Ecommerce is a rapidly evolving industry, and the user experience (UX) continues to play a crucial role in determining the success of an online store.
Ecommerce UX development is a fascinating field that involves creating new website designs, apps, integrations, and user interfaces — and staying on top of the latest UX trends and technologies has now become a necessity for most businesses in order to stay competitive.
In this article, we will take a look at the top UX trends in ecommerce and how they are shaping the future of online shopping.
Personalization is a key trend in ecommerce UX design. This involves creating unique and tailored experiences for individual users based on their preferences and behaviour. Companies are collecting more data about their customers, and are implementing various technologies to make full use of this information. Recommendation engines and personalized product suggestions have already become commonplace for top online retailers.
One of the key things to look out for in creating personalized experiences is the use of machine learning. For example, Amazon uses machine learning algorithms to provide personalized recommendations to users based on their previous purchases and browsing history, also adapting to the user’s evolving interests in real-time. Today’s customers expect brands to be able to provide omnichannel personalization, one that can seamlessly support transitioning experiences between mobile, web, email, SMS, call centres, and in-person engagements.
One of the most interesting ecommerce UX design trends has evolved from just being a buzzword to an increasingly important part of the shopping experience: Micro-interactions.
Micro-interactions are small interactions in applications that support the user by giving visual feedback and displaying changes more clearly. Basically they are minute animations that turn bland, mundane actions into delightful, memorable moments. They can be associated with triggers such as swiping, scrolling, clicking, hovering, pull-to-refresh, volume adjust, and many other user actions.
Micro-interactions is currently transforming the ecommerce UX game, pushing more web content and functionalities from static to dynamic states. Online businesses are catching on quickly to implement such features, and are now becoming an essential part of great websites.
Visual search is a trend that is gaining popularity in ecommerce. This involves allowing users to search for products using images, rather than keywords. For example, a user could take a photo of a product they are interested in, and the website would use machine learning algorithms to identify the product and provide purchasing options.
Visual search can make the shopping experience more intuitive and engaging, and can also make it easier for users to find the products they are looking for. One of the chief drivers of this trend, Google Lens, allows you to look up product information, copy and translate text, and more, from a photo capture from your smartphone.
Augmented and virtual reality
Facebook’s business model pivot into Meta is a significant indicator of the commercial shift into Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). AR allows online stores to provide an immersive and interactive shopping experience for users. Features such as virtual try-on have already been in the market for several years now, where users can virtually try on clothes and accessories to see how they look.
Another use case of AR is virtual home decorating, where IKEA is continually pouring investment into its app that allows users to see how furniture would look in their home before purchasing. This is a great example of how AR can help improve the user experience by making it easier for users to visualize products that are bought online and therefore make more informed purchasing decisions.
What’s next for AR and VR? It is likely that we will see the emergence of a whole new set of UX design rules across the online retail industry as we move away from screen-centred interfaces.
Advanced cursor interactions
The mouse cursor is a fundamental web design tool that bridges the gap between users and the user interface (UI) of an online store.
In recent times, UX designers have introduced unique animated effects with cursors, and even give it the ability to produce actions that were previously made using UI inputs. These improvements are not just about impressing users with design gimmicks, but also creating a smarter and more engaging user experience.
Advanced cursor interactions are now playing a major role in ecommerce, so much so that it has become one of the leading trends in UX designs in 2022 and beyond.
UX localization is a relatively new trend that allows online businesses to provide users with a sense of comfort, familiarity, and ease of use no matter which part of the globe they are located.
By adapting the user experience and content to local expectations, businesses can develop better empathy with their customers, thus strengthening their relationship with the brand.
What are some examples?
- Checkout preferences: Email is the preferred login method for most Western markets, while the mobile number is the default for some Asian markets.
- User registration: In Spain, there are two fields for the family name because people use both their father’s and mother’s surnames.
- Website symbols, icons, and colours: In Asian countries like China, the colour red is often used to suggest good luck, and that consumers could be lured by products or services with that colour.
Voice interfaces, such as voice assistants, are becoming increasingly popular in ecommerce. This allows users to interact with online stores using natural language, making it more intuitive and easier to use.
Many ecommerce websites now include voice search functionality, allowing users to search for products using speech input. This is particularly useful for users who are on the go and are not able to access a keyboard interface, or for users with disabilities who may find it difficult to use traditional search methods.
In addition to voice search, some ecommerce websites are also experimenting with voice assistants that can provide personalized product recommendations and assist with the purchasing process. Voice notification features are also gaining traction, as it not only shares a helpful message to customers in a convenient format, but also helps to increase recognition and elevate the brand.
Every year, new screen sizes are born, and with them, a need for businesses to adapt their online stores to these devices. This is where responsive designs plays a critical role in solving this common problem. It involves creating a flexible user interface that can adapt to fit any browser or screen size, ensuring a consistent experience across the different device technologies, both old and new.
Up till the 2nd quarter of 2022, almost 60% of global web traffic came from mobile devices.
With the increasing popularity of mobile devices, it is essential for ecommerce websites to be optimized for mobile. This involves ensuring that the website is responsive, so it can be easily accessed and used on a variety of devices, including smartphones and tablets.
Making the purchasing process as seamless as possible on mobile has become a must, in two main areas:
- Visual: a fluid user interface that can adjust to fit any browser space or screen, ensuring consistency across different internet devices.
- Functional: simplified checkout and mobile payment options, and optimized form inputs for mobile commerce.
Equally important as the implementation of responsive designs, are the use of tools that can help businesses automatically test and monitor both the visual and functional aspects of an ecommerce’s user experience across different devices and screen sizes.
The top UX trends in ecommerce have one main focus: creating personalized, intuitive, and engaging user experiences. Nevertheless an ecommerce UX is not an end, but a means to an end. It is a constantly evolving field that contributes significantly towards customer acquisition, satisfaction and retention activities.
Continuous improvement to the user experience should be the central part of every business’ long-term digital strategy. This not only means the UX design alone, but also measuring, testing, and monitoring the user experience to ensure that it is as expected across all online channels. It is especially worth noting the importance of validating both the functional and visual aspects of an ecommerce, to guarantee an optimal shopping journey for customers.