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Imagine the pure joy of making your first cup of coffee with the premium coffee machine you just bought. Or how it feels to drive a luxury car. Or the satisfaction of using your favorite mobile application that makes everything you need easily accessible with just a few clicks. 

All these experiences delight you due to the one thing they all have in common – amazing UX design. The ease and joy of using a certain physical product or a digital service, of browsing an online store or of continuously choosing one platform over another for your business needs, are directly related to the way the UX design is shaped, structured and executed. 

Today, we will gradually dive deep into what UX design is, what makes it so important and which the 2021 trends you may consider implementing to your Shopify store are. 

What is UX Design?

A Glossary of Definitions 

UX Design refers to user experience and is a term used to describe the process of ‘designing’ the way customers interact with a digital or a physical product.

UX design is a complex mixture of many components like structure, efficiency, UI design, usability, problem solving, marketing and many more. 

The ultimate goal of UX design is to ensure a pleasant, coherent and practical experience for users. 

Although many definitions of UX design can be found around the web, there isn’t a strictly official one. Therefore, we have gathered a few of the most inspiring ones that beautifully describe the very essence of this craft. 

Users have problems. Lots of problems. Businesses are the solution. UX ensures that we solve these problems flawlessly.

Daniel DungyovDesign Advocate at Friends of Figma, Sofia | UX Designer | Visual Designer

UX design is the art and science of generating positive emotions among people who interact with products or services.

Tomer SharonManaging Director, Head of User Research and Metrics at Goldman Sachs | Author of Validating Product Ideas through Lean User Research

UX Design is an empathically-driven practice crafted to solve human and business problems, and remove obstacles and friction from a user’s desired goals — hopefully delivering delight in the process.

Jason OgleFounder and host of the User Defenders podcast

User experience (UX) design is the process design teams use to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability and function.

Interaction Design Foundation

UX Design is the purposeful application of logic and rationale for creating experiences that offer both utility and value to the end user. It's a process of deeply understanding the user's needs and objectives, identifying where their greatest problems exist, and working generatively to ideate ways to solve these problems. Rarely centered on the creation of a single screen, UX Design is instead the intentional act of crafting countless interactions that span the entire user journey within a given product experience while also adhering to brand, design and usability standards.

Scott JohnsenHead of Design at Alto

You see that UX goes further beyond interactivity or the final UI (User Interface) design. It is a process that starts with deep understanding, goes through complex shaping and wireframing and results in the final way users are experiencing the product. 

In today’s digital world, good UX design is so crucial that no business venture is likely to succeed without it. 

And there are at least a thousand reasons for this.

The importance of UX design 

Everything we already mentioned has certainly implied that UX design is the tool needed for each product to thrive in the competitive market. As we love saying, the delight customers receive while interacting with our product (or storefront) is imperative. And absolutely necessary for any business success. 

We have covered the impact your store design and overall performance have on your conversion rate many times. Now that you are already well aware how integrally linked UX design is to your Shopify store structure and UI (user interface), let’s take a brief look at some real data about the extent to which UX determines how well your e-commerce venture goes. 

According to a thorough study on the ROI of UX, $1,420,300,000,000 of potential online sales are lost because of bad UX while the amount of $5,478,300,000,000 equals the projected sales in e-commerce for 2020. 

Quite imposing, right?

E-commerce is gaining more and more power and is here to stay for good. Its global profits are proving that the competition is severe. Users are hungry for amazing web experiences and our community of ambitious store merchants, developers and designers is responsible for how brands and products are presented to the vast online community. 

With all that said, let’s see which are the UX trends that will continue to gain power in 2021 and to provide unforgettable user experiences with real value. 

1.Automations & Chatbots 

Chatbots have been around for a while and are already so common that users are expecting to find them on every website they visit. These AI driven buddies can greatly benefit the overall interactivity of online stores. UX Designers have observed the power of automated responses for the last few years and are already implementing more and more functionalities to chatbots. 

In e-commerce, chatbots are usually used for: 

  • Answering frequently asked questions (thus saving lots of time and money that should otherwise be invested in a customer support team) 
  • Providing product recommendations based on the customer journey 
  • Supporting the checkout process
  • Making sure customers quickly and easily find exactly what they are looking for

Undoubtedly, chatbots can hugely impact the user experience by easing and automating the main processes in an online store. Nonetheless, the potential of this functionality is far from limited with just the basics. 

Here are a few creative tips on how to use chatbots in 2021 and further enhance your store and the way your visitors are experiencing it:

  • Integrate quick and smart quizzes to guide your prospect to the most appropriate products for them 
  • Visualize related products for each item added to cart to develop a unique upsell strategy 
  • Use the power of automation to personalize the user journey as much as possible 
Chatbot example

2.Quizzes 

We won’t exaggerate if we say that quiz development is now reaching its ultimate peak. A great deal of fashion, wellness and beauty online retainers have already tasted and are continuously reinforcing the power of quizzes when it comes to personalizing messages and providing specific product recommendations. 

The seamlessly tailored UX design of 2021 must ensure customer-oriented websites that lead prospects through their buying journey by bringing to their attention the ultimate product for their needs and desires.

A few ideas how to use quizzes for scaling up your conversions while further enhancing your UX design and the excitement of your leads: 

  • Include related, valuable content to your quiz.  

Try integrating various short pieces of content like survey analysis, interesting facts about the products or quotes linked to concrete questions. This will add great value to your quiz and distinguish it from the others. 

  • Include customer testimonials and reviews 

We all know how powerfully product reviews affect the purchasing decisions and how crucial for each brand is to give its loyal advocates the voice to shout out how amazing a product is. Use the interactivity of the quiz to add some reviews inside it. Trust us, the effectiveness of this strategy will surprise you. 

  • Put yourself in your customers’ shoes first 

There are various options for creating a quiz – you can integrate it in your chat, you can design a beautiful separate page for it or you can develop a few different quizzes simultaneously. As with any other marketing and design thing, your target audience, their behaviour and expectations are what you should start with when determining which way to go with your quiz. If your ultimate buyer persona is a working mom with no time, go for a simplified option that saves time and brings accurate results instantly. On the other side, if your audience looks for more detailed information about your products, focus on creating a more complex, content rich quiz that would satisfy their needs and build up the credibility of your brand. 

  • Create an impressive UI design for your quiz 

As we already said, quizzes are already quite common. If your goal is to distinguish from your competitors and offer a better unique selling proposition, you must invest in a stunning quiz design. Trust vetted UX/UI professionals and let them use their endless creativity to bring shapes, visuals, gradients, fonts and anything else that will turn your quiz into an eye-pleasing experience.

Quiz development example

3.Cart Drawers 

Cart Drawers are steadily replacing the good old cart page. This UX tendency is probably the best option you should consider for your e-commerce business (if you still haven’t) as it offers amazing benefits both for you as a store owner and for your online customers. 

This functionality is a clever way to substitute the cart page with an optimized popup that usually appears on the right side of the screen and displays the added to cart items without leaving the product page the visitor is on. 

As UX design always starts with the user in mind, let’s first see how do cart drawers enhance the user experience: 

  • Users can instantly track that their desired action (adding a certain product to their cart) has been successfully and quickly completed 
  • Users can continue browsing the store and looking for other products 
  • Adding and removing items is remarkably easy and can be done while the user is browsing the product pages (e.g. I add a product, keep on looking, find another one that I like better, add it and then immediately remove the first one without any hustle)
  • Users can easily compare products, their characteristics and prices due to the fact that all added products are visualized all together with the product page presented on the screen
  • Users are able to easily change the quantity of the purchased products and to remove them with just one click 
  • Users can proceed to checkout directly 

Craft Berry Pro Tip: Take in mind that by default, Shopify redirects users to the cart page when they go back from the final checkout page. Make sure you have a separate well-performing cart page or hide it completely with a custom solution that lets users return to the homepage with the cart drawer opened. 

Cart drawers are a smart UX solution that makes online shopping easier and way more satisfying. However, this UX trend is not only ensuring a pleasant customer experience but also a boosted conversion rate and more sales. 

Since we already covered one of the win-win sides (the customers), it is now time to see what do e-commerce entrepreneurs and online merchants get from enhancing their stores with cart drawers. 

  • Creative upsell options – Adding product recommendations with clever messages or displaying related products directly below the full list of added to cart products has proven to be an extremely effective upsell strategy. 
  • Free delivery progress bar – If you have developed a free shipping policy over a certain amount (which we highly recommend), you should definitely consider adding a UI enhanced progress bar to the top of the cart drawer. Users are usually inclined to purchase as much as needed to receive free shipping/delivery (this trigger works on psychological level) and this is a great way to show them how close they are to receiving this desired gift. 
  • Relevant or present promotions – If you are running different marketing campaigns or have a relevant or ongoing promotion happening, cart drawers can help you convey the messages in a highly converting way.
example for an optimized cart drawer

4.AR Functionalities 

AR (Augmented Reality) is rising with such a speed that according to Statista, it will reach a global value of over $18 billion dollars in 2023. 

Nowadays, we are seeing AR used in a great deal of mobile applications and platforms. However, this high-tech functionality has its well-deserved place in the world of e-commerce as it has the power of taking the user experience of shopping online to a whole new level. 

As brick and mortar stores are gradually being replaced by online stores, people must adapt to purchasing any type of products without being able to see their actual size, sense their smell or feel their texture. Augmented reality is a powerful UX tool that enables online shoppers to take a more realistic look at the items they want to purchase. Needless to say, this makes them feel more confident whether they are making the right buying decision or not. 

AR is the bridge between physical and online stores because it lets customers experience the product before choosing it. For what is more, investing in an AR application can go further beyond what you could possibly ever offer at a physical store. 

Take a look at how Deluxe uses AR to enrich the user experience with the products the brand offers.

5. Flawless Navigation Design 

Navigation design is a pivotal part of UX. Especially in e-commerce. The way you structure your navigation shapes up a great deal of the overall experience visitors have with your store. 

In 2021, navigation should be aimed at highlighting the usability and at enabling users to easily interact with the website or the application. On the contrary, bad navigation design may heavily affect your store’s conversion rate as most users will probably leave if they have issues finding what they need or performing a certain action. 

This naturally leads us to the conclusion that navigation is an integral UX part you should highly prioritize. Although UX designers are fully aware of the fact that designing navigation (just like any other UX element) should also start from a customer-centered perspective, we would like to put a special emphasis on this statement and advise you to consider it when cooperating with UX specialists and approving their work.

Imagine you are the customer, track everything you would want to be able to find and do within a store, strategize it and start from there. 

Ideally, your navigation design should be consistent and optimized both for web and mobile. It should ease the process of users searching for products or categories in your online store.

A few tips for enhanced navigation design: 

  • Include filters (especially if your store has a large inventory) – Filters and breadcrumbs can significantly optimize the order of your store and the way different product categories are displayed. 
  • Simplify – Complex navigation tabs and menus are rarely converting well. 2021 is the year in which minimalistic design is being more and more embraced. Simplicity is key to successfully guiding users through your store.
  • Add micro animations if applicable – Enhancing your hamburger menu with a tiny animation may positively impact the overall user experience as non-intrusive animations are loved by most people. Take in mind, however, that such animations may not resonate with your brand identity and value proposition. Make sure you double check this idea with your UX designer before implementing it. 
large inventory online stores navigation menu

Craft Berry Pro Tip: Good UX is never structured against the well-established habits of users. There are some general principles (e.g. cart or cart drawer is positioned in the top right corner) that should always be followed. Changing the position of such elements is likely to cause confusion and negative emotions. 

UX Design in E-commerce wrapped up 

UX Design is the tool that frames the way users are interacting with your store, experiencing your products and perceiving your brand. 

By synergizing how your product or service looks and how it works, UX is committed to providing unforgettable, pleasant and valuable user experiences. 

Chatbots, personalized quizzes, optimized cart drawers, AR functionalities and strategically built navigation bars and menus are amongst the key UX tendencies that have been around for a while but are further immersing in 2021.