Australian fashion retailer David Jones recently launched a new website as part of a wider effort to improve its digital offering.

David Jones’ old website was unveiled to the public back in 2010 but failed to really take off, thanks in part to a number of usability issues.

Problems included a poorly designed shopping cart, a lack of product information and no on-site search function.

To make sure the new site doesn’t repeat these mistakes, David Jones has hired a highly regarded fashion photographer to manage the imagery and copywriting for the site’s 90,000 products and is working with IBM to develop the backend.

It’s hoped that the new site will lift online sales from below 1% of revenue to 10% or above.

We have previously flagged up ASOS and Quiksilver as examples of shopping basket best practice, so using the same criteria I looked at how David Jones compared…

The criteria

These are the main points that sites need to follow to ensure a great user experience during the checkout process:

  • Clear calls-to-action. The user shouldn’t have to search around for what to do next.
  • Standard delivery costs are made clear. Unclear delivery costs continue to be one of the key reasons why visitors abandon their checkout process.
  • Clear product details. Alongside a thumbnail, customers want to know the size, colour and quantity.
  • Total price is made clear. As well as knowing the delivery cost, customers need to know the total amount they are paying with no hidden costs.
  • Delivery options within the basket. Customers should be allowed to choose the delivery option before the checkout process, thus ensuring they know what they are paying and the delivery period.
  • Secure shopping is made clear. Though e-commerce is no longer a new concept people still need reassurance that the transaction is secure.
  • Clear payment options. Not all visitors have a Visa card – are there options for lesser know cards or PayPal?
  • Don’t force users to register before checkout. This is a great way to cause people to abandon their transaction. ASOS managed to halve its abandonment rate at the registration page simply by removing any mention of creating an account.

Product pages and shopping cart

The product pages have a simple design that makes it easy to see the product options and information.

Each item has several high quality product images and the ‘Add to bag’ call-to-action is the most prominent item on the page which makes it easy for the customer to get to the next step in the purchase process.

However, there are several areas that could be improved. For example, the product information just sticks to the basic details and doesn’t do much to sell the item to the customer.

Furthermore, the product pages don’t offer alternative products ideas or user reviews. Reviews are a particularly important sales driver in e-commerce so David Jones is missing a trick by not including them. 

When you add an image to the cart a dropdown appears which gives you the option of checking out or viewing your cart. This is useful as it catches your eye so you don’t have to search the page for your next option.

The shopping bag contains a decent summary of your order including an image and confirmation of the size and colour of the item.  

The price is also displayed prominently, as are the CTAs and the fact that it is a secure checkout, but it doesn’t include delivery information.

On the homepage I noticed that David Jones is offering free delivery until the middle of December, however it doesn’t reiterate this point on the product page or shopping cart which means it’s failing to take advantage of a major selling point. 

Checkout

David Jones avoids the common pitfall of forcing visitors to register and instead allows guest checkout.

It also sells the benefit of creating an account later in the checkout process by saying it makes future purchases “even faster,” which is a good way of encouraging signups. 

The checkout process is fairly simple and doesn’t require much form filling, however there are several aspects that could be improved.

Firstly, though it assumes that billing and delivery address are the same it doesn’t have a postcode lookup tool.

Also when I entered the address incorrectly the error message it displayed was quite vague, so I wasn’t exactly sure which information needed to be altered which was quite frustrating.

Another problem, in my opinion, is the colour scheme. It’s trying to be clean and simple, but grey text on a grey background isn’t very easy to read. 

Finally, it only accepts store and bankcards with no options for alternative payment methods such as PayPal.

Delivery options

As mentioned, David Jones is currently offering free delivery until the middle of December, which is a great selling point.

But rather than trumpet this to encourage sales it has taken the unusual step of failing to mention delivery options or charges at any point during the shopping basket or checkout.

The only time it mentions delivery is on the payment page, which confirms that there is no delivery charge but does so in a rather obscure way.

As you can see, the checkout deducts the $9.95 delivery cost first before adding it on again, with the result being that shipping is free.

It would be a much better idea just to state on every page in the checkout process that shipping is free, as it’s a great promotion so why not promote it?

This would not only clarify shipping costs to customers but might encourage them to buy more products as they’ll want to take advantage of the offer.

In conclusion…

David Jones’ new website appears to be a massive improvement on the last version and it ticks many of the boxes for product page and checkout best practice.

The product images look good and the CTAs are consistent throughout the purchase journey, which makes it easy for the customer to work out what the next step is.

Furthermore, the checkout process is quick and form filling is kept to a minimum, which will help reduce basket abandonment.

However there are also several areas that I think need to be improved.  

Firstly, product information is extremely basic which is a missed opportunity not only for improving SEO but also for selling the product to customers.

The product pages could also be improved by adding an ‘Other customers bought’ or recommendations section, as well as customer reviews.

However, the development process is still on-going so it’s possible that these features will be added as David Jones upgrades the site.

But in the short term, David Jones should really be making more of its free delivery promotion. It’s potentially a great sales driver so failing to mention it is a bizarre decision.