For upcoming and existing web designers, 2017 is going to be a year to start thinking beyond the margins. Considering the new devices getting into market, it leaves no option but to think of website designs that would emulate nothing less than sleek and efficiency on each and every platform. Additionally, the designs must adapt to all resolutions on mobile phones, iPads, laptops and even larger screens.
Google being a very influential web organization, they could most probably present a ‘material design’ to ripen and develop its influence. This along with other designs by dominant sites such as apple or amazon would then be implemented and incorporated by web designers. Better still, there could be a better way of doing things in terms of web development and design. As obviously, web designers would incline to use of newer trends and imminent ones joining the suit.
Thus, when we talk about website design trends for say 2017 and beyond, it’s important to look into what we’ve had until currently then envisage what would grow into the coming years and what wouldn’t in terms of importance. Conversely, what designers think of various websites designs cannot be ignored.
This article therefore puts together some of the ecommerce website trends you could expect come 2017 and even the years thereafter. Read below:
- 1. Mobile Design for Websites
Talking about ecommerce websites designs, there has been evolution. Years back, it was about stuffs like adaptive and responsive designs. Then, it proceeded to the idea of transforming desktop web designs to a design that could be used on various mobile devices like phones and laptops.
If we project this to 2017, its obvious mobile and light devices are taking over desktops and bigger computers that will probably remain in offices and homes. Therefore, web design would most likely take a new trend considering that most online stores as well as customers will be shopping with their mobile devices. The implication is designs for ecommerce websites must be adaptive and responsive for all existing devices and screens. Most importantly, designers must think of mobile designs.
For instance, hamburger/hidden menus will popularize, though the trend has been used for quite some time. Websites will most probably use full width of various screens unlike mobile designs that use smaller gutters. Buttons, icons and images that are more visible and large in size would also be incorporated into website design trends.
- 2. Growth of Material Designs
Material Design has been Google’s way of influencing and controlling the interfaces of android applications since its launch in 2014. As another way of branding, Material Design was rather instinctive way of laying out mobile applications or ecommerce websites.
Currently, most online stores have put into play card-like layouts as well as animations and transitions that are really responsive, and 2017 is going to be a year to grow and continue all these. Most sites will borrow from or adopt Material Design from 2017 onwards.
- 3. Sluggish Loading and Scrolling
Web designers should now start focusing on creating websites that easily scroll to greater lengths; and fast loading like every user would love it.
One perfect example is products category page on an ecommerce website, in 2017, it should load with about 10 or more products and as the user swipe vertically or scroll downwards, that page would add more of the products. It should allow the user to view close to 100 products before loading the next page.
- 4. Hamburgers Menus Positioned Left
Hamburger menus are slowly moving to the left of website pages. Designers who used Bootstrap framework and carefully trailed the Bootstrap 3 Navbar example, that design placed the hamburger menu on the right navigation side. This trend was followed by so many websites, but since Google as well as other prominent sites begun enlisting the hamburger menus to the left, the trend is set to grow in 2017.
- 5. GIF and Cinematographs
An animated GIF image could be coming back to ecommerce websites come 2017, but this time in a more fashioned and subtle form dubbed cinematograph.
Actually, this is a still picture; or rather a photograph to which a little recapping animation is added. It’s more of a mini-video looking more appealing and better than the usual animation.
Most probably, Cinematographs may be used as background images, banners, category headers or maybe product images. In 2017, it will be clear whether cinematographs will add engagement to ecommerce websites or not.
Colors and Web Design Versions
There are many trends to add to this list; however I could only mention two more. In 2017, there could also be a detonation of colors in website design. Also sites are beginning to adapt to the size of screens and types of devices and you could expect cutting-edge versions of web design, changing layers and visual acuity.
I just recently discovered OpenCart as a very powerful, but easy-to-use PHP based open source ecommerce platform. OpenCart is written in PHP's MVC framework. With OpenCart, you can add products with attributes, options, categories, discounts, and more. It also supports great SEO per product page.
One of my web design clients recent asked me to build them a manageable ecommerce system and I used OpenCart. That was a no brainer. However, she wanted a feature where only 5 options out of of 15 are allowed, so the customer cannot select more than 5. This functionality is not available in OpenCart for options. I either needed to accomplish this with PHP or jQuery and I chose jQuery.
If you have the same need to lock down a maximum number of checkbox options from a list, you can add the code from this hub.
What this code will do:
This jQuery code is for a restaurant and there is a selection of 15 sandwiches for a catering situation. My client's customer is only allowed to choose 5 from the list.
Under normal OpenCart circumstances, the customer would be able to check all 15 checkboxes, but again, we have to limit them to only 5.
We need jQuery to count all the checked boxes every time any of the checkboxes is clicked. We will only count the checked boxes and voila, we will have a number to compare to our defined maximum.
If the number of checked boxes exceeds our maximum, we will do the following:
- Popup an alert telling the customer that they went over.
- Remove the check from the checked box and leave it at the maximum.
So how does the above code work?
Explanation of the jQuery code
Line 1: Just the normal jQuery call that comes with common.js. I start developing below.
Lines 5 to 12: Declare some initial values for the variables that we will be using in this code.
- Line 5 - I need to keep track of which checkbox was clicked so we can remove it if the customer goes over the limit.
- Lines 6 and 7, we simply define an alert message when the maximum has been exceeded and an advice message. You can define these to say anything.
- Line 10: upmarketSandwichesChecked is the variable that will start from zero and increment every time one of the boxes are checked.
- Line 11: upmarketSandwichesMax - This variable is the maximum of allowed checked boxes and is compared to the upmarketSandwichesChecked variable on line 30.
- Line 12: upmarketSandwiches - This is an array that I prepared of all of the option-value-## where ## is the number ID assigned by OpenCart's MySQL database. You need to get these numbers by looking in your page source or at the MySQL database directly, but I can assure you that looking in the page course is easier and faster. These numbers will be different for YOUR website.
Lines 14 to 17 - Since OpenCart does not assign a CSS class to its checkbox options, we can use that to our advantage and have jQuery assign a class to all of your checkboxes using jQuery's each function. Call this class anything you want. We will use this class to iterate over tall of the checkboxes when one of them is clicked.
On line 14, I use the each function to go through each of the IDs in the array and assign the upmarketSandwiches class using jQuery'saddClassfunction to it so I can reference their clicks in line 19.
Lines 19 to 35 - This is where the real work happens.
- Line 19, I use the click function to see if any of the checkboxes in the upmarketSandwiches class have been clicked.
- Line 21: I grab the checked boxes ID (assigned by OpenCart) and assign it the idThatWasClickedvariable. We will use this on line 34 to remove its checked status in case that particular checkbox sets us over the limit set by our variable upmarketSandwichesMax .
- Line 22: We set the upmarketSandwichesChecked to 0 so we start our count from the beginning.
- Line 23: We start our each function and loop through each element in the upmarketSandwiches class.
- Line 24: We use a conditional to test the checked attribute and increment the upmarketSandwichesChecked on line 26 if the conditional comes back as true.
- Line 30: We have a conditional to test if we went over the maximum.
- Line 32: We show an alert box telling the customer that they went over.
- Line 34: We remove the check of the checkbox that the customer last clicked. Remember, we assigned idThatWasClicked to the ID of the variable that triggered the whole click function and then use that ID to set the attribute to checked=false.
Websites differ and so do the goals of their owners. Some users start thinking about creating websites to encourage their co-thinkers to join their discussions and share their comments (this especially concerns the blogs and forums). Others need websites to promote their businesses online and increase their profits. However, eCommerce projects remain the most popular and trendy these days. This is because they simplify the lives of customers and the sellers by making it possible to offer and purchase different types of products on the web. As a result, the shopping process becomes much more encouraging, quick and easy. Isn’t that exactly what most customers and online dealers need these days?
That being said, there are no doubts left regarding the necessity and profitability of online shops. What you should know, though, is that the process of creating such websites is much more difficult than you could imagine. Here are the 5 essential things you need to know to make your eCommerce website a success.
1. It Is All about the Content
The key to the success and profitability of your online shop is the way you are able to represent your products and popularize them on the web. Just think about the intensions your users pursue when browsing through your online shop. While some of them may just be interested in what you are ready to offer them, the prevailing amount of customers are looking for a specific product and they want this product to be of high quality. Give your visitors the feeling of uniqueness and don’t forget about such essential nuances as informational value, contact info and encouragement to buy from you. Always update the content and the prices on time to make your customers aware of the recent changes and take your time to provide the detailed description and reviews of each product included into the catalogue. The content should be convincing. This is the benefit in itself.
2. Consider the Design of Your Online Shop
With a myriad of online shops available on the web nowadays, finding the right one is a challenge for a customer. While different web-based platforms may offer the same assortment of products, they may differ in their design. That is why, the design of an online store is that feature that will make your eCommerce website stand out from the crowd. Keep in mind that the design should not be bright and remarkable only to be in demand with the public. What matters most is the way the structure and the content are combined there and how well they are organized. Decide on the structure, the number of pages and their interlinking well in advance and select the images or graphics to enhance the essence of the content. The design may be quite plain, but it will be consistent and readable to meet the shopping needs and requirements of users.
3. Ease of Navigation
If we compare the age groups of people, who shop on the web, we will notice that representatives of the young generation give preference to online shopping more often as compared to people of other ages. However, to gain online popularity, your eCommerce website should come up to the needs and expectations of all age groups. In other words, your online store should be user-friendly and feature convenient and hassle-free navigation to let the customers choose the products they need in a free and simple way. Client satisfaction is another success factor that should not be underestimated.
4. 24/7 Customer Support
Online shops are created to be browsed day and night. Each customer chooses the most convenient time of the day to shop for the products he/she is looking for. So, it goes without saying that round-the-clock customer support is a must. It makes the clients confident that they will get the required assistance whenever they might need it. The quicker and the more effectively the problem is solved – the more satisfied the customer will be and the more encouraged he/she will be to continue the shopping process.
5. Mobile Accessibility
We live in the age of the ongoing technological process and it is close to impossible to walk along the street without meeting someone with a mobile device in hands. Correspondingly, it is a priority for the owners of eCommerce websites to make them accessible on mobile devices to let the customers shop on the go. This aspect provides extra convenience and ensures the increase of profits, especially if the mobile version of an online store is successful and easy-to-use as well.
As you see, making a nice-looking and functional eCommerce website is a challenge that takes time, effort and financial investment. Consider the nuances mentioned above when developing the online store of your own.
Bigcommerce vs Shopify vs Volusion - The Best Ecommerce Solutions?
Choosing the right ecommerce software can be one of the most difficult decisions you make. Why? Because there are tons of choices, but which one is the best? As an experienced web developer and ecommerce specialist, BigCommerce, Shopify, and Volusion are the top three hosted cart solutions. All three of these solutions are packed with tons of features, tools, and a solid support system. And best of all, their plan packages are affordable. But which one is the best? This BigCommerce vs Shopify vs Volusion comparison review will tell you the answer you are dying to know.
Please stay away from free open-source platforms as they do not deliver as they advertise. First, you need to be familiar with coding and HTML to get one of those sites up and running. Second, your website will be similar to others using the software and Google will not like that very much. Lastly, all these open-source platforms have international developers.
I used OpenCart and was banned from Google Advertising because apparently my website looked international and I was advertising in the United States market; which was completely ridiculous. I then found about 10 other websites that are very similar to mine.
Do yourself a favor, and go with one of the platforms I review below.
**A no obligation free trial is available with each cart on the bottom of this article**
BigCommerce vs Shopify vs Volusion – Which One is the Best Choice?
Do not get me wrong, they are all incredible shopping carts; however, Shopify is the best choice for an online store. Here is how we rank them and why:
- Shopify – We have bumped Shopify back to the first spot due to the fact that you can waive transaction fees on all of their plans. Their plans start at $14 per month and allow you to list up to 25 products. You would end up paying $29 per month if you wanted 100 products. Although, all of their plans have unlimited bandwidth. In order to waive transaction fees, you have to use their credit card merchant account (It’s a free merchant account).
- BigCommerce – The best overall features and tools needed to run a smooth online store. BigCommerce plan packages start at $34.95 per month and give you the eligibility to save 10% on annual membership – that’s a decent discount. Unfortunately, they charge transaction fees on their Silver package.
- Volusion – Their shopping cart has not been receiving useful updates and is falling behind from the two above. However, Volusion is still among the top three hosted shopping carts because of its versatile features and simple store creation. Volusion plans start at $15 per month for up to 100 products and 1 GB of bandwidth. They do not have transaction fees but there are overage fees if you go over your monthly bandwidth limit. Obviously, the bigger the plan is, the more bandwidth you receive.
We will include a full plan comparison further down in this comparison review.
Plan Packages [Winner: Shopify]
Shopify Plan Packages [14-day free trail is available]
Unlike BigCommerce, Shopify limits such features as real-time shipping, discount engine, and support to lower priced plans. They offer unlimited bandwidth and allow you to waive transaction fees. To waive transaction fees, store owners MUST use Shopify’s credit card processing service which has no service fees. Otherwise, their transaction fees range from 0-2% depending on the plan you select.
- Starter Plan – This plan is ideal for store owners that have a very small inventory and do not need to edit their themes. The Starter Plan costs $14 per month for 25 products, 1 GB of storage, and chat/email support. This plan does not allow you to have coupons, real-time shipping, phone support, nor editing your template. If you do not use their credit card processing service, you will be charged 2% per transaction.
- Basic Plan – The Basic Plan costs $29 per month for unlimited products, 1 GB of storage, and access to their discount code engine. This plan does not give you access to features such as abandoned cart recovery, real-time carrier shipping, nor professional store reports. Their Basic Plan is perfect for store owners that want to have some wiggle room for expansion as you have unlimited products but only 1 GB of storage. As with the above plan, you are charged a flat-rate of 2% per transaction if you do not use their credit card processing service.
- Professional Plan – If you have a bigger inventory and do not need more than 5 GB of storage, I would go with this plan. Their Professional Plan costs $79 per month for unlimited products, 5 GB of storage, discount code engine, professional store reports, and the ability to recover abandoned carts. However, you cannot have real-time carrier shipping rates. If you do not use their credit card processing service, you are charged a flat-rate of 1% per transaction.
- Unlimited Plan – This plan costs $179 per month for unlimited bandwidth and products. Unlike the above plans, their Unlimited Plan does not limit you to any of the features. This plan does not have any transaction fees, regardless of how you process transactions.
Q: What is the best Shopify package? – The Unlimited Plan is their best overall plan as you have unlimited everything and you do not have to worry about being charged any transaction fees. I would also want to know that I can process payments through the service of my choice and not what Shopify wants.
BigCommerce Plan Packages [Each plan offers an easy to set up 15-day free trail]
All plans are equipped with the same features including no bandwidth fees. First time BigCommerce users are eligible for a $100 Google AdWords credit. Once the free trial ends, you are able to upgrade or downgrade between one of their five plans.
- Silver Plan – This plan gives you some wiggle room as your store grows. Their Silver Plan costs $34.95 per month for unlimited products and 5 GB of storage space. Has a 2% per transaction fee.
- Gold Plan – The Gold Plan is the best choice for medium-sized store owners. This plan costs $79.95 per month for unlimited products, unlimited storage space, and the ability to use their Abandoned-Cart Saver tool, which can recover lost sales.
- Platinum Plan – We strongly believe that this is their best overall package as you have no restrictions on the amount of products listed. The Platinum Plan costs $199.95 per month for unlimited products, unlimited storage space, and access to Abandoned-Cart Saver.
Q: What is the best BigCommerce package? – As mentioned above, the Platinum Plan is their best deal as it comes with unlimited products and bandwidth. The plan also comes with Abandoned-Cart Saver. However, this plan might not be a good idea if you have a smaller inventory.
Volusion Plan Packages [14-day free trail is available]
When it comes to plan selection, Volusion has got you covered. Like Shopify, Volusion limits certain features across its plans, especially the lowered priced ones. So, you might be losing key features if you go with one of their cheaper plans. They do not charge store owners any transaction fees; however, all plans come with limited bandwidth. Each one of their plans will state how much monthly bandwidth you have, but they will not tell you that there are overage fees for going over the monthly bandwidth limit.
- Mini Plan – Their Mini Plan costs $15 per month for 100 products, 1 GB of bandwidth, email support and a mobile store. This plan has extremely low bandwidth and is not meant to withstand a store with traffic for that many products. Key features such as product reviews, newsletters, and deal of the day are not included.
- Bronze Plan – This plan costs $35 per month for 1,000 products, 2 GB of bandwidth, mobile store, phone support, newsletters, and product reviews. As with the above plan, you are given extremely limited bandwidth. Their Bronze Plan limits key features such as phone orders, my rewards, and deal of the day.
- Silver Plan – Their Silver Plan costs $65 per month for 2,500 products, 5 GB of bandwidth, mobile store, phone support, newsletters, product reviews, newsletters, and phone orders. This plan limits features like my rewards and deal of the day. If you have a limited budget and cannot go with a more expensive plan, I would strongly recommend this one as you have a decent bandwidth limit of 5 GB.
- Gold Plan – This plan costs $125 per month for 10,000 products, 25 GB of bandwidth, priority support, and gives you access to all of their features.
- Platinum – Their Platinum Plan costs $195 per month for unlimited products, 40 GB of bandwidth, priority support, and gives you full access to all of their features.
Q: What is the best Volusion plan? – In terms of overall value, their Gold Plan is the best plan available. They give you a very high product limit, priority support, and a decent bandwidth limit.
*As of September 2013, Volusion charges bandwidth overage fees of $7 per GB.
BigCommerce vs Shopify vs Volusion – Primary Feature Comparison [Winner: BigCommerce]
In terms of features, BigCommerce, Shopify, and Volusion have tons to offer. All three perform very well and give you access to key features including discounts, gift certificates, single-page checkout, product reviews and ratings, free templates, product options, and more. Each shopping cart has an app store for additional features. However, both Shopify and Volusion limit key features on their lower priced plans.
Ease of Installation and Setup [Winner: Shopify]
Overall, all three hosted shopping carts are easy to install and setup. However, Shopify is probably the easiest shopping cart to install, setup, and launch your online store. All these carts provide you with several basic steps to complete before launching your store. Additionally, if you run into problems, there are tons of tutorials and guides to help in the creation of stores on either one of these platforms.
Marketing and SEO Tools [Winner: All Three]
Marketing and SEO tools are very important to ecommerce store owners as that is they are the most effective way of bringing traffic to your website. BigCommerce, Shopify, and Volusion give you all the marketing and SEO tools that you need to run a good advertised store. From a Facebook store to coupons, all three platforms have ways of promoting your store. However, BigCommerce goes the extra mile and automatically creates feeds to popular comparison shopping sites such as Google Shopping, Shopzilla, and BizRate. Volusion tries to separate itself from the rest by offering MyRewards, which are very popular in today’s market. On the other hand, Shopify has a fully integrated blog that is great for SEO.
All three shopping carts give you a wide range of SEO tools and the ability to control titles, descriptions, and meta tags. Additionally, your store will rank naturally pretty well on search engines.
Additional Features via the App Store [Winners: BigCommerce & Shopify]
Having an app store increases your chances of having all of the features you are looking for in a hosted shopping cart. App stores are a great way to get additional free and premium features. BigCommerce and Shopify have a larger app store than Volusion. App stores on these shopping carts carries integrations with popular services and features.
Technical Support and Assistance [All Three]
Technical support is an important aspect of any business. With BigCommerce, Shopify, and Volusion, you can expect professional support via phone, chat, and email. They all have a knowledge base consisting of tutorials and guides. There have been reports that Volusion lacks great customer support; this is not true at all. Volusion has a similar customer service focus as BigCommerce and Volusion.
BigCommerce vs Shopify vs Volusion – Conclusion
After a close comparison of the best three shopping carts, Shopify is the top shopping cart for creating an online store. It does not have any bandwidth or transaction fees (if you use the Stripe credit card processing service).
We will always have tons of options when looking for hosted shopping carts. Some of these hosted shopping carts are good while others lack important features. Shopify continues to be the best hosted ecommerce software as it is the most overall value in terms of price, features, and design. Bigcommerce and Volusion are good Shopify alternatives.
Shopify is probably the easiest shopping cart to set up, while Volusion has plenty of features to guide you in building your dream store.
If you want to build a shopping cart using the best ecommerce platform, be sure to go with one of these shopping carts.
How do you feel about BigCommerce vs Shopify vs Volusion? Which one do you think is the best? Why?