Top Ecommerce Design Trends to Watch in 2024

Ecommerce Design trends

The top ecommerce design trends are constantly changing, thanks not just to advances in technology and ecommerce platform capabilities, but also evolving consumer preferences.

Here at Ecomm.Design, we’ve seen plenty of design trends come and go, from the rise of GIFs and animations to the increasing focus on minimalistic design.

Today, we’re sharing our insights into some of the most significant and impactful ecommerce design trends we’ve seen this year. Adapting to these trends could significantly improve the aesthetic appeal of your store, while also enhancing user engagement, and boosting sales.

Key Takeaways

  • Mobile-first design is essential due to Google’s mobile-first indexing focus, and the rising number of customers shopping for products on smartphones.
  • AI and chatbots are taking the world by storm, particularly with the rising number of innovative generative AI bots influencing the market.
  • New ways to enhance customer experiences are emerging all the time, from micro animations and dark mode, to AR and VR experiences.
  • Sustainability is increasingly influencing customer choices, leading to companies showcasing their eco-friendly credentials whenever possible.

Top Ecommerce Trends in 2024

1. Mobile-First Design

Mobile-first design might not be the newest ecommerce design trend we discuss here, but it’s one of the most significant factors you’ll need to consider when building your online store. Google introduced “mobile-first” indexing for the web in 2020, and ever since then, virtually every ecommerce company has been forced to rethink their approach to web design.

Not only will a mobile-first approach in 2024 help to boost your chances of better search engine visibility, but it’s crucial if you want to deliver an excellent experience. As of 2024, around 187.5 million customers in the US are expected to be shopping via mobile.

To deliver a more mobile-friendly experience, focus on:

  • Clean simple layouts: Don’t overload the pages on your website with too much content. Make sure the font is legible and easy to read.
  • Thumb-friendly navigation: Make it easy swipe through pictures and product categories, and tab a single button to add products to a cart.
  • Avoid auto-playing audio and video: Don’t add automatically-playing videos and audio to your web pages, as this can drain battery and mobile phone data.

Additionally, make sure any theme or template you’re using for your website is mobile optimized, to ensure images, text, and other content automatically resizes.

2. AI and Chatbots

AI and chatbots have also been a feature of ecommerce website design for a while now. Vendors frequently use chatbots to offer 24/7 service to their customers, and rely heavily on AI to provide them with useful insights into customer shopping behaviors and preferences.

However, the rise of more advanced algorithms and generative AI tools (like ChatGPT) has reshaped the industry for ecommerce leaders.

Already, studies have shown that the use of generative AI can be enough to increase customer retention rates for ecommerce brands by 10-15%, thanks to the ability for these bots to offer exceptional support, and personalized recommendations.

If you want to make the most of AI in ecommerce web design this year, here are some key areas to focus on:

  • AI-powered insights and analytics: AI tools can sort through and process data much faster than human beings. Leveraging AI analytical tools can give you an excellent insight into purchasing trends, help you forecast demand, and ensure you optimize your inventory.
  • Personalized shopping experiences: 80% of customers say they’re more likely to buy from a company that offers a personalized shopping experience. Try using AI bots and add-ons to surface bespoke product recommendations for customers based on their previous purchasing habits, their location, or the pages they visit.
  • AI-powered customer support: Excellent customer experiences are key to success in the ecommerce landscape. Take full advantage of AI chatbots and virtual assistants that allow you to deliver unique, efficient, and powerful 24/7 service to customers.

3. Sustainable Shopping and Design

You may have noticed that customers are prioritizing eco-friendly and sustainable companies right now. 78% of consumers say that sustainability is crucial to their shopping decisions, and 84% even say that poor environmental practices might stop them from shopping with a brand.

So, how does this relate to ecommerce website design? Simply put, today’s retailers are drawing more attention to their eco-friendly practices throughout their websites. We’re seeing more companies showcasing green credentials and certifications on their homepages, similar to other trust symbols.

There’s an increasing focus on creating “sustainability” pages, where companies outline how they support the environment by managing their supply chains effectively, reducing waste, or eliminating plastic from packaging.

Some companies are even giving customers the option to “donate” to environmental causes when they make a purchase.

Take a look at Patagonia’s website for insights into how you can showcase your sustainable values on your product pages, home page, and throughout your website. Other quick tips include:

  • Highlighting eco-friendly materials in product descriptions.
  • Showcasing eco-friendly labels on products (particularly in the apparel industry)
  • Partnering with sustainable packaging and fulfilment companies.
  • Working with green and eco-friendly suppliers and partners.
  • Posting regular news and updates about your sustainable initiatives.

4. Augmented and Virtual Reality

One of the biggest downsides of ecommerce has always been the fact that customers can’t physically interact with products, try on garments, or see what items will look like in real life. While immersive technologies might not rectify this problem entirely, they do add something special to the online shopping experience. In fact, according to studies, around 32% of customers have used VR to test and purchase products, and almost 79% of customers have bought products in the metaverse.

Many ecommerce platform leaders are even empowering businesses of all sizes to add immersive experiences to their stores. Shopify supports 3D content and AR “try on” apps, and Wix offers access to a range of tools for 3D, AR, and VR development.

Some of the best ways to get started in this landscape include:

  • 360-degree videos: You don’t need to be a cutting-edge developer to take advantage of this strategy. 360-degree videos can give your customers a more immersive shopping experience, without the need to create any new apps or assets.
  • Virtual reality showrooms: Work with a developer to create a “digital twin” of your ecommerce store that customers can explore in the metaverse. You could even gamify the experience, and integrate it with payment processing tools to enable purchases.
  • AR try on apps: Valuable for both the fashion and home décor space, AR apps are great for allowing customers to try products before they buy them. IKEA has an AR app that allows you to place furniture in your home, and Sephora has an app that lets customers try on cosmetic products using their smartphone.

5. Dark Mode and Minimalist Design

These are two overlapping ecommerce design trends that have remained extremely popular for the last few years. Ever since Apple released its “dark mode” option in 2019, many consumers have taken advantage of the option to view websites and applications with less “white space”.

It’s not just a novel concept, either. A lot of consumers believe that dark mode is more comfortable on their eyes, particularly when they’re shopping late at night using their smartphone.

There are plenty of themes and templates for ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace that have a “dark mode” option. Some even come with additional accessibility features, ideal if you want to appeal to a wide range of customers.

Here’s an example from Evensix:

Dark mode vs Light Mode example from Evensix

To make the most of this trend:

  • Make dark mode an option: Choose a theme that allows for a “dark mode” toggle. You don’t necessarily have to choose a dark theme. Giving people the freedom to move back and forth will help you appeal to a range of preferences.
  • Keep it clean and minimalistic: Stick to clean, minimalistic designs with plenty of “white” space. This will help to improve the user experience, and make your site look more modern and professional, boosting your brand reputation.
  • Stick to the basics: Don’t overwhelm your ecommerce site with too many different bells and whistles. Focus on sharing essential content, and delivering “necessary” functionality. Too many features can slow down your site, and damage its aesthetic appeal.

6. Multidirectional and Asymmetric Layouts

For years, web design experts have told us to follow the same rules when it comes to creating layouts. Consumers expect a certain experience when they arrive on an ecommerce store, so it often makes sense to adhere to those expectations. However, lately, as the ecommerce landscape becomes more competitive, some designers have begun thinking outside of the box.

Multidirectional and asymmetric layouts serve a few different purposes in ecommerce design trends. First, they allow you to break the mold and differentiate yourself from other similar stores. Secondly, they give your customers the option to scroll through your site in a range of different ways.

For instance, with a multidirectional layout, a customer shopping through a tablet or mobile device will be able to scroll left, right, up, down, and even diagonally. This can even allow for an easier comparison of products side by side.

The wide range of scrolling options creates a more interactive experience for your customers, and it can also help your site to appeal to a wider range of geographies. Some of the asymmetric features and multidirectional layout options you can experiment with include:

  • Off-center images
  • Irregular grids
  • Design elements that allow multi-directional scrolling
  • Product galleries that scroll left to right

7. Micro Animations

Animations have been common among website and ecommerce design trends for a while now. They’re an excellent way to grab a customer’s attention as they move through your store. However, larger animations, GIFs, and videos can be distracting.

They can also slow down your site, and cause user experience issues for mobile shoppers.

That’s why a lot of the top ecommerce leaders are transitioning to smaller, more subtle animations. Think about all the online stores you visit that include “hover animations” that change the image you’re looking at or highlight a piece of text when you move your cursor over a certain space.

There are plenty of other examples too, such as moving elements in product photography, accent animations, and loading animations. These animations started gaining attention in 2023 because they’re not only visually appealing and fun, but they’re practical too.

Little animations can act as a form of visual feedback for your customers, showing them that a website or page is loading, so they don’t just keep clicking, or telling them how far along they are in the checkout process.

Here is an example from Dolce&Gabbana:

Dolce-Beauty-Dolce-Gabbana micro animation example

They can also help draw attention to important content, like error messages when a customer tries to add a product to a bag without entering all of the right information, or selecting certain options.

8. Neutral and Pastel Colors

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to choosing the right color palette for your ecommerce store.

Often, your choice will depend on your existing brand assets, the target customer you’re trying to reach, and similar factors. However, we have noticed more subtle colors making their way into ecommerce design trends lately.

Neutral and earthy shades are particularly popular, perhaps because they elicit thoughts of nature and eco-friendly practices. Simple shades like greys and soft browns are also everywhere these days, allowing for a more eye-friendly browsing experience.

While you’ll need to be careful about organizing your color palette, and making sure there’s the right amount of contrast on your pages, leveraging neutral and pastel colors can:

  • Give your store a professional vibe: Pastel and neutral colors are commonly associated with sophistication and professionalism. They’re not aggressive or bold, which can help you to earn the trust of your target audience.
  • Create a welcoming ambiance: While bright colors can be fun for a while, they can also be exhausting to look at for long periods. Softer shades are more likely to deliver a comfortable and welcoming shopping experience.
  • Help showcase your values: Some softer shades, like browns and greens are excellent for showcasing values related to sustainability and similar trending topics. Just look at how effectively Tentree’s color palette shows its sustainable nature:
Tentree color palette example

9. Vaporwave Aesthetics

Neutral and pastel colors are great, but they’re not right for every brand, as evidenced by our next ecommerce design trend: Vaporwave aesthetics. If you’re not familiar, the vaporwave aesthetic is characterized by bright colors, psychedelic typography, and nostalgic, surreal imagery.

This trend has been gaining steam since 2020, when games like “Cyberpunk” were released. Today, the vaporwave aesthetic trend is also being combined with “Y2K” effects from the early 2000s, and the 90s, such as unique illustrations, neon colors, and matrix-style text.

Ultimately, these design trends are great for connecting with an audience that loves the “retro” appeal of older website experiences.

The key to success is making sure that you can convey nostalgia, while still giving customers a great experience. In other words, don’t let flashy animations and illustrations slow down your website, and don’t use too many overwhelming bright colors.

Customize vaporwave elements to fit your brand identity, with strategies like:

  • Custom art and illustrations: Work with a graphic designer on unique illustrations and cartoons to add character to your website. Consider creating surreal images with the help of an AI image generator.
  • Retro-futuristic imagery: Experiment with images that combine the past and present, such as cassette tapes and neon lights, palm trees, and more. Consider adding these elements to your site alongside other more modern images and crisp photography.
  • Unique typography: Explore different types of typefaces, including 3D fonts for bold headings. Make sure the typography you implement is still easy to read on any device however (remember more decorative fonts can be harder to read in smaller sizes).

10. Storytelling for Product Pages

Finally, in 2024, ecommerce vendors will need to dive deeper into their creative skills to create comprehensive storytelling experiences for their websites.

Human beings are wired to love stories, so it makes sense that we’d enjoy seeing more in-depth product descriptions on pages, more emotional language, and unique personality shining through on every website we visit.

Storytelling isn’t just a powerful way to boost your chances of standing out in the ecommerce market, it can also help you to forge stronger connections with your customers. Plus, if you use the right words and phrases in your product descriptions, you can boost your SEO rankings too. Focus on:

  • Telling relatable stories: Use your product pages, home pages, and other parts of your website to tell relatable stories about how your products can actually benefit your target audience. Remember to include social proof and testimonials when you can too.
  • Emotive language: Use emotive, actionable language in your product descriptions when you’re talking about product features and benefits. Get creative with your messaging, and let your unique brand personality shine through.
  • Interactive storytelling: Go beyond the written word and add other media to your product pages to make them more engaging and immersive. Consider 3D visuals, videos, gamified elements, and carousels.

Stay on the Cutting Edge of Ecommerce Design Trends

Ecommerce design trends are always evolving. Some of the trends mentioned above could be the key to taking your ecommerce store to the next level.

However, not every trend will be relevant to your business and target audience. Remember to think carefully about the brand image you’re trying to build, and the preferences of your customers when you’re working on site design.

If you need more inspiration, or want to see examples of the trends above in action, make sure you check out our comprehensive gallery of leading ecommerce site designs. We’ve hand-picked the perfect collection, for ecommerce vendors from every industry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is mobile-first design?

Mobile-first design is the approach to designing your website with a focus on putting the needs of mobile users first. Instead of building a site for a desktop user initially, then adapting it to suit mobile users, you start the other way around. This means you prioritize the mobile experience, considering the specific needs of customers who are going to be using smaller screens to interact with your site.
The good news is that many ecommerce themes and templates available for leading platforms today are already designed to be “mobile-first” oriented, so you can easily create a great, responsive site.

How does AI improve ecommerce websites?

AI has transformed the ecommerce design space in a range of ways. First, it gives companies access to powerful tools they can use to learn more about their customers, their purchasing habits, and preferences. Secondly, it allows companies to offer their customers exceptional 24/7 customer service, through the use of chatbots and assistants.
AI can also help you to create content for your ecommerce store, such as product descriptions and marketing messages. Plus, AI bots can leverage data about customers, such as the pages they’ve visited or the products they’ve purchased to deliver personalized product recommendations.

Why is sustainability important in ecommerce design?

Sustainability has become a major focus among all consumers in today’s world, whether they’re shopping online or in-person. In the ecommerce world, showcasing your commitment to sustainability, with certifications, clear product descriptions, and even pages dedicated to sharing your eco-friendly practices can help you to increase sales.
Something as simple as telling your customers which eco-friendly materials you use in products, and how you reduce waste and carbon emissions during the fulfillment process can help you to earn consumer trust, increase conversions, and differentiate yourself from the competition.

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