the words at most, with 20% being more likely. This fact makes card layout a popular choice for eCommerce businesses that want their customers to be able to scan their websites for products and get information as easily as possible. When using card layout, it’s good to remember the following:

  • Use lots of white space
  • Use rich content – less is more
  • Use one thought per card
  • Remember that image is everything
An example of card layout, in this instance pins from Pinterest.

Source: Pinterest

2. Custom-Drawn Illustrations

We predict that more eCommerce sites in 2016 will use custom-made/hand-drawn illustrations to sell products. Custom-drawn illustrations bring a personal, unique feel to your online store. They will also save you money on royalty fees and, more importantly, they will save you from having to use the cheesy stock photos that limit your originality due to their overuse, especially in the eCommerce world.

Some businesses even go so far as to use hand-drawn images for menu icons, logos, search bars – you name it. We believe more eCommerce sites will take advantage of custom-drawn illustrations in 2016 in order to stand out from the competition.

3. Interruption Marketing or Permission Marketing

As content marketing continues to grow, so does our desire to capture contact information. Yes, you guessed it, those annoying pop-ups are back – but maybe less intrusive and annoying this time around. According to Practical Ecommerce, eCommerce sites will use interruption marketing more in 2016, stating that one-third of the National Retail Federation’s top retailers in the United States will use them in the coming year.

Why would the big brands bring back something that annoyed so many people in the 90s? Because it works. Eighty-nine percent of companies using content marketing say so. Companies are choosing to use content marketing to increase their email subscriber base and, in turn, increase sales. Email marketing is the most powerful tool available to eCommerce sites. So, in order to get email addresses, eCommerce sites are providing discounts or valuable content in exchange for personal information.

An example of interruption marketing, from Unbounce.

Source: Unbounce

This time around interruption marketing is a bit less intrusive, as some sites require you to take action — for example, scrolling down before the pop-up will appear. It would be interesting to know if people find interruption marketing any less intrusive than the pop-ups of the past and what prompts people to part with their personal information. We can’t wait to see how this eCommerce web design trend of 2016 will play out.

4. Semi-Flat Design/Almost Flat/ Flat 2.0

Flat design has become increasingly popular in the past few years. In 2015 we started to see it everywhere. Due to the minimalistic style and modern look, this trend has become the design of choice for many people. Flat design is simply an interface design style without the bells and whistles – i.e., gradients and textures – utilizing instead the simple elements, typography, and flat colours that Microsoft made popular. Flat design looks great on a responsive device and is easy to navigate, but it does have disadvantages. Designers found that although simplistic, it is difficult to implement well and if it’s used incorrectly, flat design can come off as lacking rather than modern. Regardless, several companies jumped on the flat design bandwagon in 2015. As a result, sites started to lack individuality, possibly due to the sheer number of templates available with the flat-design elements.

Flat design has now evolved into three categories, each of which we expect to see more of in 2016: semi-flat, almost flat, or flat 2.0. Designers worked out the user ability issues that came with flat design, which sacrificed usability for trendy aesthetics. Now, semi-flat encompasses subtle shadows, highlights, and layers to create some depth in the UI. We look forward to seeing what is in store for flat design in 2016.

An example of flat design, from Google.

Source: Google

5. The Omni-Channel Experience

Although not a web design per se, the omni-channel experience will likely be embraced by more companies in 2016. This trend allows businesses to expand their eCommerce efforts beyond their websites, providing a seamless experience and consistent messaging across all channels of their business. We believe that in 2016 we’ll see more companies integrating their websites with their brick-and-mortar stores, Facebook, Twitter, apps, etc., bringing a seamless omni-channel experience to their customers.

By aligning the company’s messaging, vision, and design across each channel and device, eCommerce sites will provide their customers with a better personalized experience in 2016. Not only will omni-channel be a significant eCommerce web design trend for 2016, but for the next couple of years to come as well.

Oasis does a good job of providing its customers with an omni-channel experience. Not only is the shopping process seamless regardless of whether you visit their brick-and-mortar stores, eCommerce site, or mobile app, but you can also find out the stock levels at local stores via their app. Pretty cool!

The Omni-Channel experience, from Oasis.

Source: Oasis

Whether you are looking to spruce up your website with the latest design or doing a complete web overall, it’s always important to pick a design that best suits your business. Don’t select one simply because it’s trendy and everyone else is doing it. Choosing a design that doesn’t match your business value proposition can ultimately hurt your eCommerce business, so it’s important to pick something that fits your brand and the vision of your company.

If you would like more information on how we can help you with your next web design project, contact us today. StudioCoast’s Studio Media has been helping Australians with their web design needs since 2002. Contact StudioCoast today.

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