From Form to Function, We Explore the 10 Hottest Trends in eCommerce Web Design for 2021
Evolution is defined as the gradual adaptation of a species over several successive generations. Living organisms must adapt to changes in their environment or face extinction. But evolution is not limited to biology. Times and trends perpetually change with one feeding off the other. What was once state-of-the-art and cutting edge will eventually become commonplace and tired; replaced by the next latest and greatest leap forward. This is most certainly true for eCommerce, which relies on not only trends in retail and Internet technology, but also art and design. These seemingly unrelated fields all form a symbiotic relationship and it is this relationship will determine the survival of the fittest.
If you’ve been keeping a close eye on the Internet, you may have noticed certain similarities between your favorite websites as well as unrelated sites you’ve happened to stumble across at random. It might’ve been layout or graphical art style, the user interface, or even something as simple as color palette and font choice. The similarities are not coincidental. What you’re seeing is the next new wave of eCommerce web design for 2021 and more and more websites–the ones who wish to see 2022–are going to abide by these standards.
Let’s dig into the top 10 most popular eCommerce trends to expect in 2021. If you happen to be in the eCommerce field yourself (I mean, why else would you be here?), it might be a good idea to pay attention to these design aspects. It’ll be an even better idea to try and incorporate them into your own online business but we’ll talk about that, later.
#1: Dark/Light Mode
This feature, made popular by mobile devices, is beginning to become more widespread as a design cue on the Internet. Originally, dark/light mode held a dual purpose: on mobile devices, dark/light mode helped reduce eye strain and conserve battery power by blacking out pixels which would waste energy by screen brightness. Dark/light mode was typically bound to the mobile device’s operating system as a user selectable option but web designers are now starting to incorporate this into their design themes. It also has the unintended side-effect of creating a classy, minimalistic approach to graphical layout.
#2: Dynamic Content
Internet integration is appearing everywhere these days. Twenty years ago, you used to see web addresses plastered everywhere as basic marketing. Today, even your refrigerator can access the Internet and make suggestions as to what groceries to buy. This is called The Internet of Things (IOT). IOT technology has become a powerful ally in eCommerce and online marketing. It depends heavily on user interaction, content, and interaction with said content. Dynamic content such as images, text, and short video files are shared from user to user. You, your friends, as well as total strangers interact and share the content through outlets on the Internet (IE: social media). It is the logical progression of viral, word-of-mouth marketing.
#3: Asymmetric Layout
Symmetrical layouts have been the web design standard for many years–and for good reason. Its organized appearance allows for better directional focus towards specific narrative or message, plus it’s easier for the user to digest. On the other hand, symmetrical layouts have their creative limits and, frankly, they’re aesthetically sterile. Yes, it’s a tried and true design method, but it lacks pizzazz and with the modern trends shifting more towards creative content, it’s understandable that designers are beginning to ignore the old standards and explore newer options. Asymmetric layout is one such option. When properly implemented, asymmetric layouts allow for creativity and efficiency in delivering information or a message.
#4: Advanced Chatbots & AI
Chatbots are virtual customer service agents that can help answer questions and resolve various issues in lieu of a real, flesh-and-blood human being. The chatbot experience used to be blatantly synthetic; it was more than obvious that you were interacting with a series of algorithms and codes versus a living person with a working brain. Primitive chatbots could only be used for the most basic and rudimentary functions as they were incapable of complex processes. Modern chatbots are programmed with advanced AI to appear more humanlike, thus adding to a positive user experience.
#5: Abstract Art
Illustrations and stock photography are still quite popular, if not, a little bit cliché nowadays. In an attempt to break away from the design norms and start a new visual revolution, designers are now looking towards brightly-colored abstract pieces to evoke emotion and convey a specific message or motto. The use of color can not only help create a pleasant visual environment for your shoppers and site visitors, it can also reinforce your corporate branding imprint on your potential customers. As it just so happens, this leads us to…
#6: Color Branding
There’s a whole psychology behind color. Colors have great subliminal and subconscious impact on human behavior. People interpret certain colors through perception. For example, light blue has a calming effect while bright red inspires high energy. Black, white, and shades of grey can be used to symbolize luxury and sophistication while bright fluorescent colors are more mischievous and playful. Notice how luxury cars are almost always presented in either black or silver whereas sports cars are bright red, lemon yellow, or neon green. That’s the power of perception.
Like the old saying goes, “Less is More”, and it is certainly true in modern advertising and web design. Minimalistic design is both effective and aesthetically pleasing. This streamlined approach states the intended message quickly and efficiently, without the risk of inundating the user with confusing and unrelated irrelevance. At the same time, keep in mind that there’s a fine line between minimalist design and bland, uninspired and uninteresting boredom. Many different websites with many different demographics and age groups have taken to minimalist design to sell their products as well as their brand.
If there’s one web design trend to expect in 2021 (and one that certainly won’t be going away anytime soon), it’s website speed. Shoppers visiting eCommerce websites expect webpages to load in 3 seconds or less. Slow websites are the leading cause of high bounce rates and high bounce rates lead to lower conversion rates. Lower conversion rates means that your website’s ROI is inefficient. Inefficiency kills businesses–ALL businesses. A fast, efficient website can make the difference in having a profitable, efficient online business.
#9: Dynamic Landing Pages
In the past 2 years, you may have noticed more websites using an integrated video loop on the front page. Back in the day, embedded video took up lots of space, was slow to load, and often relied on Flash or Apple QuickTime plugin in order to run. To make matters worse, HTML and Flash were well known to not get along with each other and would often cause performance issues. Flash soon fell out of favor and was unsupported by the major mobile manufacturers, eventually leading to the top web browsers themselves blocking Flash integration. The arrival of HTML5 has solved the Flash video loading issues and integrated video is being used in ways it had never been before. Dynamic landing pages grab the user’s attention and can help keep them engaged on the page for longer than the typical, static page with no visual interaction.
#10: Responsive Web Design
Nearly half of the world’s total Internet traffic originates from mobile devices. Mobile-only viewers used to have to browse through condensed versions of desktop websites, which were often unreadable on a mobile device’s screen. The old solution used to be the creation of a separate desktop and a dedicated mobile-only version of the website. Responsive web design, which began to see extensive incorporation around 2010, consolidates the desktop and the mobile page design into a single unit that automatically adjusts according to the method of which the page is viewed. Because the percentage of mobile users is so high, some website developers actually forego the base desktop design and focus solely on tablet and smartphone viewing.
Some fads and trends die off as quickly as they appear. eCommerce retail, however, is not one of them. As eCommerce and Internet-based companies continue to grow and expand year by year, so does the technology used to create and maintain these companies and the art and design methods used to attract customers. At Diztinct, we are dedicated experts in design, development and marketing that don’t believe in the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Every aspect of our services–from graphic design and logo illustration, to platform development and web design, to marketing and advertising–is custom-tailored to suit your business needs and the needs of your customers.
We’re here to make you stand out from the pack; to give you the cutting edge, to make you distinct. We are Diztinct.