{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

You can’t buy much for £60m these days.

That’s the amount Real Madrid paid for James Rodriguez, the sum that Michael Gove wanted to spend on a new yacht for the Queen, and the exact figure that B&Q has apparently invested in its new website.

Clearly the home and garden retailer didn’t wish to be outdone by Selfridges, which recently invested a mere £40m to revamp its website.

When I interviewed Michael Durbridge, B&Q's director of omnichannel, last September he said that the new site would be launched alongside an upgrade to the company's backend systems.

This would allow the website and in-store ordering systems to run off the same database, with the user interface customised for each channel. B&Q would then have taken a huge step towards forming a single customer view.

So, just how good is this new £60m responsive site?

Homepage

Thanks to the wonderful Wayback Machine we can see what the B&Q homepage looked like prior to the redesign.

The new version isn’t a dramatic departure, but B&Q has made a few alterations to the colour scheme which has made the search tool more prominent.

Old homepage

Both iterations of the site make use of a carousel, which may solve internal arguments about whose products deserve price of place, but research shows that it doesn’t add much to the UX.

New homepage

The biggest change has probably been in the design of B&Q’s mega menus.

I recently investigated the way in which mega menu design has changed since 2011, so thankfully I have screenshots of B&Q’s old dropdown navigation.

Old mega menu

As you can see here, the new navigation focuses on types of rooms and products rather than departments.

This probably makes more sense in terms of the user journey, and hopefully some of that £60m went into testing this element of the shopping experience. 

The list of rooms is present within each of the four dropdown menus, but the rest of the navigation options differ in each one.

New mega menu

On mobile the site is less appealing. It retains the carousel and the range of product images beneath, which means you get a big, unexplained image of two Crown Paint containers.

The huge range of products means navigation was never going to be a simple task on mobile, but commendably the menus are still relatively easy to navigate within the hamburger menu.

               

Search tool

A decent site search tool is very important for the user experience (yes, we know the Econsultancy one is awful).

B&Q’s site search is prominently positioned, but there are a few bugs that need to be ironed out.

Firstly, the predictive search feature is a bit slow. During my site test the suggested search terms and products only appeared a second or two after I stopped typing.

Another issue is with its accuracy. My colleague @lakey noticed a smoke alarm on the homepage so decided to search for one of those. 

These are the less-than-useful results:

That example aside, the search tool generally works quite well and I like the fact that the suggested results include specific products as well as search terms.

Search results page

The search results pages are clearly laid out so it’s very easy to browse through the different options.

Each product listing includes a star rating and availability details, while users can also compare up to four items side-by-side.

Looking at the product filters, I like that ‘availability’ (home delivery or in-store) is included in the broad range of options.

B&Q also returns articles in its search results, so in this example shoppers can learn more about which type of kitchen tap they need, and how to fit a new sink.

Hub pages

It’s worth giving a nod to B&Q’s hub pages, which used a tiled layout to present links to different products and departments.

For example, if you choose to shop ‘Bedrooms’ you are directed to this page which features yet another carousel as well as a range of subcategories for different bedroom products.

Though I would presume that few people would navigate to these hub pages, they are useful from an SEO perspective.

Product pages

When the Econsultancy content team was discussing where B&Q might have invested its £60m, one of the areas we assumed would be extremely high quality is the product imagery.

However that doesn’t seem to be the case. For this kitchen tap there is only one single photo, albeit a very nice photo.

This really doesn't give shoppers a decent view of the product they're about to buy. It would be useful to see an image of the tap in a kitchen so you can get a better idea of the scale.

B&Q has also gone big on content within its product pages. The ‘Help & Advice’ tab includes a video series on installing a new kitchen sink, how-to guides, a buying guide and inspiration for new design ideas.

Click & Collect has been given centre stage on the new site with its own CTA alongside one for ‘home delivery’.

Weirdly I had to search quite hard to find an item that was available for click & collect (which has been rebranded from ‘Reserve & Collect’ as part of the relaunch). I eventually had to settle on Griptite Tape.

If you choose to use click & collect the first stage is to select your local store before heading to the checkout. It’s worth noting the attempt to upsell related items before users get to the shopping basket.

When using a mobile the product pages look okay, but personally I’d prefer larger CTAs.

Also, I had real problems trying to get the videos to work properly.

                 

Shopping basket and checkout

The shopping basket ticks all the best practice boxes with a detailed product summary, security reassurances, and upfront delivery costs (it’s free).

Unfortunately it then hits the skids by failing to offer a guest checkout.

Forcing people to register an account is a common cause of basket abandonment, yet B&Q has decided to hit customers with it on the first page of the checkout.

The reason for this is likely to be that B&Q wants to have a unique identifier for customers across online and offline channels.

Durbridge previously told us that the company was trialling Wi-Fi in-store that used the same login as the website.

Once the login is out of the way the checkout is quick and simple, and again ticks many boxes for best practice.

It uses a progress bar, persistent order summary, postcode lookup tool, and the checkout is enclosed. Also, text fields are kept to a minimum and surrounded by plenty of white space.

Again, the checkout looks good on a mobile screen and the checkout makes use of a numerical keypad where relevant.

                 

In conclusion...

B&Q’s new site is a central part of its wider omnichannel strategy. It’s for this reason that in-store functionality (e.g. click & collect, stock checker) is given such prominence, and it also explains why customers are forced to register an account.

Overall it’s a decent first stab at building a new responsive site and presumably B&Q will roll out upgrades over time.

Whether or not it justifies the £60m is not up to me to decide. I think that sum is partly PR spin, and partly down to the cost of integrating the site in-store and adding B&Q’s massive product range to a new database.

Hopefully we’ll be able to find out more from B&Q in due course.

B&Q's Bonnie Jackson will be speaking at our Festival of Marketing event in November, looking at Digital Display, Partnerships & Retargeting campaigns.

David Moth

Published 16 October, 2014 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1699 more posts from this author

Comments (40)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Avatar-blank-50x50

Gerry

My biggest gripe with the new site is still searching for (building materials) via traditional sizes or dimensions still does not bring up any results or brings in items that are un-relevant.

Try looking for '3x2' or '3x2 Timber' OK id not suggest buying materials from there anyway (everything is bowed) BUT still unless you know the specific mm measurements and then it has to be be exact which is normally a 1/4 inch off anyway still nothing comes up.

Or worst still under the new design if you search for 'CLS Timber' you get 9 products all with the same title just a different price. No dimensions are now listed within the search results...

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Henry

A significant sum must have gone on producing all this content - videos, how-to, buying guides...

I wonder how much incremental sales they will get out of this content. What's to stop someone reading a how-to guide on their site and buying the product cheaper somewhere else?

Perhaps someone should start a new DIY site focusing exclusively on selling items. And advertise next to the plethora of Youtube how-to videos!

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Maarten

Very nice article. Thanks.

over 2 years ago

Luke Brason

Luke Brason, Head of Creative Solutions at Grass Roots

Nice article David. What do you think about the site on bigger screens?

I'm looking at it on a 1920x1080 monitor and can't help feeling a bit let down by the small images and dead space on either side of the page. It feels cramped. I.e. it's great that more sites now scale down well, but sometimes it would be nice if they scaled up too?

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Rich

All that money and the developers used pixelated jpegs for the icons :D

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Isaac

At least save a little bit for some web type. The site uses Arial.

over 2 years ago

Stuart McMillan

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh

@Luke, that was my first thought too!

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

David Hazzard, Technical Director at DestiNet Limited

I have used the new B&Q website, while being unaware they had invested so much.

I had noticed it was considerably faster to the point it was now 'usable', the old website (i think this is replicative of the home diy industry) was unusable, you could never find what you wanted and it was far too slow.

So from a usability aspect its a vast improvement.

But £60m, WOW!

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

John Stirzaker

And India launched their space programme for £70m. Go figure?

over 2 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

Thanks for your comments everyone.

@Gerry, the search tool is definitely an issue. It must be difficult to get right when they have such a huge range of products.

@Henry, selling products dirt cheap and relying on display advertising doesn’t sound like a great business model to me ;)

@Luke and Stuart, on that topic, and as a shameless plug for our blog, have you seen this post?

https://econsultancy.com/blog/64700-12-upwardly-responsive-websites-designed-for-big-screens

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Sue Macmillan, Commercial Director at MumsnetSmall Business

Who did the site for them? I know that they were working with EMC a few years ago, but it'd be interesting to know. The internet doesn't seem to...

over 2 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

@David, it’s certainly a very quick website compared to its competitors.

@Sue, we should hopefully be doing an interview with B&Q so I’ll be sure to ask that question.

over 2 years ago

Benjamin Morel

Benjamin Morel, Digital Project Manager at Obergine

" I think that sum is partly PR spin, and partly down to the cost of integrating the site in-store and adding B&Q’s massive product range to a new database."

I'd agree - most of the money seems to have gone on database integration and making sure the site works with in-store systems, with little left over for surface things like search algorithms and product content. Shame that 99.9% of the population with judge them on exactly those things...

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Henry

@David Moth: works with Lidl, Primark, Ryanair...

Wasn't it Tesco who wanted to have more restaurants in their stores as a way to gaining back market share? They probably have more urgent priorities now...

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

James Docherty

@DavidMoth when you speak to B&Q, could you ask about the split of that £60m. I'm sure they won't tell you directly but a feel for % on front end vs infrastructure vs organisational change etc would be very interesting.

I know it's designed to grab the attention but the headline does remind me of when the iPlayer launched and the huffing and puffing about how much they'd spent. All the armchair experts were focussed on the fact that "I could embed video in my site for free so why does it cost Auntie £Xm?" while conveniently ignoring the bits we don't see.

over 2 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

@Henry, I wasn't being entirely serious, but I do think those brands rely on more than display advertising. Plus Ryanair and Lidl just launched multi-million pound TV rebranding campaigns.

@James, there's obviously a lot of interest around what the money was spent on so I'll definitely ask the question. Clearly a lot of it has gone into infrastructure etc as I can't imagine B&Q's CEO signing off a £60m budget just to give the site a facelift.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Per

Why did you not test the customer feedback or don't they have any feedback channels?

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ryan Carson

I'm assuming they'll be making some further tweaks on the website as time progresses, there's a few niggles on there if you run googles page speed utility or sortsite's testing utilities.

Still, very nice and I agree, I'm sure most of the budget would be on infrastructure, staff training, etc, etc.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Riya Jadhav

I must admit the site overall is good but not great for £60m! I have worked with lots of large fashion retailers and they have exceptional sites with all the bells and whistles for a lot lesser cost.

Looking at my large screen I am disappointed with the imagery as clearly this isn't very responsive. Cross browser testing was probably not done quite well cos the site struggles in Chrome!

Hover over shop and you see a Mega Menu with a blank empty slot which only gets content once you hover over the sub-categories! Waste of Space! UX not at its best!

Wonder if they have invested a little bit of that £60m in more courteous and friendly CS reps or In-store staff? Hmm..

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Rufus Bazley, Marketing Director at Dynamis Ltd

@Sue Macmillan, Kingfisher plc (the company that own B&Q) ran this project and I believe it was about 1.5 years in the making (don't quote me on that bit though).

You need to bear in mind it wasn't just a website it was also there whole warehouse management systems etc.

was it expensive... well yes but there was a lot more going on than just a website redesign.

my sister was the lead project manager on this so i had a few chat with her about it as it developed and it sounded like they had done there research carefully for the UI and a lot of investment into the site speed which must have been an issue with such a large product rage.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ruth

We generally advise clients designing a commerce site to think about what they invest in a physical store, and apply a similar budget to the commerce site. That takes account of the software, development, testing, personnel required, training, procedures etc.

However, I revise that advice, 60m is inconceivable, I'd really like to see the break-down.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Jonathan Guy

The headline definitely drew me in; £60m for a responsive site seems an eye watering figure.

Reading the review however I was struck by how little seems to have actually been spent on the site itself. The new version is definitely an evolution rather than a revolution and I'm sure based on user research etc. but for that kind of investment I would be expecting something rather better.

Granted, as others have pointed out, the bulk of this has probably gone 'behind the scenes' on databases and integration but pixellated images on the home page don't quite fit with the advertised price tag. Better navigation and faster response don't generally cost that much to implement.

The proof of the pudding however will be in the eating. I'd be interested to see the next quarterly results in both December and March, especially given the high profile sales slump earlier this year.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Max

Actually, India went to Mars for less than £60M - more like £46M.

As someone who builds eCommerce tech, understands what's involved in dealing with tens of millions of products on a single site, managing high volumes, and integrating with legacy systems... I cannot conceive of what £60M could have been spent on, unless that figure includes an anticipated infrastructure cost for the next decade or something - but even then, if you're assuming, say, 200k uniques per day, with surge capacity, you're still only looking at £500k a year or so, absolute tops, for a highly redundant and speedy setup.

So in short, I can only think that of that £60M, only a small portion is being spent on technology, with the rest on marketing, training, staffing, warehouse space, logistics contracts, and all the rest.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Kristina

Does anyone know which agency built this website?

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Rufus Bazley, Marketing Director at Dynamis Ltd

@Kristina, I posted this earlier "Kingfisher plc (the company that own B&Q) ran this project and I believe it was about 1.5 years in the making"

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

John Fairbrother

I have it on good authority from a friend in accounts at B&Q that the actual cost of the diy.com website build was closer to £11 million and it took a year and a half, was rushed and has left the company with only a slightly new version of the same systems they already had.

£60 million is the cost of an ongoing programme which is delivering other systems including the tradepoint website delivered first and an instore system. However the programme was badly organised and wasted lots of money on expensive 3rd parties and had a couple of false starts and took the best part of three years before anything tangible was delivered. The website was built by the parent company but EMC, epam and TCS and many contractors quickly hoovered up the £60 million leaving B&Q not a great deal to show for it.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

nick

it has 63 errors on the homepage according to WC3 validator!
thats about a million pounds an error

over 2 years ago

Benjamin Morel

Benjamin Morel, Digital Project Manager at Obergine

@nick,

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume they didn't spend £60M on the HTML... or even the £11M John Fairbrother cites.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Richmc

Very useful article... for justifying my minuscule e-com budget to the CEO and CFO... ;)

Any idea what platform they are trading on?

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Foamy Media

They were robbed we could have done it for only £35m !

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Rob

£60m? I don't believe a word of it. Even with a 2-year programme of rollouts / upgrades, half that figure sounds like too much. I also notice that there's no mention of who delivered it. Don't you know?

over 2 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

@Rob, No, I don't know who delivered it. I will find out as part of a Q&A though.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Matthew

Considering where I work (I'm a web developer) we produce the same quality for a site with similar complexity for considerably less... We're talking 30k for a huge site that handles multiple languages, built in HR system and is responsive... Yeah I think someone should of shopped around.

It's a nice site but I don't think it's even worth 1mil.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Martin

Interesting read here. It would seem that the more money a business earns the more they spend frivolously. The sites in the upper echelons of the business empire do have for the most part very well set out sites with stylish layout and responsive design. However, it's worthwhile remembering that overly inflated fee's from agencies play a huge part in these costs being so astronomical for essentially a pretty bolierplate.

I'd recommend to most CMO's, IT Directors and CIO's that a site is only a fraction of the joined up digital footprint which many smaller mid range agencies can produce at a considerably smaller cost and offer better service and ongoing maintenance thereafter.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Mike

I found the product search infuriating - pagination and infinite scrolling is a bad combination from a usability angle!

Scroll to bottom, click to go to next page - or so you thought! More results appear, scroll down get to pagination again, click again, slow load and then more scrolling to see products.

However, there are only so many products shown on infinite scrolling, so the pagination IS used! D'oh.

One or the other please. Not both. I'm a web dev and this bugs me - I'd hate to think of what a regular users reaction is...

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

luke

it looks like site was developed by Sceneric: https://www.sceneric.com/uk/sites/sceneric/clients/index#.VE7HrR2sVvR

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

John Fairbrother

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Anthony Davies

Great article, thank you.

So refreshing to hear that the evidence against carousels is building (I've often met with solid resistance when I've pushed against them from a UX perspective whilst freelancing in the London market).

Totally agree re the long list of products dropped on the user below the carousel which turns the mobile page into a scrolling slog through multiple product offerings (most of which I have no interest in - except perhaps the Christmas lights)!

One area where I think they are also missing out on in terms of revenue generation is a robust call to action strategy. Once I'd scrolled down a fair way into the home page on my phone there was a feature that was of interest titled 'Buyers guide to fires & surrounds'. I selected the 'Read now' and explored the 'Extras' accordion until I found mention of fire guards for which I have a genuine current requirement. I selected the 'Extras' image hoping I would be taken right into the heart of a section where I could explore potential options only to find that I had gone down a dead end (i.e. no cross links at all). What a wasted opportunity to get me engaged with products that could well have lead to some new business and a new online customer.

Perhaps like many mobile users I'm happy to tolerate longer pages if I feel I'm on a fruitful trail towards meeting my needs. But if left stranded deep into a journey I do start to wonder if I'm good hands from a digital experience perspective.

All the issues seem very fixable though (especially if user experience considerations are given a little more weight in discussions with business stakeholders), and so I look forward to seeing this site evolve over the coming months/years.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Sara Stout, Owner at Reap Havoc

This is a nice site and a lot of quality content has gone into it but, was it really worth that much money? I am sure more updates will follow as you said. Just seems a lot to pay for the change from a static site to a responsive one. http://archonweb.com/why-your-business-needs-a-responsive-site/

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Bigsands Page, Social Media Curator at Steel Band Hire

B&Q need to invest in an internal communication system amongst their staff and move forward from their annoying "Staff Announcements!!!"

about 2 years 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.