Sometimes you don’t even need an excuse to spend an entire afternoon losing yourself while looking through hundreds of beautiful looking websites and admiring their handiwork.

Luckily we do have a reason… research! That old ‘get out of jail free card’.

Last year I took a look at some excellent examples of persuasive ecommerce design and I thought now would be a great time to add to the list. The sun is shining after all.

Using the five techniques laid out by Peep Laja in his persuasive design techniques manifesto I’ll be taking a look at various ecommerce sites that either tick one, or even all of the following persuasive design boxes:

  • Clarity above everything else: does the homepage immediately answer the following question ‘what is this site about?’
  • Visual appeal:  Is the homepage attractive, while still being simple and clear?
  • Strong visual hierarchy:  is the most important thing on your page the biggest, boldest, brightest thing?
  • Keep attention at all costs: does it stand out from the crowd with larger than life images, original photography or graphics or interesting copy?
  • One primary action per screen: is each individual webpage’s function abundantly clear?

So with these questions in mind and some inspiration from the good people at AWWWARDS, my own research and examples from around our own blog, let’s take a look at some beautiful examples of persuasive design...


Very subtle product positioning, a leftfield approach to advertising and one of the wittiest call-to-actions I’ve ever seen.

Adidas Originals

Adidas Originals Netherlands and the Brazilian brand Farm’s collaboration has resulted in this utterly gorgeous, endlessly scrolling, kaleidoscopically animated look book.


The USA based handcrafted goods company has some particularly beautiful product pages, but it’s this image of the employees on the homepage that truly makes it stand apart. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this team?


Beautifully evocative photography, with super-bold typeface and clear than clear navigation.


A stunning interface, with a large video background, replete with flat responsive design, clear call-to-actions and simple to use media player. I could spend hours here.

Norman Records

As I wrote last month, the UK based record store is a masterclass in ecommerce design. It puts usability and function above all else. The aesthetic design of the store is simple and geared towards ease of use, but also allows the character of the site and its staff to shine through.


Taking a note from Dollar Shave Club on simplicity of message, also check out those call to actions, that take you through to a bold product page that’s impossible to resist.


As Graham Charlton mentions in his round-up of ecommerce sites getting it right, the product and landing pages on this site are excellent, and go the extra mile to describe and demonstrate the products. Take this image for example, a great way to show what you can fit in there: 

Mah Ze Dahr Bakery

You’re never going to go far wrong in aiming straight for the stomach with your delicious looking food, but there’s something particularly arresting about the layout here, with the white background and focus on just a few unpackaged items.


One of my favourite homepages, I just love the simplicity of it. The images often change too, but these two are particularly affecting and effectively on-brand.

A Watch by You

A splendid and simple home page that repeatedly types out the features of the watch and then lets you scroll down the page to customise it.

Emmy Twenty

Natural photography featuring friendly smiling faces promotes trust and lets you see how products look in real world settings.

Cerastone Cookware

You can’t see this but although the image is still, the pan is subtly bubbling away with steam rising. There is also a great deal to be said for ecommerce sites taking you on a bit of a narrative journey before hitting you with the hard sell.

Flat Guitars

I'm going to end on a perennial favourite which I've used before in a feature on flat design. Not strictly ecommerce, but you will struggle to leave this site in under an hour and certainly without adding a new guitar to your wishlist.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 22 July, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (7)

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dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

I love all of these examples, but perhaps one of these phrases would be closer than 'Persuasive':

Aesthetically Lovely

What do you think?


about 4 years ago

Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff, Editor at Methods Unsound / Search Engine Watch

Aesthetically lovely it is! Will remember that for next time.

about 4 years ago


Wendi Makuch

I compliment ecommerce merchants every chance I get when see them doing it "right" on their site. There are simply too many examples of what not to do. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone in appreciating all the work it goes into making their sites look so effortless!

about 4 years ago

Ian Harris

Ian Harris, CEO at Search Laboratory

Chris I'd like to disagree with the Flat Guitar example. I love guitars and have an unhealthy urge to look at them and sometimes buy them. This site simply does not do it for me. People that buy guitars, I would suggest, do not want to look at guitar art; they want to look at guitars. Award winning it may be, but I would guess that it sells few guitars. I may be wrong.

about 4 years ago


Colin Cheng

I think all of these examples are great. It does feel as though web design has changed quite dramatically over the last couple of years and I do think the rise of tablets has had a dramatic impact on design.

With more and more companies adopting mobile first, it's easy to see why -and how- designing for a mobile device lends itself well to imagery taking centre stage and long scrolling designs.

I also think it's interesting to see how news websites are adopting a similar design for features or resource articles. The BBC have started to do this recently and I particularly like this example from the Science section of their website: It features strong graphics, videos, interactive elements and even a fixed navigation menu that is unique to that page.

I think it will be interesting to see if more sectors adopt a similar design ethos but I can only imagine they will.

about 4 years ago



Hi Christopher,
Thanks for sharing this article, examples shared by you are great and very impressive. All the five techniques are good, can these be used in other design formats. But anyways overall it is an good effort by you.
I would like to see many more from you.


almost 4 years ago


Zach Shearer

I'd like to see some examples of personalized product ecommerce websites in these analyses in the future. Product personalization is difficult and adds a layer of complexity that differentiates websites. Most of these websites seem to be a in race to minimalism--I love the aesthetic but I wonder if sales follow.

almost 4 years ago

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