10 ecommerce design trends to follow in 2016

*Guest blog from Template Monster*

Electronic commerce today is developing by leaps and bounds; hundreds of new stores appear every day thanks to the widespread availability of eCommerce platforms, templates, and analytical tools.

If you are looking to make your online store stand out among its peers, you should consider updating it with some of the trendy features that will improve both its functionality and visual appeal.

For this reason we have prepared for you an overview of 10 of the most promising ecommerce design trends, illustrated with actual examples and readymade website templates. We hope it will help you build a profitable store; and perhaps, receive a ‘Site of the Day’ badge from Awwwards :)

Let’s get started.

1. Parallax scrolling effect

Having already been around for several years, the parallax scrolling effect has shown itself as an effective way of adding some action to a website design. Separate layers moving with different speeds give the impression of volume enriching user experience, and adding that elusive “wow-effect” to your website.

Parallax can be used in combination with other CSS-powered visual effects, like zoom or fading upon mouse hover. Take a look at the example of this cleverly implemented parallax effect – the PrestaShop theme Styler developed by TemplateMonster:


2. Flat design

Flat design is the kind of trend that is always in vogue. But what is its secret? Why do most of the trends come and go, but flat remains on board, only changing a little bit from time to time? The point is that flat design is utterly UX-oriented. Just like minimalism, it is flexible and easily convertible.

A newer version of flat UI accepts the use of shadows, gradients, and other visual improvements. Some designers call it “Flat 2.0”, implying that it is more advanced in terms of usability.


3. Clean white backgrounds

In content-heavy websites, using a busy background may result in cluttering up the entire design. To avoid this many designers prefer to use sheer white backgrounds that highlight content, and not cause confusion. The resulting contrast makes call-to-action buttons look brighter, and photography – livelier.

In addition, white is the most neutral color, so you can’t go wrong choosing it. No matter whether you are selling toys or heavy machinery, it’s 100% guaranteed that a white background will fit in perfectly.


4. Hover effect

Every interactive element of your website should have a hover effect, especially if it is designed in a classic flat style (Flat 1.0), so your visitors know exactly where to click. Hover effects visually define active elements of your website, highlighting them with shadows, animations, and transition effects.

The question is what effects to include, and what to avoid. After all, keeping your website smooth and non-obtrusive is your primary task. Don’t use too many different animations on one page, as that would look rather unprofessional.


5. Split screens

Last year website designs, where the page is divided vertically into two halves, became particularly popular. Such split screens are a great way to present the duality of your message. Whether you have two equally important products to promote, or two payment options, this trend is for you.

Two parts of the screen can be designed in different styles to emphasize visually the difference between them. For example, one half can have a photo-based background, and another could be filled with a single color.


6. Custom-drawn illustrations

In the world of refined computer graphics, 3D and futuristic shaped handcrafted icons are a breath of fresh air. By including handmade illustrations you add a portion of homely warmth and exclusiveness to your design.

But exclusivity is not cheap, so make sure first of all that the inclusion is worth the effort. The effect will be stronger if your images echo your products. In other words, this trend is not for stores selling hi-tech devices, but rather for ones offering design-driven products.


7. Lazy loading

Lazy load is a popular design trick that cuts the layout of your page into segments, and loads each segment upon scrolling, using various transition effects. You just scroll down the page, and after you hit the trigger, a new block appears. Thus, you speed up your website, as only a small part of the page loads at a time.

There are also situations where lazy loading is common. For example, pages with infinite scrolling almost always use this effect along with, or instead of, a ‘Load more’ button.


8. Big background images

A large high-quality photograph is one of the proven ways to make your website more captivating, attract visitors, and boost sales. Oversized photos on the background make your visitors feel like they are reading a printed magazine, and not browsing the web. Used in eCommerce, they help your customers examine your products in detail, and make a considered decision.


9. Hidden main menus

Menus are important parts of all kinds of user interfaces, even including one-page websites. But they don’t necessarily have to be prominent on all your pages. After all, web design is moving towards visual immersion and seamlessness, so don’t make your visitors stare at the purely utilitarian parts of your website all the time. Use hamburger icons or pullout sidebars to hide your menus. Just don’t remove them completely; remember that they should still be accessible in order to provide navigation.


10. Background video

Embedded background videos will help you raise your website’s visual appeal to a new level. Moving elements on a static background are more likely to grab increased attention, so you can use blocks with background videos as click baits by overlaying them with short chunks of inviting text and call-to-action buttons. Just use large, easy-to-read fonts that will contrast strongly with the video background.



Of course, this is not the entire list of upcoming trends; there are many more of them waiting to blossom.

Now, when you are armed with knowledge about the most promising ecommerce design techniques of the current year, which of them would you like to implement in your own store? Please, leave your comments in the section below. And don’t forget to share this post with your friends.

Like this? Check out the Nosto blog on product photography and the stores that do it best.


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