Sweaty Betty first started in 1998, at a time when sportswear for women was a rather niche category within retail.
Now, athleisure has grown to a two billion-dollar industry, with brands of all kinds launching their own sportswear ranges.
With 60 stores and concessions in the UK and the US, Sweaty Betty is known for its physical presence. However, it has always strived to satisfy online shoppers, having launched its first website early on in 2000.
Thanks to the ever increasing importance of mobile, the brand has recently redesigned its website with the aim of improving CX across all channels.
Here’s a review of Sweaty Betty’s new site (specifically from a mobile perspective), focusing on key areas of change.
Fast and responsive search
According to the retailer, 60% of Sweaty Betty customers now use mobile or tablet devices to shop online. In response to this, Sweaty Betty – working with ecommerce specialists Tryzens – has strived to make mobile shopping an easier and more seamless experience.
This is immediately evident in the site’s fast and responsive search, which swiftly returns suggested products based on just a few letters.
The search bar is also well positioned to catch the user’s eye, appearing at the top of each and every page of the mobile site.
Another nice touch is the option to move to a different category from the search results. If you search for ‘leggings’, for example, you’ll also be able to see all the various places leggings appear on the site (not just in one product category). In the screenshot below, they also appear in an article on ‘bum sculpting leggings’ in the ’inspiration’ section.
This nicely highlights the new editorial content on the site (more on that later), as well as pre-empts any particular queries or needs the user might have.
Prominent product images and video
With the majority of shoppers using mobile to browse and buy, the new site is also designed to showcase products on smaller screens.
This means a focus on prominent imagery, with each product page including multiple images (with clothing on and off models) as well as a catwalk video.
Without the ability to touch and feel clothing, Sweaty Betty’s heavy use of imagery helps users visualise how products might look in real life.
In the context of workout gear, the extra detail about fabric is also particularly valuable. As well as an additional zoomed-in image, the information about how to wash fabric is likely to be helpful, and something that consumers will be interested in – especially given the higher price point of the brand.
As well as browsing via mobile websites, an increasing number of people are now starting their shopping journey on social media apps, with Instagram in particular acting as a big source of inspiration and discovery.
Sweaty Betty has now integrated its own Instagram feed onto its website, in order for shoppers to browse and shop this way. Images include product details and the option to click through to buy.
Sweaty Betty has not yet experimented with Instagram’s shoppable feature, which allows users to click through to products via the app. This means there is even greater need for its own on-site Instagram feed, as it helps consumers to easily find any items they’ve previously spotted on social (without trawling through product pages or asking for details).
It’s also just another way for users to browse items, with Instagram imagery putting clothes in a real life context. With a bit of a filter, naturally.
The only negative is that there is no option to add specific items to your basket from a single Instagram image, meaning users will have to click back and forth to be able to shop an entire outfit.
Lookbook and lifestyle elements
While there’s a good amount of functional features on the site, Sweaty Betty has also integrated fun and inspirational elements which, like its social integration, is designed to aid discovery.
The lookbook is one example of this – a feature that again enables the brand to put products in context, and to bring to life a particular theme or story. The current lookbook is based on the subject of London – the brand’s birthplace and home city.
As well as a pleasing narrative, the lookbook is easy and enjoyable to view, with block imagery and descriptive copy helping to bring it to life.
Being mobile optimised, users merely have to scroll down in order to view it.
Underneath each image are links to the items featured, alongside an option to ‘get the look’, so that users can shop an entire outfit in one go.
This is not the only way to browse the lookbook either, as users can also click ‘shop now’ to view a category page filled with everything that’s featured.
Sweaty Betty’s editorial features aren’t only reserved for product inspiration. It has also launched a number of informative and standalone guides to help consumers find exactly what they’re looking for.
The fabric guide goes one step further than the information included on each product page, and gives a detailed view of different fabrics and what they’re good for.
For instance, the ‘power fabric’ is apparently ideal for boxing or running, while the ‘reversible fabric’ is better for yoga or pilates.
There’s also a black leggings guide and a bra guide, with the latter recommending the right items based on size and the shopper’s activity of choice.
These guides – which are akin to those you’d find in a lifestyle magazine or blog rather than a brand site – help to elevate Sweaty Betty’s UX, giving users valuable and informative content alongside products to buy.
Other features of note
Here are some other features that make Sweaty Betty’s new site sing on mobile.
Sweaty Betty’s homepage design nicely mirrors its focus on editorial. This is in recognition of the interests of the brand’s core customer – someone that cares about fitness alongside elements of wellbeing and lifestyle.
The inclusion of the hasghtag #Iamasweatybetty also helps to include the audience in this narrative, with the brand’s own definition of its name cementing its customer-centric approach.
The wishlist feature is another new additon to the site, allowing registered users to add most-wanted items to their very own wishlist.
This can be easily shared via social or email, which is likely come in handy for big fans of the brand when it comes to birthdays or Christmas.
Find a nearby store
Store locator tools are a vital way for retail brands to drive sales and bridge the gap between online and offline channels. Sweaty Betty’s store locator is a fine example, automatically detecting location to find the nearest store.
The embedded map and opening hours are also helpful, as is the list of what the store in question offers (e.g. ‘bra fitting services).
Econsultancy offers training in ecommerce, online merchandising and UX, as well as an Ecommerce Best Practice Guide. For more marketing and ecommerce case studies, head to the Festival of Marketing 2018, October 10-11 in London.