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Why am I comparing two well-known fashion retailers and their ecommerce sites?
Well, though many conventions of web design are well-established, it still surprises me how different ecommerce sites can be, even in the nuts and bolts of basket and checkout.
So, I thought I'd look at two quite different fashion retailers, and see how they match up.
Sports Direct is brilliant. Ok, it had some problems last year as its reputation took a blow thanks to the retailer’s use of zero hour contracts, but on the sales front, it’s flying along.
New stores are opening, other sports retailers are being battered into submission and 2,000 staff members are to receive a cool £100k bonus after profits climbed by 40% to £200m last year.
With 12 languages and 10 currency options, the Sports Direct website should continue to aid the company's growing profits.
The website has been praised in many quarters. It’s certainly easy to use and strongly conveys the brand’s identity.
Visiting the site I was struck by just how good its calls to action are, and how easy it is to get around (unlike their stores). I thought I’d round up a few of the best bits.
Enjoy them in all their enormous garish glory. I think they’re part of a growing lust for simplicity that is driving web design forward.
With 2013 the first year tablet shipments are expected to exceed that of PCs and also a year in which smartphone penetration reaches 64% in the US (Nielsen), responsive design is rightly this year’s hot topic.
Despite this, it seems a lot of big brands are playing catch up, with new research from Venda showing just one of the UK’s top 50 most visited retail sites (Curry’s) currently hosts a responsive website.
A quarter of websites analysed don’t have a mobile optimised site, and many retailers host their mobile site under a different URL structure to their existing website, which could be negatively impacting their SEO and affecting their efforts with analytics.
As comScore estimates a third of all UK page views now come from smartphones and tablets, delivering a slick customer experience across all devices has become a massive competitive advantage for retailers.
To that end, I've been looking at the new responsive Cloggs website.
Coach has an ultimately frustrating website.
Don’t get me wrong, the desktop site, designed this year, isn’t presenting too many barriers to customers. It also has some nice touches that should shine in a tweaked redesign. And it has some amazing product images (of amazing products).
But, at the moment, it’s a little buggy and has a homepage lacking in features above the fold.
With a little work, the desktop ecommerce site could make content and products easier to surface, and provide a much more immersive experience.
In this post, I’m looking at the US website. If you’re not in the US, you can hit ‘global sites’ in the footer and take a look at the American view.
For those outside of the US, Coach is big, with revenue of $3.23bn in 2009. It’s big enough that when I Google simply ‘coach’ (and bear in mind I’m in the UK), I get a Google company ‘card’ on the RHS of the SERPS (see below), which I can click to take me to results more relevant to the luxury leather goods store.
So, now that I’m in the store, what does it look like?
Tesco Wines and The Sunday Times Wine Club have come joint top in a study looking at the usability of alcohol websites.
The Qubit benchmark looks at the onsite effectiveness of the UK’s most popular alcohol retailers: The Whisky Shop, The Wine Society, Beermerchants.com, The Drink Shop, Slurp, Tesco Wines and The Sunday Times Wine Club.
Using more than 80 best practice criteria it divides the customer journey into three main stages to identify which delivers the best overall user experience.
There is no exact template for designing mobile product pages as the small screen size means its up to each retailer to work out which features are most important for their customers.
On an ecommerce site you can afford to squeeze in almost any feature you want but on a smartphone you need to be more selective.
Even so there are a number of tools and functions that nearly all mobile sites should include, mainly because users expect to see them so leaving them out will damage the UX.
So with this in mind, here are eight examples of great mobile commerce product pages. All of them have flaws but also have features that are worth considering for your own mobile site.
Designing attractive, usable mobile product pages is a fine art that many sites still struggle with.
I feel that responsive design has been a brilliant agent for change in mobile design because it has forced people to strive for simplicity, as pages need to be usable across multiple devices.
And with this in mind, I thought I’d highlight five of my favourite mobile product pages, with examples coming from apps as well as mobile sites.
In all honesty the criteria for making the top five list are quite woolly, but essentially they’re the product pages that I think offer the best aesthetics and usability.
Personally I like mobile sites to have giant images so I don’t have to squint, as well as massive buttons to make navigation easy.
Given the growth of e-commerce over the last decade, and its offline presence, the lack of a Gap e-commerce site in the UK has been a bit of a mystery.
This was finally rectified this week with the launch of a transactional site for Gap and Banana Republic (with a .eu domain).
I've been seeing how the new site measures up...