Which ecommerce sites are setting an example that others can learn from? 

As part of our series of 2014 round ups, I've asked some ecommerce professionals for their suggestions...

The expert panel

Matthew Curry, Head of Ecommerce at Lovehoney. 

Matt was hard to please this year, though he did have this so say: 

"What I'm most impressed by are people looking to disrupt the standard 'come to this site and buy something' method of shopping.

Just as having a separate Basket and Checkout are vaguely silly skeumorphisms of an old offline process, so too is the idea of visiting a place where things are. Amazon's #AmazonCart is an example of where this process is being disrupted, maybe not all that successfully, but you can see where it's going."

Dan Barker, e-business consultant

Dan has worked with a number of ecommerce brands, and has also been a regular contributor to Econsultancy. In articles like this one, and his own blog posts

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh

Stuart manages day-to-day ecommerce operations at Schuh, and has recently been overseeing its move to responsive design

James Gurd, Owner of Digital Juggler

James has worked with a number of ecommerce brands, as well as being a regular contributor to the blog and our reports. 

Sweaty Betty

A smaller retailer which has done a great job making the most of its ecommerce platform. 


Nominated by Stuart McMillan for its user-centred design. AO.com has been the subject of praise on this blog too. 

Black Milk

Nominated by Dan Barker: 

"The Black Milk site continues to really impress me, again from the point of view of really doing everything they can with its current platform.

They’re on Shopify, and are using all the workarounds they can to use it as a proper global ecommerce tool.

It’s easy to look for failings in a platform and use those as an excuse not to do things, but it’s much more fun to do everything you can with what you’re using."


Matthew Curry was impressed by the smoothness of the purchase process on Moonpig. With lots of personalisation options, it's a challenge to provide a good experience. 


Dan Barker: 

"Liberty did some great stuff this year. I always like them as an example of a luxury site that manages to get away with being very busy.

Take a look at the Nike landing pages as a good example of running a co-brand promotion that gets lots of sales, lots of PR, lots of social coverage, lots of links, and makes people happy along with it."


James Gurd: 

"I think Schuh did a good job with its relaunch on a responsive site. The team worked really hard on the fine-tuning and have a fast loading site.

Schuh is also hot on customer service and is currently offering its £1 next-day delivery, seven days per week. Amazing."

Hermès “La Maison des Carrés”


"Everyone seemed to hate it, but I really loved the Hermès 'La Maison des Carrés' site for doing something really different and experiential."


Selfridges relaunched its website in October, with many commenting on the price tag. However, it's a luxury brand and the web is its biggest shop window. 

For more, we interviewed Multichannel Director Simon Forster about the project. 


This site focused around content and made a pretty good job of it.


House of Fraser


"House of Fraser continues to grow strongly with a focus on its multichannel proposition and market leading delivery services like the new order by 7pm for next day Buy & Collect in-store.

The ecommerce team really gets multichannel and the whole business buys into the philosophy, which is evident in the customer service."

The Natural History Museum shop

We featured this on the blog earlier in the year, thanks in no small part to its excellent product copywriting

standing T. rex soft toy


Most of our panel mentioned Amazon, with phrases like 'hard not to admire'. It also handled its Black Friday sale very well indeed. 

black friday lister

Folk Clothing


"From a pure aesthetic point of view, I absolutely love Folks. From the HTML5 video on the landing page to the small interactive touches, it’s just fun to browse.

It has many gaps from a pure ecommerce angle, such as intelligent faceted navigation in the shop but I still enjoy browsing. I think this is my guilty pleasure of 2014."


Stuart's choice: 

"A site I like for its apparent simplicity is Next, just look at the filtration on a long category page to see the attention to detail in an understated way.

I really value effectiveness/efficiency in a user experience."

Which sites do you think were most impressive this year? Let us know in the comments... 

Graham Charlton

Published 18 December, 2014 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (4)

Madhura Chaudhuri

Madhura Chaudhuri, Digital Marketing Consultant at Unyscape

Amazing read

over 3 years ago


Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum Ltd

BlackMilk are highly unusual - if their claim is still true:
> My marketing budget is zero dollars. I didn't spend a cent on advertising, don't do AdWords, don't do campaigns, don't spend any money at all.

over 3 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

Still true afaik, Deri. Almost at a million followers on Instagram now. Products that advertise themselves.

over 3 years ago

Matthew Lawson

Matthew Lawson, eCommerce Director at loveholidays.com

I don't know if you would strictly consider this an eCommerce site but I do think its worth a mention... KickStarter.com. This site is selling stuff that hasn't been produced yet, so it doesn't rely on who delivers it the fastest, nor who has the reputation for great customer service but do you believe in a story. These stories are about the product and the people behind them. Amazing.
This site is a great example of content marketing, multi device optimisation, community building for its users with a bit of gamification thrown in there.
Example of a great story and yes I backed it and I wont get the product for over 6 months:

over 3 years ago

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