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The new Marks & Spencer website, two years in the making, is a feast for the eyes. As a replatform, it cost a lot of money and accompanies other changes such as an upgraded contact centre and new in-store tech and merchandising.

In this first look at the site, I'll be pointing out the most obvious changes and discussing why it's a step change and effectively gives the impression of 'luxe high street' online.

What stands out is the focus on visuals, a curated experience with magazine-style editorial, and a user experience that’s particularly impressive on tablet. This isn’t a surprising approach given that 44% of Christmas traffic to the website was from tablets and the brand is moving to a ‘lean back’ experience online for those that want it.

I’ll be following this post with more discussion of the new site and its various features that could be set to revitalise the brand across devices (the M&S mobile site and its apps have been updated, too).

Curated experience

On navigating to the site on desktop, one is served a big, crisp and lovely dissolving image declaring ‘The New Look’. It’s a good indicator of what’s to come in the site – a focus on ‘looks’ and imagery, with a curated feel.

Perhaps the most radical part of the homepage is the long scrollable pane below the fold for ‘Editor’s Pick’. It’s clearly optimised for tablet, allowing the user to casually swipe across to view these lifestyle-led features. It’s also a diary, with a new featured and dated panel appearing each day. Users can opt to receive editor’s picks by email daily, too.

What stands out with these features is how they include outfits or interiors in the same way higher end fashion does, which makes sense given the price point and quality of M&S clothing. The focus is not on a particular SKU but on a lifestyle or a look. There’s an ‘M&S and London Fashion Week’ panel held at the front of this pane at the moment.

This editorial has been at full tilt for four months now, but in beta, getting the content vehicle going before the site was ready for launch. That’s why you can go back along the timeline and check out older content. 

It’s a very effective feature and feels like it could go a long way towards revitalising the brand, at least online. Publishing is a big focus for M&S with staff such as Nicola Copping leading the charge. 

A slight negative of this scrollable pane is found on desktop, however, where although the pane moves slightly on rollover, to show the user they can scroll it, it isn’t that obvious that there’s a scrollbar to be clicked and dragged at the bottom of the pane. A minor quibble. 

Traffic from tablets for this kind of ecommerce site is large enough to make this type of scrolling an easier decision than it used to be. 

On the mobile site this scrollable feature isn’t included but the Editor’s Pick is still clearly promoted in the ‘shop our departments’ part of the homepage.

Selecting it takes you to a page with header images and dates, again very visual, and one can click in and explore from here.

                      

Clicking through to one of these stories from desktop, or using the menu to go to the ‘Life and Style’ section, it’s remarkable how much the content resembles a glossy magazine. 

There are simpler ‘Editor’s Picks’ but also sections such as ‘In the Moment’ and ‘Trend Spotlight’ which have much more editorial, including sumptuous and shoppable video (done with Adjust Your Set). Of course, wherever products are shown one can select ‘shop now’ in any part of this feature. 

The individual Editor’s Pick sections, too, have a curated feel with a big visual, some text and an incentive to ‘shop now’.

There’s even a journo style headshot of the M&S.com Editor, which works nicely. 

It also looks nice on mobile and I can imagine it’ll increase time on-site for many in ‘lean back’ mode.

Outfits

David Walmsley, Director of M&S.com, told me that one intention with the product listings and outfits is to make sure there are no dead-ends in the user journey. The user continues to be presented with alternative outfits and products.

40% of M&S website shoppers are looking for outfits, not single items, so this is an obvious opportunity.

Crucially, the products here are not dynamic and personalised, rather they are curated by the web team. This continues the magazine feel of eclecticism.

This shot shows that ‘New In’ and ‘Latest Looks’ are prominent in the navigation. Selecting looks I’m given outfits by trend and occasion, as well as a personal shopper option.

The looks are themed around events such as ‘Country Weekend', ‘The Working Week’ and ‘Evening Out’. You can see from the top page that there’s plenty of white space. Most pages have a much more refined palette and typography than the old M&S website.

Within a look, other options are presented at the bottom of the page, to continue the customer journey.

Each product in the look also has a ‘quick look’ option, displayed below, allowing the user to stay in one place and browse, clicking to get more in-depth information. 

‘Quick look’

These outfits have accompanying photographs but also some video, often from the catwalk.

'More information, less returns' is a general rule, so let’s look at the category and product pages.

Product page listings

The category pages have a few nice features. Firstly they look great. Lots of white space, high quality cut-out imagery.

One can select whether to view the product on a model or in isolation and this is then initiated site wide. The category pages default to sort by ‘new in’, which is another way to emphasise the pedigree of the stock.

It should be easy for someone to navigate to a particular product they want, using search or the faceted navigation, and this has been tested heavily (300 one-to-one tests). But primarily the category pages also need to feel like a curated experience, too.

The ‘quick looks’ are used here, too.

More from the faceted navigation.

On the product pages themselves, the photography is extensive and of very high definition.

M&S has been photographing new inventory at this standard for the past year. The photos are 50% bigger than previously.

Let’s look at bras to see the product pages at their best.

Don’t get me wrong, they just give the best demonstration of the new sizing charts M&S has included.

Best features include a handy sizing grid giving stock level information. Stock levels are updated every 15 minutes and once added to the basket, the stock is committed to a customer. 

There are handy suggestions for other parts of an outfit, in this case the matching ‘bottoms’. 

Again, many big photos and a video included. 

Comparing the old site against the new, one can see just how much classier the new look feels across category and product pages. 

 

Well, that’s it for this review. Just enough to bring you the main changes of the new site.

I’ll be back to look at mobile and new developments in-store soon.

Ben Davis

Published 19 February, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (42)

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Paul Baguley

It does look very good and have adding great features for the user. I think a lot of brands will be looking at this site and taking some of the ideas to their very own site.

over 2 years ago

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Henri

I'll take a risk here and say it'll be a big flop in terms of sale.

The focus of the site appears to become a magazine and on top of that it has been optimised for tablets.

"lean-back experience" + tablet + magazine style don't really add up to sales in my book. It sounds more like entertainment.

Why bury the categories on the homepage in favour of this huge carousel? It has been shown that carousels on e-commerce sites just waste space and don't improve conversion rates. I don't see huge images on amazon's homepage...

There are few calls to action before getting deep to the product pages.

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Henri

I should have probably included more detail about the user testing around more standard 'shopping' as opposed to enjoying the content.

The navigation has been stripped down and made simpler from the homepage, with a three stage dropdown menu from the top panel that reduces the wordy boxes that have to be overlaid on site.

The curated feel will surface must-have products very well from carousel and diary. Incidentally there's a growing backlash against the backlash against carousels :-)

Advantages of carousels include more ability to test, more real estate, bigger images etc.

I guess time will tell if conversions increase, but once you've dived into category and product pages I believe it's a big improvement. Maybe some audiences will disagree.

over 2 years ago

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This Is Common

Nice.. I like the homepage load, however I think the top right cart summary could have had a hover effect similar to the one at the bottom of the site. Other than that very M & S ;)

over 2 years ago

Arron Zhang

Arron Zhang, Business Consultant at Advangent

Very impressed with the new design. Won't speculate on the result of sales but I think it might be a trend for many retailers to move from pure online store to media site layout.

over 2 years ago

Mark Selwyn

Mark Selwyn, eCommerce and Multi-Channel Retail Consultant

What was it that the econsultancy blog said a couple of days ago..... "H&M commits a cardinal sin by forcing mobile users to register an account".

Doesn't a brand new, shiny, M&S website commit the same sin, only worse as it is new and shiny, and guest checkout is near the top of the list that says "basic functionality"?

Also those huge images......what's the downside? The downside is the inordinate amount of scrolling I now have to do as there is only three or four products on a page.

And its not even a responsive design :(

I'm sorry I'm not joining the love-in, but I expected better for £100m. Need to spend more time looking at it .....

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Mark

We've been discussing the 'enforced registration' and I'm not one who agrees it's necessarily best practice to give a guest checkout.

A lot of the persona work M&S has done is around 'lean back' shopping on tablet. Sure, mobile is important, but David Walmsley mentioned to me that it is only significant for product categories such as schoolwear, where parents are shopping on the go.

Joining up data is a must for M&S as they try to understand the multichannel customer.

Here's a couple of screenshots of the registration process on mobile.

http://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0004/4461/photo_1__25_.PNG

http://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0004/4462/photo_2__23_.PNG

I think it's perfectly usable. Name, email, password, confirm password and optional telephone. It's data you have to enter in a checkout anyway. Indeed, the info is carried through.

No email confirmation is required once registered, the mobile site shunts you through to checkout (on desktop you have to confirm email address from your inbox).

The only thing I think can be difficult is if you insist on a particular security of password, as people will forget it (Marks insists on eight characters and at least one digit).

But, I'll bow to tests that show it will badly impact conversion.

----
On images, scrolling is done left to right, as well as up and down, on mobile. This reduces the pain of larger imagery. On mobile, I don't think there's a debate about images, they have to big big. As Laura Wade-Gery puts it 'people are buying an image'.

Here you can see that the tiling, and hence image sizing can be altered on mobile category pages.

http://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0004/4190/photo_3__6_.JPG

I honestly think it's a good site for the target audiences, hence my robust response :-)

Sorry the Econ writers aren't consistent about guest checkout. Guess I missed a meeting :-)

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

ps see this post for some cracking responsive design debate :-)

http://econsultancy.com/blog/64349-10-websites-that-aren-t-responsive-and-probably-should-be

over 2 years ago

Mark Selwyn

Mark Selwyn, eCommerce and Multi-Channel Retail Consultant

Love robust responses :P

My "inordinate scrolling" because of huge images was on the desktop site.

I sent myself a link of "something I might like" from the mobile site

http://m.marksandspencer.com/mt/www.marksandspencer.com/la-maison-de-senteurs-pure-cotton-revere-collar-pyjamas-with-cool-comfort-technology/p/p22278359

Care to hazard a guess at what it does on a desktop? I cant even find how to look at it properly.

"On mobile, I don't think there's a debate about images, they have to be big". Hmmmm a cast iron way to bloat the page size, slow the response time, and increase bounce rate.

Oh and on my browser (IE11) the colour swatch facets don't work.

And Im still trying to think how I feel about the search results.....you have to select one sub-category before you see any facets. What if Im interested in products across their sub-categories??? e.g. in tops, shirts, nightwear, beachwear......actually now Im thinking about it, I don't like it.

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Mark

On sharing m dot links, that a very good point. No imagery at all on desktop and no easy way to find the desktop site page.

Again on search results, good point. Unsure though how many are interested in looking at 'red items of any category' or similar.

I think there's still a degree of testing to be done as I have seen the occasional bug, like your swatch facets e.g. font in the wrong colour (weirdly solved on reloading).

A couple of downsides to add, that I've started thinking on the desktop site, perhaps the typeface for navigation could be bigger. Without scaling up size of browser it's a bit puny.

Also, I think the response time of the top nav is slightly slow, I sometimes click when all I should do is wait a millisecond for the next menu to fall down.

Thanks for your insights. Keep them coming!

p.s.
I like that you're a pyjama man. :-)

over 2 years ago

Mark Selwyn

Mark Selwyn, eCommerce and Multi-Channel Retail Consultant

The top nav is "unconventional" lets say.....the first mouseover reveals a contextual sub-menu bar, which you then need to mouseover again. OK fair enough, not so bad. I'll get used to it. At least it doesn't fail Nielsen's latest missive on not showing the product range on that top nav (see HOF and WHS for further details!!!).

What is not good though is the finger-pointer on all the white spaces in the mega menu, and on text that cant be clicked, like CLOTHING in Womens, and SHOP BY BRAND in Mens/Suits.

over 2 years ago

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Dom

I agree with Henri, although the UI seems nicer, I believe that M&S has taken a huge risk which will probably lead them to a big loss of sales.

Magazine style in a e-commerce website? Not really sure about this... Don't get me wrong the editorial content is very important but in my opinion it has a specific place: a blog, content hub, lookbooks..

I strongly believe that a ecommerce website should stick to it's primarily function and send the users as quickly as possible to a product page where they can buy.

Inspiration is important but it shouldn't get in the way to someone that just want to buy something specific.

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Dom

Time will tell! I would agree with you if it was groceries or screwdrivers, but with clothes, I really think time on site (in whatever guise) will equal conversion.

over 2 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Mark I do think the forced registration (desktop and mobile) is potentially a mistake. As Ben points out, it is a relatively easy process but I think people perceive registration as a barrier when it needn't be any more demanding than a guest checkout.

For example, House of Fraser asks users to add their email then sign in or continue as a guest: http://i.imgur.com/gBcNQVL.png

If you continue as a guest, you're inputting the same information as you would if you registered up front but the difference is that it doesn't form a barrier in the customer's mind. I think this is a better way of doing it.

It's not actually that different to the M&S page but it's a matter of presentation and ordering within the process: http://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/4530/m_s_reg-blog-full.png

over 2 years ago

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Adam Pritchard

I agree with Henri - the site feels awkward as a magazine. It's like you have to go THROUGH the content to get to any products.

I can understand the need for increased content in this day and age, but it should be placed alongside the shopping experience, rather than as a barrier.

Some of the navigation is awkward as well - there's no landing page setup for 'Wine Shop' even though there is a 'full range' page it could click to. And when I get there (at 10am in the morning, hic!) I expect to see some bottles!

Nice alt tag on the home page image btw ;)

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Adam

Yep, agree on nav. There shouldn't be a pointing finger when rolling over unclickable parts of the nav e.g. wine shop.

And the text could be bigger on the nav.

But as I said, apparently user tests were good for straight shopping, finding products from the navigation and bypassing content.

Re alt tags. Strange, I couldn't see any on my screenshots, which looks like a bug. I'll take a look and fix. - Thanks for pointing out.

over 2 years ago

Luke Brason

Luke Brason, Head of User Experience at Grass Roots

Nice summary article, thanks Ben!

The strangest thing for me is that on the home page of their site, before I looked at any of the new features, the first thing that jumped out was a banner saying 'The New Look' in a font and style that immediately made me think of http://www.newlook.com.?!

(You've got a screenshot of the offending banner in your article above - maybe it's just me seeing it like this though!)

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Luke

Haha. Let's hope they don't introduce any ranges called 'The Next Thing', or maybe 'Cos You're Worth It'. Sorry, both very lame attempts.

Whilst I'm on its site, the newlook.com nav does have better sized text for my eyes to pick out.

over 2 years ago

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Kayla

I really like the magazine look of it, it's simple but feels high-end and young - I know M&S are trying to move away from being seen as an 'older persons' brand and this new design helps.

I noticed a strip at the top of the page which promoted free delivery to New Zealand and Oz, wouldn't an expensive site like this use geo-location? Also a lot of the pages are slow to load which is frustrating.

Apart from that I really like this new site, lots of interesting ideas to borrow!

over 2 years ago

Mark Selwyn

Mark Selwyn, eCommerce and Multi-Channel Retail Consultant

What are people's opinions on styles with multiple colours.....one product with colour/size options on one product page/one URL, or individual product pages/URLs for each product, and links to the others?

M&S have taken the former approach, http://www.marksandspencer.com/twin-pockets-knitted-tunic-dress/p/p22290387 JL take the latter approach http://www.johnlewis.com/havren-black-ruffle-front-shift-dress-black/p699182?navAction=jump

Doesn't "Blue Shift Dress" and "Red Shift Dress" create better URLs and headings from an SEO perspective than just "Shift Dress", with references to colour options halfway down the page?

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Mark

I'm not sure I know enough about the SEO value of John Lewis' approach.

Certainly M&S seems to have more category copy than it used to, if you look at the Dresses homepage or subcategories like 'Day dresses' there's plenty of copy at the top of the page.

From a user's point of view, the M&S site is easier to use when selecting a colour I would say.

Also, as you mentioned, you thought there was lots of scrolling because of image sizes, so decreasing the number of product pages is probably a good thing.

over 2 years ago

Mark Selwyn

Mark Selwyn, eCommerce and Multi-Channel Retail Consultant

Any SEO Geeks around? I happened to pick on this feature on the M&S site as its a "current discussion" with a client I am working with, and I had assumed M&S would be going the JL way.

over 2 years ago

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Martin Oddy

@Mark

This topic is fairly complex, and opinions tend to vary widely. There are significant SEO, UX and CRO implications inherent in the decision between having a single (often canonicalised) product page for all variants vs. individual URLs for each.

Anecdotally, as a search specialist, I tend to be pulled towards having unique URLs for each colourway, particularly in fashion where I’ve seen it work quite well. The search demand is there – people do search for “black dresses” and “red leather jackets” – and, if properly handled, the long tail traffic reward can be substantial.

The logic seems simple enough: why wouldn't you want Google to return the most relevant page for colour-specific, long tail queries?

The danger, however, is that if the particular attribute in question (colour, in this context) spirals off into a great many variants (think 10s or 100s of URLs), the chance of them being dismissed as thin/duplicate, or the wrong page ranking for the wrong keyword increases, causing a reduction in the potential search benefit.

Google is roughly no help in clarifying any of this, unfortunately.

As with many of these complex, multifactorial decisions, it varies significantly business to business, market to market, and should as always be tested in order to ascertain what works best for you and your client, while keeping a close eye on conversion.

over 2 years ago

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karen moore

I have been trying to use this since it started and find it so long winded that I have only managed to put 4 items in my bag in all that time. On previous site this would have been much quicker. I don't want or have the time to wade through this almost compulsory magazine type of web site, I just want a quick look and put a few items on list. I find this site frustrating and slow and I feel as if I am being forced to wade through it. Not for me. To me it is a programmers/magazine editors jamboree and no one has actually thought about the type of people using this.

over 2 years ago

Mark Selwyn

Mark Selwyn, eCommerce and Multi-Channel Retail Consultant

@Karen - interesting point. Studies have shown that men and women shop differently online. I had obviously made the invalid assumption that M&S were targeting women shoppers with the magazine type bloat.

Maybe the team responsible for the website got too close to it and could no longer view it objectively, but instead stuck slavishly to their original plan (ie have we done what we said we would do)......its certainly happened to me in the past.

@Ben - you seem to have some insight into the testing.....was a comparison (e.g. bag these four items) done against the old site?

over 2 years ago

Mark Selwyn

Mark Selwyn, eCommerce and Multi-Channel Retail Consultant

@all - how do I get a hyperlink over my name and/or photo?!?!?

over 2 years ago

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McColl

I don't care for this new site much at all.
I use a desktop with a fairly large screen because of my work ..and being self-employed, work and shop at home - on the desktop.
I won't be alone in this by a long way. I also find that on a good monitor (rather than a tablet), choosing items by particular colour is far less likely to prove disappointing in reality.
I'd prefer sites to recognise screen resolution etc. and give appropriate content automatically.

I find the same navigation and slow loading problems that others have mentioned, and also cannot get the colour selection to work in IE11 (It does work in Chrome though, but my default is IE11). I do use the colour selection often. It's important in home goods and clothing alike.
I now need an extra click to see the categories of 'New In' clothing, and often find I need a further category selection at the top of the page.

I do not want such emphasis on having whole outfits suggested to me, and I suspect many others prefer to put most outfits together themselves - it's what creates individuality.
The whole magazine effect is not appealing to me. I actually prefer shopping on other sites such as JL, H of Fraser, Asos etc. Everything is far easier to find on those sites and garment/product details all in one place. With M&S one has to click again to find out what an item is made of and style details etc.

My biggest grumble right now is that there was no warning of the change, or that anything in the basket would be lost on the night of changeover - as a result, the suit jacket my husband needs to go with the trousers he has disappeared from the basket and cannot now be found! There was plenty of stock available too, so I expected it to be there to find. I got a reply to my query but not one offering much help. I did think staff would perhaps be able to order one for me in a case like this.

There seems to me much content, items, features etc., still to be added or made available. Perhaps they launched it too soon and should have completed it fully first!

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@McColl @karen

You make cogent points and I agree.

M&S has invested heavily and my understanding is that development is now going to be very much iterative. This feels big bang, but there's a lot of improvement to come, so one hopes some of the niggles will be teased out.

I think it's interesting that the site performance is obviously a bit of a concern. Perhaps initially it will prove an acid test of just how much action is happening on tablet.

@Mark @Karen

I talked to some of the M&S.com team at a press briefing for their site launch. My understanding is that extensive user testing was done on exactly this type of interaction.

I don't know how many different types of devices, connection speeds, monitor sizes were tested, as I get the feeling these are things that are affecting the CX.

@all

A confession. I talked about text size being too small in one of my previous comments. I'm ashamed to say that at some point I had reduced my tab size to 85%. D'oh! I had a cookie that was obviously resizing the site every time I visited it. I hasten to add this didn't affect my original review, it happened afterwards.

It does make a point though. I didn't notice for a few visits I had the screen shrunk. Perhaps this is one potential side effect of a large, single image carousel on the home page which fills the screen at full size. Just a thought. Probably no excuses on my part...

@Mark

I believe you can add a link when you comment anonymously, though it's no follow. If you have set up a supplier profile or are a guest blogger, your profile will link through to those pages on our site. It's set for a revamp next month, to go with the newly mobile friendly blog.

over 2 years ago

Pauline Randall

Pauline Randall, Director at Florizel Media

Well so far, in my opinion, I think this is a big mistake. Last night I attempted to navigate the site, first on my iPad Mini. I gave up on that and switched to my small ASUS laptop which also has a touch screen. At this point the site decided that it didn't want to engage with my mouse and I had to use the touch screen to navigate. My mouse was working fine on every other site and no, the batteries don't need replacing.

I tried to log into the site (I've had an account for some time) to get a blank screen. When I logged into my email I found that I had to reset my password - presumably all their £££s couldn't pay for someone who could manage to securely transfer password data. Different (and incompatible) password hashing algorithm? When I clicked on the link in my email to update my password I was told that the link had expired - according to the email it was valid for 7 days, seems more like 7 minutes.

This morning I decided to take another look at the site, this time from my office desktop PC. Still don't like it. I can see that some fashion sites would want to go for the tempting, magazine format but M&S are an every day high street brand - if I want something from them I want to be able to get in and out quickly, they are not my aspirational choice of browsing material - I'll go to Harvey Nicks for that.

I'm still trying to understand why you would offer free P&P to customers from USA, Australia and New Zealand but not to your core market in the UK. And as someone above commented, surely the developers could have found a way to localise the site.

Reviews are important for most online buyers these days and as far as I can see (without looking at every item) they seem to have lost historical reviews.

And finally (you'll be glad to hear!) the really, really big problem that M&S have is that their product range and quality aren't actually that good. You can spend what you like on a website, high end photography, and all the rest of the marketing stuff but if your products aren't that great then the rest if just fluff. Recent times that I've been in the store I've not found anything much worth having. I'll be sticking with John Lewis - their website works everytime and their stock is good quality. I think this may be M&Ss last gasp at trying to regain their position on the high street.

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Pauline

Certainly agree that John Lewis is a good watermark. One of the Econsultancy research team noticed the mouse/touch bug, too.

On the account front, yes it seems this is a consequence of the platform move, but as you suggest, it's not ideal nor is the removal of reviews.

I think product quality is good, but perhaps the style doesn't quite yet meet high-end high street. That may be a more difficult balancing act but they've got the right team in place.

over 2 years ago

Pauline Randall

Pauline Randall, Director at Florizel Media

@Ben

Glad that the mouse bug wasn't just me.

I hope you're right about them having the right team in place, I would hate to see M&S disappear from our high streets but I do worry that they are trying to be all things to all people and losing customers as a result.

Certainly many friends and family I've spoken to (not a scientific survey!) feel the same way about product quality and range - lots of the ladies wear looks great in photos but isn't that good when you see it for real. I think menswear is surviving better - my husband has had a couple of very good jackets recently.

over 2 years ago

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Henri

Here's an article full of more resources on why carousels (sliders) are still a conversion killer:

https://yoast.com/opinion-on-sliders/

See the 150 comments that follow too!

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Henri

I know a man who has news of a magical carousel that brings in visitors. He told me was writing it up at the moment, so hopefully we'll see it soon.

And no, I'm not referring to myself in the third person.

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

but thanks for the resource. having a dig now!

over 2 years ago

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Isabella Cookson

Definitely agree that the site is visually appealing and brightens up their brand presence. But I was surprised by the lack of personalization features on the site which are really what we have found to drive conversions and make the customer experience much more dynamic. For example, matching their local stores to the exact location of the customer or triggering messages that encourage those that are lingering for too long with an online chat function etc. You can check out our blog to read our response to this piece http://www.qubitproducts.com/content/not-just-website-personalized-website-%C2%A0%C2%A0%C2%A0-3-ways-m-s-could-personalize-their-online-customer?pagination=blog&

over 2 years ago

Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein, Founder, Econsultancy & President, Centaur Marketing at Econsultancy, Centaur MarketingStaff

On first experiences the new M&S site feels quite a bit like the Net-a-porter 'look' with the ASOS functionality?

Look at:
M&S: http://www.marksandspencer.com/l/men/casual-shirts
Mr Porter: http://www.mrporter.com/Shop/Clothing/Casual_Shirts
ASOS: http://www.asos.com/Men/Shirts/Cat/pgecategory.aspx?cid=3602&via=top

Scroll the logos off the page and mash the ASOS filtering on the left with the Mr Porter look/fonts in the main page and it's quite similar to the new M&S page?

Nothing wrong with this. I think M&S have learned from both and actually bring together the elements better overall than either Mr Porter or ASOS do individually?

over 2 years ago

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Emma

It's not a feast for the eyes, it's a total dog's dinner. Try using it. Running on a Windows 7 PC with Google Chrome, it actually doesn't work at all. If you have touchscreen functionality it reverts to tablet mode but somehow without the touchscreen capability and doesn't load any of the navigation meaning you cannot find or buy anything. The images and sliders don't resize and lay over each other. Trying to search for a product from outside the site, via Google, gets you to the page but you're again defeated by the technology not knowing what it's trying to be or do and it's impossible to make a purchase. It's a total mess. M&S's Facebook page is awash with complaints.

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Emma

I am running Windows 7 and using Google Chrome and the site is fine. I think you're right though, there are some devices the site isn't working particularly well on, such as touch screen hybrid laptops.

M&S have been unlucky that the site crash shortly after launch has put them on the back foot bit. The bugs will be fixed. This has been a big platform change that has to work with a changed contact team.

I think a lot of customers are in denial about how the brand needed to change its clothing business. I went on Facebook to check out the comments and it reminded me why I rarely visit Facebook brand pages. Such vitriol levelled at such a thing as a rug :-)

I guess what the site launch has proved is that M&S certainly has a passionate customer base.

over 2 years ago

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Peter

Impossible to find and buy anything because the site is so slow and unresponsive. Did anyone do any testing before launch? Bolland needs to spell out to his loyal customer base what action he is taking and when everything will be fixed.

over 2 years ago

Mark Selwyn

Mark Selwyn, eCommerce and Multi-Channel Retail Consultant

http://www.cityam.com/1404807319/marks-spencer-website-nightmare-knocks-shares

You heard it here first.........and almost six months ago.

Here's an interesting question. Presumably M&S invested shedloads in UX testing with grannies, mummies, luvvies, all sorts of personas. Presumably they all loved it. A bunch of "reasonably intelligent" ecommerce professionals above generally dissed the site, and appear to have been proven correct.

So, ditch the persona/UX testing, and get a few people who know what they are talking about to critique the site before launch. Not just M&S, but all sites.

Discuss.

about 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Mark

It seems clear that device optimisation and user transfer to the new platform haven't been great.

It will be hard to unpick everything in the 8% drop but surely the transfer of users is the most disruptive part of the process.

As one of my colleagues said, there's a reason Amazon doesn't mess with its UI. Most expected an initial drop in sales. How quickly it recovers will be important to note.

about 2 years ago

Mark Selwyn

Mark Selwyn, eCommerce and Multi-Channel Retail Consultant

@Ben "the transfer of users is the most disruptive part of the process" - assuming there were 6 weeks between go-live and end March, when the transfer of users disrupted them, the 8% drop is the quarter to end June, when they should be past that disruption.

And as I said to a colleague earlier......I cant really comment on much of their site as Ive still only ever seen the mobile version rendered on my new 15in laptop that happens to have a touch screen.

about 2 years ago

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