What are the secrets to running a successful ecommerce website?
Online retailing is tricky business. Now that it’s easier than ever to bring an eCommerce site to life, it seems that everyone is getting in the game, which means that competition is tough.
People are shopping more and more online, so sales figures are up over time, with global revenues having more than doubled in the past three years. On the other hand, the big guys aren’t leaving much of the market for independent merchants.
In the US, for example, Amazon owns about 10% of the eCommerce market, and other retailers like Apple, Sears and Walmart own another 10%. Over 1000 eCommerce properties are competing for the rest of the American business out there. But the costs associated with virtual retail are comparatively low, so it’s easier to turn a profit selling online than offline.
Here at Wix, our own eCommerce package is among our most popular offerings, with loads of new eCommerce sites going up every day. Our users love doing business with their online shops, and scores of them are making decent livings solely thanks to their eCommerce revenues.
But a few stand out from the successful eCommerce pack, thanks to their bold looks, strong branding and shrewd user experience design. Read on as we examine five of the best and explain what makes these sites so great.
Nicola Bathie Handmade Beaded Jewelry of Dallas
Born in South Africa, Bathie has quite a resume for such a young woman. She spent time in Michigan and England before studying interior design at Texas Christian University. Although she only graduated this year, she has managed to establish a highly successful business in recent months.
Bathie’s jewelry creations draw inspiration from all over the world, but her designs are light and elegant. Her website is likewise clean and bright, which creates the type of experience that shoppers enjoy.
She often sells her wares at events, promoting these opportunities and timely sales on her Facebook Page, which can make for huge branding impact. Bathie is also extremely active on Instagram, a visually oriented channel that serves her products well. Over the past few months, she’s managed to post over 200 images and to amass thousands of followers.
Clones Audiophile Amplifiers of Hong Kong
Audiophile-quality sound systems are generally priced in the thousands of dollars. But in recent years, there’s been a revolution in do-it-yourself amplifiers thanks to a product called Gaincard, which launched in 1999 using affordable parts and a revolutionary design. Now there’s a whole world of amps called “Gainclones” or “chipamps,” which people make at home using generic parts.
Out of a small workshop in Hong Kong, an independent outfit called Clones is selling its own chipamps for little more than the cost of the products’ parts. Clones’s amplifiers are small enough to sit on your desk, and they’re wired with precision and care by hand. They even sport hand-written serial numbers. And it’s all for spreading the love of music, according to their website.
Clones amps are minimalist in design, so it makes sense that their site is stark and beautifully simple as well. The product line is also a lesson in “less is more,” with just five variations, each available in two voltage settings. Also noteworthy as wise eCommerce optimization moves, the Clones site includes pages dedicated to customer testimonials and press reviews.
B.A.I.T. Footwear of Los Angeles
LA-based designer Julie Kim loves vintage, and she launched her own shoe brand in 2011 “with hopes to bring back an era of feminine dressing,” as she puts it. After designing shoes for labels like Mia and Blowfish, Kim started working for herself as B.A.I.T., which stands for “but another innocent tale,” a reference to her own aspirations and journey.
B.A.I.T.’s Wix-powered shop is organized extremely intuitively, with five product categories for various styles of shoes and one for items on sale. Most of the categories have wide selections of products, for a shopping experience that you can really get immersed in.
Kristjana S Williams Studio of London
Raised in Iceland, Kristjana S Williams credits the bleak landscapes of her youth as having inspired her style. Today she’s a successful artist and designer specializing in works that combine bold, graphical shapes in bright colors with intricate pattern and illustration styles from the Victorian area. Most of her work has spacious, solid white backgrounds.
Williams’s eCommerce success is largely an outcome of her successes in the London art and design scenes. She often displays her works at the London Design Festival, and her murals have shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She won a prestigious Dulux Colour Award earlier this year.
Her website’s homepage is a hub for information on her latest and upcoming exhibitions, and visitors can purchase her creations on internal pages, with categories for art prints, wallpapers, specialty designed globes and home wares. It is encouraging to see an online shop doing good business on the merits of its products’ beauty.
Toure Fashion Design of New York
Alhassan Toure grew up in Ghana, where his father was a tailor. He dreamed of becoming a major urbanwear designer. After working smaller jobs in the US, Toure eventually built a relationship with Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon, who introduced the designer to many hip hop music industry figures. Over the years, his designs have been worn by celebrities like Russel Simmons, Young Jeezy, The Game, Usher and Nelly, and in addition to the successful Toure Designs eCommerce shop, there’s an offline boutique in Manhattan.
Toure’s online store features many of the designer’s distinctive products, from African motif print pants to leather tee shirts to jackets made by hand. The category pages include size charts, which helps customers to minimize their doubts about completing purchases. The site’s homepage features a huge background image that draws visitors into the world of his sense of style. His brand is also extremely active on Instagram, where they’ve amassed over 12,000 followers.