Innovation eCommerce lives at the intersection of what you want your brand to be and what it currently is.  It’s the pie in the sky you’re working toward. The “dream big” mentality.

It’s also the actualization of your brand promise to your customers.

That gives innovation an important role in your business, especially at a point in time in which consumers value brand transparency and shopping convenience over nearly all else.

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According to PWC, shoppers today “have higher expectations than prior generations, value transparency, favor convenience over price and shop via mobile more than ever.”

Failing to provide for these shopper expectations is an inhibitor to your success.

How you prioritize and execute on these needs is crucial to your brand growth now and in the future. Technology certainly helps, and can be the bridge you need to close the gap between customer expectation and brand capability.

But for your brand to be truly innovative, you must go above and beyond. Technology can only take you so far. You have to drive that extra mile to surpass customer expectations and deliver on your brand’s ultimate promise: to be the trusted and preferred leader in your space.

We launched the Big-commerce Innovation Awards to find those leaders, and uncover the strategies and inventions hiding in the code that customers can’t see. In doing so, we were beyond impressed with the innovations coming from our Big-commerce community, including:

  • Product page customization that out-Amazons Amazon, and ranks #1 on Google: Store Your Board’s transformation of product pages into living landing pages complete with FAQs, customer photos and an entire community rallying around products in a review system unparalleled even to Amazon’s.
  • Visual search more powerful than Pinterest: The Knob Co’s custom image-search functionality allows customers to upload an image of any doorknob –– from anywhere –– resulting in an exact or near exact match from 50,000 SKUs in less than a minute.
  • A data clean-up of a lifetime, and one employee’s powerful Board presentation: AwesomeGTI was in a rough place, with 50,000 SKUs on an outdated platform, each poorly aligned to data sources created by an ex-employee no one could understand. With investors holding their feet to the fire, the company has figured out a way to do a 180 in less than 6 months.
  • On-site personalization that creates self-selected custom audiences, and saved one B2B business from bankruptcy: Caden Lane’s product page customization tool allows customers to mix and match all styles of product to build the perfect bedroom set for their newborns. With 193% growth in the last year, personalization has been the key to Caden Lane’s transition from B2B to B2C, and kept their business not only above water, but millions in revenue.
  • An engineering feat never seen before (hint: lasers included): Man Crates’ automated laser-etching system spanning two warehouses and thousands of orders per day –– getting customized orders ready only four minutes after checkout, and on their way to the customer for next day delivery.

Here are the brands that brought about the most innovative eCommerce implementations in 2016, and what you can learn from their success.