This past weekend, Practical Ecommerce ran a feature describing five likely trends in ecommerce website design for the year 2016. As an ecommerce website design and development company in Charlotte, NC, we like to see these sorts of articles for a couple of reasons.

On the one hand, they provide us with food for thought, whether or not we ultimately agree with the author’s projections. On the other hand, they do the same for potential clients, and in our experience the more informed a client company is, the better they tend to be at working collaboratively with a web design and development agency in order to fulfill all relevant expectations and secure the best possible outcomes for everyone involved.

So although we don’t encourage that you take on the tasks of web design or small business marketing on your own if you aren’t trained for them, we do encourage you to read the linked article and any similar columns you find on this blog or on your own. But always read those articles with a critical eye, and really think about whether you want your ecommerce web design company to go along with the perceived trends or buck against them.

In the case of the five trends listed by Practical Ecommerce, we think that you’ll probably want us to go along with them for the most part. If it’s more than just a fad, a trend usually exists for a reason. And among competent web design and development agencies, fads are pretty much a thing of the past. Trained professionals know what works, and they can tell which way the wind is blowing. It is generally the same in the world of internet marketing for small businesses.

Consequently, if interface and design features have become commonplace in recent months, chances are it’s because web designers and web marketers have found that they are convenient, user-friendly, and that they work. When you hire us as your ecommerce website design and development agency, we can take you through these features one by one and explain why they tend to repeat from site to site.

But we welcome you to challenge us, because there are times when repetition occurs not for any good reason, but just because an agency or an entire industry has fallen into a pattern. There are definitely times when the wise thing to do as a web design and development company is to kick out against the common patterns, just so the client site doesn’t blend into a dull landscape of similar sites.

We’ve talked about that danger before, when we pointed out that the overall population of the internet is now a trillion sites. Part of the reason for this is that the most basic web design is something that a child can do, given a certain range of automated tools. But even among sites created by professional ecommerce website design and development companies, some of them take the approach of adopting all the trendy tools, at the expense of anything distinctive.

The key goal for you, and for us as your web design services provider and small business marketing solution, is to strike the appropriate balance between these two elements of design. The challenge is to make a website that’s as functional and effective as every leading site on the web, but also branded in a way that makes it unique and worth returning to. And that is a challenge that we welcome with every new site we design.