Ever since the Internet has changed the business and information landscape, website designers look for inspiration in all kinds of places. Skeuomorphism was an attempt by designers to replicate and present physical objects in the digital sphere. Designers started paying attention to white space so that they could bring elements of refinement and cleanliness –of late, in website development flat design trends are aiming to become the benchmark for refined displays.
Why is this important?
As of the current moment, it is becoming apparent that social media networks are having a big say in how web designers work on eCommerce sites. Sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr put a heavy emphasis on images and how users experience the Internet and different content. This approach is the best one for eCommerce brands especially when they are trying to provide the best experience for shoppers. Leading sites like Fancy, Polyvore and Wanelo are the new breed of sites in this age of social networking. Assessing each site gives web developers an idea of how easily social media have altered perceptions and how the influence the creation of eCommerce sites.
How Fancy used crowd sourcing and Social eCommerce?
Previously known as The Fancy, the website Fancy.com is strongly influenced by Pintrest. High quality images are used to design and develop a great eCommerce site. Users have to created their profiles and add a Fancy bookmark to their tool bar and they get product suggestions. Regardless of which site or brand they are interested in, users can “Fancy” a product or page and ensure that the product is introduced into the mainstream. Shoppers have the choice to like or vote products up and letting it become a viral trend. User feeds are also updated regularly based on their interaction so that one can get personalized recommendations. Products on Fancy are usually discovery fueled making it easier for users to scroll through without leaving the homepage.
Just like Amazon 1-Click and its same day delivery feature make it seamless for shoppers to buy, Fancy’s browsing experience is paving the way for eCommerce sites to do it differently.
Wanelo: Social Shopping through Discovery
As far as website development goes, Wanelo is quite similar to Fancy in that it relies heavily on a Pintrest kind of image based grid layout. Visitors are treated to a well designed site with a great product feed. The biggest difference is in how shoppers can like/save and share different images. Store profiles are also prominently displayed with each user. Wanelo also introduced content stories for stores and users who can create a background on products suggested. This is in line with how social media sites like Tumblr function – great visuals with absorbing content.
Polyvore: Digital collages
This site is not as used as the first two – Polyvore has an interesting approach to eCommerce and web development. Rather than discovering products through feeds, users can browse through a collage of pictures or a product set. Stores and users create the equivalent of a cutout collage, like magazines are wont to do. Similar products are put together as a set – for example under the Sherlock Holmes theme, one can find a trench coat, magnifying glass, a pipe and so on. Tags are then added to images which take customers to the purchase page. Polyvore is trying to encourage shoppers to build a wish list using magazine pictures of items like shoes, dresses and handbags.
The Polyvore site gets credit for taking a totally unique approach. Though it uses a grid layout to do collages, the idea to tag several products in one image is a unique one.
Amazon: Keen follower of Pinterest
Even Amazon, which is known as a website development leader is taking its cues from social media sites which are successful. The Amazon Collections site has taken cues from Pinterest and allows users to build a list of their favorite products and create a curated board on Amazon.
How eBay is keeping up with the times?
The world’s best known auction site eBay is also watching and taking cues from Pinterest. Once visitors log on to the site, they can scroll down and see all the trending items and product groups (similar to the sets on Polyvore). Information on these product groups are curated and presented by eBay users – the site uses a similar feature as Wanelo to present product information.
The lesson that is evident is the fact that social sites are forcing eCommerce to change and take website development in a new direction. The ultimate goal is to make the browsing and shopping experience as intuitive and seamless as possible.
Carrie Miller, who works as website designer at Zealous System – A renowned web design and development company has to say that businesses are always looking at ways to embrace innovation and make it interesting for users. With an increased number of users and the expectations being created by users, social media sites and unusual design aspects are creating ways to make brands more appealing.