Whether you’re developing a brand-new ecommerce site, or you’re planning on giving a makeover to an existing website, it pays to know which design trends are on the rise. There’s something to be said for going your own way, but you also want to give users a modern and up-to-date website. If an ecommerce site seems obscure or old-fashioned, visitors might simply leave in search of something more aesthetically pleasing.

User satisfaction isn’t the only concern here; you should also consider what your ecommerce site design says about your brand. After all, that’s how your online customers get to know you. This is why a lot of people use an ecommerce website design company like WebCitz to make sure their sites not only look great, but also express their brand’s message.

The question is, could any of the current web design trends elevate your ecommerce site? That will depend on a lot of different factors, but since all of these trends can be adjusted to fit into an existing brand, they have a lot of potential no matter what kind of site you’re working with.

Increased sensory stimulation

Even if you can’t offer smell-a-vision yet, there are still plenty of ways to engage the senses of your site users. A popular (and entertaining) option is to add sound for every mouse-click; far from being annoying, the right sound effect can really enhance user engagement. Then there are visual effects, like making the background “ripple” along with the movements of the pointer. Some sites will even change the appearance of the pointer, depending on what it’s hovering over. For instance, it could look normal when there’s nothing to click, but change to a tiny little “open” message when it passes over a link or button.

Expanded digital experiences

The internet already gave businesses loads of room for creativity and development, but COVID-19 forced a lot of them to step up their game. For example, restaurants and grocery stores that offered deliveries before have since expanded their online services; they could include virtual shopping, placing the order, settling the bill, and other handy features.

Those aren’t the only kinds of businesses that are catching onto the trend; Simple Showing, a real estate agency, offers virtual home tours in their app. Clients who are concerned about staying safe in the middle of a pandemic can still “visit” homes through this service, which means that Simple Showing may actually be capturing business that would otherwise be lost.

Vertical menus

Up until now, horizontal menus have been the norm. Well, they still are, but there’s a new format that’s rapidly gaining popularity: vertical menus. Not only are they more visually interesting, but they actually work better for the people who browse websites on their mobile phones. And since about 68% of people are using their phones, not their computers, it’s safe to say that this is an improvement for most of them. Vertical menus usually play nice with narrow screens, plus they don’t block the entire page when you’re looking at a drop-down menu. They even look good on larger screens, as you can see on Laurie Raphael’s gastronomy site. Vertical menus may have a long way to go before they’re mainstream, but they’re definitely picking up speed.

Unconventional layouts

What makes a site memorable for users? If you want to mix things up at the most basic level, use a layout that people don’t often encounter. You could try something like a vertical scroll feature, or display your product grid in circles instead of squares. Christian Louboutin’s mobile site visually divides each section of the home page, whether it’s an image or a short paragraph of text. Not by marking off the sections with borders or banners, though; it’s by making the background for each new section a distinct new block of color.

You could make the entire ecommerce site feel quirky and unpredictable, or you could use more subtle touches to keep users on their toes. One thing’s for sure, though – this particular trend is almost infinitely adaptable for any ecommerce site.

Limited color palette

This one takes a page out of the minimalist handbook, but the end result won’t necessarily look minimalist. Take a look at Hog Watch, a website that sells high-end wristwatches that double as motorcycle fobs. While the site is visually rich, the color palette is actually pretty toned-down – various shades of black, gray, and white predominate, with occasional pops of orange. You could have video carousels, glossy full-color photographs, and multiple text elements on a page, but it still wouldn’t seem overdone thanks to a mellow color scheme. If you’re looking for design trends that can work for just about anyone, here’s another one to consider.

Increased personalization

A successful ecommerce website will have monthly visitors numbering in the thousands at the very least – so how can they make each user feel cared for? You can’t exactly send all of them personalized New Year’s cards in the mail, but some ecommerce sites have still found a way to connect with their users.

One ecommerce site trend that’s gained traction since the beginning of the pandemic is to offer participation in donation drives, feeding programs, or even special sales. Ecommerce sites could also consider the approach taken by Bloom & Wild Flower Delivery, which adds an extra layer of customization to the emails their clients receive. Instead of the usual choices, which let people opt out by category, their customers are able to choose which holidays they do and don’t want to see promotions for. It’s a simple acknowledgement that not everybody observes every holiday, and it adds a human touch, even to automated emails.

Incorporating a trendy design into your site isn’t just a way to stay relevant; it also helps you fulfill your website’s potential.

Retail sales projections for ecommerce sites this year put the figure at over 1 trillion dollars. If you’re already getting a slice of that pie with your ecommerce site, why not see if you can make your slice a little bigger?