For e-commerce, shopping cart platforms are growing in options and availability. With latest development trends, technology keeps advancing and for new small business owners it is a boon. To establish e-commerce sites, many of the managed service providers offer platforms for entry-level online business with highly customizable front-end designs and configurable shopping carts. You can also avail OS Commerce or open source shopping cart platforms for free to develop your web store.

As e-commerce options evolve, choosing a shopping cart platform for your business can be really confusing for emergent business owners. Based on the needs and nature of your particular business, you may require comparing multiple platforms.

Shopping Carts for E-Commerce Sites

As a commercial medium, the growth of internet contributes a lot in terms of generating business online. For the present needs like online transactions or conversions, the online market has further recognized the value of e-commerce shopping cart. Especially, in a cut throat competition where millions of websites are looking forward to attracting more and more traffic and sales, e-commerce shopping facility holds great importance to the web business model.

Trends in Shopping Cart Development 2014

Although, it is not at all the fact that for an online site selling products without having a digital shopping cart is impossible. However, it has myriads of issues that never do any good to an online venture. Moreover, shopping cart solutions do not only contribute to the online business owners and the customers opting to shop from these sites are also benefited. Thus, custom shopping cart development has a number of advantages to both customers and the market representatives as well.

Prospective e-commerce site builders should keep in mind the following:

  • Which shopping platform can offer the most value for their money?
  • Can you control the look and feel of the shopping cart?
  • Is the checkout procedure user friendly?
  • To pay for a shopping cart platform what is a reasonable price?
  • How much customer support will you need?

Recommended Trends

  • Easy Product Browsing: Implementing AJAX technology saves the customer’s time updating information faster. With much more usable catalog pages it enables clients to view the updates instantly. Hence, the user is able to see the updated view in less span of time since only the data section on the page is refreshed.
  • Enlarged View of the Product Images: Facility to view the product images in original dimension once mouse is hovered over the product image.
  • Popularity of Infinite Scrolling Design: Infinite scrollable shopping carts will help in increasing conversion rates, decreasing chances of dropping out in between. Such an enhanced technique will help in engaging the customer’s curiosity and thereby forcing users to browse through almost all the products a site has in store for them. This development trends include added convenience of permanent navigation bars.
  • Smartphone/Portable Device Friendly: Considering the growth in the number of smartphone and other portable device users, development of device compatible shopping cart sites are the need of the hour. With such technical sophistication, buyers accessing web based sites through mobile devices will be helped in many ways. In the later stages of shopping, it will make comparing competitor prices easier.
  • Social Networking Compatibility: Shopping cart sites become more compatible with social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Many popular shopping cart sites have already started taking this into account and such developments have already been placed under construction.
  • Multiple Language Options: Shopping cart sites will be introduced with various language choices, thereby breaking the specific idea of linguistic barriers. In turn, this will become an imitable trend for many future e-commerce sites, owing to it’s ability to drive in more buyers.
  • The Security Concern: The concern of security is an important factor affecting traffic to a secure online site. Shopping carts are highly secure and offer payment options that are immune to hackers. Such solutions garner improved traffic to the site. In the coming years, this issue most probably will be considered and seriously addressed by leading developers.
  • SEO Friendly Nature: Internet business sites will become more and more SEO friendly, providing high quality images, videos and content to people. There is a possibility that the core concept of duplicate product description will be effaced from the shopping cart platform forever. The current development trends also see sites using data sets, so as to provide tailored offers to people.
  • Order Management and Check Out Process: Handy shopping cart solutions are designed to simplify every means of your customer’s shopping experience. With this improved technology, from product searching to viewing order history, order status and the entire check out process can now be maintained easily.
  • Chat Help: This trend is popping up as more and more buyers need live chat support while buying things. So, to provide the customers a real shopping experience the shopping cart sites will come with the extended benefit for chat support. Additionally, site developers are also keen on providing FAQ columns as well as updated blogs.
  • E-Check: For those shoppers who are not comfortable using credit cards, popular shopping carts are all set to be introduced with the option of paying through e-checks.
  • Other Great Usability Features: The application also offers certain enhanced facilities in terms of providing provision for shipping & billing information and payment information of clients, ability to be integrated with popular payment gateway, unlimited products and categories, secure shopping cart and checkout support, cross-browser and multi-platform support and so on.

Of late, internet savvy people are very mostly well used to the concept of online shopping. This facility can be used to buy anything and everything from the simplest to the most complex products. Without such privileges life would not have been such convenient.

The ever resourceful online shopping carts such as XCart, Magento etc. are there to assist developers in their endeavors. Now is time to look at the future trends in online shopping carts. In addition to the above discussed trends, there are many more to follow in coming days. Hence, if you own an e-commerce site, consider subscribing to a leading e-commerce solution provider to enhance your platform.

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At one point in time creation of mobile web design with feel and look of native apps had been a distant dream. However, the latest developments and innovations have paved an easy way for well-designed apps. The main aim of these techniques are to make sure that the websites are adaptive and provide great user experience, no matter what the screen size. Different device capabilities are also targeted through the website designs which has made some mobile designs that are quiet advanced work really well on the latest devices. Here are some web design patterns and techniques which are truly innovative.

Web Design Techniques for Mobile Devices

Off-Canvas Flyouts and Dynamic Content- The page areas which lives out of view unless swiped or tapped on by a user is called off-canvas flyouts. Mobile-based web apps have made their main navigation pattern and even some desktop websites flaunt this as well. Off-canvas flyouts are often used by major web pages to hide menus and some other content that is static. But it can also be used for display of lots of dynamic content as well. In fact both dynamic and static content may be placed there. You hide primary navigation within off-canvas menu located on the right with the header’s left containing secondary flyout that reveals the recent history of the user on that site. This feature may turn out to be doubly beneficial for those sites which are content-heavy.

Innovative Calender- Calenders that are web-based on mobile devices are generally rigged with terrible experiences, leading most designers to avoid them. Normally design patterns such as dates simply listed are preferred. But if you use JavaScript and carousels then mobile users may be benefited by usable calenders.

Zooming on Galleries by Pinching- When we pinch to zoom texts it displays signs of content that is poorly formatted however in case of images it is quite different. Frequently users zoom in pictures as they want to observe the details. Your image gallery of products may be progressively enhanced by this feature so that any slide can be zoomed in and the image may be viewed in finer details. However, it must be remembered that performance must be treated as design feature, so ensure that when you build complex features the devices that they are meant for can actually support them completely.

Alphabetical Lists- User experience can be greatly enhanced by allowing them to scroll through vast item lists alphabetically. For that alphabetical index is the best solution. There is some amount of this functionality in some apps like when choosing music and contacts but bringing this very functionality in web may prove to be quite difficult. However, a little bit of manipulation may help your users enjoy this feature.

Large Image Carousels- Implementation of vast image carousels may be quite painful in mobile, mainly due to navigation and performance factors. But if these can be overcome a powerful and satisfying browsing experience may be created which will aid your users to take advantage of high DP screen available out there. For the performance issue, the main problem is the size of the images which makes unloading really time-consuming and painful. So solve that, image carousels may be optimized so that the page does not contain inactive slides. Navigation may be challenging since moving low rows of images quickly may be problematic. You can solve this problem by creation of grid-like view through use of carousel HTML and changing CSS and image sources.

With devices becoming more and more powerful, web design techniques have become more sophisticated, making them more adaptive and responsive. These techniques help in creation of interesting features that make the entire user experience enjoyable.

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Innovative ways of doing something new become a part of work habits as well as lifestyle every now and then. The reason behind this can be changing commercial scenario, new technologies, personal preferences or simply the impetus to follow latest trends. The flat design approach is a new web design trend of recent times. The term flat here describes a two dimensional screen with a two dimensional design. Over the past few years, user-oriented modern design has been in vogue.

Nowadays, it seems that people have somehow become used to this highly sophisticated digital age as majority of people do not even remember their real-life counterparts that are being represented through current design trends. There are numerous advantages that come with this simple, flat and typographical design approach.

Here are 5 interesting features that define flat website scheming as a fantastic practice:

1. Genuine

The genre of flat website design is honest. The website of a Windows phone shows the characteristic of flat Windows designing with a clear structure, typography and several colors. Perhaps, the core concept of this kind of creation lies in its honesty. Wondering about what actually this means? It is very simple; flat designing acknowledges the screen designing that is two dimensional in form. It does not require any effort to add any three dimensional effects. The users never feel that they are communicating with anything else but a flat screen. There are no gradients, shadows, patterns, 3-D effects, or designing elements reflecting real-world things. Rather, it makes use of typography, colors, enough white space along with a strict grid system for a simple and user-friendly interface.

Trend of Flat Web Design

2. Scalable

Flat designing is easily scalable. The conception makes a website responsive with the content easily scaling across diverse screen sizes. This is lined up with another new development in web design and this is none other than responsive design. Mobile internet is becoming increasingly important and hence one of your major considerations should be making your website look attractive on different screen sizes. Flat conception elements like color and typography can easily get accustomed to smaller screens unlike realistic images or other designing effects which are difficult to scale.

3. Trendy

So far as designing craze is concerned, people want to remain updated and for this reason trends are followed. Flat designing is trendy in the world of latest web designs and its clear, fresh, light and modern features have an outstanding appeal worldwide. With various other latest designing trends, such as the use of typography, white space and bright colors, it goes hand in hand.

Modern designers are not much aware of how long this style will last with any other designing trend. It can be a phase, but it as of now well triggers a somewhat revolutionary change in the field of website development. Like any other design, it cannot be assumed how long this trend will last. As long as we are unaware of what it will be, it is better not to follow the style blindly. Before flattening your designing you are advised to make sure that your website is suited and your target group is ready for this approach.

4. Quick

Simplistic and flat radiates efficiency. Through the lack of distraction, you can directly draw your line of sight to the crucial parts of the site. It not only helps you achieve your business goals; but it also assures you faster accessibility. It guides you on how to convince your visitors by presenting a website designed with exactly what they are looking for in terms of a better conversion.

5. Usable

Modern technology has reduced all designing essentials to a nominal amount. Every element contributes to the usability of the website. If planned rightly, flat designing is at the same time extremely appealing as well as usable. This simple technology is meant to remove various distracting designing elements to focus mainly on the content and the user’s goals.

In such trend, uses of visual cues like typography and color are quite common as they guide your users to reach their goals. Avoiding complication does not make flat approach equivalent to minimal design and this is where its trickiness lies. Make it as effortless and as lucid as possible by stripping down your design without removing cues that are necessary for successful user-ability of your site.

Flat website designing is considered to be a step towards accepting the abstract and unparalleled nature of the web. However, this trend is often characterized as an ephemeral trend; it often acts as a revolution in the field of web design. It is one of the simplistic interface design in terms of new digital design trends.

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Curtain has finally come down on 2013 – so there is no need to look back and gauge what we missed or what we got during the last year. Instead, it’s high time we look ahead and see how the new year is going to shape things up for us in the field of Information Technology, more so in the world of social media that has become so much pertinent these days! Things are likely to improve further in terms of usability and get more high-tech with the incorporation of further value-added features so as to meet the growing demands of customers who are getting more and more ambitious. The competition is likely to get sharper with companies drawing battle lines more vividly against each other, each trying to outwit the other with more innovation and creativity. This is likely to open up newer avenues of comfort for the end users just as it has been the case for any other products that are being handed over to the customers these days.

As the predictions go, this year and the future ahead appear to be extremely bright for the networking sites as newer platforms are being diversified and newer options have already started to make their presence known in the market.

social media predictions 2014

A bunch of business schemes as well as marketing plans are being designed by the companies and with the help of them networking platforms are all set to play more critical roles for businesses when it comes to extending and establishing their brands, catering to newer segments of markets, extending more support to purchases, and engaging more number of fans.

So what are the changes that we are expected to witness? Let us take a peep as the entire picture is really unfathomable and cannot really be painted at this juncture. No one after all really knows, what the new year has in store for us, as development of technology is directly and indirectly connected to a number of issues – political, social as well as financial and these issues are likely to govern the development at least to some extent if not fully in the days to come.

Entry of Newer Business Oriented Sites in the Market

In spite of continuing dominance and growth of LinkedIn as the most important site for business oriented activities, there is a high probability of newer business oriented sites entering into the market. These new sites, along with the other already existing ones like Spiceworks, ITtoolbox or Seeking Alpha are likely to make a difference in the networking cycle.

New Players to Further Establish Their Presence

Newer players like TripAdvisor or Ravelry are likely to make their presence felt further in the market by introducing value added features that will lure customers. While that will not be enough to topple the more established players off from their present status, this will throw up newer challenges to them and will compel them to think something different to survive the steep competition in the market.

Images and Email will Continue to be Popular

Videos as well as still images will continue to be the most favourites for the users as they are the best options to convey messages. Besides, the option of emailing will also be the core way for creating corporate assets to stay in touch with the prospects, customers as well as other stakeholders of the business.

There are a lot of other sites other than these few that are described here. During the last year, all these entities had either provided or augmented their metrics in various ways. That same trend is likely to continue in 2014 as well and experts believe that they will be able to impart newer ideas into their mode of operations, thus making a more prominent and authoritative statement in the world of communication via internet.

Change in Attitude of Investors

One of the most significant change will be in the attitude of the investors when it comes to investing on social networking platforms.

Businesses nowadays are more and more integrating their social networking activities with the content related strategy that they adopt and are thus evaluating the impact of social media in generation of business, traffic, as well as revenue at the end of the day.

As businesses perceive these measurable as well as realistic benefits, investors change their guard and start seeing investment on social media as necessity rather than luxury. As they do this, they start hiring personnel who are experts in social media planning, thus increasing the importance of profiles like Social Media Managers and Strategists.

Data Collected from Networking Sites will Decide the Prospects of Relationship Intelligence

Innumerable actions will gradually take place on various social media platforms in every minute and this will pose a stiff challenge as well as an opportunity for the players in the market. The challenge will lie in successful and timely analysis as well as development of meaningful insights derived from the collected data and taking the advantage of the same to edge out competitors.

Visual Based Social Platform Contents will be the Key

Taking into account the achievements of social media till the year 2013, the immediate future seems to be extremely bright for the social media sites that are more visual based than anything else. Posts containing videos or images are likely to clearly outperform the ones without them, especially in terms of generating likes, comments, shares, or retweets. Failing to use image or visual based social media will hugely impact growth of businesses in the future.

Paying Heed to Voices Raised by Networking Platforms will Become a Necessity

In future, for a business to flourish listening to social voices will be an absolute requisite – not an option. Businesses will have to design marketing and production strategy taking into account the market dynamics as depicted more by the networking sites than anything else. Hence, it can well be stated that those days are not far when it will be social media which will dictate terms in growth of a business and decide its success or failure.

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Upon talking with many management students, gurus and experts, one gets to know that the difference between branding and marketing is not well known. The value of branding needs to be known and understood, whereas marketing should be noted not as a sales driver but as a center for costs, say experts.

With that being said, is it justified to differentiate the two aspects of business in just one sentence? Hence, let us together look at the difference between branding and marketing, yes there is a difference between the two, which is important to know of. Hence please read on and be well-informed of the same.

Branding differs from Marketing

Opinions Galore

The plethora of opinions on the two aspects is many to learn from, which can be confusing as well. Most call it the push tactic, which is a must to have when getting in the much revenue through sales is concerned. “Ours better than theirs” is what’s seen and heard of mostly as a push tactic message sent out into the world these days, and some use celebs for marketing and branding too. Experts call this “oversimplification”, however this is what’s being used and will be if improvising is not done and demarcations are not made.

So is the Push Tactic, Marketing or Branding?

In the case of branding, the term should take over and not be bothered about the marketing strategies being used to set up corporate identity. Push here is not for brand needs, but pull is because the former expresses the truths that are essential for the business and its services or products. Branding basically talks about the values of the company, the character of the company and provides clarity on attributes that the company holds strong, telling the market what it can expect and what it should not. This encourages potential clients to buy services and products from a company, and branding thus helps support marketing and sales in such ways but wouldn’t ever say “CHOOSE ME”, rather branding says “Here i am, this is me, accept me if I suit your needs, recommend and support me if you resonate with me.

Of Strategies and Tactical Approaches

Corporate branding and marketing are different, where the latter makes large contributions to the brand. However, the brand always rules on a big scale, much more than what the efforts of marketing can show or give. Once marketing has been done well and swept the scene around, it is the brand which stays for life, and this is what the customers would associate themselves to.

Branding makes a consumer loyal; marketing can only convince one to buy. This is how it works for most big names and companies across the globe, for every organization and business. Even non profit organizations too would want to sell, with a difference of course, and that’s where branding corporate identity comes in. The company would thus take into consideration the varied actions, policies and promotional tactics for marketing, which would make or break its image in the market, branding wise.

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