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In: Web Design, Website Development

When shopping online, buyers want to feel like they’re still getting the in-store experience. Our ecommerce design trends for 2023 aren’t just about convenience, they’re about simulating the personalized and sensory-fuelled experience we have when we physically go into a store.

Spending so much time online, users expect brands to bring something new and innovative to the table. They want escapism from harsh, uncertain realities. They want to interact with new technologies, like AR (augmented reality, AI (artificial intelligence) and VR (virtual reality). From the brand perspective, adopting these enable them to step up to this consumer demand with ecommerce. They’re able to offer customers an alternate reality to lose themselves in—while buying products. These technologies mean ecommerce companies can better personalize the brand experience for the individual, which in 2023 will be key in driving customer engagement and loyalty.

Let’s see how brands are stepping up to the challenge with our top 8 ecommerce design trends for 2023.

As ecommerce takes front and center in the brand journey of customers, consumer expectations are getting bigger and bigger! It’s no longer enough for brands to be present on multiple digital channels. Instead, consumers are growing to appreciate brands that go above and beyond in offering more entertainment—taking any opportunity to create a memorable experience that spreads positivity.

Enter, animated interactions. Here, 3D animations, hover animation, and scroll animation are all the rage. They create a more playful and innovative way of informing customers of what they can expect as they go through the brand’s platform. These animations focus users’ attention on key product details or features.

For instance, brands are modifying scroll functions by using them to unfold brand stories and demonstrate product features. 3D animations are also integrated into ecommerce design for rich content, making it easy for customers to visualize products in real time.

Users are expecting more and more out of their digital experiences. The rise of the metaverse and the spread of advanced technologies (like augmented reality) into the mainstream have raised the bar for brands with a digital presence. It’s no longer about giving users the quickest, most seamless ecommerce experience. It’s about creating an enriched, detailed environment in which your users can lose themselves. Brands are marrying this extravagant concept to their key products or limited edition lines.

Immersive website design via Coach

This strategy that leverages scarcity can make a brand more desirable and give customers a higher sense of value. When you extend this strategy to cover the digital platform on which you’re selling your key products, it means creating a unique, memorable and innovative experience. It adds value to your brand experience and adds to the consistency of your brand identity feeling luxurious or different.

Design by Anton Skvortsov via Dribbble

An effective way to do this is to integrate techniques like design elements that appeal to multiple senses. These could be sounds or music, 3D images, animated icons, and such, which communicate how products serve customers and how they came to be (i.e. a behind-the-scenes journey at the design process). Give the friends of your audience FOMO (fear of missing out) with your limited edition products and the immersive worlds you create to advertise them.

Virtual DIY shoe creator via Nike
a virtual shop with boxes of oranges and Coach handbags on display
Virtual DIY shoe creator via Nike

3. Neo-brutalism

First seen in ’50s architecture, brutalism celebrates the utilitarian aesthetic with a stark fondness. It trades beauty for upfront honesty and contradicts traditional design rules. Designers have recently revived it across the digital sphere and we’re now seeing it’s harsh structure commercialized as it trickles down into the mainstream.

an image of a cone lying sideways, hands popping out,a planet, and an eye covers the text that says, “Angela Sevic”
Design by Angela Milosevic and Cody via Awwwards

You can picture neo-brutalism as a less severe form of brutalism. It appeals to more audiences and is an easier, less obstructive style to work with. Neo-brutalism still toys with traditional design rules, but it doesn’t sacrifice a site’s functionality. It gives your ecommerce store an edge, but a subtle one. It often means mixing up your layouts. Intentionally misaligning images or layering elements asymmetrically give an off-kilt feeling to your design and feed into that neo-brutalist aesthetic.

a falafel on a plate
Website design via Sim Sim
a woman holds a black clutch under her chin
Website design by Studio le_m via Behance

4. Whimsigothic visuals

‘Goth’ is not dead, and the Gen-Zers are here for it! With many things spinning out of our control lately (think wars, recession, climate crisis, and pandemic), more and more of Gen-Z are embracing subcultures that give them the power to express themselves freely. They’re looking for authenticity, community and comfort.

huge red text in gothic style that reads Ranboo
Website design by basement studio via Awwwards
Astrology-designed products via Sephora

A quick look on TikTok will give you millions of posts with the hashtag #whimsigoth. Think the witchy, ethereal ’90s cult aesthetics of Lisa Bonet’s look or supernatural film The Craft’s wardrobe. The aesthetic celebrates individuality yet unites people in search of acceptance and authenticity. It has become an escape to an ethereal world that lets them get in touch with their spirituality, find their purpose, and regain control. Whimsigoth also signifies rebellion against the status quo.

a rack of witchy goth inspired dresses
Website design via Of Earth Vintage
a man and a woman in deep red suits
Whimsigoth website design by TO NINE Inc. via Awwwards

In a bid to attract more Gen-Zers, ecommerce fashion retailers include whimsigoth-inspired clothes, jewelry, and other accessories in their product lineup. And to match the vibe, retailers turn to gothic-themed graphic design illustrations through their choice of fonts and color palettes in deep purple, black, and dark red. Spiritual symbols that allude to astrology and tarot, like zodiac signs, talisman, ancient runes, and the pentagram, complete the whimsigoth aesthetic. And it makes sense—with all the uncertainty in the world at present, it’s no wonder that looking to a higher power is a source of comfort to Gen-Zers.

5. Personalized, animated online shopping

Ecommerce is known for bringing convenience to the buyer. As whom, you can review products before buying, you don’t have to queue when checking out, and there’s no salesperson following you around.

Animated website design by Build in Amsterdam via Awwwards

two ladies in winter clothes walking through the snow
Animated holiday-themed landing page via Louis Vuitton

But it misses the personal touch that in-store shopping brings, like having someone to consult directly and curate a selection of items you can choose from. To create a seamless interaction between your digital and in-store space and make the buying experience more personalized, you can launch an animated customer survey that will allow you to pinpoint consumers’ interests. This data enables the platform—whether on your brand’s mobile app or a website—to find the right product suggestions more accurately.

a woman rides an underwater jet ski in the ocean
Website design via Y.Co Yachtsfor Charter
a drove of sedan cars in white and silver
Website design via Lucid Motors

Some brands also leverage animated product catalogs that are presented in unconventional layouts. You can add animated hover effects to reveal new features or animate an augmented reality background on your ecommerce site, so users can navigate through it. We’re spending more time than ever online, it’s no wonder audiences are craving a (simulated) sense of reality.

6. Animated navigation

Move over minimalists, maximalism is gaining traction and is ready to take hold of the ecommerce space. To enrich the customer experience, brands are now favoring dramatic color schemes and in-your-face images. They’re over-stimulating audiences’ senses by filling all the space available on their site with interactive visual elements that are loud yet cohesive. One standout feature of this practice is animated navigation.

a bright orange swivel chair with wheels
Menu design by Synchronized Studio via Awwwards

Mobile app design by Bogdan Falin via Dribbble

For too long, we’ve relied on header menus or hamburgers. Now brands are excited to physically guide the user through the site, taking them on an adventure as they do so. It feeds into this idea of the gamification of ecommerce. This means that brands are changing the UX of their sites to make users feel like they’re playing a game rather than using an ecommerce site. The end game is still the same—for them to buy the products—but how they get there is much more entertaining and memorable.

Animated navigation design by Martin Ehrlich via Dribbble

7. Chunky fonts with saturated colors

Inject your brand’s online presence with personality. Chunky, heavy-weight fonts stand with saturated colors to brighten up your user’s day. This is especially the case with Gen-Zers, who are finding hope and optimism in bright colors. When the world we are living in feels at times so bleak, it’s no wonder that brands are stepping up to offer some light to the individual.

Website design by wildishandco via Awwwards

a website with bright yellow overlay and black text that says Luaka Bop!
Website design by Alright Studio via Awwwards

Opting for thick and sans serif or smooth and rounded fonts not only immediately draws the users to your website and message, but also creates a warm vibe to your overall design. Like a fluffy and huggable teddy bear, chunky fonts used on websites and other ecommerce platforms can make your brand look more approachable or friendlier. The likely result? You get an aesthetic that puts positive feelings toward your brand in the minds of your customers.

a bottle of red chilli pepper sauce
Website design via Mama Joyce Peppa Sauce

Your choice of colors also has an impact on your chunky fonts. Color psychology states that every color can influence a person’s subconscious and affect their mood. Colors can also reflect the rising fashion, design, and societal trends of today. With this in mind, chunky texts combined with cheery colors like yellow, orange, or pink can elevate your chunky typography, and leave a lasting impression on your customers.

Colors are becoming brighter again and unsaturated colors are slowly fading out

web homepage with a huge word “DEMO” written
Website design via DEMO
homepage that says, “Join the cluckin’ club”
Website design via Cluckin’ Bird

8. Curved frames

In architecture, the use of curved lines in home designs results in a smooth and seamless shift between rooms. It also creates a more cozy and homey interior. When used on ecommerce platforms, the effect is similar, evoking warmth and calmness.

a collection of avant garde ceiling lamps
Product gallery design by Cosmin Capitanu via Dribbble

This trend is quite popular among ecommerce brands like cosmetics, and clothing brands that lean towards a cleaner, modern, and minimalistic appeal. You may have also noticed how YouTube’s home page is a gallery of thumbnails using frames with rounded corners, making it easy for the eyes to scan through.

a selection of flowers in curved frames
Design concept by Vitaliy_Kashtanov via Dribbble

Audiences are looking for smooth, pleasant and reliable digital experiences. Brands are taking this literally and doing away with the harsh edges of their framing in favor for flowing curves. And, when used in asymmetrical designs, this technique works to show the unique, authentic and softer edge to a brand’s personality—it’s a subtle trick to purvey their humanistic side to audiences.

home accessories including a clock, a flower vase, a pendant lamp, and a side table
Mobile app design by Abdullah Sajol via Dribbble

Which 2023 ecommerce trend is right for you?

In 2023, audiences are aching for escapism. They want positivity and light peppered into their daily digital lives. With advancing technologies becoming more accessible, brands are using these to their advantage. In light of this year’s ecommerce design trends, we see audiences looking to experience an idealised version of reality when shopping online. They want the personalization of a shopping assistant made available to them at any hour, all from the comfort of their homes. So, businesses are stepping it up.

2023 sees ecommerce brands provide lifelike shopping experiences to users—it’s immersive, escapist and packed with individual personalities. Valuing authenticity, transparency and innovation, it’s these brands who’ll succeed in building loyal customer communities to sustain their business well into the future.

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