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Morrisons has finally taken the plunge and unveiled its first ecommerce store.
The grocery retailer said that its failure to launch an ecommerce store was one of the main reasons behind its recent 5.6% slump in sales, which saw its share price fall by 7%.
Ecommerce still only represents about 5% of total grocery sales in the UK, but that's still a £7.5bn market that Morrisons wasn’t able to compete in.
In general I’m not that impressed with the UX offered by Morrisons’ rival stores, as the checkout process is generally overly long and badly designed on grocery sites.
But has Morrisons managed to buck the trend? Let’s find out...
When you first arrive at the new Morrisons ecommerce store you are required to enter your postcode in order to find out whether the retailer delivers in your area.
This is common among grocery brands as they are currently unable to reach all UK addresses, however Morrisons also requires your email address up front.
This is because it’s currently only delivering to a small area in the Midlands, so plans to notify other customers as and when the service is available in their region.
If the postcode is accepted you must then create an account or login using your Facebook information. For some reason Morrisons wants to ability to post to my Facebook wall...
As mentioned, Morrisons is playing catch up with its rivals for a share of the ecommerce market, so to make the transition easier for its customers it allows you to import a 'favourites' list from other supermarket websites.
I haven’t tried out this functionality, but it apparently works with Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and Ocado.
The site navigation is fairly standard, though it helps if you’re familiar with the way Morrisons labels each category.
For example, the categories include ‘Market Street’ and ‘Food Cupboard’, which aren’t particularly clear but it doesn’t take long to work out what items are included within.
The search function is very important for site navigation and Morrisons has created a relatively effective tool for the job.
It is well positioned at the top of the page, uses predictive text and also corrects spelling errors.
Adding item to bag and product pages
The category pages display a good amount of product information, including an image, the price and any applicable special offers.
As with most supermarkets you can add items to your shopping bag directly from the category page or click through to the product page for more information.
Adding an item from the category page is a simple process as you simply enter the number of items you require then click the bright yellow ‘Add’ button.
One slight UX issue is that once you’ve added an item to your bag there is a ‘minus’ button to remove the products, but no obvious ‘plus’ button.
The product pages themselves are quite poor. Everything is bunched together so the information is cluttered and difficult to read.
The product description is extremely basic and really Morrisons should put more effort into upselling its products.
Also, though the call-to-action is consistent with the category page it is far too small and doesn’t really stand out due to the prominent social buttons.
The recent tie-in with Ocado appears to have had an influence on the design, as Morrisons’ product page looks like a more cluttered version of Ocado’s product page.
Ocado's product page
Shopping basket and checkout
Morrisons requires customers to spend £40 in order to qualify for home delivery, which seems incredibly steep.
Also, the only reason I noticed that there is a minimum threshold was because it wouldn’t let me go to the checkout. Morrisons should make this requirement obvious from the start, but instead it expects shoppers to notice a tiny, grey icon in the top right of the screen.
Can you spot the minimum spend information? (Click to enlarge)
Having added enough produce to qualify for delivery I was then required to enter my password again before filling in more personal details. Thankfully the forms are quite short and correct any errors in real-time.
Delivery charges are also quite steep in my opinion, as it’s £3 for weekdays (£1 after 8pm) and £5 from Friday to Sunday. Charging a premium for Fridays is bizarre, as there seems no logical reason why it should cost more than any other weekday.
After choosing the delivery slot you’re directed to a page that simply reiterates the delivery details and displays a prominent ‘Continue shopping’ CTA.
At this stage I just want to go to the checkout, so this page is quite baffling.
If you click ‘Continue shopping’ then it directs you to the shopping basket, which is completely counterintuitive, and then the CTA inexplicably moves all the way to the bottom of the screen.
I genuinely couldn’t work out where the CTA was at first and reloaded the page in the belief that there had been a glitch.
The next page displays one single field that asks you to enter a voucher code and will no doubt just cause shoppers to Google for discount offers. This is followed by the final few screens that require payment details and then confirms your order.
Morrisons’ first foray into ecommerce is extremely underwhelming. It has had years to plan and design this website so really should have emerged with something that sets high standards for customer experience and usability.
Instead it has gone live with an average ecommerce site that suffers from a number of obvious UX flaws, most notably at the checkout.
It's quite surprising that so little care and attention has gone into the new site, as I was impressed with Morrisons' wine store site that went live last year and the company can also call on the expertise of Kiddicare's ecommerce team.
Also, the fact that the site isn't mobile optimised is a huge oversight, as that is surely a basic requirement for any new website.
But the plus side, Morrisons does at least now have an ecommerce site that it can gradually improve and upgrade.