House of Fraser unveiled an updated version of its website recently. 

Online sales rose by 110% in the first 24 weeks of the year, and House of Fraser aims to continue this growth with the redesigned website. 

The previous incarnation, as reviewed here by Paul Rouke in 2007, was a good site, but the new version provides a more up to date, streamlined look. 

Homepage 

The new homepage design, shown above, has replaced al the black space from the old version (below) and looks much brighter and less cluttered as a result. 

Search and navigation

The navigation on the new site reflects a move away from traditional department store websites. 

Instead of a top navigation bar with ten sections, as on the old site, the new version just has four, and uses relatively small drop-down menus to show sub categories: 

In response to customer feedback, there is more prominence to navigation by brand, which provides an alternative method of browsing and searching for the site. 

Once a brand has been selected, each has its own ‘homepage’ within the site, through which customers can navigate further and use the various filters: 

The filtering options on the site have also been improved and, unlike on the previous site, users can select more than one option, as well as easily removing individual filters. 

Product pages

House of Fraser is in the process of adding more images to the site, but most products now have multiple images (if not necessarily zoomable ones) which enable shoppers to see clothes from various angles. 

There is now much more information on the page to aid shoppers with purchase decisions – on pricing, sizes, delivery and returns, while reviews have now been added. 

Checkout process

Once items have been added, customers can now hover over the shopping bag link to see a quick summary of products and prices, and the main page is much improved. 

In a recent post on shopping basket best practice, guest blogger Paul Rouke said a good basket page should ‘provide the visitor with all they need to know for them to be happy to progress to checking out, without any un-answered questions’.

It does an excellent job of this, providing clear security logos and a prominent contact number for any shoppers seeking reassurance:

It also makes delivery charges and options very clear, and summarises the available payment options, while the pink calls to action stand out clearly on the page. 

There is a voucher code field on the page, but it is one of the least visible elements, overshadowed by the calls to action.

This may mean that those shoppers that aren’t looking for it don’t notice it, thereby avoiding the risk that they leave the process to search for their own code, while those that are looking for it can find out. 

The checkout provides similar security reassurances, and has been fully enclosed to focus customers’ minds on the purchase. In addition, a guest checkout option has been provided for those that would prefer not to register first. 

Social media

In addition to some of the changes I’ve mentioned here, House of Fraser has given more prominence to its social media, with links to the blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts on the homepage. 

Social media content is also integrated into the ‘Your Style’ section of the site, along with competitions and useful buyers’ guides and fashion ideas. 

Conclusion

The look of the new site is a big improvement on the previous version, and the overall user experience has been enhanced by the changes made to the navigation, product pages and checkout.