As a web design agency who have been around since 2006, we’ve seen a lot of website trends come and go in our time, from skeuomorphism to flat design and the rise of responsive web design.
So, here are our 2018 web design trends to watch out for this year – from more animation to greater use of vibrant colours and a change in direction for typography.
1. More web animation
Animation has been used on websites for decades now, in various forms. Formats such as GIF allowed early web designers to create animations for logos and other uses, but the format could only support a limited range of colours. Then came Flash – a format now largely gone from the web, thanks to the rise of web users adopting their smartphones, which largely did not support the format in favour of more modern technologies.
Web designers now have a broader range of animation tools available to them, making animations, but also more efficient in terms of file size – allowing us to keep website loading times to a minimum. An ideal pairing!
2. Moving away from “the grid” of web design
Mobile-friendly websites have been around for a relatively long time now – in the scheme of the digital world, anyway! – and many are built on a grid system which denotes the relative width of columns for content for different screen sizes.
We suspect that 2018 will see a move towards more assymetric, quirkier layouts for pages, allowing more creative art direction on pages.
3. Vibrant colours
We’re expecting to see much bigger use of bold colours and unusual and striking colour contrasts on websites in 2018.
One thing to beware of with unusual colour palettes is their contrast – poor contrast between text and background colours can cause a lot of issues for accessibility, particularly for those website visitors with colour blindness.
4. A larger focus on serif typefaces
Web designers have typically stuck largely to sans-serif typefaces (i.e., more rounded fonts without “feet” (serifs) on letters) for the web, as they tend to be easier to read. We think 2018 will see more prevelant use of serif fonts, especially with the development of web fonts via tools such as Google Fonts.
Whatever 2018 brings, we can be sure it’ll be another exciting year in web design and development.
If you’ve been exploring different ecommerce agencies to work with, you may well have come across Magento a few times by now. But what does a Magento developer do? How is a Magento developer different from other web developers?
The simplest answer is that a Magento developer develops Magento websites, but that’s not particularly useful or comprehensive as an answer, is it?
So, what is Magento development?
The first step is to look at what Magento development is, and to understand that, we need to understand what Magento is. Magento is an ecommerce platform built to allow web developers a stepping stone in creating ecommerce websites – websites that allow you to sell products, services or downloadable content to customers. Rather than building the same core features of an ecommerce website (a product catalogue, shopping cart, checkout) each time, Magento provides these core features ready for customisation.
Magento development covers a huge range of skills and tasks, from installing and configuring your Magento store to building Magento themes and developing custom features for your website.
What does a Magento developer do?
A Magento developer works to build, support and improve Magento websites. Typically, designing and building a Magento website requires a team of Magento developers, web designers and others to fulfill all of the skills required. A Magento developer is simply a web developer skilled with the Magento platform.
A Magento developer may work as a freelancer alone, or within a Magento agency such as Peacock Carter. Magento developers can be roughly split in to two separate skillsets themselves:
- Frontend Magento developers build Magento themes and work to replicate the design a web designer provides in to Magento – ensuring that your website looks great, and is responsive (mobile-friendly) so that it works effectively on smartphone and tablet devices.
- Backend Magento developers focus on building features for your Magento website, whether that’s via existing Magento extensions or bespoke code.
Magento developers can also become a Magento Certified Developer (MCD), Magento Certified Developer Pus (MCD+) and a Magento Certified Frontend Developer, which means they’ve passed an exam of multiple choice questions relevant to that field.
Typical Magento developer tasks include:
- Installing and configuring Magento
- Building Magento themes from provided designs
- Optimising Magento’s performance / loading times
- Configuring Magento’s stores to support multilingual and multicurrency set ups
- Installing, testing and configuring payment gateways such as PayPal, SagePay, Authorize.Net, etc
- Integrating other business systems in to Magento – including accountancy software, custom relationship management (CRM) software, and other business applications
- Performing audits of Magento websites for search engine optimisation
And, of course, if you’re looking for a Magento development agency in the North of England, we can recommend a good one!
Magento is the most popular ecommerce platform in the world, with both small retailers and large companies making use of its purpose-built ecommerce functionality. Usually, when businesses are considering moving to a new web platform or redesigning their website, the best thing to do is look at their competitors’ websites and other relevant businesses with great websites. So, with this blog post we’d like to look at the big blue-chip companies who make the most of their Magento website.
You have an ecommerce website, and it’s generating a comfortable number of orders, but you’d like to increase your website’s turnover.
You have a few options open to you – sending more potential customers to your website via digital marketing such as search engine optimisation and pay-per-click advertising, or increasing spend from your existing customers.
Here North East ecommerce agency Peacock Carter provide ideas to help you increase your existing customers’ spend with you.
1. Set your free delivery threshold carefully
Do you offer free delivery on orders over a certain amount? It may be wise to review this. If you set your free delivery threshold to just above the average order value, you may be able to entice customers to add another item to their order and increase your turnover – just beware of raising this too high and putting customers off entirely!
2. Introduce a loyalty points system
If increasing your average order value isn’t working, you could try starting a loyalty points reward scheme for your store. These can work by simply allowing customers to accrue a certain percentage of their purchase (say, 5%) in points which can be redeemed on your store; the extra incentive to gain enough points for an additional “free” order can become a powerful driver for increasing your store’s turnover.
Leading ecommerce platforms such as Magento and Shopify have the ability to launch these systems relatively easily, and the rewards can be huge.
3. Offer a free sample
There’s something humans like about receiving a free sample without asking – it appeals to our curiosity, especially if it’s from a brand or company they’re already familiar with. Sending customers a free sample may tempt them to buy an additional product line, or even help upsell them to a superior brand of the same product from you with a better margin, whilst providing a more personal touch for your customers.
Just be sure to target the free samples carefully, ensuring the product offered will appeal to the customer!
4. Email your customers if they don’t check out
This is an often-missed trick for smaller ecommerce businesses, and can yield great results. If your ecommerce software is worth its salt, it will likely have the ability to see abandoned carts – that is, customers who have added products to the cart without completing checkout. You can wait a set period of time (say, a few days), and then email the customer to check if they have any queries, and remind them they have products left in their shopping cart. Sometimes, all you have to do for more sales is to ask!
As with any email communication, be careful with how frequently you contact customers – some can find it intrusive and that may cost you future sales.
This is just a small sample of what is available to ecommerce merchants to help them to sell more, and it’s worth measuring and refining your processes as with anything in your business; if you’d like to discuss your ecommerce project further with us, please get in touch.
Brexit makes headlines almost daily in the UK and almost a year since the referendum, what is the likely impact Brexit will have on ecommerce businesses?
The UK’s recent referendum voted in favour to leave the European Union on 23 June 2016. The UK government is in talks with the EU in preparation for its departure, but where does this leave ecommerce sites? Whilst no-one knows for sure at this stage, as a UK ecommerce agency established in 2006, we can take some educated guesses at likely outcomes.
1. Expect fewer high-value purchases in the short term
The outcome of the referendum came as a surprise to quite a few in Britain (and abroad!), and it has caused a great deal of uncertainty. As such, expect consumers to spend less – and buy fewer high value or luxury items – until the situation becomes clearer.
Source – Digiday.
2. British ecommerce stores become less attractive to EU consumers
Another potential outcome after withdrawal from the European Union is that British ecommerce stores become less attractive to EU consumers. This could be for a variety of reasons, including:
- Delivery becomes costlier. Depending on the degree of Brexit, import duties and other taxes imposed by the EU on Britain may make buying from British ecommerce stores much less attractive to European consumers.
- A potential lack of consumer protection. The EU offers a high level of consumer protection; if Britain decides to withdraw these and widthraw from the EEA, European consumers may be worse off than buying from a closer provider (Source – European Parliament Document; PDF).
3. Currency conversion rates make British stores more attractive
One likely outcome, at least in the shorter term, is that more appealing conversion rates from foreign currencies to British Sterling make shopping online on British stores more attractive to some shoppers, particularly while trade agreements remain in place.
So, perhaps it’s time to consider allowing your customers to pay in Euros and Dollars?
4. Changes in taxation for buyers abroad
It is also possible that Brexit will lead to a revision of taxes for foreign buyers. Luckily, in ecommerce platforms such as Magento, this should be a relatively easy process to change.
This is not to say that Brexit doesn’t offer some opportunity for ecommerce businesses; more appealing currency conversion rates
We’re pleased to welcome a new Magento developer, Tony, to Peacock Carter, to our team this month.
With a background in ecommerce website development in both Magento 1 and Magento 2, Tony brings a wealth of experience to our ecommerce and web design clients.
As an established ecommerce agency in the North of England, Peacock Carter look for developers enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the Magento platform, and Tony certainly fits the bill. You can expect to work with Tony on new website design and development projects, Magento website code audits and performance reviews, and bespoke integrations for the Magento platform, too.
Alongside his Magento experience, Tony has experience building websites on the WordPress and Drupal content management systems, too.