Trends in Luxury Websites in 2019
Art Direction and Photography
Photography styles and art direction has moved to a level we’ve never seen before. With the rise to dominance of Instagram and other platforms that feature predominantly visual content, everyone understands what good quality photography and art direction look like.
Influencers are building large and loyal followings based on the photos they take, which shows that social media users are starting to appreciate the consistent scale, lighting, scenes and environments. Through the use of filters and effects, Instagram users with little or no photography experience are creating images of superior quality. So it comes as no surprise that high-quality photography is expected from brands rather than being the nuance of the top brands in the world.
Historically, great photographs and visuals were only possible with expensive photography hardware and graphic design software but now there is a much greater availability of tools such as image editing and enhancing.
The website trends of 2019 will reflect this greater level of expectation in terms of art direction and photography. Brands of all sizes will need to take this a level further if they are to stand out amongst the many channels competing for customers’ attention.
Simple Colour Palettes
The use of simple colour palettes has always been the staple of luxury design and this is unlikely to change any time in the near future. If you look at some of the top luxury brands like Rolex and many of the other luxury jewellery brands, they use basic colour palettes that enhance their image use, using grey shades as well as blacks and whites.
Apple has lead the way in terms of design with the glass and steel used in their products representing raw materials. When the first iPhones launched, Apple completely changed the expectation of what a mobile phone looks and feels likes. The fundamental colours pioneered by Apple in their industrial design represent raw materials like steel and glass.
In 2019 luxury brands will continue to keep the colour palettes simple, although we will see an increase in the use of pastel colours with some brands, putting the pastels to use in eye catching and striking ways we haven’t seen before.
Improved Brand Storytelling
One massive luxury website trend for 2019 will be storytelling and we will see a larger proportion of marketing budgets attributed to improvements in this area. As businesses look to build trust with their website users, they utilise in-depth brand stories that provide a rich history of a brand.
There will be more emphasis on a brand’s history and individuals such as the company’s founders through storytelling using powerful visuals. Storytelling has become an integral element of digital content marketing and luxury websites will tap into the effectiveness of this in 2019. Crucial Trading, for example, a high-end rug retailer telling their story through their about us page.
Brands are able to build deeper connections through storytelling and they can provide information in a more engaging and concise way using good photography and media. Storytelling is particularly effective at breaking down more complex information into content that is easy to understand.
Storytelling that is personalised and specific to the target audience will enable websites to engage at a deeper level than ever before in 2019.
Minimalist Websites – A Picture Says a Thousand Words
In 2019 we will see a return to minimalist websites with bold imagery that tells a story, gone are the days of reading large paragraphs to explain what a business does, high-quality images can do the talking for you. This is particularly beneficial to luxury websites that feature a minimalist brand with subtle elegant typography.
Top luxury brands like Cartier are a great example of how subtle elegant typography can be used to great effect on websites. Whitespace will be prominent on websites, to direct the user’s focus onto the high-quality photographs of products. The home pages on websites will go back to basics, to achieve the minimalist design to make key features like Call to Action buttons really stand out to drive more sales conversions.
You will be familiar with the phrase ‘less is more’ and this is a term that will be frequently part of web design conversations in 2019. As well as giving users less information to choose between, minimalist design will improve page loading times, providing a much better user experience.
Whilst people may historically associate minimalist design with a boring design, the end design should look anything but boring. This is where high-quality photography and media come into play and ensure that the website delivers the key messages without overwhelming users.
The last few years have seen an increased emphasis on mobile first, as website designs have changed to cater for the increased volumes of users visiting websites via their smartphone. Being mobile friendly is a minimal expectation now for websites but what we will see in 2019 is an even greater focus on user experience. With more powerful data to analyse website usage, website content and functionality will be all geared towards what the user wants to see, rather than what brands think their customers want to see.
Device-agnostic designs will be the new focus of attention, rather than the simple mobile or desktop website options. As we see a greater range of devices becoming popular such as smartwatches, laptops and tablets, there is a bigger requirement for websites to recognise the device and display the layout most appropriate for that device.
Voice Command Growth
In terms of content, the increasing popularity of voice search will mean that websites will need to start developing more content that is optimized for voice command. Alexa and other voice-activated technology will be in greater use in 2019, so content must be geared around this trend with more keyword analysis required to identify the most common voice commands.
Google estimates that over half of all search queries will be voice commands, so content marketing experts are developing content that incorporates long tail keywords and conversational language, with content that answers questions being particularly effective. You might have seen featured snippets on queries that present the answer to the query you are looking for.
For example, Lexus developed a blog ‘The Top 10 Reasons Lexus is the Best Luxury Car You Can Buy’ which features high up in voice searches for ‘What are the Top Luxury Cars?’ because it provides content that answers the question most effectively. In 2019 more luxury websites will build content strategies that are optimised towards the growing trend in voice searches, so that their website’s on page content will be found when a user performs a voice search on a device.
Artificial Intelligence to be More Prominent
We saw in the website trends of 2018 that AI is becoming more popular and in 2019 it will take an even more important role. Website trends will include greater use of AI such as chatbots and machine learning for SEO improvements. When chatbots were first introduced, many users found them to be annoying as they lacked the level of intelligence that is now possible.
Luxury brands will be using online customer service tools like chatbots to much greater effect in 2019, as more data around consumer behaviour is available to integrate into the chatbot interactions to give a better quality experience. For example, Estée Lauder Companies utilises a beauty chat on their website. Currently, not many luxury retailers have adopted this feature. We believe this going to change heading into 2019.
AI will be a key driver in developing deeper connections with website users and finding better ways to engage with customers. Social media platforms like Facebook have been personalising users’ news feeds for some time and this type of AI is now expected by consumers on the websites that they visit. So luxury websites will be incorporating more AI into their website design.
Video Content to Remain a Top Priority
We cannot talk about luxury brand trends without mentioning video, although it is far from being a new trend. Luxury brands have dabbled with video content for a while but in 2019 video content will go up a couple of gears with really impressive visuals to add more impact to websites.
Luxury car brands like Jaguar are using 360-degree video to allow users to see the exterior from every angle and this kind of functionality will become more popular in the year ahead. A luxury interior design will be introducing augmented reality to show their website visitors what their home would look like with different designs and AR will be increasingly used in similar ways in 2019.
Another luxury car brand such as Aston Martin currently utilises a video on their home page. With dark, premium colours their videos often complement the luxury feel to the brand and provides a cinematic feel to the website.
Sephora enables website users to see what their make-up will look like when applied, using a very clever make-up artist tool. Users can either choose to apply the make-up to their own face or onto a model’s face to see how it will look and decide on the purchase.
To summarise, luxury website trends are set for big changes in 2019 with AI and AR both becoming more of an expectation than a luxury. Consumer expectations are higher than ever and if your luxury website is not making the most of the advanced technology available then you are losing out on business leads. From building deeper connections with storytelling to using the most effective colour schemes, getting these details right will bring success in 2019.
Posted on by Kirk Thompson