Ecommerce design has come a long way. Most people don’t know this, but online shopping didn’t become mainstream until 1994 when security measures began allowing for secure financial transactions to occur via the Internet. At that point, most stores looked something like this archived screenshot from Best Buy circa 2000:
For years the majority of online stores were large behemoths offering giant product collections. Think Gap, Toys-R-Us, Diapers.ca and Staples. This is primarily because it took a large company and a large amount of money to create an online store.
With the recent introduction of DIY online store builders like Shopify (see our review here), Bigcommerce and Etsy, paired with crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, we’re seeing more grass roots entrepreneurs selling their wares online. This brings us to the age of single-product and low inventory count ecommerce stores. We’re seeing the local guy who makes beeswax candles selling online. That crafty girl down the street has an online store to sell her hand-made moccasins.
The challenge in designing a store that sells only one or two different products is that most pre-made templates are built specifically for a larger catalog. I scoured the web to hunt down some well designed ecommerce stores that sell only a couple of things.
Here are 20 well designed small catalog ecommerce stores:
The stores above properly reflect a growing trend in ecommerce. The barrier to entry into the world of e-tail has been so drastically reduced that entrepreneurs can now go from idea to production to distribution within weeks, not months or years. And the process costs hundreds of dollars, not tens of thousands. You might be interested to read our Shopify review btw.
Over the next few years we will increasingly see more online stores that don’t offer a wide selection. They don’t even offer a ‘bargain price’ – since you can’t buy their product anywhere else. Some may say this is contrary to what people are looking for while shopping online: convenience, selection, and price comparison. But the allure of buying directly from the creator is unquestionably strong, and you can look to craft fairs, farmers markets and pop-up stores to support that belief.
I hope this roundup of well designed small catalog online stores was interesting and inspiring for you.