Ask DN: Why is there such a lack of innovation around the online shopping experience? We've seen advances in blogging from platforms like Tumblr, Medium, svbtle, wordpress? Am I wrong? Not a lot of brands or products seem to be pushing the envelope.
Do you not use Amazon? They are killing it with online shopping experience. One-click ordering? Same day ordering in some places? Subscriptions? Knows what to suggest?
Or are you talking about some wild 3D type of experience?
FAB and Gilt did wonders for flash shopping.
Mobile experiences are getting better. Some technology let's you see what a celeb is wearing and tells you exactly what it is and where you can buy it. Not quite sure what type of innovation you are talking about, but innovation is happening constantly in the online shopping space.
Blogging consists of one component: Blogging.
Online Shopping: - Shopping Experience - Inventory - Shipping - Payment - Customer Support
If you break down these components, there has been a lot of innovation and wins.
it can be hard to design on these systems as there are a lot of layers to build an e-com system, however check out spree if you are interested. It can be incredibly difficult (as I just discovered in a project integrated into aMember software) as there are a lot of old systems that can not be updated because they often interface with real life equipment/processes and no one has the time, scope, or skill to address these issues.
I'm on a contract with a relatively large e-commerce company (9 figure turnover, 18 countries). They definitely have the budget and resources to try new things but that would involve taking risks. Large, successful companies don't like taking risks.
A lot of what we would like to see as designers is not necessarily what customers want to see. Customers want cheap prices, good quality, fast delivery, free returns and good customer support. Sure, a slick UI or innovative social feature would probably improve the experience but unfortunately, it's just not that high up on the list of priorities.
I'm sure in the near future, e-commerce startups (with less to lose) will start innovating more. That will probably create more incentive for the established companies to take more risks.
I should add that I think a major evolution will happen, but I personally think it will take a larger percentage of online users to be at higher broadband speeds. Once the majority of users are at 10MB/sec instead of 2MB/sec or whatever the current stats are... the opportunity to make a more visually intensive solution may become less of a hit on revenue - simply because there would no longer be a perceptible lag in adding these features.
I could be completely wrong, but to me it sounds like you're confusing innovation and aesthetic. I think the amount of innovation has been staggering, much of it behind the scenes as many have noted... but I feel like you are trying to say that the look and feel of online commerce hasn't gone through a significant evolution.
At first glance it may seem so, but I would argue that a lot has happened. The key thing to understand with e-commerce is that in the end, money ALWAYS speaks... thus data rules. Many of these sites have tested ad-nauseum with images sizes, copy restrictions, button placements, etc... a lot of the time these tests are done in small samples and hit relevancy from a data perspective very quickly... so many people don't see it happening (or don't realize it).
In the end... time and time again it's been said that the largest killer of revenue via e-commerce is speed. Everyone loves the idea of a sexy, glossy shopping experience, but real world data shows that users really want to see what they want to quickly...
Are you saying aesthetic progression can't be considered innovation?
Not at all. I'm saying just because you don't see progression, it doesn't mean that it isn't happening. I've been involved with my share of testing where no matter how much you're sure something looks better from a design standpoint... the users and their money say otherwise.
I think a lot of it is because with successful ecom and DR, the focus is on very primal elements... colors, element position, the perfect 3-word CTA, etc. All of these elements generate a reaction subconsciously at a very basic level. When we design beautiful, robust solutions... the parts of our brain that appreciate style will enjoy it, but it's a very different thing than that part of the brain that creates the impulse to act.
I dunno, mostly I think we don't see revolutionary ecom changes from a visual standpoint is because to make things more beautiful, most designers are adding layers of "noise" between you and those simple, primal actions. Whether it's longer load time, more things to distract you, or emotions you get that aren't about "buy"... all could theoretically lose a brand money in ecom. It's an incredibly delicate balance.
What sort of innovation are you looking for? What specifically are you looking to see happen? Better payment gateway services (Stripe is pretty good)? Better integration with custom CMS's? Better administration of products? This is such an open ended question, one has to wonder why it got so many upvotes.
Stuart I appreciate your snark. I asked a general question because as far as I can tell, generally speaking you go to any major retailer website, they pretty much all look the same.
Only in recent years have I noticed a trend where they try to mix in magazine style editorial content in the mix.
I noticed this too, i'm working on a new project now, involving a (sort of) easier experience to order sandwiches at a lunchroom online. Those things do not need a harsh CHECKOUT SHOPPING CART and stuff, such as clothing.
Most of the time it's the client - they're not willing to spend a large amount of money on an already fairly expensive extension of their product(s)
Personally I think theres a ton of innovation going on right now. Google brought us express shopping where you can order, for instance dental floss and have it delivered in a couple of hours. Amazon has fresh, but is also trying to get drones to deliver your product as fast as possible. However maybe thats not what you mean, what innovation would you like to see?
The company I work for recently switched its online strategy from an e-commerce model to a ‘searchable mall’ responsive site. The idea is to support its offline retailers by visiting your local shopping centre. The goal ultimately is to make every store product searchable along with other goodies I think I can’t mention just yet.
Site still in its early stages, but you can see it now at http://www.westfield.com.au
I think we're seeing an unbundling. Shopping is two experiences: browsing and purchasing.
Websites like Pinterest, Wanelo, Tumblr, etc are providing an awesome browsing experience.
The brand has to handle the purchasing part. Purchasing should be as simple, clear and secure as possible.
Sense of security and familiarity is a major ingredient when it comes to shopping online.
Amazon, for example, is taking baby steps into changing the way people interact with its web properties. Scaring people with new fancy stuff is, usually, not the way to go with a market where "fear" is just around the corner.
That's the reason, I believe, why most online stores are applying the same rules and layout instead of reinventing the wheel.
Archaic backend systems and dozens of third party suppliers and consultant layers.
Decisions and changes take years sometimes.
It's pretty hard on designers, always noticed unrest in the design teams of big e-com clients
Big brands such as Amazon set both customer and business standards — a need to make customers feel secure means lesser known brands (generally) can’t deviate too far from established conventions and expectations.
These standard-setting brands generally have immense architecture, brand equity at stake and millions of customers; small changes can have rippling effects on the bottom line, customer satisfaction, performance, etc. So taking that much farther, to "pushing the envelope", could mean tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to attempt. (And it could flop.)
All that said, I think there are some great shopping UX patterns out there. I also think boutique shops can still successfully execute creative and unique UX.