Highlights from eCommerce Design Summit 2019

Blog / 10 Apr 2019

Tags: eCommerce / Events / UX


Last week we attended the eCommerce Design Summit in Central London, a 2-day conference dedicated to discussing how experience-led design is changing digital commerce in Retail & Travel.

It was the first edition of this senior and intimate event, and over 200 Senior Product and Experience Designers made an appearance. Not only did we sponspor the summit, we really enjoyed the talks and wanted to briefly share the best highlights and tweets 🌟🚀

Day 1 focused on retail and covered a wealth of topics; ethics, strategy, AR, emerging markets and AMP, to name just a few.

Yolanda Martin, Head of Platform Design at Farfetch, predicted UCD is going to get us all killed and encouraged a move towards platform design. She asked everyone to "look a little bit further than we have been asked", so we don't create problems for the future with our solutions for the present.


Mel McVeigh, Product Director at Condé Nast International, encouraged us to be travellers not tourists, taking a step back from being in the detail all-day-every-day. Taking the time to think (and ensuring that the thinking really IS thinking and not doing) so you can solve puzzles and mysteries, was both valuable and inspiring.


One sign of a great session is when everyone is taking photos of your slides. Audible sighs were heard from the audience who were not quick enough to take snaps of Head of UX Vanessa Kirby's detailed presentation as she explained how her team at M&S "keep the customer in the room". Vanessa said she wanted to give actionable insights and the buzz later on suggests she achieved that aim.


Into the afternoon speakers from John Lewis and Zalando talked through projects on AR and advanced recommendation algorithms, encouraging us to "fake it until you know it's worth spending time on", while Vaimo walked us through the history of eCommerce.


Day 2 of the summit moved its focus from retail to travel and leisure.

Martyn Reding, Head of UX at Virgin Atlantic, kicked off the day talking about his journey to build a new design team over the last year.


He was followed by Jenna Swire and James Ferguson from On the Beach who walked the audience through a highly successful redesign of the checkout process. Over both days attendees seemed keen to hear about practical examples and this session went down well.


The day progressed with presentations from Open Table,, Airbnb, and Trainline. Incredibly thorough and data-rich was the A/B Testing talk by Kasey Seo, Product Designer at; whilst Ashley May, Product Designer at Trainline, combined experience and sarcasm for a memorable session.



At 4pm I was joined on stage by panelists Martyn Reding (Virgin Atlantic), Enrica Wong ( and Sophie Swindles (TUI). We talked about the day-to-day of experience design in an agile environment. The panel took an interesting turn once we moved onto the sharing of insights with the rest of the company - it seems that the struggle to promote research findings is very real for the design community. The panel gave some interesting recommendations in response to audience questions.


Gavin Edwards, Director of Product Design & Research at Skyscanner, had the hard task of bringing the summit to a close on a Friday afternoon. His belief that "people have majors and minors", so you don't have to be good at everything, was a positive affirmation to walk away from an information rich two days.