UX Trends That Will Improve Your eCommerce Store in 2021
Every December experts in certain industries identify trends for the coming year and suggest how to use them to improve one's business and financial results. Our industry – i.e. creating online stores and designing mobile applications – also enjoys making such predictions. So here is an overview of UX trends for 2021. Adopting them will provide real value for both your online store/mobile app and their users.
Remote Usability Tests
This is not so much a trend but a necessity caused by the coronavirus pandemic restrictions that have been with us since March. Limiting human interaction and transferring all possible activities to the Internet have resulted in usability tests also being done in such a mediated manner. But this does not make them more difficult to handle or less valuable. Quite the contrary. The possibility of remote testing allows you to reach out to a much wider group of volunteers than in the case of a face-to-face test. Since your potential respondents don't have to spend time traveling to your company's headquarters, they are more likely to agree to take part in such a test. Additionally, they can participate in it while remaining in the familiar, comfortable conditions of their own apartments, and this increases the naturalness of the experiment; their reactions and behavior will be closer to those of their non-simulated, 'real' life.
But what exactly can you test remotely in your eCommerce store? First of all, the effectiveness of specific purchasing paths. Take a look at how your customers find specific products and how they complete transactions. Also, check if the information architecture you designed is optimal, or if it can be improved somehow. If something has not been properly foreseen in the designing stage of your eCommerce, you will surely find that out during usability tests.
Remember, however, that remote usability testing allows you to test users also in the early phase of designing a website or a mobile app. Preference tests, five-second tests and card sorting – all of this can be done over the Internet, and the presence of a moderator is not required.
Analytics More Important Than Ever
The closure of shopping centers and moving a significant part of commerce to the Internet have resulted in a significant increase in traffic in online stores. Clients admit that, on average, they buy health, beauty and clothing products online over 34% more often than before. In addition to increasing sales, these more frequent visits also bring a lot of valuable data about customer behavior and preferences. And the larger the data sample you have, the more accurate conclusions you can draw and the easier it will be for you to modify or expand your eStore.
What data should you pay attention to? In addition to standard indicators collected by, e.g., Google Analytics, take a look at the recordings of specific customers behavior on your website, made with e.g. Hotjar. This period of increased traffic in your online store is also a good time to conduct AB tests of new features. If you don't have any of those up your sleeve and only want to test an idea, you can run an AB test using the fake doors technique.
Products Presented On Models
Buying online without being able to see the product with your own eyes or to try it on makes it more difficult to make a purchasing decision. Therefore make sure that you recreate the traditional shopping experience as much as possible. If you haven't done it so far, invest in high quality pictures of the products on offer: make sure they're taken in high resolution, in good lighting, and that they present the product at different angles. If your technical infrastructure allows for it, it is worth taking 360-degree photos.
But bear in mind that this alone is no longer enough. Instead of using a neutral background, present your product in context. Give buyers an opportunity to assess its actual size and imagine its usefulness in practice. If you sell clothing, jewelery or make-up cosmetics, prepare photos of human models showing the actual use of the products on offer. Use this website as an inspiration.
Augmented Reality (AR) has been with us for a long time and is successfully used for entertainment (e.g. Google 3D Animals, Instagram and Snapchat filters, or the famous Pokemon GO game). Yet this technology has not been fully used by eCommerce stores to improve the shopping experience. This is all the more surprising because the advancement of mobile technology makes the existing limitations in using AR smaller with each year.
Online stores can boldly experiment with this technology to make it easier for customers to make purchasing decisions about items that cannot be viewed live or tried on. The possibility of immersing oneself in a product – whether by viewing an image of a piece of furniture in the actual space of your apartment, or by 'trying' a make-up cosmetic on your own face instead of the model's face, or by the possibility of 'trying on' a piece of clothing on the screen of your smartphone – it all builds a positive customer experience that is more likely to result in a purchase. Some online stores have already moved in this direction.
Online stores use an optimized category tree and an advanced text search engine to help their customers find the product they're interested in. But sometimes this just isn't enough. Remember that the customer is looking with his or her eyes – this is how people behave in a traditional store. They see a cool product in a photo on social media or in a Netflix series, so why not let them search for it using the image search option?
Providing this feature will increase both customer engagement and satisfaction; even if they don't find a specific product in your eStore, they will surely appreciate the fact that they could check it in this way, and they will probably come back to you in the future. Searching with an image can also lead to increased sales and simplification of the customer shopping path. So consider offering this option – before your competitors start doing it on a large scale.
A research conducted by Google in 2018 proved that using the so-called dark mode not only brings relief to the eyes, but also saves the battery of Android devices. This seems trivial, but it can be an additional incentive for your online store users. And products presented in the dark mode simply look very elegant, even luxurious.
Of course, you don't have to rebuild your entire online store or mobile app so that it works in dark mode (although there are such cases). The most important thing here is to have well-prepared content and well-taken photos of articles that will look good in this mode. Give your users a choice – just like Zara, Zalando and Vogue Polska do (the last one is an application for which we have created, among others, a business strategy and UX).
Instead of a Summary
What do you make of the ideas discussed above? Did they inspire you to act? If so, contact us – we may be able to help you implement them in your eCommerce store :)
Soon we will also share some interesting UI design trends for 2021, so check back regularly!