Websites Are Becoming More Perishable


I've noticed an interesting trend over the last couple of years. Customers want to frequently update the design of their website. Very often these are not simple design tweaks to their current design, but full-fledged redesigns with a completely different look. This article explores some thoughts on why this trend has become so popular and what a retailer can do to "keep up."

The Redesign Trend

If you've been following internet trends, I'm sure you've heard of a term called "responsive design." Responsive design is a technique of building a website that allows sites to display natively on mobile phones and tablets. Retailers have been frantically updating their website over the last couple of years to make sure it is responsive so customers aren't lost when they turn to their mobile devices. Some would argue this has been the biggest reason why people have been updating their websites and this certainly seems logical to me.
However, I've seen a new trend over the last year or so. Customers seem to be wanting to give their website a complete face-lift even though their website is only about a year old and completely responsive. What's more interesting is the expectation that their website can be changed in a matter of minutes. Certainly with CSS and the rise of themes, changing a website's design has become much easier and quicker. However, how easily and quickly this can be accomplished really depends on the e-commerce platform running the site. Currently, websites built using WordPress have an advantage of those running Magento because WordPress themes are simply more mature. Magento 2.0 promises to make creating themes quicker and easier, but it has yet to be officially released.

So why are website becoming so perishable?

Honestly, I'm not quite sure, but I have some educated guesses.

  1. Many new online retailers are simply more savvy than those from just a few years ago. They are younger and probably don't know a world without the Internet. Their expectations on what can done and how long it takes to get those things accomplished are significantly different than their predecessors.
  2. Technology has gotten significantly better over the last few years. People talk into their phone to find directions, ask where they can find a great sushi restaurant and dictate text messages to their friends. They see these advances and assume their website should be advancing as well.
  3. Finally, retailers are under enormous pressure to keep competitive. Not only are they competing with stores of similar size, they are also competing with big-boxed retailers who have deep pockets and very sophisticated websites. Additionally, they are oftentimes competing with their own vendors who are either selling directly to consumers on their own website or through Amazon. Retailers feel this pressure every day and it translates online with a desire to keep innovating and changing up their design to keep up with the Jones'.

I don't think this trend is going away, so we'll need to continue to innovate and offer solutions that allow retailers to completely change-up their website in the least amount of time and at the lowest cost possible. Right or wrong, website have become another perishable item in your refrigerator with a limited amount of shelf-life.