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Online lingerie retailer Figleaves.com recently launched a revamped version of its website, aiming for more of a high quality look and feel.
I've taken a look to see how it compares...
The homepage has a simple look and feel to it, with plenty of clear calls to action. The top navigation is clear, products are well promoted and options are clearly labelled.
It is also smaller than the previous version, and requires less scanning and scrolling by visitors.
It's also good to see the delivery charges and free returns policy promoted on the homepage (as well as every other page on the site). These are potential clinchers if a customer is deciding on a purchase, so it's best to make this information as clear as possible.
We would recommend offering free delivery as an effective sales driver, but £2.95 compares well to other online retailers.
The biggest problem about the homepage for me is the screen size: the site only fits roughly two-thirds of the screen, so you are left with a lot of blank space on the right hand side:
I'm not sure why the site has been designed like this; the trend of recent redesigns seems to be towards optimising for higher resolutions, and just over 5% of web users still have resolutions below 1024 x 768.
Navigation / search
Navigation links, both from featured products and through the menu bar, are clearly labelled and, though a drop down menu has been used for some categories, it isn't too cumbersome.
Visitors can also navigate via the bra finder on the left. I presume the reason for this is because this is the best selling product category on the site.
After choosing a category or entering a search term, users are given further options to fine tune product searches and filter out unnecessary results:
This can be done by brand, price range, type of garment, fabric and more - plenty of options. Individual filters can also be removed easily, while the number of products for that filter option is displayed, which helps customers avoid coming up with no results.
The product pages are impressive; all the information a customer is likely to want is easily available to view.
Delivery and returns information is at the top of the page, availability and delivery estimates change according to the size or colour selected, while the products can be viewed from different angles, or zoomed in.
The cross-selling features are excellent too, with up to six other products in the same ranges or brand displayed underneath, alongside a 'customers who viewed this item also viewed...' feature.
Product reviews are also on offer, with a useful visual summary of ratings awarded for each product:
Also on offer is a Q&A section (provided by Bazaarvoice) which allows customers to pose questions about products, which are answered by other users.
I noticed this recently when looking at Halfords, and it's a good idea, though I wonder how much input the website has into the accuracy of the answers, and therefore how much they can be relied upon.
There are plenty of options to 'share' the product with others, with links to Facebook, Digg and Delicious, as well as an option to email friends. I'd be less inclined to send my friends info about pyjamas or underpants than, say, a laptop, but perhaps other people feel differently.
Basket / checkout
No major problems here either, as the basket provides a neat summary of contents and charges, is easily edited, and provides a clear checkout link.
The checkout process is pretty smooth too, no major registration before purchase, data entry is easy enough, and a progress bar lets you know what stage you are at and how many more to go:
Also, the process is almost entirely enclosed, with links to the rest of the site disappearing once a customer reaches the address details page.
As so often on e-commerce websites though, the links at the bottom for contact information, delivery details etc will take customers out of the process.
If this happens, pressing the back button will give them a 'webpage has expired' message, meaning that the process will have to be started all over again: a potential source of frustration / abandonment.
One feature I have never noticed before on an e-commerce site also caught my eye on Figleaves. Instead of merely allowing customers to enter a delivery address, they have the option of having goods delivered to a nearby post office:
I don't know how many users choose this option, but it potentially eliminates the issue of being around to receive deliveries; handy for people at work during normal delivery hours.
The redesigned site is impressive. Details are made very clear to customers using it, delivery charges, stock availability, email signups and more. Product pages are useful, while Figleaves makes good use of user reviews and cross-selling techniques.
The main thing I didn't like is the screen size, which almost spoils the look of the site for me, and it seems unnecessary when the vast majority of web users now have computers capable of handling larger screen resolutions.
UPDATE: Figleaves contacted me about the screen resolution issue; this is a problem with the company's legacy system, and something which will be rectified next year. The site will be centred and stretched to fit more of the screen.
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