How can retailers maximise the impact of design and marketing online?

Online retail is forecast to account for 18% of all grocery transactions by 2019, so the challenge is to design products that stand out in the four inches of space available on a mobile device as well as in a 20,000 sq ft supermarket.

Brand consultancy Webb deVlam head of insight and strategy Nikki Austen says: “Grabbing attention quickly has always been a priority for retail brands, but online retail brings its own challenges in terms of how to catch the eye of potential customers.

“Not granted the luxury of the few seconds it takes to walk past a product on a shelf, retailers must now create products that pop on screen, which clearly affects everything from shape and form, iconography and colours to messaging and information hierarchy.”

Online retail spaces offer consumers speed and convenience, but it’s also vital to remember that the wider online landscape means they are only a click away from competitors, reviews and comparison sites. Shoppers can be influenced to switch retailers or abandon a purchase in a second, so it’s crucial to make an immediate impact.

“Simplicity is key when designing for the online space,” says Austen. “Focus on the most compelling benefits. Use design codes and semiotics to create a connection and make a rapid, lasting impression.”

As online retail becomes increasingly commonplace, it is no longer enough to design a product that stands out on the shelf in store. Retailers need to combine design and marketing in order to deliver powerful, recognisable messages that resonate with target audiences across channels.