Trends & Development in E-commerce
For as long as there has been commerce, there has been customer service. Granted, it’s taken some time to get the basic models right and even now, horror stories are all too common. Regardless of the odd blip though, the long term trend has largely been about consumers shaping markets, rather than the other way around; and nothing has given consumers more power than e-commerce.
Now that e-commerce has been with us (in the form that most of us use it) for around 22 years, it’s interesting to see how consumers have exercised their power. From pulling brands into new operating territories to supporting an ‘always open’ operating system to creating an entirely new level of customer service need, the web follows where buyer impulse leads.
Cracking The Code
For 2016, those impulses will be focused as much on site design and utility as the products themselves. With the growing ubiquity of smartphones and the need for intelligent mobile platforms, certain programmes are emerging as clear favourites among coders and designers; particularly those with a simple CSS foundation. The result has been a pattern of user interfaces that provide similar shopping experiences from site to site, creating an intuitive experience with a habitual feel that consumers are starting to expect.
Getting The Look
Equally, the layout and visual hooks of the sites themselves are changing. Large format photography and videos are the order of the day, as are sleek and chic card layouts (where one ‘card’ uses short copy and bold images to reference and organise a single topic). This format is thriving because not only is it easy to create a page that is exceptionally visually pleasing (and more memorable); it’s an incredibly efficient and space saving way of communicating important brand ideals and offers (provided your copy is sharp enough, of course).
Pushing The Pop-Up
All these trends (and other layout options like dynamic views) make sense in a crowded e-commerce market – they are about creating sleek, intuitive storefronts that serve customers efficiently and calmly in a way that’s not intrusive or pushy. Yet, oddly enough, the most reviled of all e-commerce marketing strategies seems to be making a comeback. The last year has seen the re-emergence of the dreaded pop-up. While it may not be as loud (or shaky) as its previous incarnations, it’s interesting to note that online retailers are almost all now offering deals for mailing list and newsletter signups all via a pop-up on the landing page.
While growth in e-commerce certainly isn’t as easy as it once was, the fact is that having an online selling presence has become non-negotiable for almost every business, which makes developing and maintaining a perfect platform the best business expense you can make.
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