These days, people are acing high on Smartphone for connecting to the internet. The Smartphone is enabling them to have a true shopping experience. Many people prefer this option if the related websites are available on their mobile for their desired products.
This significant development has led businesses to consider mobile e-commerce store through an effective mobile e-commerce development. In this series of articles, we will explore the design patterns used on the Smartphone web.
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You get to see various design patterns in case of multi-department retail stores due to their enormous products with multiple categories. Let’s focus on those sites visible on the mobile browser in order to bring advancement in mobile e-commerce development.
1. Homepage in Mobile E-Commerce Development:
Most homepages were found user-friendly rather than focusing on the content. This gave more room to facilitate users in finding whatever they were looking for. The center of the homepage devoted to promotions in a single column layout and listed links to feature product categories. Most homepages consist of search features as well as links to store locator and registration forms.
Amazon uses a mix of promotional components and list menu that aims at facilitating users who are coming with price comparison in their minds. For instance, screen real estate is occupied by promotional elements but the presentation is superb and engages users more. This helps in targeting those who are visiting sites to see promotions and sales.
Some homepages used dashboard patterns, a trend in native e-commerce apps. To choose effective patterns and applying them in your Mobile E-commerce Development, you should take help of analytic tools. You should learn about the categories of users who frequently visit your store.
2. Navigation in Mobile E-Commerce Development:
Many e-commerce websites have a fixed navigation menu, appearing on all pages to avoid frequent visits on the homepage to access other pages.
Primarily, this menu is found on the top just like on the web. Lowe shows only icons representing each option in the site-wide menu and Best-Buy has a two-column approach with only buttons and not the list of items. Macy has submenu options to elicit further options.
The notable thing in Mobile E-commerce Development is that many developers have chosen to fade the menu in the background once the user selects a particular navigation element. Moreover, a majority of mobile websites choose selected navigation options to display at once.
This helps in balancing the visual design of navigation. Avoid any disarray on the site as it detracts. Use icons, buttons, and texts in a proportional manner. This way, you can guide your visitors properly.
3. Autocomplete Search:
Suggested search is a mechanism when the visitor starts typing characters of a keyword in the input field. As a result, the potential results display and the process continues until the user selects any of those results or finishes typing or makes changes in the characters.
The obvious benefit of this kind of search design is that it greatly facilitates the users and lets them get what they want immediately without wasting much time.
The biggest disadvantage of this design appears when there is a virtual keyboard in the handset and typo occurs. This can be eliminated by using correct methods like Google Search on a desktop.
Another way out is to use an improved auto-suggest pattern to reduce the typing by efficiently using a slower mobile bandwidth. However, the overall success depends upon the use of the latest search technology.
4. Search Outcome:
After a user has finished typing or has selected an autocomplete term, there are two major patterns available in the market to display the search results, often used in effective mobile e-commerce development.
- Tables: In a Table format, you will find a thumbnail photo of the product with some preliminary information like name, price, etc. In case of Walgreens, you will find some buttons directing to store product pages as well as directly add to cart to shorten the buying cycle.
- Grids: In Grids, you will find large images with the least description of the product. Zappos displays large thumbnails in Grids which is quite suitable for products like shoes. If you're not aware of thumbnail or just want to make new then try Thumbnail Maker.
Many mobile e-commerce developments include a toggle button to switch in between these two displays while some display both simultaneously but in a different manner. For instance, in the case of Flipkart, you will find the Grid view in the beginning. It asks you to select a subcategory and after choosing one, it is displayed in a Table format.
Though selecting subcategories can become problematic when it does not clear as to which subcategory the product falls. For this, you can list the subcategories under search filters where you can use different contexts like color, size, etc.
A frequent testing for both common and top-selling product search terms gives more insight in adopting a suitable approach for a better user experience.
In case of the visitor-gap, you have an option to select search results in either Grid or Table and can also switch between the two for getting a list view with larger photos. Moreover, the gap retains some information in its Grid display like price, color, etc. for deciding on the product the visitor wants to know more about.
5. Sorting Results:
Usually, when you run an advanced search on a big e-commerce store you will encounter the bulk of information or options at the very first glance. These options further allow you to sort out the given information and bring you at visitors’ goals. This shortening process is based on one or more attributes such as color, size, etc.
Filters are organized by type or facets and each facet has a value. For instance, color is a facet and red is a facet value. Usually, filtering starts with the selection of menu which displays drop-down lists from where you select a facet and go further selecting a facet value.
In advanced search, you will have more than one facets and more than one value in each facet. The filtered results show that J.C. Penney uses a drop-down menu while some other ecommerce website uses an accordion where you will find checkboxes for each filter type and facets as buttons.
In both cases, users can get immediate filter values and let customers reach to their targets immediately. In the case of ‘Threadless’, you will find facet values covering the entire screen. However, the users can get what they want immediately as the website offers a number of items under every facet value and it’s a transparent approach.
If your products have a greater variation in terms of the facet value then you must change your mobile e-commerce development approach. You should optimize filtering interface according to product categories which are used more frequently by shoppers. For that, you have to run some research using the latest web analytics tools like SEOmoz tools.
Products are displayed on product pages and these are a collection of patterns including elements like tabs, accordions and photo galleries.
Generally, two approaches seem to appear in the construction of product page patterns. One as a long page with all of a product’s information and another is having tabs or accordions where you can find progressive disclosure of information as per the need of shoppers.
For an effective mobile e-commerce development, you need to select the right approach considering the nature of content/information, product image, size, etc. In the majority of UX experiences, tab or accordions are more preferable since they show sections of information in chunks and appear as per requirements when the user taps on the tab or accordion.
In coding for these patterns during mobile e-commerce development, you should give commands to load all page information at a time. It is important to always display it according to the needs so that UX is smooth. However, here one question remains unanswered that such a big amount of data would be stored in the devices or would put load on the server or not load enough due to bandwidth constraints.
In the recent release of new versions of iOS as well as Android OS have capacities to support 3D images and render them decently so you can win the hearts of your users using 3D images. You can also reduce the number of images you were using earlier to show different angles of a product during mobile e-commerce development.
In the previous three parts, we explored different design patterns used during mobile e-commerce development. Now we will get to see some more design patterns in this final part of the series.
Unlike a brick & mortar business, mobile e-commerce or web e-commerce business has lesser chance to win the trust of customers since customers can’t physically touch the products. Therefore, displaying detailed product image or product images taken from various angles is a vital issue.
A small screen poses limits in showing the product in a right manner unlike you can do on the web where you can use paper3D to animate product display and give an experience of nearly touching the product.
For mobile e-commerce development, you can take some different approaches to showcase your products like the sweapable gallery to show different angles of product with different images.
When the user taps on the thumbnail of the product, it zooms and with the second tap, it zooms more so the user has a full-screen image of the product.
If you can show the product in different colors and sizes you would be able to gain users’ confidence more. With proper scripting, you can allow users to change the color of the product and place an order accordingly since your color swatch will consist of only those colors available on your e-commerce store.
During the color change, a total refresh of the screen or only refresh of the image can determine some aspects of UX so you should be aware of them.
Similarly, putting the sweapable gallery on different pages or on the same page but in accordion, are some different approaches in mobile e-commerce development.
In the same way, quality product images are critical in luring users. This especially comes out true in the case of expensive products where users have to pay a higher amount for a single product so they are striving for more information before placing an order.
8. Shopping Cart:
The shopping cart is a page or a small window as a representation of a page on many e-commerce sites where it appears in one corner of the other product pages. A full shopping cart page displays added products in a table pattern with some additional functionality features like Save the Page or Save an Order, Save a Product as a favorite or as a wish list or to remove products or update quantities, to choose a shipping method or in-store pick up in case of local customers.
In addition, a shopping cart offers other facilities like apply promotional incentives through coupon codes, voucher codes, gifts codes, etc. The main function of the shopping cart is to escalate products to the checkout page. Thus, a careful designing of shopping cart during mobile e-commerce development is the first step towards successful conversion.
9. Checkout Page:
Basically, the checkout page is a kind of process and not a pattern. Many mobile e-commerce development companies include checkout facilities on mobile instead of their websites, so the users can opt for different payment methods through mobile banking facilities or using credit card information.
Here, never think of collecting much of information regarding customers and allow them to purchase as guest users. Another aspect is that you can allow the users to set an account after checkout and give facilities to change their passwords.
Deb Dey is the CEO of a small content marketing agency – 3Leaps that helps small business owners to populate their websites with relevant and unique content. Deb loves traveling and has traveled almost the entire breadth of India. He loves exploring nature.