User experience is among the key factors that determine how your website is perceived by those who are browsing it and how your site will convert. These factors are twice as crucial in eCommerce as UX and UI in much predetermine whether users will be comfortable and satisfied enough with your website to actually buy something.

Importantly, having imperfect navigation, an unoptimized and slow website, an inconvenient search and checkout are some of the online retail “crimes” that solely lead to losing revenues. Similarly, outdated design and lack of modern functionality are additional reasons why an online store is less compatible and successful than its analogs.

On this page, we’ll share the latest trends in UX and UI and give real examples of how world-famous brands are already using them.

1. Beauty Lies in Simplicity

Perhaps the first eCommerce trend that is worth mentioning regards style. Most decisions are made in favor of simple elements, sometimes combining them with large visuals and with accents made on bright colors. Plus, more and more websites are choosing minimalist designs that don’t overcrowd too many blocks. This concerns the entire look of the website from the home page and top menu to the product catalogs and beyond.

Minimalist Home Pages

Keeping things nice and plain is one of the common ideas that are often used on the home pages of eCommerce websites. As such, massive images, simple drop-down menus, and quite large grids with intuitive navigation help to lead the user to the section that they need very quickly. Take a look at the home page of the official Calvin Klein website as an example: 

Catalog Page Layout

Similarly, as of recent, the catalog pages that group products by type are as straightforward as they can be. Preference is generally given to larger grids with fewer items per row and larger images. Moreover, there’s usually more than one product image that can, for instance, change whenever the cursor hovers over it. As a rule, all the key data is presented on the catalog pages but it’s narrowed down to the very minimum: i.e., the price, the name, or the colors the item can come in.

What’s for filters, although there can be a plethora of ways to narrow down the search, it is vital to not overdo it. Having one too many filter options is usually more distracting than it is helpful, so providing fewer options in the filter has become an often-used thing in online retail too. Furthermore, having wishlist functionality and the feature that allows adding the item to the cart straight away (without opening the separate product page) are common trends as well.

For a more vivid example, take a look at the perfume catalog page on the official Prada website. Product galleries on this page change from the perfume bottle image to the image with the box it comes in when hovered, there are “hearts” for wishlists, and the filters are simple:

2. Untypical Product Pages

Mentioning product pages, the layout that most people are used to (with the gallery on the left, product details on the right) has become a bit jaded, therefore, many brands have decided to take their product pages to the next level. Among the highlights to be mentioned here include non-conventional page layouts with unusual gallery placement as well as the additional functionality for better displaying the product details or the variations that they may come in.

Product Gallery Solutions

One of the ways that some brands prefer to stand out is by selecting the non-habitual product gallery placement. A great example of that could be seen on the official Gucci website where the product gallery images are placed at the top of the page in a banner slider format with the key information on the product and its price stated in the center:

Item Details Functionality

Speaking of ways to display product details, adding image zooms on galleries and even the 3D rotation of an item can be listed among the recent trends as well. Additionally, providing the dimensions of the product to help to understand the size is a favored feature for online retail of accessories and eyeglasses. For example, this can be a graphic picture of the item, say, a hat with its indicated width and height.

The general idea of helping the client who’s shopping online to get a better idea of what the item is like without having the opportunity to physically see it or touch it appears throughout. On this screen, you can see how the official Dior website offers the chance to compare the shades of a lip liner and to see the difference in color:

3. Try It On Technology

Taming the powerful features of authenticated reality is another highly popular trend in eCommerce as of late. Such implemented technology allows users to test a product that they want without the need of having to actually physically try it on, say, at a store, or by ordering it based on a blind assumption that the item would be a good fit.

In essence, using the built-in camera of their mobile device or computer, a person may see in real-time how a product or thing will look on them. For instance, how an applied eyeliner or eye shadow may suit you or whether the floor lamp you’ve chosen will match the style of the office.

Some online retail spheres that have already experienced the benefits of such modern technology are:

  • cosmetics and beauty products,
  • accessories (such as jewelry, hats, and eyeglasses),
  • footwear,
  • home decor.

To give a more specific example, the official Maybelline New York website offers its shoppers to try on their products from their site:

4. Customizable Item Builders 

Another point that deserves attention is the functionality that allows us to customize an item. Depending on the product and sphere of online retail, this can range from something as small as an accessory like a key chain to larger furniture, to name a few.

The overall idea lies in the point of having all the variables available in the constructor format. Going step by step through the tabs or boxes, a user may not only create a unique design to their taste but also see how the price is being calculated based on the selected options as the order is assembled. As such, this is how glasses can be customized on the official Ray-Ban website:

5. Progressive Web Apps & Mobile Optimization

ECommerce is going mobile. And because more people are making purchases from their mobile phones or other devices like tablets (as opposed to their desktop computers), having a well-functioning mobile version of the website is a “must” in 2020 in terms of UX and UI. Many elements, especially menus, droplists, filters, multi-selects, radio buttons, and fields that are to be filled out, need additional thought. Users shouldn’t be frustrated with endless scrolling or trying to close a pop-up.

That said, every detail matters, and the simpler the mobile version is to use, the better. Therefore the common trend leans towards using pop-ups rarely, limiting drop-down menus to fewer options, adding large easy-to-click buttons and elements, and using basic layouts.

Finally, the craze of the day is related to PWA in eCommerce. Progressive web applications are the ultimate substitute for native applications. Unlike natives that require being downloaded to the device and that are quite expensive to develop, PWAs incorporate the best of two worlds: regular websites and applications. They can function offline, they visually look like an app, they’re very fast and user-friendly. Top businesses are already using such functionality, this is  how the Starbucks PWA app looks like:

To conclude, having flawless UX and UI is a sure step towards a thriving eCommerce business. By paving out a convenient customer journey, you can make the process of buying something on the online store enjoyable and easy. Plus, modern functionality and a non-tangled design can make your shoppers happier, boost your chances of making the sell, and help to be more compatible.


Alex likes to write about anything related to technology, marketing and gadgets. He sometimes reviews the latest tech and also writes on other blogs.