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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.  

Figeaves homepage

I've taken a look to see how it compares...

Homepage

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:

Figleaves screen size

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.

Either way, it would have looked better centred, as M&S does, or with the background filled with some colours or symbols that go with the brand, as Topshop has done:

Topshop screen size

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:

Figleaves product filtering

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.

Product pages

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.

Figleaves product pages

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:

product reviews

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:

Figleaves checkout

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:

delivery to 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.

Conclusion

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.

Related articles:
Site review: property search engine Globrix
Ten things Asda can do better online

Related research:
Online Shopping and Credit Crunch Survey Report 

Graham Charlton

Published 22 October, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

Avatar-blank-50x50

Richard

A good overview of the look of the site - any information from Figleaves.com on improvements in conversion / real customer feedback?

The Local Collect service you haven't seen before has been available for years on many, many sites.

They must have a very lame "legacy system" that can't chuck in a center tag at the top of the page!

And I'm still not sure that copying TNT's colour scheme was a good way to go for a lingerie site...

almost 8 years ago

Andrew Nesbitt

Andrew Nesbitt, Developer at Forward Internet Group

Center tag? ewww

margin: 0 auto; please

almost 8 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Figleaves Frustrated Customer

What the ?!*& is wrong with this website? I've been trying for days to get onto the homepage, but it is taking about 10 minutes to load. Shame, as I've always bought from Figleaves over the last few years and I usualy spend around £200 at a time, Here I come John Lewis; at least their website is easier to use...

almost 7 years ago

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