In the same week that Amazon launched its standalone footwear site, Tesco launched its clothing range online on a separate website, Clothing at Tesco.
The site showcases the clothing range that shoppers will find in its Extra stores, as well as exclusive online items. I've been trying the new site out...
The most striking feature of the site is the black background. Such backgrounds seem to be a bit of a trend in online fashion sites, with both Next and ASOS opting for this colour, but it can be a strain on the eyes.
Colour scheme aside, the homepage is clear and well laid out, and easy for users to scan and find out where key navigational elements are.
Search / navigation
According to Tesco, the site has a 'robust search facility enabling customers to find items quickly', and the site search does work well, returning accurate results quickly, as well as dealing with misspellings and suggesting alternatives.
You can click on a section heading on the menu bar and browse by links, or jump straight to individual product categories by using drop-downs:
Link navigation is made easier by the filtering options on offer, which are comprehensive enough to narrow down product searches:
The product pages do the basics well, in terms of displaying the essentials like size details, delivery charges etc, though extras like reviews and stock information would be an improvement.
The photos are very good though, providing a few alternative views and allowing shoppers to zoom in and see detail:
Basket / checkout process
The shopping basket links stands out well on the site, and the basket summary page does a good job of providing information on payment methods, as well as clear links to security policies, returns, T&Cs etc.
The calls to action, as on product pages, are clear, as the turquoise colour and size of these buttons contrasts well against the background of the site.
If you are already registered with the main Tesco site, that login will not work on the clothing site, though it has not made registration too difficult. Users can simply input their email address, and create a password later:
Once in the checkout process, data entry is smooth enough, and there aren't too many steps to take before completing the purchase. Though I haven't actually made a purchase on the site, I noticed that Tesco has Verified by Visa and SecureCode on the site.
As I have discussed before, such card verification schemes can be a killer for conversion rates, but at least Tesco makes customers aware of this before they enter payment details, letting them know that they will be sent to the third party site then returned to Tesco to confirm the purchase. The worst thing retailers can so here is just to send retailers to verification pages without warning.
Enclosing the checkout process by removing search functionality and primary navigation can allow the shoppers to focus purely on completing their purchase by removing unnecessary distractions.
It is something which can improve conversion rates, but Tesco has kept the navigational links and search boxes so the checkout is the same as the rest of the site. This means that shoppers have plenty of opportunities to exit the process and plenty of distractions when they should be concentrating on entering address and payment details.
While Clothing at Tesco is a well designed and generally usable website, I think there are a few improvements that could be made to it. The product pages, though they do the basics well, could do more to sell products with better sales copy and features like reviews and displaying related products.
Tesco could also think about streamlining the checkout process and removing the navigational links to other parts of the site to see what effect this has on conversion rates.