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There aren't hundreds of bells and whistles on Zara.com.
But it's a website I like using and it makes me want to buy stuff (even though I know it looks better on the website than in store).
Here are six reasons why.
1. Lookbook style listings
I love white space. I love it even more when product photos are presented as cards, so they neatly tesselate.
On top of that, each product/model photo is strikingly different, so when you switch to displaying six products across the desktop page (instead of the default two), the act of browsing feels much more 'high fashion' than 'high street'.
The listings aren't perfect, by any means. The pullout filter is easily missed and when a filter is applied, this isn't made obvious.
It's also worth noting here that accessing this great imagery is a little more painful on mobile (m.site), where I have to choose from a very long dropdown of countries on the homepage, then wait a while for the imagery to load (on WiFi), which initially caused a bit of mis-clicking.
There is an app, of course, but that's not for infrequent shoppers like me.
Despite these gripes, the photography is just so dang great to look at, one forgives the little mistakes.
2. Sumptuous predictive search
Do head over to the Zara website and just mess about with the search facility.
Not only is it beautifully chunky, it gives both incremental results (changes as you type) and offers a predictive element, allowing you to hit return and see results for the suggested word in grey.
I've screenshotted below (my GIF creator doesn't like white websites) or you can check it out here.
Incremental search displays results for 'd'. Hitting return completes for the predicted word 'dresses'.
Watch how everything on the product page scrolls (apart from the fixed header) until we hit a point where the 'add to basket' button and sidebar menu remain fixed, too.
This isn't rare or cutting edge, but it's always good to see and helps one become immersed in the photography (scrolling rather than clicking through images).
(See more on stickiness)
4. Product page best practice
As is best practice, free delivery and returns policies are highlighted twice, there's a sizing guide, in-store availability is noted and product photographs come complete with annotations showing model height.
On mobile again, I found product pages fun (because I could scroll to my heart's content) but slow to load.
Also, there are no product descriptions. Whilst the photography does a lot of the selling and the 'composition' button shows materials, more could be made of each garment without compromising the stylish minimalism of these product pages.
Model height listed on product photography
Product pages on mobile. Nice scrolling but long loading
Again, these aren't perfect from a UX standpoint. It takes a bit of clicking to realise how they are intended to work.
Once you realise these catalogue style photographs are shoppable, it is a fun experience.
Again, it's the quality of the imagery that keeps you involved.
I know this look isn't me, but...
6. Email newsletter flavours x3
Not every fashion retailer does this. Not sure why.
For more on this topic, read: Email sign up forms: a look at how 16 fashion retailers collect customer data.