eCommerce Roadmap Ideas and Inspiration – eCommerce Best Practice & Innovation

I decided to create this blog post as a resource for people building out an eCommerce roadmap, with lots of examples of best practices and innovation for inspiration. I write a monthly email with examples of some of the best things I’ve seen in eCommerce that month and I’m basically then publishing those examples here. 

I’ll be updating this post regularly with new ideas and examples – if you have any that you think I should add, please add them in the comments below or drop me an email. The below examples range from UX and usability to examples of functional excellence, from retailers and brands of all shapes and sizes.

eCommerce Inspiration – UX, Usability & Functionality

On-Running’s shoe finder – this is a really nice example of a “finder” that has been really nicely done. The UX and data points are very considered and it’s really nicely done across all devices. 

Patch’s post-purchase email flow – having recently ordered from Patch, this was probably the best example of product-specific post-purchase / welcome emails I’ve ever seen. They essentially have a really nice set of well-designed, digestible emails sent to new customers focused on introducing the product, product care and suggesting how they should be used/displayed.

Everlane’s product cards and curated PLPs – the Everlane site is often cited as one of the best premium UX examples in eCommerce and their PLPs are one of the strongest templates. The products cards, specifically how the sizing and colour options work (alongside the rollover image), are very strong and the curated groups of products (with filtering) are also very modern and well-executed.

Interior Define’s homepage – The Interior Define homepage, to me, is an excellent example of a good balance of editorial/brand messaging and trade messaging. All of the content blocks look great and serve a key purpose, be it navigation, showcasing collections promoting their BYO offering etc.

Burberry’s handling of their international checkout experience – if you progress through to the checkout, Burberry is the strongest example I’ve found of handling misdirected international users. As you progress from the cart, there are prompts to switch store based on your shipping address and they manage to retain the cart and keep you logged in. Although there are some minor things I’d change, their handling of international traffic/customers, in general, is very strong!

On-Running’s Fit Finder – although it’s using a third party, the fit finder implementation on the On-Running site is excellent, allowing the user to use various variables to find the perfect fitting shoe. The other thing to look at on that site is their product compare, which is very impressive.

Helmade’s 3d helmet builder / customiser – It feels like everyone is looking at ‘builder-style’ customisation at the moment and I always reference Helmade as one of the best examples I’ve seen. This example is built on a Magento site, but it’s completely custom-built using JavaScript. 

Made.com sofasizer – powered by Hullaballook, Made.com’s sofasizer provides a really intuitive way to refine their products and find a sofa that meets your preferred characteristics. Although this is using a third party, you could achieve an equivalent experience by creating a really fast filtering solution and improving how the filters work and look.

Tropic’s palette builder – built by Liam in his previous role, Tropic Skincare created a palette builder on their Shopify Plus store using Vue.js. A really nice example of something complex that wouldn’t be an obvious fit for a Shopify site.

Outdoor Voices’ Kit Builder – another really clean builder-style offering, this time focusing on creating an outfit. Outdoor Voices are really good at the basics of eCommerce and I’ve always really liked their site and this is no exception. Nicely designed, super easy to use and well-architected from a Shopify perspective.

Glossier’s Skin Quiz – very simple but effective quiz solution that helps to, again, refine product in a more engaging way. This is a very straightforward approach, but these quiz-style mechanics can work really well and can be created in a much cleaner, more streamlined way using JavaScript on a single page.

Interior Define’s video appointment – great for increasing conversion rates / reducing lead times and better selling higher value items. Really nice prompt for pushing video appointments and really nice positioning.

Made.com PDP content – Although there are some bits of the Made site that I don’t like, I think they’ve done an excellent job with improving their product page template and adding rich content over the last couple of years. The example in the link above showcases their lifestyle imagery really nicely, has really clear sizing info & dimensions, positions their UGC really well (nicely styled Yotpo implementation) and generally sells the product well.

Considered cart up-sells from Kettle and Fire – This was originally shown to me by our client Andrew from Current Body and it’s a great example of very nicely positioned and considered cart up-sells. The wording around the up-sells is very enticing and they’re positioned really nicely within the off-canvas basket. I also really like their quantity options on PDP.

Subscription up-sells on Primal Kitchen – Really nice, easy-to-use subscription up-sell on the Primal Kitchen off-canvas slide-out nav. I believe this is powered by Rebuy (example shown to me by Andrew from Current Body) and it’s a really clean example of an up-sell to subscriptions – we’re already looking at replicating with a couple of our clients.

Mansur Gavriel international welcome popup – In addition to being a great example of a Shopify Plus store, the Mansur Gavriel site features a really clean welcome popup providing detail on local servicing, including currency, duties and shipping. This is based on a user’s IP and it helps to prevent users from needing to dig this information out at the start or end of their purchase journey.

Everlane’s contextual reviews + filtering – I reference Everlane a lot in these newsletters, but their implementation of product reviews is another example of quality in their site. Everlane users are able to filter for reviews in their size, which provides great context around sizing and fit. This is also a great example of product reviews implemented on a high-end fashion site, which is often considered taboo. 

Fred Perry’s estimated delivery date on PDP – although simple, Fred Perry’s engaging (scrolling in as the page loads) comms on PDP around estimated delivery date is great for setting expectations and creating urgency (through setting the threshold for despatch). This appears to be manual logic, however, you could also use ShipperHQ, Aftership or Narvar to achieve this.

Glossier’s quick view bundling (example = trio product) – I’ve talked a lot about bundling in these emails so far and Glossier’s trio product is a great example of a super easy-to-use, configurable bundle. This example is built into the quick view function and it’s generally been done really nicely – a very clean example of something that can be complex. 

Nike’s mobile usability – mobile usability is a really under-resourced area of trading / eCommerce roadmaps and it’s clearly very important. Nike is a really good example of a highly usable and accessible mobile experience – with well-optimised call to actions, super readable text, easy to close overlays, mobile-optimised navigation, support for all key gestures, considered ATF content etc.

Sonos’s data capture proposition – definitely one to split-test, but I really like how Sonos offer free global shipping in exchange for signing up to their newsletter, instead of a generic 10% off first order. 

Dr Axe pack options / savings – Dr Axe have recently introduced pack size on their PDP, highlighting savings for buying in bulk. I’ve looked at this with a few clients recently as a way to increase AOV and this is a really nice example.

Untuckit’s Hero implementation – HeroApp is a live chat solution that allows the user to switch to video chat to ask more complex questions about the product. I’m a big fan of Hero and some of our clients have seen great results – this is a really nice implementation and the general proposition is really strong. Hero is great for retailers with store staff that aren’t as busy currently.

Ritual’s engaging PDP content – I really like how Ritual have created a really rich PDP, whilst still keeping the page digestible and engaging. They also have a very custom product reviews implementation, which works really well (highlighting both positive and negative reviews and good categorisation). Generally a very good example of an engaging PDP. 

Boll and Branch’s sticky config nav on PDP – given the configurable nature of the product, I really like how Boll and Branch have added the configuration options into the sticky navigation on PDP – really clean and easy to use and prevents the need for the user to go back to the top of the page.

Sandqvist’s country selector – very clearly communicated country / language selector with very simple options for switching site.

eCommerce websites to look at for inspiration

  • http://on-running.com/ – Very clean headless site with excellent UX throughout – currently my favourite eCommerce site
  • https://everlane.com/ – premium feel throughout, lots of best practice
  • https://toteme-studio.com/ – brand-first site that is super clean and very modern
  • https://www.strivectin.com/ – a great example of a headless Shopify site
  • https://www.allbirds.com/ – very simple site with great content, really nice PDPs
  • https://www.aesop.com/uk/ – improved a lot over the last 12 months – excellent content, images and feels very luxury
  • site with really nice design and use of content.
  • https://uruoiskincare.com/ – not necessarily to my taste, but very considered interactions, hover states, rendering, etc.
  • https://ullajohnson.com/ – probably my favourite Shopify store at the moment for design – proves that Shopify can be a good fit for non-standard eCommerce templates.
  • https://www.interiordefine.com/ – mentioned briefly earlier – very strong, UX-led eCommerce store with lots of best practice and focus on pushing key actions (e.g. ordering swatches, video appointments or watching videos).
  • http://on-running.com/ – Including this again as I feel it’s one of the strongest brand eCommerce sites out there at the moment
  • https://www.outdoorvoices.com/ – great content, really simple design, few nice examples of bundling and up-sells
  • Le Creuset – very consistent, well-designed SFCC website with very considered interactions etc. Also really like their new navigation.
  • Fred Perry – very clean, performant Magento 2 site (non-headless)
  • Norse Projects – really like the minimal homepage concept for navigation and a great brand and site generally.
  • Greats.com – Nicely designed eCommerce site with very strong messaging and content.
  • Parachute Home – Well-designed headless Shopify implementation with lots of best practice across all core templates.
  • Patagonia – Really clean site with very prominent environmental messaging and editorial content across the site.
  • Nike – Probably one of the best eCommerce sites for general best practice. Really strong for mobile in particular.
  • Rapha – as you’d probably expect, really strong content / imagery and good usage of community throughout the site.
  • Nudie Jeans – very clean, consistent eCommerce store built on Centra, alongside Contentful as a headless CMS.

Examples of things we’ve suggested to clients recently

  • Bundling options on PDP – objective: increase basket size
  • Add to cart accessory up-sells – objectives: increase basket size
  • Use Hero for video chat – objective: increase CR% for higher-value purchases
  • Use Gorgias for CS – objective: make customer services tasks far more efficient
  • Use Reach for international payments (Shopify) – objective: allow for fixed-price lists with multi-currency
  • Use Glew for reporting – objective: CLV reporting and combined store reporting with Shopify Plus
  • Use events in Adwords and Facebook – objective: additional data points for optimising
  • Sign up to Treo.sh for benchmarking performance on your site + competitors
  • Use rise.ai to improve Shopify’s native gift card offering
  • Use Retain.me to improve inserts / unboxing experience
  • Create Hotjar heatmaps and session recordings based on specific PPC campaign tracking parameters that aren’t performance
  • Use Mollie Payments to improve offering on European stores with Shopify (e.g. Sofort, iDeal etc)
  • Use NOSTO to promote price match on PDP for users coming from Google Shopping
  • Delay data capture popups to prevent conflict with cookie banner and other overlays
  • Use Cloudflare to improve performance and add an additional layer of security with Magento
  • Use Glew.io for integrated (light touch) reporting across multiple independent stores
  • Add events in Google Analytics to track OOS views against size options – with a view to optimising advertising activity around items that are available in performant sizes.
  • Introduce post-purchase product recommendations on the order confirmation page (with promotions – requires back-office consideration).
  • Use a combination of Shopify Flow, tagging and theme logic to create and false OOS and ringfence stock for subscription items.
  • Use Yottaa to help reduce performance overhead of third party javascript, amongst other things
  • Use Accessibe to meet base accessibility requirements without compromising on design
  • Use Aftership to display estimated shipping timing against shipping options in checkout and also support order lookup.
  • Use Metomic to allow for flexible cookie management without compromising on design
  • Use Akeneo to help simplify eCommerce platform for product management and scale catalog
  • Create a catch-all GEO IP redirect domain for marketing (e.g. email marketing)
  • Split test pre-order messaging to improve conversion
  • Optimise overlays and third parties (search and product recs) for accessibility
  • Create reporting around stock availability to build into category merchandising
  • Use Shoptimised to pull in more advanced product information into ad copy
  • Improvements to mobile and tablet usability and accessibility improvements
  • Track finance orders in GA via an event and custom dimension
  • Review legality of more aggressive subscription opt-in approach / legitimate interest for purchasers

As above, if there are any excellent examples of eCommerce best practice that you’ve seen, please let me know and I’ll add it in.

Paul Rogers

Paul is an experienced eCommerce Consultant, specialising in all aspects of replatforming, requirements gathering and platform selection projects.

Paul has worked with most mainstream eCommerce platforms and has supported complex replatforming projects with retailers from all over the world. Paul also works on customer experience projects and solutions-focused work with various platforms - primarily Magento and Shopify Plus.

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