Due to the increased accessibility and convenience of the World Wide Web, business moguls had the epiphany that utilising this medium to electronically purchase and sell goods, using “virtual storefronts”, would drastically enhance the ease, and speed, at which transactions can be completed.
There are, of course, certain tricks of the trade that online and high-street stores utilise, and why wouldn’t they, when it’s clear they work so well?
So it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that E-commerce web designs cash in on Christmas or other well celebrated seasonal events. Most brands will, in one way or another, use the holidays as a way of promoting their products. Whether they do it subtly or not is another question. E-Commerce most definitely makes it easier to advertise in the latter way; a website can be changed with a few clicks, it’s a little more difficult to do up your high-street store with the same zeal. Which is why, of course, you’ll get some that go full throttle. They’ll throw in a few reindeers, use red and white, get in the Christmas snaps and most importantly advertise about buying presents from that company.
Where some stylised traits transcend industry sectors, others do not. High-street stores will use certain tactics such as display style, special offers and colour schemes to attract a specific target audience. E-Commerce web design is no different.
So here are a few examples of how different sectors employ web design:
Fashion & Beauty
One very effective method that fashion and beauty websites use to display their pages is tile-like images for the layout. For example the layout for ‘ColinCowie’ focuses on portraying a clever use of imagery, good lighting and high quality photography: simple is sometimes the best answer to getting the most elegance and sophistication.
‘ColinCowie’ uses the web as a way of selling his products in the same format as a magazine would: they have used an editorial style to map out their website. This is so effective because it draws in those customers who are wary of online shopping but continually buy from magazines.
Colin Cowie Website
As is often the case in houses themselves, the websites designed for home products frequently use a neutral colour palette. Now it’s clear there are exceptions to every rule and this is by no means a rule, but it is a pattern that tends to crop up. The photographs used often showcase the items in a homely environment, taking advantage of setting up the whole of a house scene to show off their product in a way that Ikea, and only a few other companies, manage to do.
The best of the interior furnishings webpages invite the consumer in and make them feel at home. Places like Bold and Noble do so with catchy and quirky phrasing to ensure that people know the naturalistic and hand-made approach they take.
Bold Noble Website
Web design for baby orientated products take their inspiration from many of the same places that you would look to if you had a high street store, except online you can add in a few more bows and footballs and babies looking cute. (And let’s not forget the added benefit of not having to actually interact with any babies while we shop for them.) Using blues or pinks along with other gentle colours, along with a soft font means that you immediately know who websites such as ‘MumMade’ is aimed at.
Use of handmade elements in both the products and stitching effects gives the website a homely feel and the images used invite the customer in. The use of colloquial language and quirky phrasing personalises the experience.
The idea of buying edible products online can often make people wary, especially if it’s something a little different. So many food and drink orientated websites have tried to combat these fears by making their websites quirky and original. Take for example the ‘Mighty Macha’ or ‘Innocent’ sites that work off of being eccentric and reaching out to the customer as an individual. All of the colours are bright but natural and present clearly the statistical health and eco benefits of their products.
Some of the most effective sites of this kind are interactive and use close up shots of the products because it is the best way of showing a product you can’t physically see. The interactive aspects of these sites and the way they explain how the products are made and what they are made from makes the websites especially successful.
Naturally when we buy clothes we want to see close up, detailed shots of the products we are browsing for. Online stores entice their customers by putting their clothes on a model, so that you can get a feel for the shape and style of the clothes.
The styling of clothing websites is possibly the most diverse of any industry but more often than not, unless the store sells to a specific sex, the pages remain neutrally gendered so as to attract more customers. The font and stylisation of the websites change but using something original and unique can entice people; such as ‘Threadless’ using a comic style font and Gap comparing their clothing colours to sweets.
In the same way that magazine and advertisements impress upon you the necessity of feeling good in your clothes, online stores achieve this goal in a way high street stores cannot. A little difference in the style of the website can go a long way, including seasonal aspects or promoting the hand-made equal opportunity nature of their products.
Oasis Website – Winter Season
Oasis Website – Summer Season