Brandosa, an online shoe retailer which operates in Europe as brandos.com, launched its UK e-commerce site this week.
Since launching in 2006, the retailer has sold 350,000 pairs of shoes to customers in Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands.
I've been having a look at the new site...
The homepage is simple enough, and lays out the various navigational options clearly for the visitor.
It advertises the free shipping and returns offers prominently, a good way to entice and reassure customers, while the offer of a £5 gift voucher is a good way to build an email list quickly.
Navigation and site search
The search box is relatively small, meaning longer keyword searches will disappear from view as users type.
This means users would have to scroll within the search box to review or correct the keywords they have entered, which is not recommended.
The results are presented in a slightly confusing way, with matching trademarks and categories given greater prominence than the actual product results:
Also, having entered 'black boots' as my search term, if I select the men's boots category from the results page, I have presented with many other colours. This defeats the point of the search in the first place (as a shortcut) and means more effort is needed from the customer.
If you browse via the navigation menu, then the option for refining the search could be improved:
I can only refine my search by style of shoes (smart / casual/ boots) or by colour and size. The ability to filter by brand and more, as possible on rival sites like Schuh, would help users to narrow their search.
Also, the drop-down menu to filter by shoe size only shows European sizes, which many UK shoppers may not be familiar with.
Once you have a set of results you're happy with though, they are presented well on the page, allowing shoppers to scan the range easily.
The product pages retain the navigational options and other links from the rest of the site, and this does mean that the page is slightly squashed:
The range of product photos are excellent though, with eight or more images of shoes which can be selected via the menu on the right.
The sales copy on the page is non-existent, which may be a missed opportunity to sell the product, while it also means that key information about the kinds of materials used is missing.
In addition, since there are various links and buttons for email sign up and links to Facebook, the call to action on the page is less prominent than it could be.
The checkout process effectively starts on the shopping cart page, which is an unusual approach.
In theory, this shortens the whole process, which may be a good thing, though I wonder whether customers who are used to pressing a 'proceed to checkout' button will be deterred by this.
Also, the form filling could have been made easier for customers. There is no postcode lookup tool to save customers from entering their full address, while the mobile phone number is a required field, which some customers may object to.
The call to action to continue in the process after entering details is stands out less than it could, while the button text 'enter' could be replaced by something like 'proceed to payment'.
The Brandosa site is reasonably well designed, and doesn't have any major problems, but there are a few areas where the customer journey could be improved.
The search results and filtering options could be improved, while I wonder whether the design of the checkout process will confuse some customers.