How Ecommerce Brands and Agencies are Unlocking Creative Freedom and Better UX

October 28, 2021

61717f49a5eab1e9dd05932b XCom RECAP Unlocking more conversions with UX and consumer psychology

As an ecommerce agency, you understand how important it is for clients to put their best foot forward.

And when shoppers have hundreds of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands to choose from, first impressions matter. I mean, really, really matter. 

These days, DTC brands are using especially unique design and UX principles to transform “shopping online” into an experience. The brands that stand out the most are remembered.

Think: Nomad, No.2, and Blume, to name a few.

Scrolling through the Nomad website
Scrolling through the No.2 website
Scrolling through the Blume website
These sites stand out by using eye-catching visuals and exciting UX.

The brilliance of these stores transcends a cohesive color palette and clear product images.

It’s an entire experience from the moment you land on the site until you’re holding the product in your hand.

We sat down with a few experts who head up ecommerce agencies and SaaS alike to talk about how brands are using headless technology to craft the types of shopping experiences that boost both revenue and differentiation.

#cta-paragraph-fe#Prefer a video? Watch our panel of experts chat about this topic during Xperience Commerce 2021.

Headless technology is changing the way you can think about ecommerce design 

Headless commerce allows agencies to unlock creative user experiences like never before.

This is because of the flexible nature a headless site offers by decoupling the frontend and backend and using specialized software for each.

In the past, designers could only push the envelope so far in terms of what’s possible on classic monolithic sites (where the front and backend are fused together).

This might look like less rich media throughout the store because of the speed tradeoffs—or having to add tons of messy third-party plug-ins to achieve the functionality you need (which can also amount to performance hits).

Coloring within the lines is often the name of the game with a monolithic ecommerce site.

But when a brand goes headless, you can craft more exceptional experiences by weaving different design components together across a site without impacting performance. You can add all the rich media and exciting UX interactions you want.

And agencies are loving the creative freedom this affords:

Duncan Farley on using Shogun Frontend

Site design is becoming more efficient 

Along with more creative freedom, brands are finding bundled frontend solutions (like Shogun Frontend) make it easier for ecomm teams to reuse elements throughout a site without having to start from scratch each time.

For example, if you know you’ll use the same product card or form in multiple places on a client’s site, you can create the asset once and reuse it when needed.

Shogun Frontend experience manager dashboard
With the Experience Manager in a solution like Shogun Frontend, it’s easy to reuse different design components over and over. 
Matthew Bowers on using Shogun Frontend

Agencies no longer have to spend countless hours building and rebuilding the same design components with leading headless tech, which means you can keep your clients happy and complete more builds in less time.

#cta-mini-fe#Build an elevated shopping experience with Shogun Frontend.Learn more


High-quality is the default for every headless build

Every ecommerce agency knows the importance of high-quality visuals. They make or break a purchase.

Take the luxury lifestyle goods brand, Nomad, for example.

They constructed their headless PWA with the intent to showcase lots of choice content.

“Nomad’s entire site makes a lot of room for content. They set themselves up for producing really high-quality imagery and video for each of their product launches,” said Duncan Fairley.

“But their site is built with that assumption in mind, which I think is huge. Platforms like Shogun Frontend have a lot of consideration for how to load the right content for the right space at the right time.” 

Best of all, with a headless site, you don’t have to worry about content rendering sub-par or incorrectly anywhere due to platform restrictions or high latency.

Tailored product pages are becoming more interactive and detailed

A common practice for ecommerce brands is building templated product pages with the same structure, style, and elements.

While this isn’t a bad thing (templating is a wondrous time-saver!), there are some products that call for unique detail pages that tell a story as unique as the product.

Product pages that educate and tell a story—rather than simply explain what the product is—are vital.

Nomad is a pro at creating these, with interactions that make the page feel especially rich.

Each product page contains the essential product information, like description, materials, FAQ, and various product images, but each page is tailored to every unique product they offer.

If you scroll through their iPhone 13 Pro Max product page, you’ll see visuals—both static and video—that provide a close-up look at the product from different angles.

But these aren’t just arbitrary; the images have the customer (and their questions and pain points) at the forefront.

For example, on a page for their leather phone case, visitors can toggle a slider that shows the case’s appearance after 100 days.

This is something customers might not think about at the time of purchase, but it adds an element of context and uniqueness since how the leather case looks/ages will be completely distinct to the customer.

Horween Leather phone case product page from
Nomad uses high-quality visuals and brand design to answer all kinds of customer questions.

#cta-mini-fe#Build exceptional product pages like the ones featured here with Shogun Frontend.Learn more


In contrast, if you navigate to the Base Station Pro product page you’ll see the same type of product information, except the visuals below the fold are completely tailored to this product.

On this page, you see animated visuals of how the wireless charger is built, product features, and even the ability to view the charger in your space with AR.

Base Station Pro product page on
Each product page is customized based on the uniqueness of the product.

This level of design ingenuity and fine detail turns something as ordinary as buying a phone case or charger into an exceptional ecommerce experience.

“It’s cool that platforms are recognizing the need for unique content per product or product category, which allows you to build answers to questions that you know customers are going to have [with the page design and content],” says Duncan Fairley.

Brands are able to create these customized, ultra-media-heavy product pages without worrying about site performance with headless technology.

#cta-paragraph-fe#Remember: With all these exciting design advancements, it’s important to always ensure you’re building sites accessible to all shoppers. 💡

Brands are looking at before and after checkout experience in a unified way

Hand in hand with design considerations, many brands are focusing on customer lifetime value (LTV) and average order value (AOV).

According to Oisin O’Connor, the CEO and Co-Founder of Recharge, more brands are starting to think about what happens before and after checkout as one cohesive experience rather than disconnected events.

As he shared with us, subscription-model products are a great way to maximize your LTV and AOV consecutively.

For example, quiz builders that allow customers to create their own subscription box or bundle keep shoppers engaged in the entire process from start to finish. And experiences like this make upselling a natural next step.

Oisin O'Connor on the customer journey

As inspo for your brand, sustainable toothpaste and toiletries brand, Bite, does this flawlessly.

The checkout flow on
Bite’s seamless checkout experience makes it easy for customers to tailor their subscriptions with recommended products.

The entire checkout is seamless.

Customers choose the products they want at the rate they’d like to receive them with Bite’s Save and Trial subscription options. What’s more, you can add an extra toothbrush, floss, or even a whitening kit ahead of checkout and choose how often you’ll receive those products.

Subscriptions are all about reducing friction before and after checkout.

Making the entire process easier for customers is the key to boosting your clients’ customer LTV and AOV.

#cta-paragraph-fe#Software like Recharge Payments helps your customers to sign up for or continue subscriptions with ease, so they can keep getting the products they know and love without skipping a beat. Seamless subscriptions and a blazing-fast headless site go hand-in-hand.

Memorable ecommerce experiences weave UX and design to tell a story

High-quality web design is far more than just a “nice to have” for ecommerce brands—it’s a vital way to stand out in the greater online landscape.

The bottom line: outstanding ecommerce design goes much deeper than color palettes and high-res images. Successful web design weaves storytelling, brand aesthetics, product, and customer journey all into one cohesive experience.

Ecommerce agencies are helping merchants achieve these experiences with headless commerce.

The unmatched flexibility of a headless store—and specifically a flexible frontend—allows merchants to let their creativity soar and lets your agency build the web experience of your client’s dreams.


#cta-visual-fe#<cta-title>Want to offer headless commerce to your clients?<cta-title>Join the Shogun Agency Partner Program and gain access to resources like a Shogun Frontend sandbox account, our Starter Kit, and more.Get started

Kaitlyn Ambrose

Kaitlyn works on all things content at Shogun. ⚡

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