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Every so often I like to take a look at a website that I wouldn’t normally visit, from an industry we haven’t covered that much and put it through the customer journey test.
This week it’s the turn of Pandora, an international jewellery manufacturer founded in 1982, that entered the world of ecommerce in 2011.
Similar to previous posts on Ikea and Apple, I’m going to take a look at the convenience and experience of the shopping and checkout process from the point of view of a regular visitor visiting from search.
Pandora has done an excellent job with organic SEO efforts, ranking in the top five organic search results for all of its key products.
- Charms: 1st result
- Bracelets: 1st result
- Rings: 1st result
- Earrings: 4th result
- Necklaces: 4th result
This is a fantastic effort frankly, especially for quite broad search terms and with a lot of competition.
It does however become lost down the page for ‘charm bracelets’, where three other companies have taken out successful PPC campaigns.
Although Pandora is the first organic result, with the PPC ads looking particularly eye-catching with their rich-snippets and star reviews, it might be worthwhile for the brand to invest in appearing in the paid listings, doubling its chances of driving traffic to the site.
Taking ‘charms’ as an example, here’s the page a visitor from search will find themselves on after using that search term…
Although it’s a nicely laid-out page, that’s not too cluttered and has a good use of white space, there are a few issues that could be improved. Let’s break this down into numbered points.
- This small text appears to be rather lost in the thin strip of black, a solo log-in would suffice, with the ‘join for exclusive content’ communicated more clearly elsewhere on the page.
- Search has been minimised to the point where it’s difficult to find. Traditionally search boxes are clearly defined text boxes and forms a fundamental part of navigation.
- The large image looks great and is a good visual representation of how the charms look when placed together on a bracelet, however the size of it is pushing more important elements, such as the products themselves, too far down the page.
- This separate link in the banner is poorly placed and seems illogical. Why would Pandora be advertising the ecommerce store that I’m already on within a banner image? That’s because you’re technically not in its ecommerce store yet.
- Products are pushed too far down the page, and vital information such as price and the ability to add to a wishlist is cut off. Although the commitment to actually providing a wishlist should be commended.
The image above doesn’t actually show it, but there is a floating filter bar that follows you as you scroll down the page. This provides options for showing different results and sorting by age and price, and it works simply and effectively.
Unfortunately the search tool here is pretty poor, to the point where it feels like an afterthought rather than an integral part of discovery.
This search tool also doesn’t provide automatically suggested entries, nor does it recognise common misspellings.
Its zero returned results page also offers no alternative products or suggestions, and the help options below aren’t actually links, they’re just telling you other things you could try.
The homepage, much like the landing pages, is attractively laid out with with a good use of space, and the top navigation menus appear when you hover over them and feature clear links to areas on the site.
The carousel further down the page has a visible timer that moves across the page showing how long before the next transition.
It’s great that Pandora is being that transparent, however the timer moves at such a quick pace that it creates a weird sense of urgency and pressure that really doesn’t belong here.
On the homepage we also discover that Pandora operates a separate ecommerce platform away from this site.
Clicking on this takes you to a site hosted by a third-party provider called E-Store.
It’s an unfortunate extra hurdle that visitors have to navigate in order to make a purchase, and one that feels unnecessary as even the most basic websites can be integrated with ecommerce functionality.
Also upon arriving to the e-store, you are presented with a pop-up asking you to sign-up. Again, this is another possible barrier to purchase. People find pop-ups annoying at the best of times, but when you’re showing one after you’ve already made a visitor visit an entirely different website, this will probably contribute to higher abandonment.
Ask whether a customer wants to save their details after they have gone through the checkout process, state the benefits of doing this, then just ask for a password as you already have their contact details. You’ll find customers are much more receptive to this, as at the beginning of the journey they want the quickest, easiest, barrier-free route to checkout possible.
Beyond this, things improve dramatically...
Here we can see lots of nice simple features that make for a good product page experience.
- Free delivery details are clearly indicated.
- Free returns details are also clearly stated, although you cannot return e-store items to a high street, branch which is a blow to its multichannel capabilities.
- Multiple image views, with great hover-and-zoom tool.
- Easy to use drop-down menus and handy sizing guide.
- Clear and large CTA.
The e-store, unlike the ‘brand store’ is also responsive, making it easy to view on mobile screens
The bag is pleasantly distraction-free, with a clear CTA, useful links to continue shopping, save for later and edit bag option.
My favourite part though is the fact it tells you exactly how much you need to spend to qualify for free shipping.
On to the checkout and I’m disappointed to find that among the plethora of options there is no guest checkout.
Guest checkout is a must for providing excellent customer service as it puts the emphasis on the customer’s needs instead of your own data collection. As I said earlier, ask to save customer details after checkout and you’ll find them much more receptive and likely to return.
The checkout process itself is fast and smooth though. It’s all done on just a handful of screens, with clear indication how long it will take, autofill enabled with PayPal payment accepted.
My only strong suggestion would be that, being as I’m ordering an expensive product, it would be good to offer more premium delivery options such as same day or nominated day delivery. Customers will happily pay more for extra convenience.
It’s an interesting example of ecommerce, as there are a lot of good practices in place, but I can’t tell if these are just inherent to the third-party platform that Pandora is using. Certainly the brand website needs a lot of work in terms of search and the fact that it isn't responsive.
Perhaps if Pandora are looking to redesign its current brand website, which it should do as it is also picking up all the search traffic, it should look to the e-store as an example and integrate all of its positive features.