Case Study
Jan 29, 2022

Special Milano - fashion multi brand eCommerce UX case study

Written by
James Burghes

Special Milano is a fashion marketplace that lists products from a wide range of globally recognized brands, such as Nike, Adidas, Y-3, The North Face, and Reebok, to name a few.

Listing products from such high-profile brands, there's isn't necessarily a need to do anything extravagant with your storefront design as the brands can, figuratively speaking of course, speak for themselves.

Where there is no need to do something, then why bother? Especially if it's going to cost you an extra five figures in design and frontend development costs.

Special Milano is a great example of website that kept its storefront customization to a minimum whilst also providing a smooth, seamless user experience.



On mobile, they chose a user-friendly hamburger menu that is accessed from the top left-hand corner wherein the parent categories branch into their respective subcategories.

The desktop version features a megamenu that contains images in the drop-down, a highlighted sale category (because why not?), and a link to their Instagram page via the 'Sneaker Club'.


The homepage doesn’t differ much between mobile and desktop, both including a banner advertising their season sale, followed by two tiles promoting select products.

Notice how there are almost no lifestyle images featured on the homepage, but rather product-specific. This goes hand-in-hand with what we said about the brands speaking for themselves.

Special Milano ecommerce UX homepage

Below this section, we see a difference between mobile and desktop - the latter has an additional section that highlights select brands and categories.

Special Milano ecommerce UX homepage

And, of course, no fashion homepage is complete without showing a selection of products. Sale items are clearly displayed with a green percentage clearly showing the amount being discounted of the original price.

Notice that they also included a desktop feature that blanks out out-of-stock products when hovering over them.

Special Milano ecommerce UX homepage


There doesn’t appear to be anything special going on in the footer here, but comparing mobile and desktop, you’ll notice that they decided to contain the site links within drop-down menus on mobile as a means to save space and improve the overall look of the website.

Another big feature (which is admittedly easy to miss) is the language selector, found right at the bottom of the page. Multi-language storefronts provide a much smoother experience than, for example, relying on automated Google translations which take a few moments to appear and often in a very janky manner for each subsequent page the user visits.

Special Milano ecommerce UX footer

Product Listing Page

All PLPs, whether brand or category-specific are kept as simple as possible, the only difference being different banner images for some, but not all, brand-specific PLPs.

As mentioned before, with such widely recognized brands, there may not be a need to go the extra mile to present each brand in a unique way, as most people are fully aware of the likes of Nike and Adidas and the quality of their products.

Special Milano ecommerce UX product listing page

When it comes to filtering, on both mobile and desktop the filters are hidden by default. Clicking on the filter button on the mobile version opens a full-screen popup where users can select the brand and size they're looking for, whereas on desktop the filtering options appear on the left-hand side when clicking the button.

Special Milano ecommerce UX product listing page

Product Page

Special Milano follows the same convention as we’ve seen before when it comes to stacking the sections on mobile versus having them side-by-side on desktop. 

One thing that really stands out here though is the total lack of product information. Again, this could be due to the fact that they mostly feature popular, internationally known brands that need no description.

Special Milano ecommerce UX product page


Just as in real life, there is little to distinguish this cart from the others - it serves a well-defined function and anything that deviates too far from what is commonly accepted may cause users to turn away.

Special Milano ecommerce UX cart


While the mobile version seems quite typical as far as forms go, on desktop, everything here is quite literally flipped (when compared to most of our other examples) with the order summary on the left and the form on the right. Is this perhaps an Italian custom?

Special Milano ecommerce UX checkout

Summary & Suggestions

Overall, Special Milano's website is clean, simple, easy to navigate and discover products, and just generally well presented, with a few details here and there that draw the users attention to sale items.

If the time comes that they decide to improve their platform, there are certainly a few ideas that they could consider.

Firstly, they could add more product and brand information on the product pages and brand pages, respectively. There is no product or brand information to be found on the website, and while we did mentioned that these are well known brands, some customers do like to read something about the product, or at least know what materials are being used be, before making a purchase.

Of course, this would be quite a laborious task to put it lightly, and perhaps their business is doing just fine as it is.

Another idea would be to introduce product bundles. A bundle allows a retailer to sell several products together as a fixed, customizable, or semi-customizable group, usually at a price lower than purchasing each item individually.

Bundles could be used as a means to sell less popular items by pairing them some of the more popular items, or as a means to get rid of last seasons stock by packaging them together with other items from new or previous seasons.

UX deliverables guidelines

When it's time to upgrade your storefront design by using a more custom solution, here a few things to help streamline the process:

  • All layouts should be designed mobile-first, desktop-second (but you will need both)
  • Using pre-made components shortens the implementation time
  • Layouts should be presented following the user journey in an orderly fashion
  • All actions and menu or navigation states should be included
  • All brand or icon assets should be in SVG format 
  • UX design hand-over using or a similar service is recommended
  • UX questions & answers sessions should be included
  • Follow up adjustments or corrections should be anticipated


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Written by
James Burghes
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