eCommerce sales amounted to nearly $3.53 trillion for goods and services in 2019, of which $343.15 billion came from the US online retail sales of physical goods. The global pandemic has also ushered in a new era of eCommerce, with more consumers demanding a seamless, personalized shopping experience.
As the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, brands face steeper competition to capture, convert and retain online shoppers. A lot has been said about the “15 second rule” — that you have less than 15 seconds to capture the attention of someone on your website. But the truth is even harsher — in those 15 seconds, you need to turn at least 2% of those visitors into customers (what’s considered a “good” eCommerce conversion rate).
What is setting some eCommerce websites apart from others? Winning designs. Users form opinions of design in less than 17 microseconds.
A professional, sleek and easy-to-use website is a must for any retailer seeking to stand out in this competitive marketplace. Let’s have a look at some of the winning designs of 2020 and then we’ll discuss the top trends in eCommerce Design for 2021.
Amazon.com is the most popular eCommerce website in the US with more than 212.24 million unique monthly US visitors and a $1,400 USD average annual spend for Amazon Prime members. The benefits of Prime membership, including 1-click ordering and fast, free shipping, make Amazon the “first stop” in researching products online (although that lead is eroding).
Amazon boasts an impressive catalog supported by over 2.5 million sellers. The wide product catalog is often supported by competitive pricing, but Amazon has become more than just a place to find “cheap” products, as they now feature small businesses and premium goods as well. Such a large catalog has required that Amazon focus on user experience with a minimal, search-oriented user interface coupled with curated lists and shopping personalization.
Amazon boasts a powerful search algorithm that includes auto-complete prompts, automatically ordering results based on featured products or bestsellers (boosting word-of-mouth marketing), powerful filtering, and personalizations that target results based on location and shopping history. The real-time personalized recommendations found everywhere from the homepage to search results to a user’s shopping cart raise the number of customers and the overall value of purchases. Product reviews and ratings help validate the purchase quality by providing testimonials from real users.
2. Google Store
The Google lineup includes the popular Pixel laptops, tablets, smartphones, and accessories developed by Google alongside its Nest and Chromecast products. The Pixel is the fastest-growing US smartphone brand with a 43% year-over-year growth rate, and the entire Google Store manages to differentiate itself from its primary competitor in Apple by offering a more subdued, clean and uncluttered appearance.
Google product pages feature clear product information and comparison charts coupled with strong graphics, movement, and expanding elements. For most eCommerce sites, the unusual scrolling behaviors would detract from the shopping experience, but for Google the performance, style, and functionality become inherent brand attributes.
3. Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club set the bar on subscription retailing, and they have continued to grow their subscription base at a rate of 10% a year, now boasting over 3.9 million subscribers. As the subscription model grows, Dollar Shave Club has had to reinvent its eCommerce presence in order to remain relevant.
The new eCommerce website features a wider variety of models representing a greater range of consumers, and the shop has expanded its product line-up. Although Dollar Shave Club offers products individually, the website’s carefully-crafted calls to action and user quiz offer new customers a subscription as their initial prompt to buy.
Following the trends of clean design and building trust through content, Dollar Shave Club has elevated its product descriptions by adding product benefits, ingredients, usage tips, and helpful how-to photos to each listing.
Etsy boasts over 2.7 million active sellers, with a focus on handmade and vintage items. Etsy sold more than $4.97 billion US dollars in 2019, arguably the most successful consumer-to-consumer (C2C) eCommerce platform. Etsy has followed the trend toward minimalism in web design, evolving their design to focus on search and personalized recommendations.
Etsy is strongly skewed toward mobile users, representing 58% of gross sales, and is strongly integrated with social media (Pinterest). Etsy search results focus on key elements of the sale process, highlighting prices and discounts, bestseller status, free delivery options, prominent ratings, and the option to save (“heart”) an item.
Unlike other eCommerce sites, Etsy features reviews higher up on the product page and includes very clear information on delivery to your location. Etsy has done a good job of mimicking the in-person shopping experience by encouraging users to message the seller and curating additional recommendations by the same seller or in the same space.
The do-it-yourself design platform has grown rapidly, acquiring 10 million users within 5 years. With the idea that “design is for everybody,” the core selling point at Canva is usability — its design tool (and integrated eCommerce platform) make users feel that they can create something beautiful.
We needed to change their own self belief about their design abilities, we needed to give them design needs and we needed to make them feel happy and confident clicking around. We needed to get them to explore and play in Canva. No short order! So we spent months perfecting the onboarding experience paying particular attention to users’ emotional journey. – Melanie Perkins,
Canva CEO and Co-Founder
By making users feel good about their experience on Canva, the site has consistently managed to convert designers into buyers, leading to a $6 billion valuation. Similar to in-app purchases, Canva offers in-experience purchases to improve designs for free users, as well as added features and images for paid users.
6. Flamingo Estate
If white space is the epitome of clean, simple UX, then how does a brand manage to convey the sense of “clean” with a full-page video? Flamingo Estate is all about curating an image: about what you get as well as who you become when you buy the nature-inspired products, including produce, pantry staples, and bathing products. The focus on nature, clean font, and widely spaced navigation provide the same sense of a clean aesthetic as we would normally associate with white space.
Although small, there is no shortage of beauty coming out of Flamingo Estate and the bounty of products being created in its biodynamic botanical gardens. The eCommerce site reflects the exclusivity of the brand, supported by influencer marketing and prominent designers.
Throughout the site, product images are simple, stark and beautifully displayed with a warmth introduced by choices of colors and fonts. The brand is further supported by prominent influencer marketing and designer touches.
Despite its small size, Flamingo Estate is curating loyalty by offering products not only as one-time purchases but through subscribe & save plans, as well.
7. Euro Car Parts
A Fortune 500 company, Euro Cart Parts is the UK’s largest supplier of essential components and consumables for more than 4,000 vehicles. Euro Car Parts brings in more than 3x the revenue of their closest competitor, a testament to an aggressive business plan that extended to eCommerce. An early adopter of “Click & Connect,” Euro Car Parts saw the focus on user convenience account for 70% of online sales by 2016.
Fast forward to today, eCommerce contributed over £200 million in revenue in 2019, a figure which continues to grow month over month. The eCommerce site boasts a high conversion rate (close to 6%) thanks to a rapid page load speed, simple UX, and fast internal search functionality that includes filters to narrow down search and personalize the product listing to increase the chance of a sale.
8. Simply Gum
It may seem strange, but it truly is possible to accelerate even the sales of gum with eCommerce. With a revenue of over $16.8 million, SimplyGum.com began as a means to form a direct relationship with retail customers, but has since expanded.
Mirroring the aesthetic of the gum and its packaging, Simply Gum has expanded into gift boxes and assorted packs as well as subscription offerings in order to boost the average consumer sale beyond the impulse buy in the retail environment.
9. Smash + Tess
It’s the romper revolution we never saw coming. Canadian brand Smash + Tess has created a new style category by elevating the casual romper into wardrobe staple for the house, grocery store or runway. The start-up catapulted to success through word of mouth, including social media sales and influencer marketing, turning its biggest fans into co-designers and amplifying brand reach.
Smash + Tess has handled its explosive growth with creative eCommerce solutions including launch wait lists, re-launch promotions, rewards, and a focus on social proof through ratings and integrated Instagram feature images.
Your Winning eCommerce Design
From idea to deployment, there is a lot that you need to think about to craft a winning eCommerce design. At Net Solutions, we can help you design a personalized user experience that delights, converts, and nurtures brand loyalty.