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In 2016, more than 500 online brands submitted their storefronts to the BigCommerce team for the inaugural Design Awards competition.
This year, the competition is back –– with more categories, expert judges and $60,000 in prizes.
Does your brand have what it takes to win? Here’s what you need to know.
Second Annual BigCommerce Design Awards
The second annual BigCommerce Design Awards will award 1 grand prize winner and 4 finalists:
- Grand Prize Winner
- Best Homepage Design
- Best Category or Product Page Design
- Best in Customer Experience
- People’s Choice
The grand prize winner will receive $5,000 and will be featured in a full-page feature ad in the September issue of Inc. Magazine, the most widely-read issue of the calendar year. The 4 category winners will receive $3,000 each and a mention in the Inc. full-page ad.
Beyond the five winners, all finalists will also be featured on the BigCommerce website and the BigCommerce blog, and have the opportunity to be featured in a BigCommerce case study, press opportunities and all BigCommerce social channels.
Meet the Judges
A true competition isn’t complete without highly qualified and unbiased judges. We’ve sought out the best in the industry to parse through thousands of entries, narrow down candidates and choose winners based on design best practices, innovation and what we know works well on the web.
Here are the judges for this year’s competition.
Andrea Wagner, Head of Design at BigCommerce
Andrea leads the BigCommerce design team, which oversees both the UX and look and feel of brand and marketing communications, as well as the UX and look and feel of the BigCommerce product. She leads both teams, providing domain, operational and managerial leadership across our international offices in San Francisco, Austin and Sydney. She has worked directly with design leaders and innovators in the ecommerce industry, including Solange Knowles, LaQuan Smith and the designers at Pixel Union.
Before BigCommerce, Andrea led the global design experience for SONY. She holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University.
She describes herself as a “total geek for fashion, ecommerce, food, and all things visual.”
See Solange and LaQuan's BigCommerce Stores
Solange Knowles and LaQuan Smith chose BigCommerce to power their ecommerce channels. Check out what they’ve built:
Kevin Lee, Head of Design at Visa
Kevin Lee is one of the most seasoned corporate innovation leaders around. With nearly two decades of experience leading digital design teams within some of the world’s most prolific brands, Kevin has seen firsthand the prioritization of corporate innovation proliferate over the years.
He is a 10+ year veteran creative executive and design director with extensive experience in UX, product design and brand strategy. His global experience includes working with top 500 brands in mobile, consumer products, commerce, finance and the healthcare industry, including VISA, Samsung, PayPal, eBay and WhirlPool.
He works to develop integrated digital and product solutions that support business strategies for a high-performing multidisciplinary teams and the millions of global consumers who use their products.
Kevin’s best pieces of advice for businesses looking to drive innovation through design are:
- Prove Impact over Accuracy: Innovators often think too much about perfection, and carry this mindset into the discovery and approval processes. We tend to rely heavily on showcasing previous successes, mistakenly thinking that past triumphs will move the needle for our current requests. As a group, we must do a better job illustrating the big picture impact to the decision makers, many of whom have reached the pinnacles of their careers because they are also big picture impact thinkers.
- Be a Storyteller: As innovators, we often focus on building stuff; developing shiny objects that we hope people will react positively to. But decision makers and end users don’t look at one interaction as an experience. We must think holistically and find ways to bring your vision to life through words and emotions. That’s the only way that stakeholders and consumers will be able to truly see where, how, when and why your digital product can work for them.
Paul Moran, Senior UX and Design Manager at Envato
Paul has been leading UX and online usability teams for nearly 10 years. His expertise is in building online web experiences that aren’t just beautiful, but that convert well for businesses and are easy to use for consumers.
His current work for Envato, the leading online community of creative sellers using the platform to earn more than $400 million, helps lead creatives to learn the skills needed to build websites, apps and more to increase their income and help online businesses.
Paul’s ultimate goal is to “build and support a strong design team while promoting the importance of design so designers have the influence and autonomy to do their jobs effectively.”
Mike Morello, COO of Digital at Inc. Magazine
As the Chief Operating Officer of Digital for Inc., Mike oversees all aspects of the digital product management, visual design/UI, engineering and audience development at Inc.com. He is a product leader with more than 20 years of experience building interactive websites and web applications at world class media companies such as AOL (dating back to 1994), CBS and WebMD, as well as multiple start-up and entrepreneurial environments.
This is Mike’s second year on the BigCommerce Design Awards judging panel. Here is what he had to say about last year’s winners:
“The award winners are incredible examples of thoughtful, immersive online store design, and were selected for their ability to create beautiful online experiences,” said Mike Morello. “These businesses see the value of sharing their brand through visual storytelling, and have a captivating approach to product merchandising.”
Friends, Family and All Online Users
Our final judge is, of course, you. After all, you have been using the internet more than 20 years and buying online goods for about that same amount of time.
Online consumers are the most qualified experts to judge a site’s design and usability. It is web users who push companies like Google, Apple, BigCommerce and more to increase site speed, design ever more creatively and to make the online experience as simple and convenient as possible.
Social voting will open in May. One brand will win an award based solely on the votes of the online community. More information will be announced when the time comes to cast your vote.
How the BigCommerce Ecommerce Design Awards Work
BigCommerce customers and partners across the globe can begin entering the competition beginning April 3 through April 23, 2017. Once entered, you will receive a confirmation email alerting you to any necessary next steps.
Customers and partners can submit their store on the BigCommerce Design Awards landing page. Simply click the submit button and fill out the form.
Judging and social voting will take place May 4 through 18. Winners will be announced June 20.
2016 BigCommerce Design Awards Winners
Wondering where last year’s winners are? We caught up with the 5 brands who won our inaugural design awards to see what all has happened since their big win.
See all of 2016's finalists
Marucci Sports – Grand Prize Winner, 2016
Our YTD website revenue has increased 53%, sessions by 59%, page views by 18% and conversions by 5%
As told to BigCommerce by Dylan Staley, Systems Engineer at Marucci Sports.
“After receiving the design award, we felt justified in putting an even stronger focus into the design when we launched our Stencil-based theme. We used the feedback and comments we received from BigCommerce and other merchants following the Design Awards to help us make our site’s design even stronger.
Our YTD website revenue has increased 53%, sessions by 59%, page views by 18% and conversions by 5%.
We’re incredibly excited about the future of Marucci Sports, and couldn’t possibly imagine a better ecommerce partner than BigCommerce. Our design has benefitted tremendously from the amazing work being done on Cornerstone and Stencil, and we can’t wait to see what our site looks like a year from now!”
Dylan’s Stencil Breakdown
Read Dylan’s full experience with the Stencil platform and redesigning Marucci on Stencil after they won the award.
Di Bruno – Best in Food + Beverage, 2016
Conversion rates have jumped from 1.7% to 2.4%. We’ve seen a revenue increase of 34%, and were recognized by Internet Retailer as a top site of 2016.”
As told to BigCommerce by Janeane Tolomeo, Marketing and Content Manager.
“When you enter our site, you are immediately immersed in our products and brand. From there, users explore cheeses, cured meats, and our gift offering to discover something new and exciting – we love knowing they are feeling inspired and will have a phenomenal experience while enjoying or gifting our products.
One of our favorite features is the short descriptions on the products when you are viewing them in the product category pages. If you are interested in trying a new cheese, you can browse through and select based on images and get a short preview of what the cheese tastes like or what makes it special. Knowing people have a sense of discovery when looking through our site is really energizing and mimics the customer experience in store as close as possible.
Since our redesign, conversion rates have jumped from 1.7% to 2.4%. We’ve seen a revenue increase of 34%, and were recognized by Internet Retailer as a top site of 2016.”
Di Bruno’s Success Story
Nine Line – Best in Apparel, 2016
We are having around a 4-5% conversion rate with our daily 10k users, something we haven’t seen since our huge holiday rush during December.
“We are constantly changing our website. It was a natural process of evolving with the digital age. We found over the past year that roughly 75% of our new users are on mobile and tablet platforms. Our development team wanted to focus on ‘mobile first’ design so we started testing our design concept on mobile devices. We pulled a lot of inspiration from the best practices while implementing customer feedback we have received since the company started. We never want to become complacent, and have always evolved to provide our customers the best experience we can offer.
Since our latest design update, our mobile conversion rate has increased by 1.24%. We have also seen an increase in our desktop conversion rate by 1%. Overall, we are having around a 4-5% conversion rate with our daily 10k users, something we haven’t seen since our huge holiday rush during December. We have also decreased our bounce rate on mobile by 11% and desktop bounce rate has decreased by 5%”
Nine Line’s Success Story
SISU Guard – Best in Sports + Rec, 2016
This award recognizes our exceptional marketing team, our phenomenal partners and above all, the customers who are the strongest brand advocates of SISU Mouthguards.
As told to BigCommerce by Sassa Akervall, CEO of SISU Guard.
“We were deeply honored to have been selected as the Sports Category winner of the BigCommerce Design Awards. As a CEO of a company that offers a great product, I already knew that with SISU we had something special. But I am sincerely grateful for the recognition from BigCommerce, and the opportunity to be featured as their showcase website in Inc. Magazine.
Considering the amount of websites that are hosted on BigCommerce, I should admit I was pleasantly surprised to learn that SISU was chosen as one of the most excellent on this platform. I am very pleased to receive this award pleased because it is an award recognizing our exceptional marketing team, our phenomenal partners and above all, the customers who are the strongest brand advocates of SISU Mouthguards. And, I have to express my gratitude to all the SISU fans who were excited about our nomination and worked so hard to help us win.”
Sierra Designs – People’s Choice, 2016
We’ve seen a 272% increase in conversion and 193% increase in mobile revenue across all 10 of the brands we have on BigCommerce.
As told to BigCommerce by Cory Barnes, Marketing Manager at Exxel Outdoors, the parent company of Sierra Designs.
“We decided it was a great time for a redesign in 2016 because we were replatforming our ecommerce website and transitioning over to BigCommerce.
We had some navigation issues on desktop and a separate mobile site that didn’t make for a seamless user experience. We were inspired by some of the other leading outdoor brand’s sites and their clean aesthetic, lifestyle driven photography, as well as the responsive designs we were seeing from those competitors.
This is the first redesign that the current team was a part of, but we can happily say that metrics are up year over year.
There are certainly a lot of factors involved, but the updated user experience has had positive effect on conversion. We’re also excited about the flexibility that working with BigCommerce has provided. With lower development costs, we’re able to experiment and work with new vendors that can potentially bring more value to the consumer.
Since the award, we’ve seen a 272% increase on conversion and 193% increase in mobile revenue across all 10 of the brands we have on BigCommerce.”
Exxel Outdoors’s Success Story
The competition is open for BigCommerce customers only. BigCommerce merchants can submit their own store, or partners can submit their work for stores. Enter the competition here.
RSVP for the Ecommerce Growth Summit
Will you be in Chicago for IRCE in June? Us, too! We’re hosting our first annual Ecommerce Growth Summit, featuring keynote presentations from Mike Ditka, NFL Hall of Fame Coach, Jason Boyce, Co-Founder and CEO of Dazadi, an Inc. 5000 brand, and much, much more.
Register for the Ecommerce Growth Summit in Chicago this June. Hope to see you there!
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