M&S Xmas Multi-channel – Our iPhone Eye Tracking Review
Our team conducted an eye tracking review of M&S multi-channel activity over the 2010 Christmas season for the January edition of Internet Retailing Magazine. The abbreviated article can be read here: M&S Mobile Website Eye Tracking Article
We ran a range of tasks relevant to Christmas, either browsing for a last minute present or choosing an outfit for the festive season. The cross channel experience allows users to be more demanding about the vehicle that they use to shop, and the expectations that they bring with them to that experience. This is a huge challenge for companies when providing functionality across multiple routes, in this case website, mobile website, TV and in store.
As the study took place on the Monday before Christmas, online delivery was not available to customers except for certain products. 2010 had an unusual run up to Christmas due to wintry conditions disrupting deliveries, so online customers were forced to the high street to physically get hold of gifts. Far from stopping online activity, users turned to the web for information, inspiration, availability and reservation for in-store collection – if you really have to make your way to the shops you might as well know that the stuff that you want is waiting for you!
Christmas last minute gift shopping
On the general website, gift shoppers often looked for a gift section from the homepage, with ‘Christmas shop’ not always being an obvious place to get started. The default page, after users had chosen a category, informed users about the passing of the online ordering date but still gave access to the ‘Christmas helper’.
The ‘Christmas helper’ section actually had a limited selection of gifts available. Users were forced to look elsewhere on the site to find a gift section that they could browse, which they found from the ‘Flowers & gifts’ section. The functionality felt broken within the ‘Christmas helper’ with links to ‘see more’ returning the user to the Christmas helper homepage.
With users often needing to buy multiple gifts, it’s a time of year that ‘3 for 2’ stands out. Within the general gift finder it’s hard for users to filter by offer and make purchase decisions based on items within that offer. We observed users looking at the ‘3 for 2’ call outs while browsing. This was particularly the case on the mobile website where there were limited sorting options.
Users were left with few options from ‘Shop your way’ as the first collect from stores dates were often the 4th or 6th January – too late for Christmas. When on the mobile website one user wanted to see if their item was available in stock at their local store.
The Marks and Spencer Christmas adverts are star studded, with celebrities such as Danii Minogue modelling the clothes. When looking for an outfit that had been seen on the TV advertising users found it difficult to get started. We observed users looking for a section for the outfits featured on TV within the general navigation. Users had to scroll to find the thin M&S TV black banner, with many users trying to click on the arrow icon that would not let them access the section.
We noticed that users were initially missing that the products were appearing on the right hand side of the TV advert playing. Users eyes were centrally concentrated and darting to the content underneath. When users did find this functionality it did complete the experience although the scroll icons were unfamiliar and awkward to use. Users became frustrated with items being out of stock or not being able to easily find a product that one of the celebrities was wearing.
By clicking on one of the ‘all outfits’ links to the right a section was found where the outfits could be filtered by a person. This helped users who wanted to find a particular item they had seen one person wear. The breadcrumb at the top of the page showed that this content was available but quite hard for users to access.
From the mobile website users had to rely on browsing through the product categories. This meant browsing through multiple pages with users missing the ‘narrowing’ options available at the bottom of the pages.
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