Magento Commerce is perhaps the most popular open-source ecommerce platform available today because of its rich feature set, excellent backend, and extremely flexible theme structure.
Magento’s theme structure is of particular interest to ecommerce web designers because it allows for a wide latitude in site design, which, in turn, can result in some very good looking online stores.
For this feature, I scoured the web for online shops that had taken advantage of the design freedom Magento can offer. These sites are listed below in no particular order.
Lodger’s handsome site is another example of how great imagery can help sell in the apparel category. It just makes sense that when online shoppers are browsing for clothing or shoes they want to see what those items really look like. Lodger does a great job of providing large, clear, and interesting product photography. For example, check out the “Shoe of the Month” and hover over the tab that says, “Product Views.”
Zumiez is a nationally recognized brick-and-mortar retailer that extends its in-the-mall brand to its Magento-powered website. The design is clean and legible with a touch of the grunge aesthetic. I especially like the typography and logo size.
If “hipness” could be bottled, they would call it Jones Pure Cane Soda and sell it at this online store. The trendy Jones Soda Company is using Magento to power its well-designed online store. And, you have to love the ultra-smooth slider on the home page.
HoMedics—Electronics for Spa and Beauty
HoMedics is a simple and attractive ecommerce site that makes good use of Flash, including sound, on its home page while relying on a very traditional ecommerce layout on subsequent pages. Magento’s layered and faceted navigation is used throughout the site design.
Mydeco has made excellent use of Magento’s product attribute features. As evidence, click on the shopping tab and select a room, say bathroom. Here you will find left-hand navigation that allows you to drill down to exactly what you were looking for by selecting a price range, color, retailer, designer, or more. Each of these is a customizable product attribute in the platform.
MYLA London makes great use of photography, including a large seasonal image on the home page, photo-heavy category pages, and high-quality product detail images that can be panned and zoomed.
Michalsky—High Fashion Apparel
In my opinion, Michalsky’s category pages are the most attractive section of the entire site. Notice how the site’s dark background makes the product photographs stand out.
NerdyShirts’ website breaks the “Magento” mold. It is a site that takes advantage of Magento’s features without looking like it just used the demo store theme as a basis for its design. It is also a good example and what it means to develop a site design that communicates your store’s brand image.
Wildpoppies offers a simple and clearly feminine design that makes good use of color and background.
Asphaltgold puts its products right up at the top of the home page on this minimalist site design. If you’re a fan of clean and simple design, this is the Magento site for you. The concept is austere and lovely; sparse and yet product-rich.
Cacties—Neckties for the Cowboy in Us All
Cacties sells “top-notch neckwear” inspired by the spirit of the American West. This Magento-powered site uses expanses of dark color to act as a visually-powerful backdrop for the its colorful products. The company’s brand comes out in both the site design and logo.
Dainese has appeared in several Practical eCommerce articles as a positive example of website design. This site combines Adobe Flash with the Magento platform for an impressive product detail page. Dainese.com is also available in several languages, another feature that the Magento Commerce platform makes easier.
Mia & Maggie—Dog Care Products
The Mia & Maggie website makes use of a beautiful color palette, featuring at least three shades of brown, a great looking blue, and a calming green. Its color palette transcends the feminine and masculine and appeals to both. It is equally pleasing whether you’re looking for items for your Rottweiler or Poodle. The site also makes nice use of the platform’s underlying features.
The Hello! Lucky website makes excellent use of scrollwork and nostalgic imagery to convey the company’s expertise in printed materials. And, while I would say that using seven or more different font faces on your home page is normally a design faux pas, the folks at Hello! Lucky have done it with a sort of clever elegance that is very successful. Finally, to my mind, there is a clear connection between the products being sold and the visual design of the website being used to sell them. This is simple a very good ecommerce website design.
The HYPE DC home page features a strong background image showing (on the day I visited) gray, grungy boards. This might seem an odd choice for a site selling brand-name shoes, but it is surprisingly communicative. First, just using such a large background image breaks the standard ecommerce site design mold, communicating this is not your mother’s shoe store. Next, the image is both natural (wood) and urban, communicating the natural qualities of the shoes sold and the general living condition of the sites’ customers. The site also makes good use of layer opacity and transparency. It is a fine example of Magento’s flexibility.
The Matthew Williamson website was designed to showcase the clothing’s beauty and sophistication. The main shopping page shows a model wearing one of the Matthew Williamson designs against a brightly colored background, while interior pages use a simple white background to accentuate the product offerings.
Uncorked sells a sophisticated product to a stylish and affluent clientele, so it is important that its web presence meets customer expectations, not just from a product standpoint, but also in terms of design. Certainly, wine is about the taste and about enjoying a rich experience that comes from drinking it. But, it is also about a way of living. Drinking fine wine says something about who the drinker is, and the Uncorked website design captures some of that esoteric experience, using images that convey a lifestyle as much as it promotes a beverage.
MiniRepublic’s is a multilingual website, and a great example of what happens when good design and good technology meet. The site makes use of Magento’s many features along with Adobe Flash technology and vivid photography to create a compelling and comforting customer experience. Shoppers should feel both informed by the many images and options, and comforted by the underlying professionalism.
In popular culture the term “metrosexual” describes a man who uses facial creams, skin care products, and beauty secrets normally associated with women in order to stave off aging and “look good.” Regardless of how one feels about this trend, you must recognize that, while the NkdMan website clearly aims at male vanity, it does so with a very handsome ecommerce website design that features deep contrasts in color, masculine tones, and excellent product photography.
More Examples Abound
There are, of course, dozens—if not hundreds—of other examples of well-designed websites using the Magento Commerce solution. I actually visited more than a hundred of those sites when I developed this list. So I want to encourage you to add your own favorite Magento site design in the comment section at the end of this article.