E-Commerce Web Design: Basic Features and Trends

14 Feb 2020
Kate, copywriter
Great design is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good.
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Why is design so important?

There are three hardest things in the world: leaving your soulmate, hitting your little thumb by the table, and confirming the design for your web app. You wanted a green color, and they told you it looks too bland. Here are five different fonts they want you to choose from, and they look alike to you! Does it matter anyway? You can just choose the green color palette, make illustrations with your product, and sell them with no designers! Great job! If it meets all your needs, then save yourself some money and be among the entrepreneurs who ignore the necessity of a great design.

Yes, your variety of glasses/jeans/car tires is great by default. Still, consumers nowadays are not paying for the product only. They buy the brand, the design, and the idea. That is why iPhones are so popular. You can purchase any other phone and still make calls, take photos of cats, and send funny pictures. However, with iPhone, you feel like you are a part of a clique. Design is what creates a brand identity nowadays. Still, there are many more reasons why it’s vital to your project.

1. First impression matters! The greater the initial experiences the users have, the bigger the possibility they visit it again and order.

2. Recognition is key to the competition! If your customer thinks “I’ve seen it somewhere! Oh, yes, it’s an element from Eyeing Josh Glasses ad!”, it’s a success! In eCommerce awareness about the brand is what drives the business forward. If people recognize the elements of your design — it’s unique.

3. Navigate to captivate! Great design is not only about the outer beauty. It has a soul as well — the structure, architecture, and navigation. It is what makes the website convenient and takes less time to figure out how it all works. The “ORDER” button is unnoticeable? Forget about sales. The “QUESTION/ANSWER” section is somewhere in the depths of your website? Your customer support will surely have more work than they should.

4. Present your product correctly. Ever thought about why the teenage clothes website is different from the one with sportswear? It’s all about the target audience and its specific preferences and expectations. Teenagers will more likely buy clothes from a colorful website with their favorite TV-stars integration. Sports fans will raise their eyebrows and choose a more minimal or even geometrically-designed concept.

E-commerce website design trends

It is what differentiates and makes your products instantly visible. There is a UI and UX design. UI design uses colors, shapes, textures, and lines to arise the emotions of your brand concept needs. Do you sell glasses for women? Use pastel pallete and mild and elegant fonts. Are your glasses for kids? Be sure to add bright colors and many cartoon references. UX design is all about the experience. It sets the navigation, usability, and functioning of the website. Basically, it’s about designing how people use the page and what they feel while doing it. The main aim of an eCommerce design is to attract the customers, keep their attention, and make them want the product here and now, in your shop.

Common elements of visual design for best ecommerce trends

Colors. Our experience affects our perception of the world. It works for colors, too. There is nothing bad with orange until you associate it with criminals in the USA. There is nothing special with purple until you link its image to space. Without individualized perception all colors are neutral, so you’ll have to consider people’s innate and experienced associations. Red represents the concept of “stop”. That’s why it’s on the “CANCEL” button. Green means “go on, continue”, and it’s on the “ACCEPT” button because of it.

Size. Highlights or hides – that’s the size’s function in design. Did you notice how the banners “50% off” and “Order Now” are usually bigger than others? Or how the text that notifies about no possibility to exchange the product is typed in less than 10 pt? Size is one of the ways of pointing to the important info. P.S. We are against white lies, so type the info about limitations more visibly.

Shape. Did you know that people consider rectangle more appealing than square? Your notebook is rectangular, just like your table, and smartphone, and book… It is connected to our survival in the past. So yeah, each shape also has a different effect on our emotions. Squares suggest order, circles display harmony, triangles represent a direction.

Fonts also influence the perception of the brand. Times New Romance represents classic and stability, script fonts — elegance and old times atmosphere, modern fonts show chic and progressiveness. Mixed designs of fonts may create a feeling of chaos or original thinkings.

Space. Even blank space means something in design. The placing you choose for buttons and links determines whether your customers go to another page or not.

Great UX decisions for the eCommerce design in 2020

  • Simplification. If people think about how to use your web and wonder if they do it right — their experience there is complicated. The website must be intuitive.
  • Consistent content outlay. It must be precise and logically structured. We want women glasses put in a separate section from the male products. We want blog articles to be separate from product pages.
  • Personalization. People search for perfect products and scroll less because time is something they lack in the modern world. Make the journey on your page fast and enjoying, Include “Suggested products”, filters or even quizzes
  • Relevance. The relevance of colors and products, fonts and shapes disrupt the possibility of users facepalm. You cannot sell horror books with pink my little pony on it.
  • Face ID/ Touch ID registration and logging in. People got used to it while using smartphones with a personalized security system. Now, they want it everywhere.

E-Commerce web design trends with examples

In the 21st century, customers are lacking free time and have a short attention span. We sort out the information automatically because there is so much of it! Brands try to adapt to such changing consumerism behavior. The main trends are aimed to quickly catch customers’ attention with striking colors and cause the flow of endorphins with interesting animations and creative photography. In the 21st century, it is hard to create something entirely new. So brands stand out by going beyond the tradition. The main aim is not only to sell but also to create trusting and long-term relationships with customers. We already wrote about the main trends in eCommerce for 2020 in previous articles. Here you’ll find out about the best designs to adopt this year when building an eCommerce business.

Unusual colors combinations

The Ittan color circle and color wheel are the main tools for combining tints. Web designers used Analogous Palette, combining three colors that were similar to each other in tone and warmth (like dark green, light green and blue). There is a complementary type of combination, where you use completely different colors, like warm yellow and cold purple. In 2020 designers will have to step out of these rules for a little, so they can use the combination of more than three colors, both warm and cold.

WHY? Unusual colors combination draws attention. It creates an atmosphere of challenge, positivity, wildness, original thinking and youth.

Motion in product images

One of the best decisions is to show the product in use. If it’s a purse — show how many things are going to fit in there. If it’s a set of pencils — show how they draw. Static photos fail to present actions naturally. Videos take much time to download. Users have to press the play button to turn them on, and they usually don’t do it. Animated pictures would be the best solution because they seem like usual photos but some parts of them are moving. It’s an interesting and creative trend in eCommerce design.

WHY? Usually, the animated picture is like a very short repetitive video. It goes over and over like a boomerang in the Instagram story and seems appealing to our brain because of this repetition.

Original photography

Enough of boring photos. Make minimal flat lays for cutlery, creative poses for models in your clothes. The more interesting the idea of a photo is, the faster you’ll catch the attention of your customers.

WHY? There are more than 1 billion users on Instagram. The content-makers there have set high standards for the photography of products. It should be creative and original.

Unconventional grid layouts

One by one, three photos in a row, long listings are a classical decision. However, if you want to make a difference in an eCommerce world create an unusual layout. Combine large-sized and small-sized photos, rectangular or circular with square-shaped ones. You can use the principle of golden rectangles, Fibonacci spiral or symmetric.

WHY? The layout should be logical because our brains are looking for structure everywhere. When it finds it, it feels pleasure. The principles described above are proved to arise a feeling of satisfaction from aesthetics. Even if you want to create a chaotic layout, make sure to include at least some structure, or your design will fail.

Interactive pages for products

Usually, when you visit a website, first you come to a homepage. Only clicking on the button “Products” on the menu, you find the listing and make purchases. With the interactive design, you come to the product page right away, and there’s something interesting waiting behind the corner. The products replace each other as you click on them, they move, change their forms or colors, appear and disappear. All in all, it looks like an entire ad that you can control. Below is the example of a hybrid page of a bar shop. As you scroll the page there is the whole interactive process! Fist you unpack the bar, as you scroll down it gradually appears from the package until the chocolate breaks and you see the feelings. As you keep scrolling down the next type of bar comes out and the whole process of unpacking repeats. It’s an example of great eCommerce design.

WHY? Interaction creates the impression of being involved. People remember such websites, share it with friends and revisit it because it reminds a game. Interaction is quite popular now. Even Netflix created an interactive episode of the Black Mirror TV-show.


Instead of calling, writing emails customers can ask questions right on the website. It saves time and improves the quality of customer support. Sure, even the best chatbot won’t answer specific and complex questions. However, when it comes to sizes, options, payments, delivery — it is efficient. Yes, there is info about everything on the website. However, even if it’s noticeable, customers prefer writing in the chatbot and get the answers straight away.

WHY? It saves tons of time. Time is the main value today.

A collaboration of photos and illustrations

Creative photos become even more interesting if you add an illustration. People have used cups of any kind. They have seen thousands of glasses. What they haven’t seen is the real cup on the drawn table or glasses from your store on a drawn Marline Monroe.

WHY? The combination of opposite things — here reality and fiction — stirs the imagination.

Dark Mode

The dark mode is everywhere. Messengers have this option. Now it came to eCommerce as well. In the great variety of White Mode websites, Black ones look not only elegant but also unusual. Also, the colors look more concentrated on dark background.

WHY? Black is classic. No color will be a new black, no matter what all trendsetters say,

Go further than the world says. Try something new

Pink is for girls, blue is for boys – a well-known fact and an association that long took root in our consciousness. However, did you know that in the 1920s people did not have this distinction? Many mums chose pink for their sons, and it was not considered to be a bad taste. After WW2 there was a mass of marketing that changed the perception of these colors. Dolls and girl clothes were made pink. Toys for boys — blue. The marketing strategy that was created 100 years ago is influencing our perception now.

So what? Today is all about being rebellious. Everything has been said and done. There is no way of creating something unique. Today is the era of making the old seem new. This is the time to experiment with traditions and conventional truths. Hire a great team of designers who have this vision. The designers that would be able to create the best eCommerce site design that sells even blue dresses to girls and pink toy cars to boys.

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SaaS Product Development Guide for 2020
Kate, copywriter
SaaS Product Development Guide for 2020
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