3 UX Trends & The Picture it Paints for the Future of Ecommerce
These last 5 years have been a time that’s marked by discovery.
Through technology, customers have discovered how convenient, personalized and efficient experiences can be, and they have raised their expectations accordingly. Consequently, this has required businesses to learn, assess and diagnose their own internal deficits in order to create an infrastructure that can support a digitally-advanced customer experience.
While this time has come with uncertainty and instability, businesses are solidifying the basics and we are now seeing how this transformative period is going to take shape as a tangible customer experience.
Just look at any element of the customer experience and you’ll find new tactics aimed at appeasing customer expectations – pick-up in-store, digitally enhanced “magic mirrors” in-store, and the rise of subscription services. Every touchpoint is starting to be designed with consideration of customer history, predictive insights, and balanced promotion at the core of the solution. And that’s also true for ecommerce stores.
UX Trends in the World of Ecommerce
Since the inception of the ecommerce store, it has largely been commonplace to design a website as a branded, digital catalog focused around objects that drive a customer toward an action (think flashy advertisements or promotions) – whether that is in the best interest of the customer or not.
However, as shoppers want richer, more seamless digital experiences, CX leaders are rebuilding their ecommerce sites with new capabilities and designs that are aimed to meet the needs, wants, and desires of customers.
Specifically, 3 goals seem to be guiding new features in UX design: eliminating noise, blending in-store to online, and personalizing the customer’s experience.
1. Eliminate noise
The online world is the consumer’s proverbial oyster. This is so true, in fact, that the freedom to choose between endless product options can actually cause friction in the overall shopping experience. As introduced in a previous piece, this phenomena coined as the ‘Paradox of Choice,’ causes human brains to be overloaded when presented with too many options.
Brands have taken note of this human fallacy, and redesigned their websites accordingly. Instead of landing on a website that’s cluttered with busy designs and unending rows of product images, businesses are creating clean, simple designs that only bare what is absolutely necessary and valuable to the customer.
Zara, for example, is a masterclass in simplicity. Objects are cradled in white surroundings and navigation is minimal and restrictive. Your eyes are never overwhelmed but rather gently drawn and focused on their beautiful clothing. Pop-ups never interrupt your experience.
These simplistic redesigns echo a much larger principle that comes into play in today’s competitive landscape: the days of product-centricity, and thus pushing large quantities of product to consumers, are over.
2. Blend in-store to online
It’s no secret that businesses have been on a mission to connect the in-store and online experience. It’s an increasing demand from today’s multi-channeled shoppers and a necessary component of any customer experience.
Accordingly, businesses have begun to stitch together once-siloed data to create online profiles or accounts that make it easy for customers to repurchase items online based on their history.
Walmart, for example, recently unveiled a website redesign in May that leaned into this concept. Supported by a newly designed homepage that features popular products and current sales which are reflective of a shopper’s past site visits, a consumer can now access a local store profile. This local store profile displays the services available within the shopper’s location such as Walmart’s free grocery pickup and it’s reorder service, which allows shoppers to easily repurchase any items they frequently buy in stores and/or online.
To quote Deigo Tertara, Chief Technology Officer of Globant, “shoppers want richer, more seamless digital experiences, and as Walmart advances toward this next level of ecommerce sophistication, they’re making sure to incorporate those demands by adding in services like easy reorders or visibility into order status.”
The lesson here is simple – provide customer-centric UX by giving customers transparency and control over their information.
3. Personalize in real-time
Combine advancements in machine-learning with the proliferation of customer data available to companies – about identity, preferences, purchase history, payment information – and you have a recipe for personalization to progressively become the core of every minute customer interaction.
More and more, we see an increasing number of objects on the ecommerce site (such as site search, content, etc.) become dynamically ruled by the real-time behavior, history and preferences of each individual shopper. Personalization has become central and essential to UX design.
Sure, this is easy for me to say as the CEO of a personalization company. But beyond the companies that we’re helping to innovate the CX through our immersive technology, big brands are prioritizing personalization like never before.
Just look at Overstock.com that launched a redesign earlier this year. While Overstock has had basic product-based personalization for years, the latest revamp tailors content and page layouts to individual shoppers in real-time.
Overstock’s new website uses its homegrown machine-learning technology to sort and personalize the content on a page based on a shopper‘s immediate behavior. For example, if shoppers click on a piece of content further down the page, the content will move up the page to quickly react to consumer’s real-time signals/preferences.
With every new site iteration, businesses are getting closer and closer to complete customization. And I think we will see this more-and-more as innovation and time move forward.
Today’s UX Trends Illuminate the Future of Online Customer Experiences
While these trends emphasize the progression in UX design, it also illuminates a path forward for the future of the ecommerce store.
More and more, we will see companies deeply personalize every aspect of the ecommerce experience. I firmly believe, based on the signals of the market and rising customer expectations, brands will evolve to eventually provide customized microsites that are dynamically created in real-time to the unique behavior of each individual shopper.
These personalized microsites will include features that are inclusive of UX trends we’ve already mentioned. They will integrate data from in-store to online to provide holistic, browsable customer purchase history and comprehensive product and content recommendations. It will be minimal in nature, dynamically filtering to only display the content and products that are most relevant to a particular customers real-time behavior and history.
It will finally succeed shopper’s expectations by being entirely customer-centric.
While big brands are implementing changes that begin to form the face of this innovative ecommerce store, 4-Tell has already designed this new reality through Your Store.
To learn more, and see how we are empowering merchants with a dynamic, automatic and entirely customer-centric ecommerce experience, visit our website.