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Electricshop.com is the online arm of independent electrical retailer Strangewood Group.
The site has been updated recently and I've been taking a look to see how it measures up against the bigger electrical retailers' sites...
Text is clear and readable, and the site displays some reassuring signs; the PCI Compliant and Internet Shopping is Safe logos, as well as clear contact details.
Elsewhere, latest offers are well laid out, as well as links to recommended and best selling items.
The main navigation is simplified, with links to 'kitchen and home' or 'home entertainment' the only options, though further categories are provide once you click on these links.
A prominent search box provides a clear option for visitors looking for a particular product. The size of the search box is also appropriate for an electrical retailer, allowing for longer queries as is typical with electrical products.
Searching for products
If you search for a product type or name in the box, or select from the range of categories, electricshop provides some useful feature filters to help you to refine and narrow down your search:
Filtering is essential when you have a large amount of products in one category, and the site does this well.
There are enough filtering options to enable users to refine searches effectively: price, brand, colour, as well as technical details like energy efficiency and size (for cookers that is).
Filters can also be removed easily, while results can be sorted in various ways, allowing for easy manipulation of product searches.
The product pages do most of the basics right and the price and other charges are made nice and clear; as well as displaying the free shipping offer at the top of each page on the site a single price including VAT and delivery is shown.
Reviews from Reevoo are provided for products where they are available, and the call to action buttons are designed to stand out clearly on the page.
Further information about delivery options, warranties and technical details are displayed below the fold, though for some products, such as this 52" TV, more technical information may be a good idea if customers are spending £1500:
A couple of features which I haven't seen too often on other sites are also included here; price challenge and multi savings options:
For the former, you can provide details of a competitor selling the product cheaper and electricshop will attempt to match the price, while the multibuy savings option offers discounts for customers buying five items or more.
Both of these rely on customers typing in product details and waiting for the site's sales team to get back to them, which may not work for some (though a phone number is provided for a quicker answer).
Basket / checkout
A basket preview is provided which overlays the page and gives a summary of products added so far and the total price. This needs a bit of adjusting though, as the basket preview is cut off, so part of the product descriptions and half the checkout button can't be seen:
The full basket summary page is nice and neat, providing a summary of products and charges with links to more information:
The checkout works pretty smoothly too; I like the fact that the site doesn't insist on registration before checkout, as customers will enter details anyway for delivery. This removes an unnecessary obstacle.
Once you click through to the basket and checkout process, the main menu bar and other navigation links are removed, which helps to funnel the customer through to the payment stage.
Links to information about security and returns open in a new window, which should avoid the risk of customers accidentally abandoning the process, though the 'contact us' and 'about us' links will take customers out of the checkout.
Electricshop.com is a well designed and easy to use website. The design has been well thought out to make searching and buying products easy for customers.
There are a few problems though; it can be slow to load at times, especially when adding filters during product searches, while some of the customer testimonials at the bottom of the product pages don't convince:
There is a testimonial on each product page, not necessarily related to the item on display and, without exception; each one is full of praise for the company.
Now, Electricshop.com may have plenty of happy customers ( the Kelkoo page for the company paints a similar picture), but reviews can lack credibility when they are nothing but positive.
Any company, no matter how efficient the company may be, will have the odd unhappy customer, and the occasional negative or ambivalent review can have the effect of making the rest seem more believable.
Graham Charlton is a researcher at E-consultancy. Find him on Twitter here .