{{ 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.

Screwfix has recently upgraded to a responsive website.

Looking through the site, it occurred to me how much ecommerce retailers in other sectors can learn from hardware retailers that have been traditionally catalogue-based.

Here are a few features worth considering.

Product images in site search

Predictive or suggestive search is rightly held up as a must-have for ecommerce retailers that have many categories and products. What is often not mentioned is how helpful imagery can be in search.

As you can see below, the Screwfix search functionality includes both a suggested text listing and several suggested products with images (much like mini product listings).

This allows for much better product recall when customers are trying to find something they have viewed before (and may reduce the number of mistaken clicks from search).

These panels can also be personalised, using my behavioural history in combination with popular products and, most importantly, the text I have entered into the search bar.

screwfix site search

Shop by persona

Screwfix already includes hundreds of categories and possibly thousands of filters to allow customers to find what they want without headache.

However, Screwfix doesn't stop there in its attempts to help users cut through the noise. Two of the main categories (tools and safety & workwear) include the option to 'shop by trade'.

This means builders, mechanics, decorators etc. can exclude products designed specifically for other trades.

Though there is much hype around personalisation, with the associated danger of funnelling customers away from products they may well be happy to discover, the process of thinking about customer shopping personas is a valuable one.

In fashion, this could be as simple as allowing customers to filter by style (e.g. Boho), rather than by product type.

shop by trade listings

Rich product listings

Catalogue retailers have a mammoth task transferring great UX to a website.

The enormous number of disparate products with such detailed specifications is a nightmare for categorisation and navigation (see this great case study from RS Components).

One of the ways of overcoming this is by including as much detail as possible in filtered product listings.

Look at the screen shot below. Three bullet points are used to sum up the key features of each power drill. This mini product description is perfect for quick comparison (with a compare tool available, if more detailed weighing-up is required).

Click-and-collect and next-day delivery are surfaced as buttons on the listing, allowing users to jump straight to these options (rather than clicking to a product page and then clicking again). The next-day delivery button is changed appropriately, when products have longer lead times.

Number of reviews and average rating is displayed, price is given accurately (wth option to turn VAT on or off in the header menu), and icons are used to show 'trade rated', 'new' or 'Screwfix exclusive'.

All in all, these listings are designed to allow me, the user, to skim as lightly as possible over the catalogue, before I need to dive into a product page and out again. This saves time and means I'm less likely to abandon my search.

screwfix product listings

Product page video

The drill product page shown below has a video button that launches a Screwfix YouTube channel frame in window.

This is exactly the sort of content a customer wants for medium- to high-value purchases where spec and reviews are very important.

Product page video is not needed for every listing (not much use for a screw or a light switch), but retailers in any industry should prioritise important products, with video a tool for improving conversion rates.

screwfix product page

Filter best practice

This should be dyed in the wool by now for any online retailer, but the elegance of filter best practice is demonstrated so well by Screwfix, it would be remiss of me to remind myself.

Filters should be collapsible, with each filter option showing the number of products within it. Pricing should be filtered by pre-set ranges, but also a custom range that the user can set.

There should be the option to 'clear all' applied filters in one click. Filters should include customer reviews and attributes entirely relevant to the category in question (in the instance below, lawnmowers can be filtered by collection capacity, propulsion type and cutting blade size).

One thing that Screwfix doesn't do is highlight a filter heading when an option has been checked within, however this is only a problem if the user applies a filter and then collapses the filter menuin question.

filters on screwfix

Ben Davis

Published 29 March, 2016 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

807 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

Avatar-blank-50x50

Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum.co.uk

Weird - they still have two different sites, www.screwfix.com and m.screwfix.com; the latter is what you get on a mobile.
It has a visibly different page layout and design - even the logo is different (monochrome on the mobile site).

Many differences really, e.g. different colours for back and filter buttons.

Maybe they've not finally decided that RWD is better than having 2 sites, and want to keep the mobile one?
Or else perhaps there was a slip up today, when I tried from an Android and an iPhone.

5 months ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

Hi Deri - yeah, I queried one of their team about this and they said it will roll out fully soon (replacing the mdot site).

5 months ago

Julia Borkenhagen

Julia Borkenhagen, Managing Partner at Whitespace

Excellent example and article pointing out important UX e-commerce elements and explaining them in detail. Thanks!

3 months 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.