Archive for ecommerce
One press of a Wi-Fi connected button enables instant ordering of, for now, up to 40 brands through the launch of the ‘Dash’ service for Amazon Prime customers in the UK. Said to take the tedious out of shopping, following its success in the US, UK customers can now strategically place these push buttons in convenient locations just waiting for that product to run out.
You can imagine the customer stories that this would solve. The convenience of never running out of key products that are, quite frankly, not exciting to shop for. But what does that mean for the user experience of grocery shopping in general, and will it open up a shift in behaviour and customer expectations for the main grocery home shopping brands in the UK?
New brand struggle
Singular brand button for re-order may make us less susceptible to new product launches and new brands emerging on the market. How will new products to
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March 2014 – Fashion ecommerce sites
Understanding, measuring and improving the customer experience is a pretty fundamental part of everything we do at SimpleUsability.
Whether we’re working on competitor/comparator testing at the start of a project, multi-platform testing across a number of devices, or an expert review, our research and the resulting recommendations help our clients to improve their customer experience and benefit from the associated commercial gains around improved conversion or internal cost savings.
Whilst usability or accessibility scales are common place, our intention with the Online Experience Index is to apply 30+ years of combined user experience knowledge to benchmark the overall user experience within specific ecommerce verticals and identify who is leading the way in delivering a powerful customer experience.
We report here a review of clothing retail websites Marks & Spencer, Hobbs, Karen Millen, French Connection, Boden, Oasis and Fat Face. Reviews were performed in the week of 10 March 2014.
- Most sites communicated their brand and purpose of website well
- The main navigation was clear and descriptive on most sites
- Few provided support for search or clearly indicated the order of search results
- Product pages were comprehensive and pricing clearly indicated
- Most sites supported customers through the checkout process well, however, few allowed users to make a purchase without setting up an account
In order to score each site’s overall experience rating, a panel of expert UX professionals assessed the site in the context of a core user journey of browsing and purchasing an item.
The examiners rated the site on over 120 key touchpoints, which were tailored to provide a thorough, representative picture of the user experience. These were systematically weighted to denote the relative importance of each individual aspect of the site, and were designed to span multiple facets of the user journey, including homepage, navigation, search and product pages, as well as the flow and usability of the checkout process. From this, an individual rating was able to be drawn up for each facet, based on the overall usability.
In order to emulate a naturalistic user experience, examiners conducted the review whilst undertaking the task of browsing for and selecting items for an outfit, and proceeded to purchase these items as a new customer to that online brand.
The Index, by facet
Considering each facet of the user journey in turn, we found a variation of design usability across the websites that is highlighted through their individual ratings. The following diagrams illustrate the best and worst individual ratings by facet of the user journey.
The homepage announces the brand identity and the purpose of the website. Most of the sites in this review did this well, with the identity in the header and purpose of the website clearly shown above the fold. One site, French Connection, did something different. Their identity is dropped to the footer where it might be missed by users familiar with finding the logo and identity in the header.
In general navigation was done well in these sites, using a top level menu in the header with drop downs for the sub categories. The labelling was clear and descriptive with few examples of jargon. All sites honoured the back-button and most made good use of breadcrumbs to help locate users and provide additional navigational routes.
Sites should, however, take care that navigation is clear and distinctive from other elements of the site. For example, the header on Hobbs crowds the main navigation menu with the search, basket and sign in elements that may overwhelm and confuse users. One site, Fat Face, used an innovative form of navigation that may confuse users new to the site.
All site provided a search function for users and on most sites this was easy to find in or close to the header. Few sites, however, offered search prompts to help users type in search terms and few offered suggestions for spelling mistakes or zero results sets.
In general search results were displayed in a similar layout to product listings, enabling users to interact with them in a familiar way. However, it was not always clear what order results were displayed in or how many results were available. French Connection, for example, displays a count of results much higher than the number of items displayed and obscures the function to sort the results under the Filter link so the casual user may be very confused.
Most sites provided well organised filters that enabled users to narrow their results within several categories. For some sites, for example Karen Millen and French Connection, features within the filters were displayed with very low contrast that may cause problems for users with visual impairments.
In general the sites broke down the process into several stages and clearly indicated the stages up front. Most also allowed users to move backwards and forwards in the stages to enable them to make changes. Few sites allowed users to make a purchase as a guest, so unlike buying from a high street store, the user was forced to set up an account with the site to make a purchase.
The Index visualisations
The following diagrams draw together the individual ratings to visualise, by retailer, the user experience across all facets of the user journey.
Total index score: 80%
Total index score: 78%
Total index score: 74%
Total index score: 81%
Total index score: 72%
Total index score: 83%
Marks & Spencer
Total index score: 86%
Watch out for our next online experience index which will have some new features including; persuasion centred design and scores based on the mobile experience.
We’ll be adapting our index to add sector specific questions and omit areas of the index that are not as relevant depending on the subject that we are reviewing.
Our plan is to target particular categories and topics moving forward. We’ll be looking at how well department stores are bringing multiple department shopping experience to end customers, and looking at specific categories such as shoes and younger fashion.
In our ever more connected society, retailers are increasingly attempting to present a truly joined-up multichannel experience to their customers.
People are able to shop across an integrated experience from in-store to over the phone, from desktop websites to the mobile and tablet equivalents. Shoppers should be provided with a multitude of ways in which to interact and transact, but how are the bricks and mortar shops on the high street coping with the increasing digitally driven population?
SimpleUsability took to the streets of Leeds in order to understand how a number of retailers are facilitating the customer journey.
We then mapped these insights against some of the presentations from the 2013 Internet Retailing Conference (IRC) to understand the broader multichannel reality.
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Native app or mobile site? What is a fashion retailer to do? In this article we will explore current thinking on the relative strengths and weaknesses of apps vs. mobile sites as applied to the specific needs of the fashion retail market, as well as have a look at what some of the UK’s major fashion retailers are already doing.
To read the article published in the December issue of Mobile Marketing Magazine you can go here.
Alternatively if you would like to read the full version of the article with case studies of ecommerce sites then you can go here Fashion M-retail
In case you hadn’t noticed, Christmas is looming large and many retailers are hoping that they will see a massive boost in sales in this make-or break season. Never before however, has the world of e-commerce been so important for retailers.
Guy Redwood, our MD shared with The Drum his top tips on the simple things every online retailer needs to have on its Christmas list. All retailers worth their salt know that their online presence must be every bit as fulfilling and satisfying an experience as a visit to a bricks and mortar store. At no time is this more important than Christmas when customers are scrambling to search out bargains online and worrying about getting them delivered in time to tuck under the tree.
At SimpleUsability we have spent ten years using specialist, cutting-edge technologies such as eye tracking, to capture conscious and unconscious behaviours of people, watching how and why they buy what they do – whether browsing online or walking around live retail environments. We found that there are many simple things that every retail website can do to ensure the best consumer experience possible. Here are my top ten dos and don’ts that every multichannel retailer can put in place and that won’t require extensive redevelopment:
- Don’t cover your tracks A clear strategy for handling post-purchase worry about delivery is paramount. Users want websites that allow them to check the status of their order. If you are using a third party, make it clear who the third party is so that the shopper can chase the delivery agency directly. This also means any problems are more likely to be blamed on the delivery company than the retailer.
- Inspire confidence in delivery On the ordering or checkout screens, make clear reference to your success in handling high demand over previous Christmas periods to establish a reputation as a company that works hard to get orders delivered on time. Support this with positive customer comments.
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Our team conducted an eye tracking review of the Mr Porter website for the July edition of Internet Retailing Magazine. The full article can be read here: Mr Porter Website Eye Tracking Article.
We invited users to participate in sessions to explore the Mr Porter website. Users were either asked to purchase a replacement item of clothing or to buy a gift for someone. By using eye tracking, we were able to observe users’ natural behaviour as they interacted with the website.
Upon entering the website, users were drawn to the large promotion image that took up three quarters of the screen. However, due to the home page offering editorials over products, the users immediately resorted to using the main navigation to either select the department they were after, or the ‘What’s new’ if they were just browsing.
Users responded favourably to the layout of the products when browsing. After accessing a department landing page, they were drawn to the large images and were content to scroll down a long list of results.
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Our team conducted an eye tracking review of Waitrose for the May edition of Internet Retailing Magazine. The full article can be read here: Waitrose Website Eye Tracking Article.
We invited users to participate in sessions to explore the new Waitrose.com website. These were people who shopped online and had different levels of experience regarding using grocery websites. By using eye tracking technology we were able to observe users shopping naturally for basic items that they would regularly need.
Users struggled to find the most basic of items. The simplified initial drop down menu for ‘Groceries’ was limited.In order to find bread, users had to learn to click on ‘Cupboard’>’Food’>’Bakery’ and then choose an additional category such as ‘Sliced bread’.
This was felt to be a long route to individual items. It was not obvious how these sections were ordered within the navigation area displayed at the top of the page,with some users commenting that they expected to see the most common sections first.
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The participants who took part in the research for the new gap.eu website were asked to go shopping to replace their favourite pair of jeans.
From the new homepage we were able to observe that users were drawn to the strong colours on the right hand side of the page (graphic outlined by union jack). Users ignored the main photographic element with the ‘New and now’ messaging, and decided to go straight to the top navigation options. From here there were no drop-down menus available so users could not quickly get into the category that they were looking for.
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We invited a few current online Sainsbury’s shoppers to carry out their weekly shop in our eye tracking studio. Shoppers started at one end of the grocery primary navigation shopping first in the Fresh section, moving on to Bakery etc. Although they had logged into their accounts, “none of the participants used the ‘My usuals’ or ‘shopping list’ features as they were concerned about missing offers” – isn’t this interesting? Customers always amaze!
Once into a product category, images were incredibly important to the shoppers. Participants scanned down the list of photos looking for familiar products, scanning across to the name and price afterwards. Most shoppers had an idea in their head of what something should cost, and hence used price as a sense check to confirm they were buying the right size or correct product.
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