John Lewis relaunched the fashion section of its website this week, aiming for an extra £70m in clothing sales by 2011.
The retailer, which currently gets just 6% of online sales from fashion items, has added new brands and redesigned in an attempt to make the section more appealing. I've been taking a closer look...
Navigation / search
The links to the John Lewis fashion section are prominently promoted via the homepage display at the moment, or else through the main navigation bar.
Site search also works well, correcting obvious misspellings and dealing well with search phrases. For example, a search for 'blue shirts' returns exactly that:
Also, as the screenshot above shows, John Lewis has done an excellent job with its filtered navigation, so I can select men's shirts, then formal, then the required size, and narrow my initial search to a manageable number.
These filters and sorting options are also in place for browsing, so shoppers have the choice of browsing by product category, brand, price range, size and colour.
Also important is the fact that the number of products in each feature set is shown in brackets, something which helps customers to narrow their searches without returning no results at all. Filters can be added and removed easily so customers can browse by different combinations of features.
The product pages provide all the information shoppers are likely to need on available sizes, and delivery options while keeping the page uncluttered and east to read and scan.
The shaded boxes indicate when stock levels on certain sizes are running low, something which might persuade some shoppers that they need to buy the item sooner than they intended.
You can zoom into the clothes by mousing over the main picture, or else opening up a bigger product image in a new window. The pictures are good quality, and allow you to see detail, but what is lacking is a variety of views to get a better idea of how items look from different angles.
The basket page is good, with the clearest links on the page being the checkout call to action. There is a button to continue shopping but this is below the fold and less clear.
This means the customer should have no doubt about how to proceed, though perhaps a brighter colour for the call to action would make it stand out even further.
In the checkout process, as Paul Rouke has pointed out previously, John Lewis is following best practice to increase conversion rates with a minimalist design, and very few links which take customers outside of the process, all of which are clearly marked.
Registration is not compulsory, and happens smoothly as part of the purchase process, a telephone number is visible throughout, as are security logos, and the number of steps remaining before completion.
I also like the delivery options, which cover almost all bases. Customers have the option of standard free delivery within a few days, delivery to a store the next day, an express option, or the opportunity to have goods delivered on a specified day. All good ideas.
I think product images could be improved for fashion items to make them more appealing, alternate angles would be better, and John Lewis should also consider using product videos to give shoppers a better idea of how clothes will look when they try them on.
Like the rest of the John Lewis website, the fashion section is well designed, easy to navigate, and the retailer is clearly following best practice to make the site user friendly.