online store dev

Online Store Development in 2018

29 January, 2018

E-commerce in Ukraine is developing extremely fast, as buying goods and services online is much easier and often cheaper. Many business owners have already opened virtual marketplaces and it looks like this tendency will remain in 2018. The interest in online store development is determined by many factors, but the key reason is that today people search almost all necessary products on the Internet.
To know what to expect from online store development in 2018, we decided to talk with representatives of TOP Ukrainian agencies located in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Kramatorsk. First and foremost we were interested in trends affecting all stages of the creation of online stores, but we also eagerly wanted to hear experts’ predictions about online store development in 2018.
So we prepared the following list of questions:

  1. What design trends exist in online store development?
  2. What functionality will be popular in online store development in 2018?
  3. What CMSs can you recommend for online store development? Why?
  4. What do you think about Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)?
  5. How to launch an online store?
  6. What would you recommend for the successful development of an online store?
  7. Provide examples of the best, in your opinion, online stores. Why them?
  8. Do you believe that online stores need mobile apps?

Yevgen Kudryavchenko, Vintage СЕО (Kyiv)


Vintage agency specializes in the development of online stores, corporate websites, landings, and other web resources of different complexity. Since 2013, Vintage holds a leading position in the web development market of Ukraine and other countries. The company is known for its tailored, creative approach to work.

1. What design trends exist in online store development?

The key trend is a shift to graphics and “air”. First of all, a design must be fresh. There should be an emotional component at all stages of user interaction with a site. And, of course, the design mustn’t harm convenience. As something appealing but uncomfortable already isn’t suitable for e-commerce.
The main trends of online store development in 2018:

  1. Animation becomes calmer: Mild and unobtrusive accents on elements. The use of so-called microinteractions.
  2. Conciseness and visual ease. It’s great that the trend of putting a lot of text in one screen is becoming outdated. We are moving to easy design.
  3. Scrolling animation. It’s suitable for premium products or websites with a small assortment where you need to surprise and be remembered.
  4. Responsive design is a must-have.
  5. Recognizable design. The problem of all online stores on ready-made platforms is their absolutely characterless design. If you delete their logo and put another one instead, most probably users won’t even notice the change.
  6. SVG masks. They help to make microinteractions and microanimation, especially in case of site navigation.

2. What functionality will be popular in online store development in 2018?

The main trends in the creation of functionality are videos (video reviews), machine learning, customization, and a customer-oriented approach. Thus, you should become a consultant for your customers and do everything to assist them. People must get not just a product card, but advice on the choice. Their experience on your site should resemble a visit to an offline store, when a consultant approaches them, gives recommendations, helps to choose etc.
Flaws. Today there is no technological solution that works seamlessly. Most often, the effectiveness of online store functionality is increased during experiments. But no experiment will help your web resource to reach the top if you don’t have:

  1. A fast and easy product search;
  2. Both search and catalog navigation. By the way, this is a problem of many online stores.
  3. A multifunctional search. This is the search in a web resource with word completion, tips, autocorrection, search by product numbers, names, and misspelled words.
  4. A quick access to categories and subcategories. It’s a convenient jump menu. Here you should take into account customer experience. It’s better to define categories, for example, not by a product type but by a sex (men or women). This way, a customer will clearly understand where to go.

Also, don’t forget to work on a “nothing found” case. You should immediately offer such customers to contact a call center or a consultant and promise your help with finding something.

3. What CMSs can you recommend for online store development? Why?

We, in Vintage, use Yii2. It’s a PHP open code framework with its kernel (it’s a basis). After the initial stage, we optimize the framework according to the business processes of our customers. Laravel is an analogous framework. They are among the most popular programs in the business environment. The only reason we have chosen the CMS is that our customers set us unusual technical tasks and e-commerce sites must be specifically created and adjusted for every customer. Hence, we create websites from scratch instead of using box solutions. By the way, today, Magento is the most popular box solution for online store development in the world.
Its advantage. In a few clicks, you can get a site with standard functionality.

Its disadvantage. If you need to make a lot of changes, you will be forced to change a kernel. Often, this increases the cost of a project to the point that it becomes more costly than a web resource developed from scratch.
For simple online stores, such platforms as OpenCart or WordPress are widely used. So everything depends on the tasks of an online store. Our advice: If a site is standard, develop it using a box solution, if not – create from scratch.

4. What do you think about Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)?

AMP is a great thing that speeds up the work of online stores, although making them less appealing on mobile phones. The combination of AMP + PWA works particularly well. If you have an opportunity to invest in these tools…well, then you should have already done that. Best practices show that such investments pay off. After all, today it isn’t enough to possess a unique tool or knowledge, as only those win who will be first to implement them.

5. How to launch an online store?

You should start with a deep analysis of market needs and, first of all, create an appealing and convenient website. Usually, the combination of these two factors helps to solve customers’ problems and pain points. And happy customers = a successful business. For a start, you can use a ready-made platform or rent an online store. This way, you will be able to check whether your business model works. After that, you can already invest in the full-fledged development of a site.

6. What would you recommend for the successful development of an online store?

On your way to the successful development of an online store, you have to make three steps:

  1. Understand who is your target audience and what needs it has.
  2. Make your website recognizable. It should highlight the value of your brand and the uniqueness of an offer.
  3. Create your own content (photos, videos) for your web resource. This will help users to make a choice even without your personal advice.

These factors influence the success, but they aren’t sufficient to promote a store. You need to make sure your web resource is well optimized. Therefore, the most important step in the development of a site is preparing it for search engine optimization, which consists of:

  1. Generation of meta tags on pages with filters and product cards.
  2. Keywords.
  3. Indexation of photo and video content (it must be unique).
  4. Promotion of key search requests (depending on a business model).

The second step. You should:

  1. Create informative content.
  2. Take photos of your products;
  3. Shoot videos and video reviews.

These things will convince a buyer to opt for your website.

7. Provide examples of the best, in your opinion, online stores. Why them?

www.superbeparis.com — A lot of space, recognizable design, an emotional connection with a brand.

ohmylook.ua — Keeps a balance between e-commerce and emotional girlish website. It has all components of e-commerce, convenient filtering, and many additional elements such as a blog, articles etc. This resource allows you to give customers exactly what they need.

www.asos.com — A marketplace where hundreds of thousands of items are sold + very good content. There are photos, videos, and a gift-guide.

www.g-star.com — A brand online store that has a catalog but preserves the spirit of a brand at the same time. That’s just what you need for a recognizable brand. If you are a producer, your website should be like that!

8. Do you believe that online stores need mobile apps?

A mobile app is needed in case you have previously managed to build a substantial base of customers that search products directly in your online store instead of using Google.
In the Ukrainian market, Rozetka has become such marketplace. When users visit the pages of Rozetka, they search products already inside its ecosystem. In the niche of clothes, Modnakasta can be singled out as a similar example. Customers of such companies really need mobile apps.
But if you don’t have a lot of brand traffic and people come to your web resource from Google or price aggregators, you’d better focus on a high-quality mobile website instead of an app. Today, the majority of online stores still don’t even have a version for smartphones. Yet according to an international statistics, a mobile version increases sales by 30-40%.

In addition, online stores quite often lack even a trite, basic SEO. For those who aren’t ready to use a mobile app, there is an alternative. It’s a PWA (progressive web application): a tool that comprises the best characteristics of a mobile site and apps. For example, a PWA provides such benefits:

  • A desktop icon;
  • Push-notifications;
  • Offline mode;
  • Accessibility on any device;
  • No need to install a mobile app.

A PWA also has a disadvantage. Today, this tool is supported only by Android System. According to the estimations of experts, as soon as it is supported by IOS, a real boom in the development of the PWA technology is expected. Let’s sum up. If your brand is already popular and recognizable, you need an app to allow your customers to use your site directly. But if your traffic comes mainly from other systems, we recommend focusing on a high-quality mobile version. And think about developing a PWS version of your website!

Vitaliy Vladov, OkayCMS CEO (Dnipro)

okcms
OkayCMS is a CMS for online store development. OkayCMS platform is responsive, functional, convenient and, most importantly, SEO friendly.

1. What design trends exist in online store development?

Currently, web design is becoming simpler, and it’s great. Customers are gradually refusing from the development of complex parallax effects, a large number of colors, and complicated visual techniques in favor of a more practical design. This trend began long ago but continues evolving. Design is nothing, conversion is everything. Even simple monochrome web resources can look stylish and at the same time perform their key functions, namely show the main advantages of products. A bright example of such website is https://hype.com.ua/

2. What functionality will be popular in online store development in 2018?

Today, online store functionality is quite developed from the client side. The convenience for administrators is also improved. Such trend will finally allow an administrator to make all necessary actions directly from an admin panel: check whether an order is delivered to the pickup point of a transportation provider, text a customer about picking up an order, send a review request email, and check what sources this customer came from. Everything on one tab.

3. What CMSs can you recommend for online store development? Why?

For small and medium businesses, I recommend using easy CMSs, for example, OkayCMS, whereas for big business – Bitrix.

4. What do you think about Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)?

AMP for online stores is still not common, but it will become more popular soon. Now it’s hyped, so the implementation is pretty costly, though AMP isn’t that much difficult. But when it becomes more widespread and popular, the price of AMP implementation will decrease and in a year it will be a must-have for any online store like an HTTPS protocol is today. But for now, you can still wait a little bit with this if you don’t have free funds.

5. How to launch an online store?

Start with dropshipping and a template website. This will allow you to quickly enter the market, understand what your buyer is waiting for, and define the direction of a further development.

6. What would you recommend for the successful development of an online store?

Don’t focus on one promotion channel, try several.

7. Provide examples of the best, in your opinion, online stores. Why them?

If to choose from the websites of our customers, it’s https://hype.com.ua/

8. Do you believe that online stores need mobile apps?

Rather no than yes. A properly developed responsive site is better. An app is suitable for a store with consumable goods where people buy every few weeks. If you sell TVs, forget about mobile apps.

Peter Zui, Quartsoft E-commerce solution specialist (Kramatorsk)

QS_Logo
Quartsoft specializes in e-commerce web development. The Quartsoft team has a vast experience with ready-to-use projects for the English-speaking market, which is probably the most demanding one. Thus, the guys know everything about how to successfully create a cool and competitive site.

1. What design trends exist in online store development?

  • Minimalism;
  • Ajax uploading of goods;
  • High-quality visual content (photo, video, animation, 3D models);
  • Full responsiveness.

2. What functionality will be popular in online store development in 2018?

  • B2B expansion;
  • Marketplaces;
  • Wholesale;
  • Omnichannel;
  • Chatbots;
  • User and Entity Behavior Analytics.

3. What CMSs can you recommend for online store development? Why?

Magento 2 Open Source offers maximum functionality for open source solutions and has a huge amount of ready-made themes and extensions. You get a box solution with multiple currencies, languages, the opportunity to launch a multistore, convenient import, marketing tools, and much more to organize sales. A high speed, stability, and security of the system are additional bonuses.

4. What do you think about Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)?

It’s a good option for a site with static information. If information changes dynamically (prices, availability, discounts, promo offers), in my opinion, this is not the best solution as for now.

5. How to launch an online store?

Build a business model and create a development and promotion plan.

6. What would you recommend for the successful development of an online store?

The same as for any business. There are many factors: an analysis of market needs, user behavior, functionality (important for buyers), usability during the whole purchase process – from tracking the interest in a product to its delivery. Just always try to be better than your competitors.

7. Provide examples of the best, in your opinion, online stores. Why them?

I think that the best site is the one that brings maximum profit and creates e-commerce trends. Among the many worthy, I choose amazon.com.

8. Do you believe that online stores need mobile apps?

At the initial stage, a good responsive design is more than enough. But when your online store reaches a certain level, you should definitely think about such app.

Kyrylo, CMO Brander (Kharkiv)

brander
Brander is a team of really great specialists in the field of web development. The company mainly specializes in design, online stores, corporate websites and mobile applications.

1. What design trends exist in online store development?

Responsiveness, material design, focus on content presentation.

2. What functionality will be popular in online store development in 2018?

Integration with third party services, loyalty and discount systems, smart search.

3. What CMSs can you recommend for online store development? Why?

Magento is one of the best CMSs in the world. It is constantly developed, easily supported, and has proven its quality.

4. What do you think about Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)?

Yes.

5. How to launch an online store?

Think why do you need it, understand who is your target audience or hire a business analyst if you cannot answer these questions.

6. What would you recommend for the successful development of an online store?

Don’t forget that website development is only 50%, be ready to spend on marketing. Also, remember about high-quality content and ways to update it.

7. Provide examples of the best, in your opinion, online stores. Why them?

Modnakasta.ua. Because it’s a business that really works.

8. Do you believe that online stores need mobile apps?

Not all. It depends on a business.

Conclusion

As we see, all experts concur in key recommendations and predictions about online store development in 2018. Customer orientation, simple and unique design, responsiveness, and integration with third party services will be extremely important. From the perspective of a user, your website should be understandable and convenient whereas in terms of marketing, it must have something special to provoke positive emotions and be remembered.
Technically the development of e-commerce websites becomes closer and more accessible due to a wide selection of ready-made box solutions.
We thank all experts for their participation in the preparation of this material.
Also, you may be eager to know what trends in the development and promotion of websites will be leading in 2018. Learn about this from the following publications: