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Selfridges has just launched its new website, part of a £40m investment over the next five years.
The retailer has experienced growing volumes of mobile traffic, more than 50% at the moment, and the site aims to cater for this with a 'touch-first' approach and a responsive website.
Here's an overview of the new site and some of the changes...
Rather than using multiple images and boxes, the new homepage uses large and bold images.
Scroll down and you'll see six different images, with a very smooth transition. Try it on a tablet or mobile to see what I mean.
The top navigation has been slimmed slightly, while icons are used for the shopping bag, wishlist, login and site search.
The footer is now accessible via the 'information and help' link to save further space on the page.
For comparison, here's the old homepage:
Thanks to a responsive design, the look and feel of the homepage is recreated for mobile users. Here it is on an iPhone:
Navigation and site search
Selfridges has tweaked the mega menus from the previous version of the site, and the new category pages now contain a quick view feature.
It also shows the back of products or alternative views when you mouse over, so customers can quickly see what the product looks like.
Selfridges has completely replaced the site search, and now uses auto complete to smooth the process for customers.
The search results, like the category pages, contain vastly improved filtering and sorting options.
Here's the old category page for comparison:
The refine and sort options are just as comprehensive on mobile, the only difference being that the menu will appear on demand or hide to create more space.
Here's the previous version of the product page.
The new version is cleaner, meaning that the product images and calls to action are more prominent.
Selfridges shows product descriptions, details, and delivery information via tabs underneath the product images, while it displays related and recently viewed items further down the page.
The mini shopping bag has been changed too, and now provides a very useful summary, with total price, size information and images to remind customers what they have selected.
For the customer in the research phase of the journey, there's a new wish list feature, and items can be added using the heart icon on product pages.
The next stage of Selfridges' redesign will be an improved checkout process.
I've seen this on the staging site, and Selfridges has opted for a one-page checkout to reduce the number of steps that customers need to go through, which is especially important for mobile users.
Multichannel Director Simon Forster told me that some checkout journeys took up to 11 steps. With the new version, that will be down to just three.
The new site is very slick so far, and with more improvements to come, it will represent a huge improvement on the previous incarnation (we reviewed this back in 2010).
The improvements to site search and navigation are impressive, and Simon Forster tells me that the number of visitors reaching product pages has increased by 10% since the new search function was implemented a few weeks ago.
Some of the changes are under the hood, and have the effect of making the user experience smoother.
For example, the site is now three times faster, and this is something you'll notice when scrolling through images and pages. It should also make a difference to conversion rates.
Selfridges' Head of Digital Marketing Claire Higgins will be speaking at our Festival of Marketing in November, looking at 'Maintaining customer experience in the physical world and bringing digital to life'.