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Marks & Spencer launched a revamped version of its website yesterday, the first major update since 2007.
According to M&S, the aim is to 'dramatically improve the customer journey from browsing to basket'. I've been seeing how well the site achieves this goal...
In the same week that Amazon launched its standalone footwear site, Tesco launched its clothing range online on a separate website, Clothing at Tesco.
The site showcases the clothing range that shoppers will find in its Extra stores, as well as exclusive online items. I've been trying the new site out...
I’ve been working on a new community-orientated startup lately, which also has an e-commerce / marketplace element to it. As such it needs some beautiful product pages.
Product pages are absolutely crucial to the success of your website. They often double up as a landing page, and they must tick all of the right boxes to boost conversions (and reduce bounce rates).
However, product pages on a community-powered websites need to go the extra mile. They must help convert visitors into customers, but they must also engage and drive interaction. I want to encourage buying (a 'hard' goal) as well as rating, reviewing, bookmarking and sharing products (a 'soft' goal).
For my new site the thinking is very much along the lines of 80% community / 20% marketplace, and I believe that viral functionality (and related information) on product pages is essential. But there is now a surfeit of options from which to choose, which leaves us in a bit of a dilemma. What to leave out?
Online fashion is growing fast, but as Leon Bailey-Green pointed out in our recent interview, just 6% of the UK fashion retail market is selling online.
This means there is still huge potential for getting people to shop for fashion online. One way to do this is to attempt to recreate the in-store experience as closely as possible, and to help shoppers get a feel for clothes without being able to see them close up and try them on.
Here are a few ideas from online fashion sites that are doing this well, though the advice applies equally to other sectors...
John Lewis relaunched the fashion section of its website this week, aiming for an extra £70m in clothing sales by 2011.
The retailer, which currently gets just 6% of online sales from fashion items, has added new brands and redesigned in an attempt to make the section more appealing. I've been taking a closer look...
I've wondered for a while why some established retailers haven't been selling online, given the growth of e-commerce and the potential for extra revenues.
Gap is a prime example of this; despite having a successful e-commerce operation in the US, it has never transferred this to the UK, despite being a recognisable brand with a high street presence in the UK.
Delivery details and the different options available can be a deal-breaker for online retailers. Free delivery offers are now quite common, but very few seem to offer delivery on a specified date.
Offering to deliver items on a particular days can be a compelling prospect for customers, who may be impatient to get hold of their purchases, or who have work commitments and need a definite date.
I've been looking at some UK e-commerce websites to see if they offer this service, and how it is communicated to shoppers...
The Littlewoods Direct website has relaunched this week with a new name in an effort to appeal to younger customers, and billing itself an an 'online, social department store'.
The site has been rebranded as Very, and contains a social network element with contributions from celebrities such as Fearne Cotton, as well as as the usual e-commerce stuff. I've been trying it out...
For many, when it comes to writing product descriptions for their e-commerce website, it is a one-way ticket to Boresville! You can tell they'd rather have their teeth pulled, Orin Scrivello style, than sit down and write some copy that sells (heck, even more easier than just to go and control-c some competitors copy, right?)
Call to action buttons need to jump out at the shopper and leave them in no doubt about the next step they need to take to make a purchase.
It's not enough just to place a link to buy or add an item to baskets on the product page; retailers need to think about making the button stand out from other elements on the page to attract as many clicks as possible. A good button can increase conversions, so it's worth testing variations to find the most effective design.
Here are a few tips for call to action buttons on e-commerce product pages, as well as a few examples, good and bad.
Furniture retailer Heal's relaunched its website recently, working with 10CMS and Venda to increase the company's online sales.
Heal's e-commerce head Mike Traill told Retail Week that the site has helped to increase conversions by 20%, and that the company is on course to drive 16% of its total sales via the web. I've been looking round the site to see what changes have been made...
TK Maxx has started to sell online in the UK, but the discount retailer is taking a cautious approach, and is only offering handbags for sale on the site so far.
The company is asking for feedback from customers on what else they would like to buy from the site though, so it seems that other product ranges will follow.