Grazia launched in Italy way back in 1938 but its international expansion only began in 2005.

Since then it has established editions in 23 different countries and as of this month it now has an ecommerce store.

However it won’t be the usual clickable magazine or affiliate scheme that you might have expected.

To understand how Graziashop.com works it’s important to realise that the magazine operates on something of a franchise model, so local publishers are licensed to use the brand name.

The ecommerce store is a separate entity run by the business owner, Mondadori Group, and as such it is more of a sister brand to Grazia UK rather than being a bolt-on extension of the magazine.

Graziashop will operate on a drop-shipping model (like a marketplace) where items are sent directly from brands and boutiques to consumers worldwide.

It will sell products from more than 250 brands worldwide, some of which have supplied exclusive collections for the site.

So now we’ve got the explaining out of the way, is Graziashop actually any good?

Read on to find out, or for more on this topic read our posts on Net-A-Porter’s shoppable magazine and Monsoon’s new tablet app called Swoon.

Homepage and navigation

One might expect Graziashop to have a strong focus on fashion content.

From my discussions with the team behind the site I understand that tie-ins with the magazines and additional editorial is something that will come in future, however at the minute it looks like a standard ecommerce site.

The homepage has a mix of specific product suggestions and links to broader categories such as ’10 lust-haves of the week’ or cold weather gear.

Yellow ‘shop now’ CTAs are littered all over the place but there’s only one that says ‘Read & Shop Now’.

But that’s not to say that the content doesn’t exist, it’s just hidden within the nav menus.

Weirdly each of the product categories in the top nav (shoes, bags, accessories) has four columns. Two that are specific to that category (‘shop by’ and ‘designers’), and another two that remain the same across each dropdown (‘trends’ and ‘features’).

The latter two are home to the fashion content, but I was slightly surprised that it remained the same regardless of which product category you’re viewing.

Content

The content itself is fairly thin at the moment, with a few paragraphs of text describing various trends before giving way to ‘shop now’ CTAs.

However Graziashop isn’t trying to recreate the magazine experience so the content doesn’t need to be hugely in-depth.

It allows shoppers to get a brief overview of the latest trends before giving them a few relevant product suggestions.

Even the ‘Grazify Yourself’ video presented by Grazia UK’s fashion editor remains pleasingly brief at just 58 seconds, while the accompanying text runs to fewer than 250 words.

Category and product pages

The category pages are clean and simple with plenty of white space. 

Users are given four different filter options (designer, category, colour and price), which isn’t bad but there’s definitely space for a few more to aid product selection.

The product pages are quite basic and would benefit from some additional features to encourage conversion.

For example, some of the items I viewed only had two product images which really isn’t enough. Also, there are no product reviews or videos, and the descriptions are extremely brief.

Shipping costs

One fairly major problem with Graziashop is that it’s hugely difficult to find out shipping costs.

If you go to the ‘shipping’ page it directs you to the DHL site to find the costs for delivery to your location. However after selecting UK from the dropdown menu it asked me to login, which was when I lost interest.

Hidden shipping costs are a major cause of basket abandonment so this is something that Graziashop needs to fix.

The good news is that shipping costs are displayed at the shopping basket, but at £9 for one jacket it’s not exactly cheap.

Checkout

We’re always harping on about offering a decent guest checkout, and Graziashop has followed this advice to the extreme.

Shoppers are automatically directed to the guest checkout where returning customers can login if they spot the tiny text link at the top of the page.

Overall the checkout process ticks many best practice boxes: it’s enclosed, there’s real-time error checking, a progress bar, and form filling is kept to a minimum.

It’s obviously not perfect though and could be further improved with a postcode lookup tool and additional security symbols.

In conclusion…

Overall Graziashop is a decent first iteration, however it certainly feels like a work in progress so I expect it to be altered and upgraded in the coming months.

This is no bad thing (we’re currently going through the same process at Econsultancy) and the developers will be able to improve the site based on user feedback.

Some of the improvements are basic things like user reviews, product imagery and more visibility on shipping costs, so it shouldn’t be too hard to fix.

Another aspect of the site worth mentioning is ‘Fashion Stories’, which allows users to create shoppable moodboards.

It’s effectively a mini social network within the Graziashop site and I’ll investigate it further in another post.