Ecommerce Brands: 10 Innovative Online Businesses To Watch in 2023

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Without a brick-and-mortar store to draw customers in to experience products in-person, it’s critical for ecommerce businesses to have a recognizable brand in order to stay front-of-mind with customers.

Your brand influences how customers feel when they buy from you. A great brand strategy can encourage referrals, set expectations, and give ecommerce businesses a more human side—ultimately keeping shoppers coming back for more.

But what makes for a memorable brand—and how can you make your brand stand out in a crowded market? Ahead, learn about 15 of the most inspiring Shopify-powered brands in 2023, as well as a few takeaways you can apply to your own brand to maximize ecommerce sales.

10 ecommerce brands to inspire your online store 

Whether an ecommerce company uses an online marketplace or is powered by an ecommerce platform, there are inspiring examples everywhere. If you have a budding ecommerce startup, look no further than the brands that have paved the way before you. Here, explore 15 online stores and discover what makes them successful. As you market your business, design your online store, and set sales goals, let these examples guide you.

1. Fishwife

Fishwife is a fresh take on traditional tinned fish. The female-founded DTC brand has transformed a cupboard staple into a hip must-have. 

Tinned seafood is hardly glamorous, but Fishwife uses bold colors and swirling fonts to bring an old-fashioned food product into the present day. The brand uses nostalgic, sepia-toned imagery overlaid with bright, primary colors to provide an eye-catching contrast and invokes a sense of nostalgia with shoppers. 

Further down the homepage, customers can see a selection of bestsellers, each of which boasts vibrant packaging that adds to the fun branding. This will no doubt help Fishwife stand out among other tinned fish brands on supermarket shelves and in SERPs. 

Key takeaway: Research how brands similar to yours present themselves, and consider how you can do things differently. Refreshing a tired old industry with a simple splash of color or stand-out branding can elevate you above the competition. 

2. Alfred

Ecommerce homepage for the brand Alfred

Coffee is a competitive industry right now. Stay-at-home orders during the pandemic saw people ordering in their favorite beans to get their morning caffeine kick, posing a problem for retailers seeking a consistent brand.

Coffee brand Alfred began as a humble coffee shop in Los Angeles before branching out to other locations across the US, as well as in Japan and Kuwait. Alfred combines its in-store presence with an eye-catching online store. The homepage hero image features a mouthwatering series of close-up coffee clips, while illustrations and outlined fonts create a nice contrast to the hyper-realistic videos. 

It’s important for Alfred to create a cohesive brand across its physical locations and online store. Having bold fonts, a limited color palette, and a collection of illustrations to pull from means it can switch up the design in each location without losing its sense of brand.

Key takeaway: Have several brand assets you can use to create a cohesive design across your online store and physical locations (if you have them). You can pick and choose which elements to include while maintaining a recognizable brand.

3. Pipcorn

Pipcorn was the brainchild of a family of founders who discovered heirloom corn during a house move. They went on to reinvent their favorite childhood snacks with a delicious taste and plenty of natural ingredients.

The Pipcorn website has an organic feel to it, with neutral colors that match its packaging. 2D illustrations bring the product to life in a series of animations, giving the heirloom snack a personality that consumers can connect with. 

One of Pipcorn’s biggest selling points is its natural ingredients that turn a tasty snack into a health-minded one. The brand’s organic undertones reflect the company’s health focus, instantly connecting with shoppers when they land on the site. 

Key takeaway: Ensure your branding reflects your values and biggest selling points. Just like Pipcorn uses natural colors to highlight its commitment to using natural products, consider how you can present your product’s unique selling proposition through colors and imagery. 

4. Dossier

Dossier is on a mission to sell perfume at cheaper prices. It plans to bring what’s considered a luxury product to the masses so that special scents can be accessible to all.

Despite its affordable pricing, Dossier pulls elements from luxury design to give its brand a high-end feel. There’s lots of white space, bold modern fonts, and a limited, neutral color palette. Further down the page, shoppers can browse a selection of products that are displayed simply in a neutral beige box. Even the packaging aligns with the luxury, minimalist vibe—white labels feature small flourishes of black and red text. 

Key takeaway: Make sure your branding reflects the brand you want to be perceived as. If you want to present a high-end feel, use luxury design elements, like white space, neutral tones, and clear, modern fonts. Psychological design is a useful tool for invoking specific feelings and generating actions from website visitors.

5. Beauty Pie

Beauty Pie is a cosmetics subscription service that offers shoppers access to products directly from beauty labs so they can bypass retailer markups. 

The brand uses image-based graphics to highlight its unique selling proposition and the key benefits of the product. And, because it has such a large social media presence, it incorporates social media design elements into its brand. These include things like square-shaped product images, product tags, and user-generated content lifted directly from social media. 

Key takeaway: Use your design and branding to highlight your unique selling proposition. It’s important that shoppers understand what you’re selling and why they need it straight away, so use images and illustrations to show this from the get-go. 

6. Bittermilk

Bittermilk brings professional-level cocktails into everyday homes. Started by a team of mixologists, the brand sells hand-crafted mixers—all the customer has to do is add a dash of booze.

Bittermilk’s brand takes inspiration from vintage apothecary design. The ecommerce website is a limited mix of three colors, and the rest of the store follows suit. The site is light on information, and instead lets its products do the talking. Apothecary bottles are back on trend, and Bittermilk has latched onto this with pharma-style packaging that’s distinctive from other cocktail mixers on the market.

Key takeaway: Draw inspiration from the history of products in your category, and try reimagining it for a modern customer. If other packaging in your industry uses bold colors and loud fonts, try differentiating with muted tones and a simpler look. 

7. Olipop

Olipop is a popular soft drink brand that has created healthier versions of classic childhood flavors. 

Oilpop capitalizes on bright, airy colors that reflect the flavor-focused product inside its cans. The website features a pastel color palette and puts the product front and center to highlight that what you see is what you get. 

Branding can be a great way to add context to a product—for example, the light colors and fun, playful branding of Olipop encourages thirsty shoppers to feel a certain way when they buy from the brand.

Key takeaway: Consider how you want customers to feel when they shop with you. Do you want them to feel relaxed and summery? Or what about warm and cozy? The colors you use will influence how shoppers feel, so use your palette wisely. 

JAfter discovering the importance of microbiomes and their impact on nutritional health, Ben Goodwin was inspired to launch his creative soda brand, Olipop.

8. Meow Meow Tweet

Meow Meow Tweet is a sustainable brand dedicated to creating pure, all-natural formulas for everything from insect repellant and face cream to deodorant. 

Product images are integral to an ecommerce brand, but so is the way you present the products on your site. Meow Meow Tweet adds fun, playful elements to its design with the help of whimsical illustrations. The drawings are showcased on both the packaging and across the brand’s website, from the homepage and product pages to the checkout.

Key takeaway: Add your own stamp to your brand with illustrations. These can be used on your packaging and across your website to bring together physical products with the digital design of your online store. 

9. Welly

Welly puts a fun spin on bandages and other first-aid items with bright designs perfect for the whole family. 

Bandages aren’t a particularly fun product to promote, but Welly manages to make them stand out against plain drugstore counterparts with bright colors and playful designs. The brand is all about encouraging adventures while making sure you’re prepared for them. Its website reflects that adventurous feel with bright, natural colors that are reflected in the product packaging. 

Key takeaway: Give a serious product a lighter spin with bright colors and fun imagery. Think about the message you’re trying to promote and use that to drive your branding. 

10. United Sodas of America

United Sodas of America sells naturally sweetened sodas in a variety of different flavors for a low-calorie, healthy twist on classic favorites.

This is a prime example of how branding can affect the way shoppers think and feel about your brand. While Olipop and United Sodas of America both sell health-focused sodas, their respective branding couldn’t be more different. Whereas Olipop presents a kitschy, summery vibe, United Sodas of America is more starkly bold, relying on sans serif typography, a cool-toned color palette, and lots of white space for a more minimalist feel. 

Key takeaway: Your branding can make all the difference when standing out from the competition. The way your fonts, colors, and product photos work together will create the overall feeling shoppers have when they’re on your site. This is what will differentiate you from the competition, no matter how similar it is. 

Top branding tips for online stores

A person designs branding assets on a paper pad

As you’ve probably realized by now, the most influential ecommerce companies—from a wellness startup to a DTC food brand selling authentic Chinese food—have one thing in common: great branding. 

Branding is more than just a logo. Branding defines everything from your mission and values to your brand voice to the colors and fonts you use to build your online store. Ecommerce branding can seem daunting, but it’s an important first step—before you even think about selling products. 

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Define your brand story, including your mission and values.
  • Establish a brand voice that will be consistent across marketing campaigns and customer touchpoints.
  • Invest in branding design, including deciding on a palette, logo, and the look and feel of your website and photo shoots.
  • Leverage free online tools or hire a pro: there are branding solutions for every budget.
  • Follow consumer buying trends and understand your audience.

Inspiration for ecommerce business owners is everywhere

The way your site looks is important for first impressions, but you also need to deliver a great customer experience and keep shoppers coming back for more. The most successful ecommerce business owners know that brand extends beyond color and logo. Brand also defines and centers the customer so that each visitor has a personalized experience that builds brand affinity and keeps them coming back.

Wrapping Up:

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