It doesn’t matter how good your deals are; if your site looks outdated, people will assume your brand is low quality.

Look at it from your customer’s perspective. A successful ecommerce company can afford to stay current and implement the latest design trends. If your site looks old, people assume it’s because you’re not doing enough business.

The truth, though, is that keeping up to date with design trends is less about money and more about awareness. It’s a matter of knowing what needs to be updated and how — a few tweaks here and there are enough to keep your site looking modern and cutting edge.

But how do you know which tweaks to make? That’s what this article is for.

At 99designs, everyday we process and analyze design data from all over the world. We pay attention to both what design tactics are effective and which trends our clients request most. Based on the ebb and flow of what we’ve seen in the last months, we’ve compiled a list of graphic design trend predictions for 2019.

Below, we rounded up our 9 top design trend predictions for 2019 that are applicable specifically to ecommerce store owners.


1. Microinteractions

If you’re familiar with UX design, you may already know the term “microinteractions.” If not, they refer to the small and subtle interactions of a site that serve minor or secondary purposes — things that aren’t necessary for usability, but still help. Think of them as icing on the cake.

Typically, microinteractions take the form of:

  • confirmation messages
  • hover animations
  • scrolling visuals
  • transition animations
  • sound effects
  • error messages

While microinteractions themselves aren’t new, in 2019, we’ll see a lot more of them. Because of their practical benefits to the user experience, customers love them and come to expect them. And thanks to tech advancements, site managers have more options and capabilities for adding them.

Femme & Fierce screenshot

Via Femme & Fierce.

What it means for ecommerce

The user experience of an online store is crucial to completing sales. There’s a lot of interactions in online shopping, so use microinteractions to “fill in the cracks” in your user flow. Some common uses include:

  • animations for adding products to cart
  • sound effects to verify changes in order (quantity, color, etc.)
  • hover animations or text when users scroll over product pictures
  • animated transitions between checkout pages/screens.

Because there’s a wide range of applications for microinteractions, you may want to conduct some uster tests to find your most problematic areas. If your users have no serious complaints, look for areas where microinteractions can “add a little something extra” to a user’s shopping experience.


2. Chatbots

Chatbots have come a long way in recent years. Once they were considered clunky and cold, but thanks to recent advancements in AI and machine-learning, chatbots are now valuable addition to any site, not just ecommerce.

Insomnobot-3000 screenshot

Via insomnobot-3000

What it means for ecommerce

One of ecommerce’s inherent disadvantages against brick-and-mortar store are the lack of sales assistants. Not only do sales assistants answer shopper questions and overcome obstacles, they can also use artful sales tactics to increase the chances of a sale.

Chatbots seem to be the ecommerce’s best solution to this problem. Even if they can’t match a real person or even a live operator, they can still provide shopping assistance and answer the most common questions — at any time, in any place.


3. Videos

Video content has been on the rise for years now, but in 2019 we’re seeing it headed into some new territory.

In particular, people are starting to post more mobile-friendly video. For one thing, that means vertical video — social media outlets like Snapchat and IGTV are pushing for vertical videos to promote their channels, and people are getting over their hang-ups about it.

Another perk of video content is SEO. Google integrates video content into the first page of its search results, giving those brands with videos an extra chance to land a top spot on SERPs.

Snapchat Collection Ads

Via  Snapchat.

What it means for ecommerce

Historically, videos are a godsend to ecommerce. According to Hubspot, 76% of markets say product videos increased their sales and 81% of customers admitted watching a video convinced them to buy a product.

When you break down the benefits of video in online shopping, those stats make perfect sense:

  • Videos show what a product looks like from multiple angles and in motion, as opposed to static images.
  • Videos show products in use, preemptively answering some shoppers’ questions about how to use it.
  • Videos give brands an artistic opportunity to influence how the product is perceived.

Because videos are going to dominate 2019, there’s no better time to start implementing them than now. There’s even more options than ever before to incorporate your product videos in social media, including advertisements — Snapchat just unveiled some new ad options for ecommerce brands. 

 

4. Thumb navigation for mobile

Our next trend is so obvious, it’s a wonder why it’s taken so long to become commonplace. Considering that 94% of smartphone users hold their devices vertically, web designers are starting to situate navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen to facilitate thumb use.

Traditionally, the navigation menus of mobile devices, usually hamburger icons, where placed at the top left or right corner of the screen to coincide with desktop versions. But since mobile browsing surpassed desktop browsing in 2016, nowadays that’s become counterintuitive.

thumb navigation

Via tubik.

What it means for ecommerce

As we mentioned above, online shopping places extra emphasis on interaction, including navigation. The less users have to think about how to get to where they want to go, the more they can focus on the shopping itself.

Moving the interface to thumb-friendly areas makes it easier for customers to find the products they want and ultimately add them to their cart. With enough people, those small conveniences add up to more sales.


5. Asymmetry

With the prevalence of basic template-builder sites like Squarespace and Wix, site owners are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from common cookie-cutter sites — even if they themselves are using a template builder.

One way to set yourself apart is using an asymmetrical layout. Most sites adhere to a structured and balanced look, so simply by breaking that balance sites can stand out, for better or worse.

Carbon Beauty screenshot

Via  Carbon Beauty.

What it means for ecommerce

Because of all the product pages you have to make, it’s tempting to use a ordinary layout just to help you keep everything organized internally. But for brands that want to come off as edgy or unconventional, heavily structured pages can do more harm than good.

In that case, spice things up with asymmetry. As long as the product information is all there and can be found easily, you can experiment with more dynamic and visually stimulating layouts.


6. Serifs

The reign of minimalism in web design over the last few years has kept serif typography few and far between. But in recently months we’re seeing a resurgence of these fancy fonts.

Serifs refer to those little tags on letter, typical in old-fashioned fonts. Their opposite, sans serif, are a popular choice for blogs and other long blocks of text online because their simplicity makes reading easier on the eyes.

But serifs add a certain classic charm and sophistication, as long as they’re used sparingly. If you want to make you brand appear more dignified, they’re a good approach.

Enro screenshot

Via  Enro.

What it means for ecommerce

While the “buttoned-up” look of serifs won’t fit every brand personality, it can help establish the right atmosphere for the right match.

However, we recommend using serif fonts for headings and titles only. Serifs are a decorative style, so they’re better for accenting certain areas than for legibility. For blocks of text like product descriptions, stay with sans serif.


7. Diversity

Some digital trends are a direct reflection of what’s happening in the world around them. As a result of the social upheaval in recent years, we’re seeing a lot more diversity online, and brands are embracing the trend.

Diversity in web design manifests itself in a few different ways:

  • a wide range of ethnic groups represented in photography
  • depictions of homosexual couples
  • gender-sensitive language (i.e., “salesperson” not “salesman”)
  • overt messages of support to minority groups

While we don’t mean to commercialize sensitive issues, the inclusion of unrepresented communities is a trend far greater than just ecommerce or web design. So if you’re looking for a way to support such causes, now’s the perfect time to do it.

Nowness screenshot

Via Nowness.

What it means for ecommerce

No matter what demographics your business targets, its best to represent a diverse range of groups on your website. The most obvious application is in your product photo models, but you can go the extra mile with messages of support on your social media or website itself.


8. Vintage Photography

As you may have noticed, 2019 design trends are torn between futurism and “the good ol’ days.” While some brands are looking ahead with next-level technology and sci-fi imagery, other brands are looking back by reviving vintage styles.

We can see this in some recent fashion pictures, which uses a muted color palette reminiscent of the gritty, low-fi photography of the 70s. Colors are also imbued with more black than other modern styles, heightening that dated look.

The content of the photos themselves can add to this effect, specifically favoring more down-to-earth shoots, as if the photographer happened to surprise the subject during their day-to-day life.

Fernando Machado photo

Via Fernando Machado.

What it means for ecommerce

Again, this trend is no applicable to every brand. But if your site can benefit from a grittier or retro atmosphere, it might be worth investing in a stylistic photographer for thematic product photos. This goes double for fashion retailers, as such stylistic photos can make or break how your apparel comes across.


9. Contextual Logos

Responsive logos have been getting a lot of attention lately, but in 2019 the scope is getting a little bigger.

While responsive logos refer only to logos that change size depending on which device you’re using —  mobile, desktop, or something in between — contextual logos look at the bigger picture. It refers to optimizing your logos for multiple contexts, including screen size, but also what material its printed on, where it’s going to be seen, and whom its target audience is.

Contextual logos reflect a greater trend towards customization and optimization. For marketers, this means making branding more efficient by modifying logos to make the most out of each campaign.

Vesper Hills contextual logo

Logo design by 99designs designer  svart ink.

What it means for ecommerce

How you can use contextual logos depends on how you use logos in general.

At the very least, you should have responsive logos to accommodate mobile and desktop sites. Most big brands use four different logo variations to also account for tablets and other screen sizes.

But also consider your marketing efforts offline. Do you offer merchandise with your logo? Promotional swag? Stickers, pens, or stationary? All of these items can benefit from a customized logo.

And don’t forget your delivery packaging. Including a business card or flier ad in shipments is a recommended branding strategy, and a specialized logo can only help. Some companies even personalize the logo that goes on the shipment box itself, like Amazon’s iconic arrow-smile.


Bottom line

Just remember, when it comes to design trends, it takes more than just being trendy. The above isn’t a checklist of things you must include on your site, but rather a catalogue so you can weigh different options and choose the ones best for you. Keep in mind your branding personality above all else and choose only the trends that enhance it.  

Which of these trends are you most looking forward to trying out? Tweet us @99designs with your thoughts.

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