The Interactive Storefront: Designing for Ecommerce

Online sales worldwide have reached an all time high in the trillions and it’s clear that the majority of consumers do much of their shopping, if not all, online. This trend is only on the upswing, and with that, technological developments must keep up to meet the demand.

Much like being in a physical store, the digital storefront environment must be given a great deal of attention and designed to work for the customer. eCommerce design is no exception, following trends and standards that designers must implement for a company to have a competitive and thriving existence.

Responsive

More than half of the commerce traffic today is done on mobile devices.  Drop rates are rampant for sites that are not mobile-friendly equating to money left on the table for a business that has chosen not to optimize.  Delivering an optimal shopping experience with high quality imagery, zoom capabilities, scrolling and readability, responsive design brings a plethora of added value to the site owner through increased traffic and heightened conversion.

Experiential

For a brand to make a truly authentic connection to a user, it must extend many aspects of its persona throughout the digital experience. From initial perceptions to emotions and behavioral responses – the more resonant the experience is, the deeper the loyalty between and brand and user will be. Forging these connections through a screen can be a challenge, even more so as mobile usage continues to rise. Its now more important than ever to implement an eCommerce website design that captures the true messaging of the brand it represents. By using both visual, contextual, graphic and textual elements – a brand can make connections like never before. Leveraging design elements like oversized imagery, high-quality photography and lifestyle shots can lead users to faster conversion and higher engagement.

User Centered Product Emphasis

With the popularity of oversized imagery, the trend has carried over to product pages. No longer to users want to see a simple, small image of the product they are interested in on a white background. They want to see high-quality photographs of all angles of the product that can be zoomed in on to see every nook and cranny. Additionally, higher conversions have been tracked to reveal that when an image of a product is shown in use by a real person (whether being worn or used in a static photo or video), conversions are heightened drastically.

Simplified Navigation

Taking into consideration the importance of site architecture, a system of organization relative to the content should be built from the start. Navigation tends to work best when constructed parallel to the informational framework of a website. If working with detailed or high amounts of content – subjects and categories should be pared down to the highest levels and sub categories built upon into their own hierarchical structures. Be careful not to bury information where it is not easily found, especially content that has been tested at a high click rate. This is most essential for eCommerce platforms where a conversion is only gained when information is found.

While its advised to keep up on trends within eCommerce design, companies should ensure that the implementations they choose are fit for the user being served. The right platform to support the design should be carefully chosen and designed to scale for long-term use as business needs change.

Vanessa Petersen

As Executive Director of Brand Strategy based in ArtVersion’s Portland office, Vanessa manages both national and West Coast accounts. She brings with her a passion for strategy with extensive experience in creative marketing, brand growth and development. She is a true advocate of storytelling and brand building from the inside out, and her keen knowledge of the marketplace, trend patterns and usability lead her to identify opportunities that can inspire powerful design strategies.

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