6 Best Ecommerce Website Designs That Destroy Their Competition

Great design is vitally important for ecommerce sites. In fact, it is often the single difference between winning and losing ecommerce businesses.

What are the factors of a great ecommerce website design?

We look and rate the following items when rating ecommerce designs:

1) Audience Connection

The designs must include a clear brand message that creates an emotional connection with the sites target audience. The implementation of this in design will vary drastically from site to site as not everyone’s audience is the same & different audiences shop differently. For example, consider the difference between the way you would design brand messaging for a millennial audience versus an older generation.

2) Ease of Use

The site design should provide a unique and easy user experience. The goal is to remove as much friction as possible from the ecommerce shopping experience. This component is multi-faceted. It applies both to having a high quality implementation so that the site looks great across all browsers and devices and to reducing the pain of shopping online. This includes optimizing your site to fix slow loading speeds. There are certain difficulties or barriers to shopping online because you cannot touch, test, or try products, so we look for designs that lower this barrier to entry.

3) Clear Product Quality & Value Proposition

The design implementation needs to clearly demonstrate the product quality and value proposition. It cannot be just another t-shirt that you could buy on any other ecommerce site. This does not mean that the product has to be different, but the representation does. The site design and product representation can and should add value to the product in itself, and the shopping experience.

4) Social Proof & Trust Building Elements

Designs should incorporate trust building elements in order to make visitors feel comfortable shopping on this site. This includes social proof, so that visitors can hear from their shopping peers, as well as things like no risk purchases, with money-back guarantees, free trials, etc.

5) Urgency & Promotion

Great ecommerce designs include an element of urgency in order to drive the visitor to make an immediate purchase decision, whether that be yes or no. Usually this takes place in the form of some type of promotion. Most visitors that walk away from your site without making a purchase decision won’t come back again to check out your product, so it is best if you can push them to make a decision through limited time offers or promotions. This is why flash sales typically work so well.

Here are 7 examples of sites that we think got it right…and where we think they can improve.


Nisolo is an ethically produced apparel brand, focused on high quality leather goods, like shoes and accessories.


Design Wins:

Audience Connection: What we love about the Nisolo site design is their short brand video. It quickly demonstrates the quality of the shoes and attaches you to their brand. It immediately creates an emotional connection, almost bringing you to the point of tears.

Easy of Use: The also have a clean design, making their site easy to shop.

Room for Improvement:

Social Proof: The Nisolo site lacks social proof. Their product is very high quality, but it is quite expensive, so adding social proof could help push customers over the edge in their purchase decision. We see this as low hanging fruit.


Jack Threads is a more edgy millennial apparel brand for men.


Design Wins:

Audience Connection: Jack Threads has incredibly strong brand content, not just on their site, but even through direct mail. They provide look books with lifestyle tips. It is high quality content, and does not even include prices. It is simply a brand building content for their customers to enjoy.

Ease of Use: They have complex filtering that is well deigned and allows users to narrow down their product choices quickly to find exactly what they are looking for.

Clear Product Quality: Jack Threads places all of their apparel in the context of an entire outfit. They stage their products really well so that customers can more easily see what they will look like wearing a product and how to combine it with other clothes. This makes the shopping process easier for visitors and helps them to make a purchase decision.

Room for Improvement:

Ease of Use: The homepage on the desktop version of the site is pretty overwhelming. With promotions visible left and right and heavy use of images, it is hard to take in all at once or know where to look, likely causing some users to bounce right away. Simplifying the homepage with a single leading offer and an overall cleaner design is a possibility for improvement.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Jack Threads closed its doors in May 2017. 


Buck Mason is a men’s apparel brand that focuses on doing the basics right.


Design Wins:

Clear Product Quality: They offer high quality made in America products for an all american look. By offering just the basics and showing them in context with other items, it makes shopping easy for men. Basically everything on their site goes with everything else, so you can’t go wrong.

Ease of Use: Buck Mason also allows you to easily buy an entire look, rather than having to go through and select all of the individual products. It puts the outfits together for you, lowering the barrier to entry for men shopping for clothes online.

Room for Improvement:

Urgency: There is no sense of urgency when shopping this site, leaving users with the sense that the offer will always be there. By adding some offer or promotion for site visitors, as well as a quality guarantee or explanation of easy returns, they would likely capture more first time visitors.

Value Proposition: Buck Mason doesn’t clearly communicate their value well on their site. If you don’t already know the brand and how to shop their site, it is not entirely intuitive. They could do a better job explaining their value proposition up front for new visitors to their ecommerce site. For example, on their homepage, they should display popular products and explain how the process works.


Tommy John is a men’s underwear and loungewear site that offers a new and revolutionary product.


Design Wins:

Clear Product Quality & Value Proposition: Tommy John tackles the age old issue of comfort in men’s underwear. The product is expensive, but they clearly communicate the product’s value through product detail spotlight videos on product pages and well-written descriptions of the different fabric options.

Social Proof & Trust Building Elements: Tommy John does a good job using social proof in the form of reviews on product pages and testimonials on the homepage. In addition, they offer a guarantee that it’s the best pair of underwear you’ll ever wear, or it’s free.

Room for Improvement:

Clear Product Quality: While the site sells well, their are complaints that their product quality does not live up to their claims. With the guarantee, customers can get their money back, but they also need to respond to customer claims and improve their product in order to continue selling well and increase their repeat purchase rate.

Urgency: While the site contains some promotion for first time buyers, the promotion does not incite the visitor to make a decision on their product quickly.


MVMT Watches is the well known watch brand, made famous for building their brand through ridiculously targeted Facebook ads.


Design Wins:

Social Proof & Trust Building Elements: MVMT not only does a great job using social proof throughout their website, but they take it a step further and allow you to shop through their instagram, so you can see the watches in context with comments from other users and make the purchase right there. They also include several trust building elements like free returns and a long warranty on their product pages.

Ease of Use: MVMT has a clean design, that clearly displays all of the information that you would need in order to make a decision quickly and easily about their products, including great product imagery with all variations and an easy to use sizing guide.

Room for Improvement:

Ease of Use: Similar to Jack Threads, the homepage is a bit overwhelming with heavy imagery. The idea is for these large homepage blocks to be used as navigation, but it is difficult to take it all in at once and decide where to explore first as a user.



Design Wins:

Ease of Use: We included North Face in the list due to their awesome crowd sourced sizing mechanism available on their product detail pages. With this feature, you enter your own measurements and can see what sizes people of your measurements bought by percentage. This is very useful and lowers the barrier to entry to purchasing online without being able to try on the product.

Room for Improvement:

Social Proof: While North Face includes social reviews on their product detail pages, they are buried at the bottom of the page and easily missed. Bringing these both up higher on the product detail page and including some social proof and trust building elements higher up in the funnel would improve their design.


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