Sales are sales, and ultimately customers want a bargain, but there are different ways of presenting them.

They can provide a poor user experience at times, especially if retailers haven’t provided enough navigation and filtering options to narrow their searches.  

Simply providing a long list of products and making customers hunt for a bargain isn’t good enough, while some present a poorer version of the normal site for sales. 

Next is one example of this. The design is totally different to the ‘normal’ site, which is immediately more confusing for customers. 

There are a number of problems. For example, since stock is limited, using the filters often returns no results, which is frustrating for customers. 

Also, while Next’s product pages provide a range of zoomable images from different angles, on the sale site you get just one image to help you decide.

If you’re looking to attract customers to your sale, and encourage them to buy, then the user experience shouldn’t be neglected.

What do customers want from sales?  

They arrive at the sale, whether from an email, an ad, a search or word of mouth and they will have a number of questions: 

  • Where are the sale products? 
  • How do I get to the sale? 
  • How much can I save on each product? 
  • How do i get the saving? 

How retailers present this varies, so here are a few examples from Cyber Monday… 

House of Fraser

Many customers arriving at the site today will be hunting for bargains, so House of Fraser makes it easy for them to get straight down to business. 

The sale is highlighted clearly, and the ‘shop live offers’ call to action removes any cause for confusion: 

Once on the sale page there are more than 3,000 products on offer. 

Here, House of Fraser offers the same user experience as normal, which means that users can filter and sort by price, brand, section, review score and so on. 

I also like the way House of Fraser split its sale into three five-hour periods to maintain customers’ interest throughout the day. The countdown timer also adds a sense of urgency.


Argos didn’t really acknowledge Cyber Monday as a thing, instead carrying on with its Black Friday promotions.

Still, the messaging was clear, and the site held together after its hiccup on Black Friday. 


Deals were clearly presented though discounts weren’t shown for all products. 


Tesco went for the Cyber Monday thing, with robots and everything. Visitors to the site were in no doubt about where the sale was. 

It had an interesting way of presenting the sale, with discounts on everything if you hit spending thresholds rather than a selection of reduced products. 

This has its benefits, as customers can just navigate the site as normal and apply discounts at the end.

The only slight negative is that customers have to remember a discount code, and these codes weren’t memorable. 


Yes, there was a sale on at Macy’s…

Thanks to standard navigation and filters the sale items were easy to find, while reminders of savings on search results are useful for shoppers. 


No mistaking the fact that there’s a sale on here, and Gap explains the terms of the sale simply – 40% off everything with a discount code. 

The advantage of such a sale is that there is no need for a separate section, so customers can navigate as normal.

The offer is reiterated throughout the site, while the code (CYBERGAP) is easy enough to remember. 

In summary

There are a number of approaches here, and much will depend on the priorities of the retailer.

I like the simplicity of offering a discount off everything, as that means customers can just shop as normal and apply the code at the end. 

However, I also like the approach from House of Fraser. Splitting the sales into sections gave customers a reason to return to the store throughout the day, and also meant that those logging on in the evening hadn’t missed out on all of the bargains. 

I should also mention Amazon here. As Ian Gregory explained in an earlier post, the retail giant’s lightning deals promotion was an excellent example.