Currys has been in the news recently with DSG International announcing the closure of 77 UK stores, a reflection of the ongoing shift in consumer buying trends as more shoppers buy electronics products via the internet.
With this in mind, the Currys website will become even more important as a revenue channel. We have taken a good look at it to see how it fares and what improvements - if any - could be made...
Faster page load times
This doesn't happen on all pages on the site, but when you select one of the main categories it takes more than 20 seconds to load the page (*I'm using cable broadband), which means you are left staring at this page while you wait:
Most people now have broadband connections and expect pages to load within a couple of seconds, so this is far too slow. Better caching might be the answer.
Make it easier to move back and forward through the checkout
When going through the checkout many customers may make errors when inputting data. As such they will want to skip back and forth between the stages of the checkout process.
The best thing would be to let users click on the checkout progress bar to move back and forth, but with Currys you have to use the back button. Many web users are savvy enough to avoid using the Back button when form-filling, in case it wipes their data (an all too common occurence).
And hey, once you go backwards beyond more than one checkout stage and this very problem arises... you are logged out, and you then have to re-enter your password to resume the process:
And because I have been logged out the forms are wiped and I have to choose my delivery options and enter my payment details all over again. Argh.
Don't add items to my basket without asking me
Along with finding hidden charges at the checkout, this kind of thing can be very annoying for customers. In this case, having selected a laptop for £399, Currys has added Norton Internet Security to my basket, adding a further £30 to my bill. This is an outrage, frankly.
Plenty of customers may not notice this and continue through the checkout. It will only be removed if the consumer spots it in time, and gets rid of it (always a good idea with Norton).
Giving customers the option of purchasing useful accessories is fine, but retailers should ask first before adding items to the checkout. Bad form.
Don't make people register before checkout
People are going to have to enter their address details for delivery anyway, so why make them register before starting the checkout process? This is placing unnecessary obstacles in front of customers.
Make links more obvious
When you want to click on a product for more information, you would normally expect to click on the product title to get through to the product information page (especially if the titles are in blue, and look like links).
This is not the case with Currys though, the only clickable part of the product listing is the picture:
Put important information above the fold
When reviewing your basket, just before going to the checkout, you can review your purchases, and add insurance and other extras.
However, all the information on finance options is hidden away below the fold, so it is very easy for users to miss:
Currys does give you its pay monthly and other finance options later in the checkout process, but this is information that most people will want to see before they decide to buy.
Checking delivery availability
Once you have added a product to your basket, the last stage before checkout is to enter your postcode to see whether or not Currys can deliver to your area:
Most other major online retailers don't need to ask this question, so why does Currys? They should be able to deliver anywhere in the UK.
Don't time me out too quickly
Having left the website on the shopping basket for just five minutes, I came back to see this time out message:
Five minutes is way too short to be timing customers out, as people will often leave a website unattended for a few minutes to answer the phone, make a cup of tea, tend to the cat's demands, or whatever...
This meant that I had to click on a link to go back to the homepage, only to find that the items I had already added to my basket had vanished, so I had to start all over again. We're convinced that Currys is losing orders because of this.
Email sign up form
Currys' email opt-in form is puzzling. Asking for a name and email address is fine, but some people may wonder why Currys needs you to enter your date of birth and postcode to send them emails. Sure, it's nice information to have, but as a rule of thumb you should try to keep forms to a minimum, capturing only the most pertinent information.
That said, perhaps Currys is missing a trick by not asking useful information that could help the retailer make its emails more relevant, such as preferred email format, frequency, and maybe even some information on the kinds of products they usually buy.
Make it easier to unsubscribe from emails
Making it easy for users to unsubscribe from emails is important, as recipients are likely to mark your emails as spam if they have trouble opting out, which in turn can affect your sender reputation with ISPs.
Currys, however, has buried the unsubscribe link at the very bottom of the email, in small text. This in itself isn't particularly terrible... however, of the two emails I tested from Currys, the unsubscribe link didn't work at all.
Online Retail 2007: Checkout Special