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Baby products retailer Kiddicare.com has just relaunched its e-commerce site, with an emphasis on improving the site's merchandising tools and product images.

Kiddicare is a retailer that does a lot of things well online, such as offering as many payment options as possible, and organising product reviews effectively, so I've been seeing how well the new version of the website shapes up...

Homepage

The Kiddicare homepage is pretty busy, and there is a lot on the page to take in, but the navigational essentials, links, search box etc are all clearly visible.

Also, use of colour and images makes it easier to pick out different pieces of information on the homepage, such as the free and express delivery offers, as well as sales and other special offers.

Navigation

Kiddicare has opted to show sub-categories via large drop-down menus, which give users the option of one-click navigation to various areas of the site, as well as giving them an idea of the product range in a glimpse.

Kiddicare drop-down menus

Drop-downs can be a pain for the user experience but when they are large enough, as these are, then the risk of unintentionally moving the cursor outside the area and having the menu disappear is reduced.

The site search works well too, correcting obvious misspellings, providing relevant results, as well as filtering options to narrow the selection.

The filtered navigation is excellent on the site, providing a myriad of options to allow users to refine their product search, and making browsing by product category very easy.

The sorting options are effective too, and allow shoppers to order results by price, review rating, and more:

Kiddicare filtered navigation

Here is a site that has made full use of customer reviews to provide a very useful navigational option for shoppers. As well as filtering by review rating, the site has just introduced a new option to navigate to products using customer feedback.

For example, users can select products that are useful for first time parents, parents of two or more children, or by best uses, e.g. for infants, newborns or toddlers:

It's an impressive feature, and adds an extra dimension to the product search, while making it more likely that customers will find a product that suits their needs. Of course, this is possible because Kiddicare already has an impressive amount of reviews on the site.

Product pages

A lot of work has gone into the product pages, and customers can't complain about lack on information, images and reviews on these pages.

The only slight drawback is that they are a little cluttered as a result, but at least customers are provided with enough detail on which to base their purchase decisions.

Delivery options are made clear, including the impressive offer of delivery the next day before lunch if you order before 5pm. Stock levels are displayed, which is good, though I'm not sure why this needs to be explained in detail via an audio file.

The site excels when it comes to product images and videos. As the father of an 11 month old, I can see how useful demonstrations of how to fold prams and fit and adjust car seats are, and this can make a big difference when making a purchase decision.

Kiddicare does this well, with very clear product images from a range of angles, as well as through video demonstrations:

Kiddicare product videos

Reviews are employed effectively here too, and can be sorted according to pros and cons, the type of person writing the review, as well as by how useful others have found it.

The reviews are also left by verified buyers, which avoids the kind of nonsense reviews you get on Amazon sometimes, and for the Spotify app.

Kiddicare product reviews

Shopping basket

The basket is clear enough, and provides good information on payment options, some useful cross selling ideas, as well as visual reassurances on server and transaction security.

Calls to actions, and this is also true of product pages, could be made clearer. If you look at the basket page, shown in the screenshot below, the proceed to checkout button doesn't catch the eye as it should:

The call to action should be the clearest link, and it is also an idea to have it in a different colour (and a bright one) than the other links on the page.

Checkout process

While existing users can sign in if they want to, shoppers have the option of express checkout, so they can go straight into the process without having to register first.

Payment options are outlined on the first page, together with an explanation of each, so all bases are covered here:

Kiddicare payment options

Another impressive feature is the option to rearrange delivery via text message. If you enter your mobile number you will receive an SMS when the delivery is due to be dispatched, giving you the option of re-arranging for a more convenient time:

Elsewhere, the checkout follows best practice well; the number of steps in the process is displayed, the amount of data entry is kept to a minimum with postcode lookups, and the process is enclosed. 

In fact, this is about as enclosed a checkout process as it is possible to get; the only link that will take shoppers out of the checkout is the logo which will send you back to the homepage.


Conclusion

According to Kiddicare partner Scott Weavers-Wright, the redesign and accompanying ad campaign (Kiddicare sponsors What Katie Did Next on ITV2, which hasn't gone down well on Twitter), should increase orders from 30,000 to 40,000 per week.

With this redesign, Kiddicare certainly stands a chance. This is a very usable and well-designed website, which has a lot of excellent features, navigation by user review for one etc, which other etailers could learn from.

Graham Charlton

Published 8 September, 2009 by Graham Charlton

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

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