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...

Homepage

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: 

Selfridges mobile homepage

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. 

Product pages

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. 

In summary

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'.

Graham Charlton

Published 2 October, 2014 by Graham Charlton

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

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (34)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
David Kyle

David Kyle, Head of E-Commerce at Park Cameras

Really bold product page with some gutsy decisions on size of font that make it look really good.

Although the UX on the image gallery is a massive pain, hate that images open in a light box as you cannot determine where the click area on the left/right arrows is, and when you do open the lightbox it defaults to the first image. What if you're trying to see a larger version of the 4th picture!?

Great to see them investing that much in their website though, it will surely pay off for them.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Al

Anyone know what platform it was built on?

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Lena

Looks great. Not ground-breaking by any means, but a big improvement. Looking forward to seeing it evolve!

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Amara

great website , loved the UX but the price is very overrated !

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Morgan Jones

Agree with you David. The main slider is cumbersome and slow on mobile, doesn't crop and orientate correctly and interferes with the experience. Plus are these images optimised for mobile? I doubt it. Not overly impressed with the desktop experience either. The site appears to be a curious mix of responsive and adaptive. On the one hand the mobile version displays the hamburger menu but for the desktop I can reduce the screen width to 400px (in chrome, safari & firefox ) until all nearly half of the navigation is off-screen but the hamburger menu never appears. That £40m is going to be chewed rapidly by revisions and updates for the next five years.

over 2 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Morgan The team were keen to stress that this is just part of a five year plan, and it has a team in place to test and optimise the site as an ongoing process.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Morgan Jones

Hi Graham. Thanks for taking the trouble to respond to my comment. I think what I'm trying to get at is that if this were a new Selfridges bricks and mortar site I doubt very much they would open the doors to the customer with the builders still working on it.

I also appreciate that once a site's launched it represents an ongoing concern and needs to evolve in response to the end users demands. That's fine. However, from a development point of view I just can't get my head round why their team appear to have opted to use both adaptive and responsive technologies at, what I would assume to be, considerable cost now and in the future?

over 2 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Morgan Let me put that question to them.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Morgan Jones

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

John

New Site looks wicked. Good work guys.
Bonjour for now.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Matt

@Al built on IBM WCM/WCS

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ling Valentine

£40,000,000.00 ??????? Albeit over 5-years.

Errr..... sheesh. How THE HELL can anyone spend that on some web strategy over 5-years? Some obvious nonsense being talked here.

...and this kind of quote (below) also smacks of nonsense:

"the number of visitors reaching product pages has increased by 10%"

Why? Because people use percentages when they are talking rubbish. If visitors went from 10 a day, to 11 a day, that's 10%. As is 10,000,000 a day to 11,000,000 visitors a day. But there is a big difference between 1 visitor and 1 million visitors.

Quote the damn figures! Stop obfuscating the numbers with percentages. Ask the question to get the real meat, not silly percentages. A percentage means "I am trying to mislead you and hide the facts". Lazy.

Ling
LINGsCARS

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Michelle Norris

Nice new site, good UX improvements but would have liked more of a rebrand.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ted Richardson

£40m website over 5 years ? The ecommerce director must have been hovering over the nail polish counter before he / she penned that deal. For the fumes have entered someone's head. Let's put this into context India recently sent a spaceship to Mars for £73m.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Dave Harris, Job Title at SMD

8 mil/year is a MASSIVE budget. I sure hope it's not just for the website/website media, etc.

Also, go to http://www.selfridges.com/content/the-masters-profiles?cm_sp=masters-_-maintiles-_-jpg#dries-van-noten and start scrolling down. Notice anything weird? Yeah...

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Fergus Boyd

Super work Claire & team. I assume, like at VAA, there were also lots of IT "plumbing"/IT infra upgrades behind the scenes and you have lots of MVT work planned. Hopefully will catch you at FoM.

rgds
F

over 2 years ago

Daniel Lee

Daniel Lee, Web Analytics Manager at Evans Cycles

@Ling

£40m over 5 years for a national retailer with growing traffic makes more sense than some websites with the resources to optimise their website, which don't.

You know, the sites which has music automatically blaring at you when you visit them and flashing bright imagery everywhere?

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Shaun Pinney

Some nice touches, visually, however, there is some nastiness when you scroll down through pages, as @Steve Murray mentioned. I wouldn't have taken this site live as it is, it still has the 'I'll fix that later' feel to it.

As for that £40m 5 year contract - seriously? Well done to the agency for selling that!

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Dave Harris, Job Title at SMD

@Daniel Lee You know, your dig at Ling's Cars site is a bit of a cheap shot. That this is their brand style - loud and in your face and they stick to it. They've got more PR off the back of that design that me and you can dream of.

Also, the site is there not to be pretty, but to sell - and if that works for them - more power to them then.

over 2 years ago

Daniel Lee

Daniel Lee, Web Analytics Manager at Evans Cycles

Morning Steve,

As I am fully aware that their Marketing style intentionally follows that style, it was more of a light heard joke than a cheap shot.

I've heard that their site does actually perform well, which is good to hear (their users apparently like Ling's approach).

over 2 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Steve @Daniel - Here's why Ling's Cars can work: https://econsultancy.com/blog/9067-lings-cars-and-the-art-of-persuading-visitors-to-buy

@Ling The site has 1m visitors per week, so a 10% improvement is significant, especially given the prices of those products. I'd like to get all the numbers, but most businesses wouldn't give you absolute figures.

£40m is a lot of money, but this is a five year project for one of the best known luxury retailers in the world. If the site and multichannel strategy pays off, that's not a huge amount.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Jamie

£40 million over 5 years is about what I'd expect them to invest, considering some of their other lavish, sexy and stylish projects they've brought us over the years (Louis Vuitton Town House being a prime example), £40mil is quite cheap for them.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Dave Harris, Job Title at SMD

@Jamie But the headline says "Selfridges' new £40m site reviewed" - this implies the site budget only will be £40m over 5 years. It would be good to get some clarity on that.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Charlotte Cavendish, Online Marketing Manager at Joseph

Perhaps the £40m investment is an overall business investment and the website is just a part of it....

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Charlotte Cavendish, Online Marketing Manager at Joseph

...Perhaps I should read the title first

over 2 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@charlotte - it's mainly on the website as I understand it, though some may cover other multichannel initiatives such as providing wifi in stores.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Charlotte Cavendish, Online Marketing Manager at Joseph

that would make sense as £40m seems very high - even over 5 years...
Thanks for confirming @graham

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Alicia

It's looking brilliant so far.

The photography of the products is gorgeous. Crisp and clear, you can see the grooves in the leather.

I would love to see live chat implemented.

I'm sure they have many features on their roadmap. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Henriette

Mass improvement, even with the so-called "fixes". Nice to see that they haven't gone overly creative with to much imagery.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Simon Applebaum

It's now inline with the equivalent websites - but £40m is surely inclusive of some marketing spend? If that is their budget before they attract any traffic, I think it's fair to say they are being poorly advised.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Johan

What surprises me the most is not the cost of the site, but the fact that there are so many html issues. It seems like they forgot to test the site before launching it.

A simple thing like changing quotes in the image alt text should not be overlooked on any site: http://www.selfridges.com/en/apple-macbook-pro-13-retina-display-2-6ghz-8gb-128gb_702-10054-MGX72BA/

See how the alt and title tags of the images get cut off by the quote? It is a simple thing that could easily be fixed but which has a huge impact on SEO.

Like this issue there are many more that can easily be picked up by checking the site using an html validator.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Asier

@Al,

Most of all the functionality on the website like search, product raking on listing pages, filters and mega menus are run on SDL Fredhopper.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Kristina

Does anyone know which agency built this website?

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

E Hemmings, Project Manager at Coventry

I worked for some time on the photography aspect of the website project... lots of security needed given each time a trolley was brought through to the studio as it could easily contract £300K+ worth of products. Very fast moving project.

over 1 year ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.