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Crafting Conversion. An e-commerce panel discussion presented by MakeReign® and FutureYouX.

Emma Hobson, employee at MakeReign, profile photo - Blonde woman wearing a white jersey with hands on her front

Emma Hobson UX Researcher

FutureYouX, a community initiative driven by the team at MakeReign, recently brought the industry together for their Crafting Conversion series, where they hosted an insightful panel to discuss and interrogate the role that design plays within an e-Commerce context. 

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e-commerce, talent, business


Facilitated by Mathew Marsden, entrepreneur and founder of the StartupClub ZA, five e-commerce and product design specialists joined the team at the iconic Homecoming Centre in District Six on the 24th of August, to share their expertise on the topic.

Unpacking the symbiotic relationship between the design discipline and successful digital business outcomes, through an insightful e-Commerce Panel, hosted by FutureYouX.

The pace of the digital world doesn’t seem to be slowing down, and the integration of digital products and services into our daily lives has naturally increased the need to discuss, explore and learn more about the role that UX plays in optimising customer journeys and driving business growth across online business offerings.

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The everyday consumer no longer has the same patience they once did with digital product and service experiences. Consumers “expect better, they demand it.” Good is no longer good enough. Now, exceptional online experiences are the goal. make reign Genie Botha Head of Product @ MakeReign


This year’s panel comprised of Thought Leaders across the design and commerce industries, from product design leaders to payments specialists, retail UI experts, business owners, and everything in-between. The experts, although diverse in experience and approach, all shared a golden thread of thought throughout the night; design plays an undeniable and critical role in achieving commercial success in the online world.

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  • Dean Broadley: Head of Product Design @ Yoco, IxDA President
  • Amy Tayler: UX Designer @ Superbalist
  • Genie Botha: Product Design Director @ MakeReign
  • Dave Kusel: Product Coach & Head of Payments and Fraud @ Woolworths
  • Rogan Jansen: Co-founder & Creative Director @ Dash Digital Studio

We spent some time reflecting on some of the key learnings from the night.

The panel discussion served as a useful tool to explore different viewpoints on the central topic and assorted conversation branches, and allowed for industry experts to engage with each other on thoughts they agreed or disagreed with.

Through this, the audience was able to take practical insights back into their own worlds of work, and grow the industry to be the best against a shared understanding and set of high standards. Here's what we learned;

Personalised experiences drive conversions

Emphasising the importance of personalization in e-commerce means tailoring content, product recommendations, navigation and marketing collateral to individual preferences. Customisation is key to meaningful engagement.

Data-driven decision making is imperative to real-world success

Panellists unpacked the crucial role of user research in guiding innovation. Understanding user behaviour, tracking key performance indicators and iterative testing are all drivers behind informed design decisions that help achieve key business objectives. The only way to adapt offerings to the market is to truly understand the people you are crafting for.

Mobile optimization and accessibility considerations are non-negotiable

The need to adopt a mobile-first approach (with desktop as a now nice-to-have) couldn’t be stressed enough. The increasing number of consumers shopping on mobile makes the need for a seamless mobile experience paramount. Following this, within any user group, there will always be considerations required for assorted impairments that, if catered for, elevate any offering by opening up the base of consumers.

Technological success goes hand in hand with visual innovation

The digital experience is not divorced from the way a customer engages with it, and the interface patterns applied to bring that to life. Effectively weaving considered UI elements  and brand identity into e-Commerce layouts help maintain consistency across all touchpoints, and caters for a cohesive and trustworthy experience, encouraging loyalty and reinforcing connection between consumer and brand.

Leveraging the omni-channel experience will set you apart

Creating a seamless omnichannel experience by leveraging emerging technology in-store and beyond brings a standard commerce funnel to life in engaging ways. It’s presumed that businesses that get that right now will see great ROI in future.

Concluding Thoughts

The universal need for “ultimate convenience” has undoubtedly amplified within the rapidly growing e-commerce sector, particularly in the post-pandemic boom of the digital era. This year’s Crafting Conversions panel discussions not only created a space for thought-provoking conversions, but also one to interrogate and creatively connect with a community of industry peers.

The trajectory of the design industry is much like the digital world; ever-changing and completely unpredictable, and forums like this allow the community to lean on one another throughout the evolution of the platforms we craft against, and the people we craft for.

The value of thought-leadership and skill sharing within the industry is insurmountable for individual and business growth, and has shown that together, we can find innovative ways to solve any problem our consumers face.