Last December we presented Part 1 and Part 2 of our series: “A Showcase of Merchants That Use Our eCosystem’s Beautifully Designed Themes”. In these blogs we showcased a selection webstore designs from our merchants . They achieved considerable success, partially thanks to their webshop design. Since this month is all about design, we take a look behind the scenes of five unique webstores that make use of our (responsive) themes. The newest responsive themes adjust the lay-out automatically, in order to optimally display products – read more about that here. Once again, we’ll look at how these designs were created and which benefits they generated for the merchants. As always, you can share your insights with us in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
Beerofbelgium.com - Stijn Depoortere
Theme: Essentials designed by Webdinge
“Who doesn't like Belgian beer?” That’s what Stijn Depoortere, owner of BeerOfBelgium, must have thought. His webshop sells more than 300 types of special Belgian beers. It all started in May, with the opening of a physical store in Ieper, Belgium. Soon after that Beerofbelgium.com went live. Beerofbelgium is a webshop that offers and delivers many types of Belgian beer worldwide, against local prices. Because of this, customers from all over the globe pay far less than they do in their home countries. To make all of this even more exclusive: 90% of the products that BeerOfBelgium sell are not available abroad. Because of this webshop, customers now actually have the possibility to buy the beers that were not available in their countries before.
In his search for an affordable and user-friendly webshop platform, Stijn found SEOshop. Beerofbelgium.com uses the Essentials theme, designed by Webdinge. Stijn simply adjusted the theme to create an unique identity for his shop.
The Essentials theme offers many benefits, such as a broad range of adjustable options, responsive web design, USP’s on the side-margins and a nice and clear featuring of the products. Stijn also mentions that the fact that both the header and footer can be easily styled. “All in all, I really like this theme. It offers very approachable and user-friendly adjustment options, whilst the front-end is very internationally orientated.” He adds: “Thanks to this theme, my products are prominently presented on the homepage. The navigation is easy to use, good looking and effective. Thanks to the possibilities of making promotions stand out, products are really placed in the spotlight.”
Beerofbelgium.com saw an online growth of 300%, since they switched to the Essentials theme. “The one-page checkout played a big role in this”, according to Stijn. Customers of BeerOfBelgium are satisfied with the new design as well.
Stijn wants to share some tips that helped him achieve success with this webshop. “When it comes to design, I would advise to take a piece of paper and draw the your ideal webshop. After you have done this, think about the structure of your navigation. If you have a clear vision of your navigation structure, you can start with the actual design.”
Sportiek.nl - J. Bruggeman
Theme: Absolut designed by SEOshop
Mr. Bruggeman already saw chances for online selling in 1992, which is when he opened both his physical store as well as his webshop. 22 years later, this ecommerce veteran is still successfully active in online retailing.
Sportiek.nl focusses on the niche market of automotive transport accessories. The webshop offers a complete supply of roof cases and roof, watersport and bicycle carriers. Besides the products, the company also possess a complete knowledge package so they can provide an excellent customer service. “In December 2013, our open source webshop got hacked and flooded with strange information. A colleague advised us to switch to SEOshop, because SEOshop considers security highly important”, Mr. Bruggeman said.
Sportiek.nl chose for the Absolut theme when they started building their webshop. This is because they were looking for “a design with a basic and clean look, without too many distraction”, according to Mr. Bruggeman. The Absolut theme helped Sportiek.nl become more successful, thanks to its clear search structures. Another factor that played a role in their success is the clever use of apps from the SEOshop App Store, such as Justuno (for exit discount-codes) and LoyaltyLion (build loyalty programs).
The Absolut theme is a free theme developed by SEOshop itself. It consist of all the standard function (reviews, newsletter subscription, social media bar, etc.). Besides that, Absolut is also easy to personalize.
Mr. Bruggeman didn't receive any direct feedback on the design of his webshop. He did however notice the success of the Absolut theme design. Since his company switched to the Absolut theme, he has seen a increase in the number of converting visitors and growing revenues.
The adjusting of the basic Absolut theme was done entirely by the technicians at Sportiek.nl, with a beautiful and at the same time simplistic result. Mr. Bruggeman gives other web merchants one last tip: “try to keep the structure of your design as simple as possible, make sure that all of the data is correct”.
www.wijzenol.nl - Kristian Naalden
ThemE: Blueprint Premium designed by Crivex
The Naalden family has owned a paint store since 1959. Being the entrepreneur he is, Kristian saw possibilities for retailing paint online in 2003 – which is when he opened his first online store. Today, Kristian manages 6 webshops while he is still looking to expand his business. At the moment more paint is sold online than offline!
The reason for Kristian’s success is that he discovered the window of opportunity for online selling early on. “We strongly believe in story-telling marketing and write with passion on our blog: Verfblogger.nl. Not only do we sell paint, we know everything about it and also like to advise our customers with each painting job they do.
Mr. Naalden found SEOshop via the marketing agency Redbanana, who tipped him on SEOshop and the benefits the platform has in comparison with others. Kristian says he is very satisfied and thinks that “SEOshop proved itself more than worthy”.
Thanks to his broad experience in web design Kristian knew that a good design results in better conversion. In his opinion Blueprint Premium “really is the theme of 2014”.”A combination of many pictures with a good looking design and the theme is responsive. The products also come forward because of this. In the Blueprint Premium theme visitors immediately find what they were looking for, they see the payment methods and the delivery time”.
Customers react enthusiastically: this theme feels like a warm bath for them. That’s also noticeable by looking at the bounce percentage in Google Analytics. Contrary to Mr. Naalden’s five other webshops, Wijzenol.nl is not custom designed. The webshop was build by the in-house team themselves. This was possible because Kristian has sufficient knowledge of the SEOshop platform by now, which made adjusting the theme relatively easy.
To conclude, Kristian shares some of his knowledge related to design: “choose a good looking and simplistic design. This will increase your conversion!”.
IDsme.nl – René van Mourik
Theme: Castor designed by eFusion
You’re going out to exercise. Of course you don’t bring your ID, since that is inconvenient. But what if something happens to you, how would others know who you are? And if you have some specific allergies, how could other people find out if you have any? IDsme offers a solution to this frequently occurring problem, by offering a special ID for outdoor athletes. Not until recently was such a product offered in Dutch stores. But since René van Mourik started IDsme.nl, that has changed.
IDsme targets a niche market, whilst offering just one product in two variants – a so called “one product webshop”. The product, a sports ID, is specifically offered to active athletes and exercisers. It can be described as a new elegant as well as sportive variant on the well-known “dog tag”.
After a visit to the ‘Webwinkel Vakdagen’ (a Dutch event focused on everything related to webshops) René found SEOshop. In his opinion, the software had “the best combination of an easily adjustable webshop with the possibilities of a certain amount of custom design”, so he says.
The Castor theme is specifically developed for one product webshops. This is perfect for the product portfolio that René has. The Castor theme presents the product on the homepage with a direct purchase-link. René says: “This theme ensures that every visitor directly understands what’s to be purchased. No overflow of pages that you need to click through.”
For the design of their webshop, IDsme asked eFusion – the designers of the Castor theme – for help. They expanded the theme, which led to evident success and positive feedback by IDsme’s customers. When it comes to design, IDsme customers are impressed by the professional feeling and clear navigation of the IDsme.nl design.
Lastly René has some advice: “start with as little irrelevant information as possible. Stay within the borders of offered functionality and try to creatively arrange your webshop with that. If, in a later stadium, adjustments are still needed, you can always contact designers that can do custom work”.
Kinderjas.com – Marjon Wolters
Theme: DG Responsive designed by DG Solutions
Marjon Wolters started a webshop at SEOshop in 2009. Marjon had a passion for children’s clothing for years before that and this was the moment to finally make the decision to start selling online. She opened “Kids@all”, an online store for kids clothing and soon found out that her line of children’s coats were selling best. With that in mind, Marjon went looking for a domain name. When she found out that the domain name “Kinderjas.com” (Childrencoats.com) was still available she couldn't believe it. The foundation was layed, now the success needed to start growing… In the beginning Wolters faced some difficulties. Because she didn’t have a physical store, back then many suppliers of clothes didn’t want to sign contracts with her. Last winter Marjon started a big promotion campaign for her Kinderjas.com brand. After this, a lot of things changed: Kinderjas.com suddenly was a popular target for branded clothes suppliers and four of them wanted to collaborate with Marjon.
What makes Kinderjas.com so special, is that the shop specializes in summer and winter coats for children. For Marjon, however, customer experience is the most important focus point. “I always show pictures and post as many information as possible on the website. I think I speak for everybody when I say that buying clothes online can be vague and difficult. By doing these things I try to make that experience easier and more user-friendly. It also results in more product sales and less returns for us. And in case that a customer contacts us with questions, I am happy to help him and take my time to come up with a good answer.”
She came into contact with SEOshop in 2009 after her search for a company that offers the possibility to create your own webshop. “Back then SEOshop had a no cure, no pay policy. Today it’s the range of features SEOshop offers that keeps me here”, Marjon says. “When we just started with the setup of Kinderjas.com everything was user-friendly and easily adjustable, from shipping methods to payment methods. Soon the SEOshop Store was expanded, which really helped us as well”.
Marjon chose the DG Responsive theme (designed by DG Solutions) because of the slick design and openness, large pictures and responsiveness on mobile phones and tablets. DG Responsive is specifically designed to be perfectly shown on mobile devices.
For Marjon, the best thing about this theme is the beautiful clear, large images. Because of this the front page really stands out, which is important for clothing webshops. To make the webshop look even more professional, Marjon let custom designers and the people from Justuno adjust her design and optimize her conversion.
Marjon has a final piece advise for other online merchants: “if you go for it, don’t give up too quickly! Find out what other webshops do, think about how you want your webshop to look and put yourself in the position of your customers. What would make them buy something in your store? If you don’t have the knowledge of web-technology, just like me, it can be smart to outsource those kinds of things. I still do this myself as well, giving up is not something I would do.”
We hope that you were inspired by this post, which showed that creating a beautiful design for your webshop can be pretty easy. If you want to know more about the themes that we offer, then do visit our Theme Store.
Please share your ideas, insights, feedback or own design in the comment section below. We would also like to thank our participating web merchants for their time and knowledge. Until next time!