It is no mystery that the face of the online retailers has changed over the years. However, retailers and ecommerce businesses are on the front lines when it comes to website optimization and fine tuning the user experience. We went back in time for 10 major retailers web sites and highlighted the major changes to their storefronts in the past 10-15 years.


1. Amazon

1999

2014

  • Amazon’s logo has changed since 1999, however, the evolution is not as drastic as other retailers.
  • Copy and text were relied on to sell products in 1999, there was not an abundance of photos unlike Amazon in 2014.
  • Many product categories have changed, in 1998 Home & Garden and Automotive were not available.
  • Third-party sellers were not a part of the Amazon ecosystem in 1999.

2. Walmart

2002

2014

  • Walmart’s current site is more graphically driven and includes rotating banners as well as advertisements.
  • Dual menus have been phased out which makes the design much less redundant.
  • Like many retailers, Walmart has redesigned it’s logo over time and now incorporates yellow into the design.
  • The search bar is much easier to locate on the current design.

3. Staples

2000

2014

  • Staples’ web page has had a big reduction in clutter compared to the organization from 2000.
  • There were an overwhelming amount of web links on the left side bar and center column in the old design.
  • Staples’ current page is much more organized and ascetically pleasing.
  • Heavy use of eye catching banners and promotions are now common place on the home page.

4. Best Buy

2000

2014

  • Best Buy’s website in 2000 was very simple in comparison to what is seen today.
  • In 2000 the left site menu was fairly limited and there were not as many product categories to choose from.
  • The remaining real estate, as seen in 2000, was dedicated to weekly promotions, coupons, and store locations.
  • For those that remember, there was a “Y2K information” spot on the side bar in 2000.

5. Target

2000

2014

  • The first thing you’ll notice is the logo space, Target no longer has their name featured in their logo in 2014.
  • Target’s website design was very solid for it’s time in 2000. There was a clear menu and the page was not overloaded with text.
  • A major trend that is seen with Target and other retailers are more graphically driven pages and more products to choose from.
  • Target’s product focus in 2000 it was with home goods and housewares.

6. Overstock

2000

2014

  • The design for Overstock.com in 2000 featured a completely different logo and color scheme compared to 2014.
  • In 2000 Overstock’s site featured products in a grid-like fashion and there were no major promotions featured on the home page.
  • Currently, Overstock uses rotating banners and call out boxes to highlight selected products.
  • Again, many product categories did not exist on Overstock’s page in 2000. Some examples include bed & bath, health & beauty, and furniture.

7. Zappos

2000

2014

  • Zappos only sold shoes in 2000 and it was almost 10 years before other products were offered.
  • Now, Zappos sells clothing, bags, and much more in 2014.
  • Stylistically Zappos has transformed from very rectangular design to a more modular website.
  • The logo has not changed drastically since 2000 other than color alterations much like Amazon’s logo.

8. JCPenny

2004

2014

  • In 2004, JCPenny’s site was designed with small logos and graphics. The entire web page only filled a third of a standard computer screen.
  • The current page is much more responsive and intuitive compared to the older design.
  • JCPenny has also seen a large increase in product categories over time.
  • The logo from 2004 has been replaced with a minimalist design in 2014.

9. RadioShack

2000

2014

  • In 2000 the Radioshack’s web page was similar to others and littered with links, menus and categories that made it difficult to navigate.
  • Unlike other pages in 2000, Radioshack did feature product call outs and promotions.
  • In opposition to other modern sites, Radioshack has reduced the number of product categories to only five.
  • As the brand has evolved, the logo and tag line has been replaced and changed since 2000.

10. Sears

2001

2014

  • In 2001, Sears’ website was filled to the brim with links, menus, and categories.
  • Sears featured brand specific sections in 2001 for Craftsman and Kenmore.
  • The current site is more streamlined and only feature the more robust product categories.
  • Sears has clearly expanded like other major retailers to a larger variety of products in 2014.

As the face of the online retail and ecommerce continues to evolve, where do you see retailers shifting their focus to further improve the customer experience?

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