Officer's Club was, along with Woolworths and Zavvi, one of the casualties of the credit crunch, going into administration this time last year, though the company was purchased and has recently relaunched online.
As seems to be the trend with some fashion sites, Next, ASOS etc, the new Officer's Club website has a black background.
The homepage layout is clear, and information such as the free delivery offer has been prominently displayed, as has a phone number and all the key navigation.
Just below the fold, a scrolling display showcases new items and bestsellers, a useful way of presenting a large amount of products without crowding the page:
The navigational options are clear and easy to use, the product filtering options make it easy to find relevant results from searching and browsing and narrow down the options.
One interesting feature I haven't noticed on e-commerce sites before is the addition of price filters to the drop-down menus, possibly a means of catering to a price-conscious customer base:
The site also has a 'quick look' option which allows shoppers to click on products within search results and see product details, choose a size and add items to the basket without having to go to the product page:
This same feature was introduced to the new Adams website, as the old version of the site had relatively low transition rates from product list pages to product detail pages.
This kind of preview option is designed to overcome this problem by offering customers an easier and smoother route to view product details, availability etc and make a purchase. It also makes it easier to look at a number of different products quickly without having to load up each product page in turn.
Elsewhere on the site, I like the '£50 outfit' offer, a version of Marks & Spencer's 'dine in for two for £10' for fashion. The offer is clearly communicated to customers and the basket adjusts the total price accordingly as the items are added:
The product pages are well designed, with clear price and product information, and useful cross-sell options on the right of the page:
The product images are provided from four different views, the photos are good quality and can be zoomed into, making it easier for customers to get the best idea of how the product will look when they get it home:
There is a clear link provided to see delivery prices, though shoppers do have to scroll down to find the prices, and unless people use the back button, no obvious route has been provided back to the product page. A clearly labelled link back, or displaying the delivery charges and info in a pop-up may be a better way to do it.
The basket page is clear, and contains all the information that customers are likely to need, which means they do not have to leave the page to find anything out.
Site security logos and reassurances about safe shopping are clearly displayed, as are the different payment methods available. The option to pay by PayPal has been provided, which makes a lot of sense given the target market and the fact that people do like to have alternatives to card payments.
The possible barrier of making customers register before purchase is dealt with by removing the need to register altogether, though there is the option to enter a password at the end of the checkout.
There is a one page checkout process on the site, which does potentially speed the process up, especially as data entry is restricted to just the essentials, and the form works well, though the process hasn't been enclosed, with the main navigation remaining visible throughout:
Possible customer errors in postcode entry have been anticipated, so if you enter the letter O instead of a zero, it will still find the correct address. It also provides the option for shopper to add more detailed delivery instructions:
The site is well designed throughout and has been made easy to use for customers, and it does the basics of e-commerce usability very well.
It seems to be working so far, as I'm told that sales so far are ten times higher than for the same period last year, and that there has been a rise on conversion rates.