Dec 21, 2020 - Elana Lavine

The Best Shopify Sites of 2020 (According to Us)

Shopify has proven itself to be a powerful, popular e-commerce platform with no yield in sight. Continual upgrades and improvements plus exceptionally well-built, durable, and customizable templates for different types of businesses make them a force. This year alone, merchants globally brought in more than $5.1B in sales during Cyber Week, a 76% increase from 2019. To say Shopify has staying power is to put it lightly. Next year will only further prove the need to boost your e-commerce site against your competitors.

So when you’re sitting there paper and penciling out your site strategy, consider all the above and below:
Animation — Consider whether it’s necessary for your site.
High-quality visuals — Pixelated, low-quality, poorly placed images are a thing of the past. 
Speed — That’s what will make or break a sale within seconds.
Setting — What are you trying to convey? Set the scene. 
Bold — It doesn’t always have to be visual; it can come through in your messaging. It can even be subtle. 
Innovation — What new features will enhance your customers’ experience? 
Polished — Keep it clean, keep it simple, keep it precise.
Angles — Consumers want to see what they’re getting. Make sure there are no lingering surprises. 
White space — You have the power to push their eyes to the space that’s not being utilized. 
Community — Peer reviews, stories, and user-generated content can help build a connection.

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite Shopify 2020 sites that represent all the above.
 

1. Boost Immunity Vitamin - Parallax Animation

Boost Immunity Vitamin uses a parallax site that flows from one frame to the next seamlessly; a homepage experience you didn’t see coming; and bold colors, typefaces and animations that help tell a story that’s unfolding right before your eyes.

The company also doesn’t shy away from real reviews. Invest in the human touch; that’s something consumers will look out for in 2020-2021.
 

2. BeyondMeat - Visuals

Not gonna lie— Beyond Meat’s previous site was a bit of a mess. Link breaks, less-than-desired user flow and below-average images. Now that Beyond Meat is reaching NASDAQ-level heights and securing the billion-dollar industry as serious competition in the food sector, its site revamp is a gorgeous reflection of its status. Bold, well-photographed images showcasing their products in different dishes, restaurants, and recipes allow the user to see the full potential a vegan meat product can bring to the table (pun intended). It’s clean, simple, bold, and well-executed. 

3. Hawaiian Host - Speed

During the COVID era, one of the best sweets companies to come out of Hawaii over the past 60 years has repositioned itself as a high-performing, speedy e-commerce site which we had zero, zilch, nil to do with; nothing at al...well, maybe just a little.

The site’s clean aesthetic allows for clarity in all categories, and the speed allows for shopping ease; the consumer never has to pause, making the shopping cart experience seamless and efficient. 
 

4. Pier 1 Imports - Setting

Who doesn’t love a comeback story? Pier 1, a struggling retailer on the edge of bankruptcy, is miraculously swooped up and brought into 21st-century e-commerce. A real Lifetime, Hallmark made-for-TV movie kind of moment. When it comes to its site, Pier 1 sets a scene that tugs at the interior designer in you. It makes you feel like you’re right back in the store, painting a picture that makes you believe this reality could easily be yours (somewhat like Ikea does). The company has categorized and labeled each section with precision, reducing confusion caused by their massive inventory.

5. United Sodas - Bold

Bold type, bold colors, bold statements, and bold creative direction while simultaneously selling a minimally-designed product: genius. The juxtaposition works, even if at times it may feel a bit cluttered. There are multiple ways to get to where you want to go, so you’re never, really, truly lost.

6. Stila Cosmetics - Innovation

The discount code block, free shipping tags, and live chat bubble are a bit overkill, but Stila makes up for it with the “Try It On” feature. A woke cosmetics brand using new integration features to address consumer concerns while buying cosmetics online is brilliant. It lessens the gamble of purchasing cosmetics online, and we’re all for it. 

7. MVMT - Polished

This site is sleek; it takes the ambivalence consumers might feel about buying a watch online and creates a less nerve-wracking experience. MVMT provides a nice mix of high-quality studio shots for both product and lifestyle. And, the use of a simple san serif font and minimal infographics with no over-the-top call to action gives the user the sensation they’re purchasing a quality product. 

8. Heckler - Angles

Since we can’t feel, touch, and see in person, you need to give your consumers as much info as possible in the form of visuals. Consumers who are coming to Heckler know ballpark-wise what they’re looking for so, we gave them what they wanted! A comfortable user experience without any hype and tons of quality images from a variety of angles. Heckler lets the products speak for themselves and only provides the necessary information in the description and customer reviews. A job well done if we do say so ourselves cause again, another site we had nothing, zip, zero to do with... 

9. Jot Ultra Coffee - White space

What doesn’t this website do well? NOTHING. It utilizes boomerangs and gifs the way they were intended: They provide both information and whimsy in a well-executed contemporary San Francisco vibes-meet-trendy-coffee-shop way. Jot understands white space like the best of them. Dimension is created, slight drop shadows are picked up on. What needs to be read is written in the intended hierarchy.

10. Clif Bar & Company - Community

Community is already written into the brand coding for Clif Bar & Company. Its sub-brands are tabbed at the top of its own fully-customized website. Its stories are interwoven and the same message comes across throughout, with the only difference being the products and the individualized sustainable message. This route works for Clif Bar’s brands because it goes back to the core of their mission statement. A fair number of brands fail here; they tend to forget who they are, what they represent, and their long-term goals. Clif Bar makes sure you don’t.

 

Recap

For 2021, enhance your storytelling with features and innovations that work for your brand. Don’t engage in unnecessary clutter if it doesn’t make sense because if it’s not integrated correctly, you’ll be in for a world of constant Band-Aid fixes

Remember to factor in the total customer experience from the minute they land on your homepage to their final steps in checkout, including shipping options. Be honest about fulfillment times and fees. Human touch, remember?

Find ways to be unexpectedly clever. For example, we worked with a food and beverage merchant that had to insert cardboard dividers between a pack of glass bottles. Instead of just using regular cardboard dividers, we suggested turning those dividers into recipe cards and staff favorites. If you think far enough out of the box, those little winning nuggets will rise to the surface. And that’s a win for you, a win for the brand, and a win for the consumer.
 

Illuminating
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