With consumers taking less than two seconds to judge a website and 92.6% of consumers viewing visual elements as the most influential factor affecting their decisions, the importance of a ‘visually appealing’ website has never been greater. We’ve selected our top 3 ecommerce websites which are both aesthetically pleasing and offer an excellent, all round customer experience - ASOS, Amazon and Bellroy.

 ASOS

Excelling in everything they do, ASOS tops the chart for ecommerce websites recently being termed ‘the poster boy’ and epitome of ecommerce success’. Firstly, prominent at the top of the page is the all important simple option for ‘Women’ and ‘Men’ and when selected, each easy to navigate menu provides a multitude of options from product, colour, size and brand name selections to name a few. Not only that, it facilitates different viewing options to suit user requirements whether it's viewing 36 or 200 products per page. An intuitive search function and sheer volume of available products positively enhance the user experience and encourage repeat visitation.

Secondly, in a bid to bridge the divide between the in-store and online shopping experience, ASOS are on point when it comes to imagery. An array of photographs for each product and unique catwalk style videos not only showcase the products, it offers something which competitors do not, providing unique value. The ‘Complete the Look’ function also earns ASOS brownie points for upselling and ultimately enhancing the user experience.

With product pages stuffed full of details ranging from the material used, size worn by the model, sizes available and washing instructions alongside other details, ASOS rivals an in-store experience. Stepping up their game, ASOS have recently introduced the ‘Fit Visualiser’ allowing users to input dimensions of a product they have at home to compare it against an item on the site. Used in 23 cities around Europe and with retailers seeing up to 50% decrease in fit-related returns as a result of using virtusize software, this is likely to enhance the quality of the shopping experience and encourage repeat visitation.

Finally, purchasing couldn’t be easier and can be done in a few clicks. Not only does the website store a customer’s preferred delivery address and payment details, customers are only required to enter their card security code to confirm payment making the checkout process simple. Additional extras including free delivery, collect+, regular discounts and the ability to ‘Track my Parcel’ make ASOS one of the best ecommerce sites out there at the moment! Considering the website hasn’t changed very much navigationally since 2012, this illustrates how advanced ASOS is when it comes to web design and understanding user experience.

Amazon

For the last twenty years, Amazon has worked hard to establish itself as a leader in ecommerce. Not only has it created a streamlined, easy to navigate website, it provides an overall excellent shopping experience with a huge product range. Firstly, upon reaching the website, Amazon draws attention to the areas which count - the navigation section, search bar, and the all important element of an ecommerce website - the checkout basket. At first glance, Amazon has set the bar high with regards to placement of the all important features, enhancing user experience.

Secondly, with a huge product range, customers can find products with ease. Using browser cookies, customers shopping habits are tracked and they are presented with both related items and recommended items based on their past searches. This exposes customers to additional products within their area of interest, thus increasing the chances of a purchase being made. After receiving much critique, Amazon introduced a ‘Fix This Recommendation’ feature whereby customers can tell Amazon they no longer want to receive suggestions based on these factors - excellent!

To further establish themselves as a leader in the ecommerce field, Amazon utilise ‘Why shop with us’ reminders. Firstly, displaying the Amazon price alongside the RRP gives customers a reason to purchase from Amazon in favour of other retailers. Secondly, upon clicking on a product, delivery charges appear instantly in bright coloured 3D boxes notifying the customer exactly when they would receive the product which increases the likelihood of purchase. Furthermore, customers like to see exactly what they are purchasing which isn’t always possible online however Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature gives the user the opportunity to read excerpts of books and view content aiding their decision to purchase. As purchasing online can be a daunting experience for some, Amazons reviews section is easily accessible whereby customers can view both positive and negative reviews - this is not always readily available when purchasing through competitors.

Finally, Amazon’s streamlined checkout process is another excellent feature adding to its ecommerce status. Similar to ASOS, Amazon also store the preferred delivery and preferred payment details to make the checkout process simple for customers and enhance the likelihood of a purchase being made. Amazon have fully understood the various concerns and apprehensions customers may have when purchasing and as such, have included a final stage allowing customers to fully review an order before confirming payment.

Bellroy

Alongside ASOS and Amazon, another ecommerce website which has stood out for us is worldwide wallet retailer, Bellroy. Firstly, when reaching the homepage, it is evident this website is responsive, it is sleek, streamlined, minimalist and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Additionally, Bellroy has outlined the key purpose of the brand - to slim down your wallet size’ - featured on the homepage, alongside the key benefits of owning a Bellroy wallet. Bellroy has also understood the importance of creating a standardised ecommerce experience for users and has ensured delivery and basket information are featured in a location which a customer would be familiar with.

Secondly, with the increase in video marketing, Bellroy is fully aware of the benefits this can have on business and have incorporated it into a number of areas of the website. Prominent on the homepage is an animated feature box whilst each product has a video accompanying it, to fully showcase the product. A unique feature not offered by competitors, this enhances the likelihood of the customer making a purchase. However, one minor flaw we will point out with regards to the video is they are auto-playing. Although users are given five seconds to stop the video from auto-playing, this is not best practice, often irritating customers.

Following on from video, Bellroy has understood the importance of visuals on the purchasing decision, indicative through the volume of high quality images featured throughout the site. Taking into consideration customers concerns when purchasing online, Bellroy earn some ecommerce points for enhancing the user experience with an array of quality photos to showcase the full range of products. The retro typography of the submenus and the hint of colour which appears when rolling over the menu all fit in with the brand image and the minimalist look the website is striving for.

Differing slightly to that of ASOS and Amazon, Bellroy’s checkout process does not require login, rather a one page form, which the customer is required to complete inclusive of delivery address and payment details. Finally, the ability to pay via PayPal adds a competitive advantage and is extremely beneficial for users with security concerns.

After reviewing a large number of sites in our quest for the best in ecommerce, ASOS, Amazon and Bellroy were three of our favourites for the reasons as mentioned above! Just for fun, head over and take a peek at Senador Volstead Beer, an excellently designed ecommerce website in which all is not as it seems!

For more information on ecommerce and for ecommerce best practice into 2015, see our latest blog here!