An ecommerce site that looks great is one thing; an ecommerce site that’s designed well is another. But what’s the difference between the two? It’s all about getting people to not only like what they see, but actually identify with the brand somehow. And once you’ve gotten people to do that, they may be more likely to follow through by making a purchase.
A large portion of businesses choose WordPress for their ecommerce sites because it’s easy to make those sites look professional. With thousands of themes available, there’s a perfect choice for every site, whether you’re putting together a personal blog or selling luxury perfume online. The catch is, a million other people are choosing from the same WordPress themes. The ones who want to stay ahead of the pack will not only hire a web designer like WebCitz to build the site for them, but also a WordPress maintenance service to keep the site in top-notch condition.
If you’re looking at WordPress ecommerce sites at the surface level, you’ll notice that they all look pretty snazzy in their own way. A successful site design goes deeper than that, however. Even though there’s nothing you can do to make people purchase your product, you can still build trust, loyalty, and enthusiasm – all with the way you present whatever you’re offering. From the home page to the product page, what you want is a website that accurately communicates your brand’s message to every user.
- Shop Catalog
Associated with Thought Catalog (a youth culture site), Shop Catalog blends thought-provoking merchandise with informal fonts and playful emojis. Even with the unusual design choices, though, they’re far from immature; they just know their audience. While some of the products are displayed in a familiar square grid format, some of them are shown inside circles instead – just another design choice that adds to the slightly off-kilter feel of the site.
Whether you’re looking at camping gear or off-road vehicles, you’ll see a similar message from outdoor and travel retailers: “this could be you right now”. They don’t just show off the products themselves; they tell a story by placing those tents, hiking boots, and four-wheelers right in the middle of an epic adventure. Airstream knows exactly how this works, and they make every trailer pop by setting them against sun-drenched beaches, picturesque autumn leaves, or serene grassy fields.
- Cameron Trading Post
Like so many ecommerce sites, the home page doesn’t sell products as much as it sells an idea. Cameron Trading Post specializes in authentic Native American handiwork, and as gorgeous as their products would look against a backdrop that’s more traditional for jewelry, they’ve decided to visually link their items back to the landscapes that inspired them. Even though the text and “book appointment” button is technically the focal point, users immediately get the feel that they aren’t just being presented with a product; they’re being invited to participate in an experience.
True to form, Björk has a site that makes an impact with very little effort. While the design may be minimalist, the colors are anything but. Pair the almost bizarre color palette with a gradient effect, and you have a site that really sets the mood. The rest of the website is similarly straightforward; everything that’s for sale on the site can be found on one page, so there’s no need to hunt down whatever you’re trying to find.
- Lost Dog Café
A lot of the popular web design trends incorporate aspects of minimalism in their layouts, but you won’t find any of that here. The Lost Dog Café stays true to its original location in Binghamton, NY, splashing enough color throughout their site to make it look almost bohemian. Good pizza and good times are the theme here, as well as specialty beers – you can check each location online to learn about the beers they currently have on tap.
- Offerman Wood Shop
Nick Offerman has a pretty distinct persona, and so does his custom furniture – they’re solid, bold, and to-the-point. The website reflects this perfectly, with large product pictures splashed across the page in a simple grid format. Even better, the photographs depict most of the furniture as it would appear in a regular home; this helps viewers bridge the mental gap between examining a piece of furniture, and imagining what it would look like in their houses.
Whatever you expect from a florist’s website, you probably won’t find it here – aside from the flowers themselves, of course. While the bouquets are suitably lush, what really makes them pop is the contrast with the models’ off-white shirts and the dark background. Even though having models in each product photo is a little unusual, they don’t take away from the impact of the flower arrangements at all. The perfectly symmetrical grid layout feels crisp and calm, and finding out more details on the bouquets is easy – simply hover your pointer over any of the photos.
- House of Whisky Scotland
Sometimes it’s effective to be up-front about your product, but it can be just as effective to let people discover it for themselves. The obvious move would have been to plaster pictures of shining whisky bottles for you to see as soon as you landed on the home page, but House of Whisky Scotland took a different route. The well-used wooden background speaks of their authenticity, while the minimal amount of text on the page directs you to the next step. Anyone who’s browsing their whisky selection has the option to search by year – a very handy feature if you’re looking for anniversary or birthday gifts.
What’s the common denominator for all these sites?
In addition to being visually engaging, they successfully tell the story of the brand. Without a clear and appealing brand image, potential customers won’t feel as drawn to the product; if you can make that happen for your ecommerce site, you’ll be on the right track.