Which ecommerce sites are setting a great example for others to follow?
I've been asking the Econsultancy blog team, as well as a few ecommerce experts, for their suggestions of great ecommerce sites.
I've picked the rest, some because they offer an excellent all round experience, others aren't perfect, but were chosen for specific aspects which others can copy/learn from....
With no registration, customers are sent straight into the checkout process, which contains clean pages, simple forms and no unnecessary distractions.
The site has worked well so far, with 143% sales uplift from tablets alone.
AO, previously Appliances Online, is a great site to head for if you want to see examples of best practice. It has also been refreshingly honest with us, talking about how it redesigned its product pages for example.
Schuh's Stuart McMillan nominated AO, though we may have done so anyway.
Why is the site good? Lots of reasons, but check out the product pages for one.
We have great use of social proof with the reviews and Facebook mentions, while all the information customers need to decide on big ticket purchases is there, along with clear delivery information.
The product and landing pages on this site are excellent, and go the extra mile to describe and demonstrate the products. My only gripe is autoplaying videos.
Take this image for example, a great way to show what you can fit in there:
Some great navigation too. You can scroll left or right from product pages to see slimmer/thicker wallets. Or use the top nav bar instead:
We've talked about ASOS a lot on this blog, purely because it offers a great example of ecommerce best practice (as well as social, customer service and more).
According to Paul Rouke from PRWD:
Across devices, in fashion retailing ASOS continues to deliver an exceptional experience in many areas - service proposition, site speed, genuinely valuable shopping features, integration across devices, and just lots of lots of ecommerce best practice.
Who needs to reinvent the wheel when you have a clear focus on delivering what visitors expect and desire?
This site was nominated by Christopher Ratcliff and David Moth, so it must be good...
One neat feature is the 'scarcity indicator' on the product pages, a great use of urgency for increasing conversion rates.
B&Q does a lot well online, and is making strides to provide a multichannel offering, with in-store wi-fi and loyalty apps.
It offers a great user experience on desktop. Ben Davis likes the category pages, such as this one for wooden sheds:
It's a very useful page, with excellent filtering options that allow shoppers to narrow the selection and choose according to the features that are important to them - size, price, ease of assembly, and so on.
If you want to pay £100 for wellies, this is the place to go. Nice clean product pages, smooth checkout, and good use of colour contrast for call to action buttons.
I've often used Schuh's product pages as an example of how to use images in ecommerce, with great presentation and a wide range of angles.
As David Moth describes in his recent site review, Mulberry has managed to deliver a blend of luxury and user experience, proving that the two are not incompatible.
The site is well-designed,, with some great imagery to showcase its products. I also like the little touches such as the mouseover effects on category pages.
Another selection from Paul Rouke, and here's why:
Over in the US during 2013 we’ve been extremely impressed by the significant improvements The North Face has made to its browsing and buying user experience. Its new product lister experience and in particular the big, bold, persuasive product pages are key highlights in the user experience.
It has truly embraced key concepts, such as white space, clarity of information, the importance of providing engaging content and how to provide customer reviews in a persuasive, emotive way.
Nominated by Chris Lake for it's excellent product pages and use of product images. Here, it uses five different product images, as well as the option of a 360 view. I also like the way it displays both UK and European sizes on the page.
For pure ecommerce, I'm a fan of Freepeople.com, a US clothing retailer. It has created a strong visual brand identity online and invests in striking product imagery. The site is just enjoyable to browse.
Guest blogger Nick Whitmore nominates this site:
I recently usedwatchshop.com, I found the watch buying guides and the user reviews to be very helpful. I felt the site offered an overall service much more tailored to someone looking to buy a watch than Amazon does. Therefore I think there’s a lot of room for smaller, niche/boutique stores to flourish online to bring some personality back to online shopping.
Amazon is great because it offers low prices and an expansive collection of products, but could you call the customer service team and have them recommend a nice Rolex watch in gold for under £10,000? I doubt it.
Hard not to mention Amazon, since it's doing pretty well at the moment...
Perhaps the most impressive aspect, and one which other ecommerce sites can learn from, is the ease of repeat purchases. One click and I've placed an order, no time for second thoughts as I negotiate the checkout process.
Lovehoney provides a great all round experience, and there's much that other sites can learn from it. Profits and sales are on the rise, which kind of proves the point.
It does a lot of things very well: great product pages, site search, no hassle returns, excellent copywriting, and a smooth checkout.
It also takes care of the little details that persuade any doubters, such as assuring shoppers that the packaging is discreet, and won't embarrass them if the neighbours take the package in.
In the UK, I'm always impressed with the marketing work at House of Fraser. The site sells beautiful clothes from the top brands and always has a strong promotional calendar to drive online and in-store traffic.
The spikes it sees during brand events are quite amazing. It has lots of opportunities in mobile and it's an area it's investing in continually.
I've chosen this site for its excellent use of customer service and self-service, though it's very good all round.
Here's what I mean. On the product pages, as well as a link to a detailed size guide, shoppers can see fit information from other customers.
This leads to the reviews section:
Shoe and clothing retailers have a challenge in overcoming customers' doubts online, and one way to overcome this is to provide plenty of information about sizes.
This site is a lot of fun. I've chosen it for its excellent product pages, but there's much else to recommend on the site.
Great use of reviews on this site. First of all, by using review scores as part of the filtered navigation:
Then, on product pages, the detail gathered from previous buyers really allows shoppers to get a feel for the products and their best uses.
Picking out pros and cons, as well as best uses is a great way to help shoppers decide on a product.
The product page copywriting on this site is superb, and here's one example:
This site uses instructional videos to show the different features of more complex products such as tents, which are hard to show with images alone.
Which ecommerce sites have impressed you, and why? Please let me know below...