With COVID-19 accelerating the shift to the digital world, e-commerce websites are enjoying a 40% increase in sales during the pandemic. Even as we move from working at home to hybrid work, our online buying has continued while brick and mortar stores remain closed across much of the world.
If your online business isn’t keeping up, you might want to look at your web design itself. Is it helping you convert visitors who have found their way to your website? If not, animations in your web design can help.
Animations are an effective sales tool and can help you convince customers to press the coveted ‘buy’ button and make a purchase.
With physical stores, there are lots of immersive ways to reel in customers like window displays, physical ads, merchandise, and salesmen. Online stores are limited by the absence of all of these. Animations can go some way to filling this gap and encourage conversions, if they are eye-catching, bringing your online store to life. Here are eight ways to elevate your website design and increase your sales using animation:
8 Ideas for Animation on E-Commerce Sites
1. Use GIFs.
If trends count for anything, we can expect to see more GIFs in e-commerce design. Animated GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) are essentially a set of images stitched together to create a small film sequence. GIFs have a small file size, which means they load faster.
GIFs are typically limited to 256 colors, so they are not appropriate for animations that require smooth gradients and more colors. They also don’t include sound, but they are powerful additions to your web design due to the fact they catch the eye and grab the customer’s attention. GIFs are simple yet effective in keeping your customer engaged.
A good example here would be an e-commerce website that sells communications software. They could use a GIF to show a cartoon character frustrated with their olden times office telephone system. It would help get the message across in a hilarious yet simple manner.
Custom, animated GIFs can be used to engage buyers with special promotions, like sales.
2. Show different colors and variations of your product.
If you have an e-commerce business in the fashion retail sector, animations are your best friend. They have innumerable applications, like animating a single item to change color, showing the customer all their options. You can even create interactive videos like this one from Mango, allowing customers to shop through animated media:
Animations can also be used to make image galleries. Because the average attention span of human beings is eight seconds, your customer is likely to leave the website before they finish browsing. You can create an animation that quickly sifts through most of your inventory. Leverage gallery animations and show as many images as possible with no effort by the user.
3. Immerse your audience with animated videos.
Immersive videos are one of the most happening e-commerce trends, especially for websites that are concerned with real estate and hotel bookings. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. With 3D virtual reality videos you can explore a room or a house in a visual and interactive way, making for a sophisticated brand experience.
4. Set a background video.
A soundless video that plays in the background is a subtle but effective way to captivate potential customers. It draws them in and encourages browsing, without being too distracting. After all, too many flashing animations can disturb the browsing experience to the point where the customer exits the website. Having a background video is an excellent engagement tool that can be used to complement the content seamlessly.
Ambient movement is a great concept to experiment with when creating any kind of background animation, be it for your e-commerce website or as a virtual background for Zoom. The video below is a great example of a background video created with ambient movement. If you’re a Vyond customer, you can use this video as a template to customize the animation.
USE THIS VIDEO TEMPLATE
5. Tell a story with animation.
If your brainstorming session to tell the customer your brand’s story has resulted in a written page on your website, we assure you no one will read it. If you decide to make a small animated video about it, now that is something we’re willing to bet will make a major impact on your audience. Using animation as a storytelling tool is an idea as old as Mickey Mouse himself.
Scroll-triggered animations play as the user moves down the page and create an illusion of an unending page. It doesn’t involve clicks, there is minimal effort from the customer, and it gives them control. You can use the interactive and creative design of a scroll animation to show how a product is made.
For example, instead of writing about how your communications software business came to be, you can create an animation that demonstrates the process. You can show how products like your internet phone service and multi-level IVR were introduced, and how important they are for customers that use them.
6. Evoke emotion.
While animations serve a decorative purpose more often than not, they can also get used to enhance the emotional response to your website. You could use animation to create an emotional connection between the interface and the customer.
The point is to spark visual interest. Simple things like fireworks as soon the customer checks out their shopping cart can lend a celebratory feeling. One that they will remember and could trigger them to return to your website in future.
7. Make load time fun.
Forty percent of visitors will leave the website if the loading process takes more than three seconds. The more animations and videos your website has, the more likely it will take longer than three seconds to load. How do you keep your customers engaged while remaining elements are loading? With an animated loading page. Brighten up the wait and show that your website is, indeed, working.
8. Add hover effects and expanding content.
Animation, when used effectively, helps guide your website’s visitors through its interface. Simple animations like hover effects—where elements come to life when the mouse moves over them—can go a long way to create a strong user experience.
To make your webpages more navigable, you’ll need to reduce clutter. Expandable content is a great way to offer up all the right information, but only when the visitor is looking for it.
In the same way, animations can make confusing content—like a traditional purchase order—far more engaging
Add Animation to your E-Commerce Toolkit.
Website animations are necessary for every well-designed website. They make for a seamless design that can help with engagement. Ensure your animations aren’t jumpy, you don’t want to turn off a user. You want them to spend as long as possible on your website.
Animations need to enhance the content and not get in its way. The written word is important to make conversions, simply having cartoons, flashes and videos will do nothing to convince a customer to buy from you. Superb craftsmanship demands that content and images go hand in hand.
Animations can significantly alter the appeal and user-friendliness of your web design, if used wisely. While we have discussed the bigger picture of using animations in web design, the subtle use of animations can also give your website an incredibly sophisticated look. Perhaps a shadow, reflection, or a barely perceptible shimmer can make a difference. Deliver nuance by focusing on the details. The humble detail can go a long way.
Create animated elements that connect with your customer. Try creating your own animations with a 14-day free trial of Vyond Studio.
TRY MAKING YOUR OWN ANIMATIONS
About the Author
Sam O’Brien is the Director of Digital and Growth for EMEA at RingCentral, a Global VoIP, video conferencing and call center software provider. Sam has a passion for innovation and loves exploring ways to collaborate more with dispersed teams. He has written for websites such as G2 and Hubspot.