Dare Greatly, Win Big: Six Elements of Effective Ecommerce Design

tips for good design in ecommerce with Miva's Creative Director, Danial Dashtizad

Ecommerce Teardown with Danial Dashtizad, Creative Director at Miva, before he spoke for the MivaCon 2017 Miva Keynote. For the keynote, Danial covered product discovery, personalization, and harnessing good design to express your brand. Missed it? Get the top sought-after recap here.


In the case for ecommerce, it’s easy to overlook good design when business owners, reliant on sales at retail, underestimate its impact on the overall customer experience. But with shoppers spending more these days with just a swipe, hesitating to stake your space online is no longer careless—it’s costly.

Enter Danial Dashtizad. Danial is the Creative Director at Miva who’s led industry leaders such as MZB USA, Kauai Coffee, and Bare Bones Broth to redesign their storefronts online, and a true tightrope walker guiding clients to dare greatly, win big by forging the line between performance and design.

Here are six keys to effective ecommerce site design with Danial Dashtizad.

1) Good design is effective, and aesthetic

“Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA, or MZB, is one of the world’s largest coffee groups, yet their online storefront was basically a directory of logos,” says Danial Dashtizad, Creative Director at Miva. “We helped MZB transform this landing page—essentially a placeholder for logos of these brands with great presence in their markets—to a complete shopping experience that tells their story and carries the message of their brands.”

We saw a huge opportunity to integrate the MZB shopping experience while telling and promoting each brand story in a way that was completely immersive and fluid.

2) Good design takes the tangible online

Taking over new territory is a challenge in itself, but the stakes rise even higher when a legacy brand like MZB is faced with transitioning customers.

“One thing we’ve really liked doing to help the user navigate a complex site is enhancing product discovery,” says Dashtizad. “The new site still offers brand loyalists the opportunity to shop brands by name through the homepage, the general navigation, and through search with advanced filters. Additionally, we built an application to help the undecided, unfamiliar customer find what they’re looking for.”

One disadvantage of online is you can’t touch or feel—really, experience a product personally. We’ve set out to bridge that gap by implementing visual elements like the roast selector.

“The application we built for MZB is a visual selector which uses color and descriptions to identify different qualities of each roast available on the site. Harnessing effective visuals and making it interactive for the customer is one way we’ve been able to bring that tangible experience online.”

3) Good design integrates, not isolates, brands

“With an established group like MZB [which carries several brands], you have a huge opportunity for cross-selling,” says Miva’s Creative Director, Danial Dashtizad. “This is where a multi-level approach to product discovery comes in handy.”

“Say you drink Hills Bros., and you come to MZB’s site searching for their decaf coffee. With the visual roast selector, the homepage, advanced search filters, and the general nav, customers have a chance to find and choose from various brands.”

Customers are automatically served up relevant sub-brands, so there’s a great opportunity for cross-promotion and discovery of new products.

“We like to [enhance discovery] in traditional ways, as well as complement the tried and true methods with visual approaches.”

4) Good design elevates your brand story

Not only did Danial and the design team at Miva get to create an immersive and fluid shopping experience for MZB, but also for a sub-brand of the coffee group. And, as with all noteworthy narratives, they made sure that this brand story inspired a share.

“We designed a separate website for Kauai Coffee, a Hawaiian coffee brand which is sold on MZB’s site but also has a rich story of its own to share. We wanted to make sure we conveyed it visually by sharing their story on the MZB site, and also provide a central hub for their customers to shop on.”

“In designing this site, we considered the customer experience in its entirety. Sometimes we shop with others, but we also shop for others. So we built a feature on the Kauai Coffee site that allows you to order coffee for yourself and for others on the same order. Perfect for the holidays!”

5) There are no shortcuts with good design

When it comes to story, you’d be hard-pressed to find one to outlast that of Bare Bones Broth, whose staple cooking stock simmers on centuries of tradition. In the words of company founder Ryan Harvey, “Stock making is the oldest and most widely taught tradition in cooking, so we honor and embody this tradition in everything that we do, taking absolutely zero shortcuts.”

With a shared attention to detail and respect for process, Bare Bones Broth and Miva collaborated to design a memorable site that would relaunch the “souperfood” and its presence online.

“Boosting conversions has always been a priority for Bare Bones Broth, but their old website was dated,” says Danial Dashtizad, Creative Director at Miva. “Their brand, story, and craft were not properly conveyed and their checkout process was unnecessarily complicated.”

The simple route would have been to go to a “marketing specialist” and flood the page with simple conversion solutions like giant buttons. Instead, Bare Bones Broth poured their story into their brand, which served as an awesome foundation for a complete redesign.

Bare Bones Broth utilizes good design for an award-winning ecommerce site

As with cooking stock or a fine wine, good things take time. By taking the time to capture the heart behind the brand, Danial and the design team at Miva helped Bare Bones Broth re-enter the online market with a powerful, beautiful storefront.

Since the launch of the new site, Bare Bones Broth has seen a 25% increase in online revenue, as well as boosts in conversions, total transactions, and average order value.

6) Good design knows its audience

Finally, the most effective ecommerce sites are built for, and around, their audience. The founders of Bare Bones Broth knew that their top customers spent time in the kitchen but deserved to save time otherwise. So Danial and the design team at Miva served up two solutions for these “souper” fans: fresh recipes, and an even fresher way to pay.

“We designed an online experience complete with a blog and recipes section that really conveyed their craft and principles, providing their customers with a real beacon for quality, nourishing foods,” says Dashtizad. “We also integrated subscription features directly into their product pages, as well as the checkout process.”

As a result of integrating subscription features to their site, Bare Bones Broth received almost triple the amount of subscribers as projected within the first month alone.

“They’ve created a brand that stands for quality ingredients and ethical sourcing, and are now benefitting from a loyal following and recurring monthly revenue.”

Bare Bones Broth utilizes good design to go direct to customers


When it comes to effective ecommerce sites, good design is a huge differentiator for winning—or losing—customers. Optimize your site with these helpful resources to implement good design.

Design resources: