In “7 Ecommerce Design Trends for 2014,” we addressed factors that will likely influence ecommerce redesigns in 2014. These include the popularity of images, video, and other rich content, and the continued rise of mobile.
If you run a store from a WordPress platform, implementing design changes is easier with the ready availability of plugins and themes.
In this article, I’ll review plugins and themes that make redesigning a WordPress ecommerce site much easier.
1. High Quality Product Images
With faster Internet connections and the proliferation of retina screens, high-quality photos — not small thumbnails and low-resolution product images — will become common in 2014. High-quality, large photos with zoom capability should be a part of your product pages in 2014.
For example, Amazon allows shoppers to hover over a high-quality product image, for a zoom effect. Thus, high-resolution images not only improve the design of the site but also improve conversions, since the shopper has more information about the product to make a purchase decision.
WordPress merchants can achieve the same effect with Cloud Zoom, a plugin.
The Cloud Zoom plugin from WooCommerce uses jQuery for a hover zoom effect that is popular on many ecommerce sites. When users hover over the high-resolution image they can see the details of the product. The plugin comes with WooCommerce staff support. It costs approximately $40 for a single license.
The YITH WooCommerce Zoom Magnifier plugin helps you achieve the same effect of Amazon and Cloud Zoom. There is no guaranteed support from the developers. But the plugin is free, and it carries a rating of 4.9 out of 5 on the WordPress Plugin Directory. It’s therefore worth a try.
2. Videos on Product Pages
Ecommerce product pages increasingly offer videos. By demonstrating the product and how it’s used, videos can help drive sales.
Zappos famously assembled thousands of product videos that integrate with the overall site design. The videos are typically just a minute or so long, but they clearly help shoppers understand the products.
Some ecommerce owners prefer HTML 5 videos, not embedded videos from YouTube. This is because HTML5 videos can integrate better into the site design and they avoid the sometimes-amateur look of a YouTube video. WooCommerce’s HTML5 video plugin allows you to add video directly to your WooCommerce product page. Although it only has a few ratings, they’ve all been 5 stars. The plugin is free.
YITH Featured Video plugin works like the HTML5 video plugin (above). It allows you to feature a video on the product page instead of a photo. Simply set your featured image to a video and it will show up on the WooCommerce product page. YITH Featured Video plugin in free. But it’s also new with few reviews. So definitely test before deploying it live.
3. Flat Design
Flat design typically avoids drop shadows or similar effects, focusing on colors and fonts. It often produces simple user interfaces that are relatively easy to make responsive for mobile.
Flat web design exploded in 2013. Expect to see more of it in 2014.
Elegant Themes is a WordPress theme subscription site that has embraced flat design. Its themes integrate well with WooCommerce. If you want a flat design and WordPress shop, Elegant Themes’ packages are one of the best options. It offers a standard theme club and developer theme subscription.
One benefit of the theme club is access to all of the themes created by Elegant Themes. The admin panel is the same across all themes. A disadvantage is that many of the themes start to feel very similar.
The ever popular Themeforest has dozens of good themes that are flat and ecommerce capable. They are from a wide range of developers, which provide much variety in terms of design and development. A disadvantage is that each theme will have a different layout to get used to as well as a different support website.