13 Best Local Retail Websites

13 Best Local Retail Websites (December 2019)

With the biggest holidays of the year just a few weeks away, we know you’ve got your mind focused on shopping. And, while we definitely advocate spending the season enjoying family and friends more than things, we also know that there are some seriously awesome stores across the United States that really deserve your business. Not only do local stores and businesses truly support the community that you live in, but we also find that so many of them tend to be more aware of important things, like sustainability, ethics, giving back, and the environment.

The best local stores also know how to do — or to seek out — website design the right way.

By creating an enjoyable online experience, one that supports their physical location while simultaneously cultivating a digital community, the best local store websites really are an incredible source of inspiration, especially if you’re looking to redesign or develop your own website.

Want a peek at our favorites?

Here are the thirteen best local store websites online in December 2019 — all wrapped up with a bow on this easy-to-scroll list just for you.

  1. Rosehouse

    A living botanical and apothecary in Denver, Colorado, the Rosehouse website has a lot of cool features we’re really digging right now. From the moving background on the homepage to the exciting possibility of sending a plant to a friend via a bike courier, Rosehouse’s website definitely makes an instant impression. And, while some of the layout and font could be modified to be a little easier to read (and slightly more engaging), there’s no shortage of opportunities to explore online. One of our favorite parts about the website, though, is the community classes and events section, which allows online visitors (and in-person fans) to easily register for upcoming gatherings (Medicine Making and Houseplant 101, included). (Also note that the events page doesn’t feature tons of old classes, which can be frustrating to visitors wanting to see what’s actually available to attend.)

  2. Spur Line Supply Co.

    A pretty cool Shopify store designed for a popular Albuquerque shop, the beauty definitely lies in the simplicity and usability of this site. Like the store, which curates unique goods, the website feels curated, with nothing unnecessary anywhere to be found. The menu includes just five items: Shop, Events, Our Story, Contact and Cart. The homepage, which is equally minimal, is barely scrollable, offering just two images alongside pertinent information, like the types of goods you’ll find at the store and hours, address, etc. The Shop section of the website is unique thanks to its interesting take on categories, which include sections named “Burn” and “Smell”. One of our favorite parts of the online shop is the animated product images — the product photo changes when you hover so that you get two experiences with the product without ever having to click. (As you hover, the price is also revealed, giving you the information you need to decide whether to invest in a click.)

  3. Frock Boutique

    While most local store websites are choosing to make online shopping an option, some, like Frock Boutique in Asheville, North Carolina, are opting out of the trend. Although this can be somewhat risky, especially knowing how popular (and convenient) online shopping is, local stores that have invested in creating a unique in-person experience can reap rewards — big time. The website for Frock Boutique gives a potential shopper all of the information they need, including the styles and brands of clothing carried at the shop, while still ensuring that there is the anticipation of actually going shopping — and hopefully finding exactly what you were looking for (and then something else on top of that). By choosing to keep all shopping relegated to the physical location, Frock Boutique shows a unique commitment to their local community — and that’s something that customers really love.

  4. Books Are Magic

    The beloved New York bookstore owned and operated by author Emma Straub, the Books Are Magic website is absolutely one of our favorites. Not only does the beautifully designed website provide an actual experience (or dozens, to be exact), but it does a superb job when it comes to creating a thriving community, thanks to additions like Featured Events on an interactive calendar and a tempting mailing list sign up. Everywhere you look you’ll find gorgeous design elements and tons of recommended books, all sorted into fun-to-explore categories. And, while the blog isn’t updated as often as we’d like, the content on it is genius, ranging from helpful book club tips to curated and themed book lists that make it easy to find your next favorite read.

  5. Take Heart

    Located in Austin, Texas, the website for Take Heart is enjoyable to use and explore. Using a minimal and modern layout, the homepage for the website showcases warm and cozy images, ones that highlight texture and shadows, in order to set the casual yet personal mood. While the footer of the homepage provides information for the physical store (as well as social media links), the main menu focuses on creating a convenient online shopping experience. Featuring five categories of products in the main menu, the website for Take Heart makes exploring unique goods easy. Great product images and a creamy (not bright white) background just add to the overall appeal. And, if you’re curious abut improving SEO, the small addition of a search tool in the upper left hand corner does just that.

  6. Encinitas Surfboards

    Old school but definitely not old, the website for Encinitas Surfboards feels classic in all the right ways. Laid back and cool, it’s not a website that seems like it’s trying too hard — and that’s exactly what makes it — and the store — so appealing. From a traditional menu to an expected footer, the website (which is operated from a Shopify platform) is super easy to use and navigate, which helps online visitors get from A to B in the shortest amount of time possible. The Quick Shop feature is an example of this website’s convenience, allowing customers to quickly add products to their cart without ever having to actually visit the product page (which, if internet is slow, can be a dealbreaker for so many sales).

  7. Dog Eared Books

    While we really like the layout and overall appearance of the Dog Eared Books website, what really helped us make the decision to add this San Francisco store to our list is the content. With the “standard” website experience engrained in everyone’s heads, sometimes website designs just do what’s expected of them, rather than actually offering visitors what they want. The Dog Eared Books website provides visitors with all sorts of cool experiences, ones that so many bookstore websites fail to include. For example, the homepage for the website has a large “Dog Eared Bestsellers” section, which features all of the local store’s bestselling titles — and it’s regularly updated, too. Other sections, like a live Instagram feed and information about the current art displayed, makes you feel like this store is live and well — and waiting for you to come visit.

  8. University Bicycles

    No, it’s definitely not perfect, but the friendliness and appeal of the University Bicycles website makes up for all of the small design blunders (like a main menu that gets covered by the logo as you move to smaller devices). One of the benefits of being a local store is that you automatically have a captivated audience — the people right in your neighborhood. University Bicycles, which has been a staple in Boulder since the 80s, understands that the best marketing really is outstanding service — and that’s showcased all over the website. From headlines like “Unrelenting Friendliness” to a unique section all about the store’s bike museum (which includes bicycles from the 1800s), everything about the experience feels homegrown and authentic, making it the perfect example of a not-so-perfect local website done right.

  9. Burro

    A super cute local store in Venice, California, the Burro website provides visitors an opportunity to fall in love with products and the store itself by featuring a balanced mix of both experiences online. While you can easily shop online thanks to the intelligently sorted product collections, there are enough beautiful in-store photos to tempt you to stop in in-person when you can. Designed with plenty of white space and high quality images of each and every product, it’s easy to scroll without feeling overwhelmed — or bored. Like other smart online stores, Burro’s website features a Quick Shop feature, giving shoppers an easy way to fill their cart quickly. And, thanks to an Amazon Pay option, checking out is easy, too.

  10. Tusk

    With bold font and large images, the website for the Chicago-based store, Tusk, feels more like a trendy online magazine than a website for a local store. Leveraging that vibe, the Tusk website chooses a less-is-more approach for its design, providing a solo image on its homepage and a minimal menu to browse. The online shop is small (featuring just a dozen or so products), but because of its limited selection you feel more inclined to seriously dive into each project, rather than just browsing and then leaving the site. Other unique experiential features include a ready-to-play soundtrack to set the tone and an easy-to-find link to the store’s active Tumblr and Instagram profiles.

  11. Young Blood Boutique

    Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the Young Blood Boutique isn’t anything fancy — but it’s definitely effective. Simple and well-organized, the website is everything you’d expect it to be, including an enjoyable online shopping experience. But, what really elevates it, is its photos, which go beyond the standard professional product photo by including other lifestyle elements, such as fresh picked flowers and enticing textures. While not all of the photos change when you hover, the ones that do definitely add an engaging element, one that makes you want to click to learn more.

  12. Apple and Oak

    Filled with charm and cute copy, the Apple and Oak website definitely has a personality, one that appeals to its target audience no doubt. From super funny novelty gifts (like an “Adequate Lover” ribbon) to one-of-a-kind products (like vintage Turkish rugs), the Apple and Oak website is nothing if not unique. While the actual layout and design of the website is fairly generic, all of the personality makes it fun to use. Added features, like tons of ways to pay, elevate the online experience from good to great.

  13. Play

    Fun and colorful, Play’s website is everything you would hope a toy store’s online home would be. From great images (that actually show kids playing with toys) to a Mister Rogers quote that will make you want to sit down and play yourself, the website provides the perfect backdrop to facilitate curiosity and excitement. So, while online shopping isn’t a possibility, there’s still plenty to discover, including Play’s awesome in-store services, like gift wrapping, call-ahead ordering, delivery, and even toy assembly. The one-page website is easy to navigate, allowing for both direct access to sections via the main menu or scrolling. The best part about the website, however, is that it feels local and passionate, making the overall experience one that’s unique from “big-box” toy options.

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