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Asda.com was the third biggest supermarket online in terms of traffic in the most recent Hitwise Hot 100 list, but its site has been looking dated for a while and in need of a revamp.
However, the supermarket has recently launched a new version of Asda.com, and has revamped its grocery, financial and Asda Direct sections.
Having pointed out ten things that Asda could do better online last year, including navigation issues, and the way the site's different sections linked up, I've been looking at the new site to see if it has fixed some of these flaws...
The problems with the old Asda website were:
Items disappearing from the shopping basket
This was an issue on the last version of the site because, despite the fact that the navigation for different sections of the site were on the same bar, they were actually completely different sites with separate baskets.
This meant that if you put DVDs in your basket then clicked the link to shop for flowers, the DVDs will have vanished.
Thankfully, Asda has now removed this source of customer frustration by joining up the electricals, clothing, homeware etc under the Direct section, with just one shopping basket.
The site didn't fit the screen
It still doesn't fill the whole screen, but it has at least been centre-aligned now, where before there was a large white space on the right of each page. Still, most web users have higher resolutions now, so it should consider broadening the site.
No email signup option
Asda doesn't give customers the option to sign up for offers except for during the registration process, which is a missed opportunity to build a relationship and generate extra sales from interested shoppers.
Separate section of the site not joined up
This was a huge problem on the old version of the site and was terrible for the user. If you wanted to buy flowers, books, and items from the pharmacy section, you were forced to register anew for each department.
To make matters worse, it wasn't clear that this was the case, so you could spend time adding items to your shopping basket, only to lose them when you jumped to another part of the site.
Now, Asda.com has three sections, and all are distinct; grocery, financial services, and Asda Direct, which includes everything else. Much clearer for the user.
Compulsory registration before checkout
This can be a barrier to purchase, and though in the case of grocery shopping it is necessary to enter an address to make sure delivery slots are available, it doesn't need to be compulsory on the Direct section of the site.
At least Asda does explain some of the reasons for and benefits of registration; faster checkout next time, special offers etc:
However, the fact that it asks for name and phone number during the checkout, when these details had to be entered to register is annoying for users:
For cheaper products like books and CDs, a basic image is fine, but if people are spending more, or need to see what products like clothes look like to make a more informed purchase decision then good quality images, a range of angles, and even video in some cases helps to showcase an item more effectively.
While you can zoom in and out of product images on Asda.com, for items like furniture, this may not be enough.
Checkout not enclosed
In the previous version of the site, the top navigation remained on place throughout the checkout process, meaning that there were plenty of links and distractions for users when they should be getting on with the purchase.
This is much better than before, but it isn't perfect. If you click the help or other links, you are taken out of the process onto a page with all the normal navigation options, and without a clear link back into the checkout process.
This will force users to click the back button, which in turn generates this error message warning that to display the page 'the application must send information that will repeat any action (such as a search or order confirmation) that was performed earlier'.
This is a worrying message for users to come across, and concerned that their payment may be processed twice, shoppers may be tempted to quit the process altogether.
Asda would be better advised to display a clear contact number throughout the checkout for users with any questions, and to display privacy policies, T&Cs etc in pop-up windows that don't take the user out of the process. This is a major flaw which should be addressed.
Poor navigation links
Some links on the old site took users to products that weren't listed on the site, but I haven't seen any such problems on this version. In fact, thanks to the filtered navigation options that have now been added, this isn't possible, as the number of matching products is shown for each link:
Delivery costs not shown on basket page
There is now a link on the basket page to further information on delivery charges and times, but it should be made much clearer. This information is a big part of the purchase decision for online shoppers so sites need to be upfront about this before customers checkout.
Charges are made clear on product pages, which is good practice, but confirmation should also be provided before customers are asked to register and checkout.
No reassurance on site security issues
I couldn't find any signs to show customers that it is safe to shop on the site before, but now GeoTrust and a site secure icon are displayed from the shopping basket page onwards, which offers a quick visual reassurance for shoppers.
At least half of the points I raised in my previous post on Asda have been sorted out with this new version, and a few tweaks here and there could solve most of the other issues.
Other aspects of the site have been improved too, product pages are much clearer and now contain user reviews, which are obviously a big help for shoppers and great for conversions.
I would recommend that Asda addresses the issues with the checkout to make sure shoppers don't encounter the error message, but aside from that, the new Asda site is a big improvement.