E-Commerce Inspiration: 9 Websites to Emulate

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Follow the lead of these stars that offer attractive designs, consistent branding and user-friendly features

Now is not the time to snooze regarding your website. We expect that once the pandemic eases (Soon! Hopefully soon!) consumers tired of being cooped up for more than a year will be eager to return to in-store shopping. But shoppers’ appreciation for the ease and convenience of e-commerce is strong — and your website should be, too.

In its April issue, Sleep Savvy will explore a number of best practices when it comes to e-commerce but first we thought we’d provide some inspiration for mattress retailers thinking about improving their own sites. There’s nothing wrong with looking to others for a little guidance from others.

This list of nine nifty e-commerce sites has been narrowed down from a list of 27 top online shops Michael Kennan compiled for Ottawa-based e-commerce platform Shopify in a November 2020 blog. You can check out his other top picks at https://www.shopify.com/blog/best-ecommerce-sites.

* Alice + Whittles gives shoppers the confidence to buy its sustainable shoes by showcasing its shipping and return policies and installment payment plans. “The addition of a Last Chance menu widget adds urgency to the buying process, making shoppers think, ‘I need to purchase these items before they are gone forever,’ ” Keenan says.

* Apparel company Allbirds earns a place on many top e-commerce site compilations, in part, because “its products are the first thing you see on the page, worn by models that fit with Allbirds’ target market, making customers think, ‘These are my kind of clothes,’ ” Keenan says. Bonus points for clear calls to action and for Allbirds’ trust-building Certified B Corporation certificate.

* Beardbrand’s takes a sophisticated approach to showcasing its grooming products that carries through the design of the entire site. From a user engagement standpoint, Beardbrand uses a quiz and blog posts to encourage “you to stick around, engage with the brand and buy,” he writes.

* MVMT’s e-commerce site gets kudos, Keenan notes, for “sleek, sophisticated colors and styling that showcases watches, eyewear, and jewelry at affordable prices.”

* Proving that e-commerce doesn’t have to be complicated, The Paper Cub Co., he says, has created a site “with a design that’s clear, simple, and shows its products in the best light.”

* A good example for omnichannel retailers, bicycle purveyor Pure Cycles excels at matching its in-store experience to its online shopping experience. “You can see close-up pictures of specific parts, learn specs and read other information you need to make an informed buying decision,” Keenan says.

* Pura Vida Bracelets’ site is a great example of how photography helps to sell products. Extra points for good use of testimonials: “To foster trust,” he says, “jewelry retailer Pura Vida Bracelets showcases five-star product reviews from thousands of customers on its landing page, on top of reviews from target-audience-appropriate media outlets like BuzzFeed and HuffPost.”

* Topo Designs, a seller of outerwear targeted to young outdoor enthusiasts, excels in its use of photography that resonates with its target market, but also does well with the basics. It has good navigation that makes shopping easy, highlights its free shipping and, Keenan says, “offers a newsletter signup CTA incentive of a 15% discount, compelling customers to take action.”

* Verve Coffee Roasters gets points for its successful use of customer reviews of its coffees and other foodstuffs throughout the site and, he says, for using “evocative language paired with stylish photography to keep customers on the page.”