We Analyzed the Top 50 Ecommerce Sites – Here’s What We Learned

analysis of the top 50 ecommerce sites

Millions of customers and millions in sales: that’s the dream many ecommerce store owners have when they launch their store. As a designer here at Volusion, it’s my job (and passion) to help clients create the best website possible so that they can achieve their goals. Every day I think about what will work best for my clients' specific businesses and their specific customers. It's important to craft a website specifically for each target audience and each individual brand, because no two are the exact same. Nonetheless, there's also a lot to be learned from those who have come before us and achieved wild success.

We decided to take a deep look at the sites that have already achieved the pinnacle of success with millions of customers and millions in sales. For our analysis we scored the top 50 ecommerce sites across the web to discover their common traits and best practices, so that we can learn from them and gain valuable insights you can incorporate into your own site. Let’s see what we discovered.

1. Homepage Elements

Your homepage is probably the most important page of your site. It’s typically the most visited page and also the page the majority of customers land on before diving deeper into your store. For those reasons, a great homepage is both a valuable sales tool and a great opportunity to showcase your brand. Since the average customer makes a decision about your brand within 15 seconds of landing on your homepage, it’s more important than ever to get your homepage right.

etsy homepage design

Etsy has such a well-organized homepage. Their main promotion and graphic tells you exactly what you can expect to find on their site. They have quick access to products and popular categories to get customers shopping.

 

redbubble homepage design

RedBubble’s homepage has very clear messaging and a beautiful grid layout of popular categories. It sets the brand feel and then goes straight into shopping. Simple and to the point, this is a great homepage. 

What We Learned

56% have a slideshow

The top 50 ecommerce sites have teams of people thinking about, scrutinizing over and testing their homepages to find out what works and what doesn’t, so there's a lot to learn from them. I was surprised by how many similarities they all shared, regardless of industry or target audience.

2. Site Navigation

Your site navigation is usually the main way your customers get around your site and find products. Site navigation can play a major role in capturing or losing a sale. If your customers can’t find your products, they can't purchase them.

nike's header

Nike keeps their site navigation concise by consolidating their top level categories and hiding their subcategories in a pop-out menu.

 

forever 21 header

Forever 21 has perhaps the cleanest, most well-organized header we analyzed. The simple row of categories and use of whitespace makes it very easy to navigate around their site.

What We Learned

82% use a popout menu

While every ecommerce site has some sort of navigation, there are some best practices you can take into account to help your customers navigate your store with ease.

3. Mobile Layout

With nearly half of all shoppers shopping on mobile devices, having a mobile version of your site is almost mandatory. Having a mobile site impacts just about everything from user experience and conversion to sales and SEO.

h&m mobile design

H&M has a beautifully simplified mobile site made up of a consolidated menu and focused homepage content.

 

target mobile design

Target also has a much more simplified mobile site when compared to their desktop site. They do a great job of reorganizing their content for easier shopping on smaller screens.

What We Learned

76% have a hamburger menu

Unsurprisingly, all but one of the top 50 ecommerce sites has a mobile-friendly site. They all make some very important adjustments to improve the mobile shopping experience.

Conclusion

So there you have it. There is quite a lot we can learn from the leaders in ecommerce. There's a lot of valuable best practices and techniques that you can think about implementing on your site. It’s still important to think about your specific customers, how they shop and to craft a website specifically tailored to their needs, but if you have to start from somewhere, why not start at the top?

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like this infographic we created about Constructing a Higher Converting Add-to-Cart Button by studying the buttons of the top 50 ecommerce sites.

Wes Asbell

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