So, what does its new website offer, and will it encourage consumers to order more wine online? Here’s a run-down of what I think does and doesn’t work.

Customer influence

Ratings and reviews have long been seen as an essential tool for ecommerce sites, but recent research highlights the extent to which they can impact conversion rates.

According to Podium, a whopping 93% of online shoppers say reviews have an impact of their purchasing decisions, while 83% say that the content of a review has convinced them to buy something online.

Majestic Wine’s previous site also included customer reviews and ratings, however its new version makes this a primary focus. It includes a new tool which lets users choose whether or not they would ‘buy it again’ – alongside the standard star rating and written review.

Putting aside the impact on those reading the reviews for now, this increased interaction enables consumers to become decision-makers. Essentially it means that Majestic Wines will consider the amount of ‘buy it again’ votes before restocking a product, using customer influence to determine what wines it sells online.

This feature has been copied from Naked Wines, a smaller wine-on-subscription business that Majestic purchased in 2015. That deal was intended to spur Majestic’s digital transformation, and clearly the acquisition has influenced the new site design.

It does appear as if Majestic has copied much of Naked’s UX, with the focus on ratings and reviews being one of the most obvious features.

The reviews feature should help improve conversions as it is a very obvious sign of social proof and allows customers to feel much more involved.

Majestic’s minimal design actually makes the feature look a bit more appealing than on Naked’s site, with the cleaner product pages making it easier for customers to rate products.

Capitalising on social proof

As well as giving customers increased influence, the new ‘buy it again’ feature allows the retailer to capitalise on social proof. In short, it instils confidence in the product, urging customers to hit the ‘add to basket’ button.

The highly visual nature of Majestic Wine’s rating system is likely to be effective. Instead of clicking through to product pages or scrolling down to read reviews, users can get an instant idea of how others feel about a product simply by browsing category pages.

Another plus is that this will only increase as time goes on, with social proof increasing (or decreasing if the product fails to impress) as more and more ratings are accumulated.

One drawback worth mentioning is that the review section itself is poorly designed. While it could be useful to include the option for users to respond to reviews, this section appears to take up far too much space.

It would make more sense to condense reviews, meaning that the site could fit more on one page (and users would not have to click through to the next page as often).

Discovery tool

Another new feature on Majestic’s site is a discovery tool on its homepage that helps users find their ‘perfect wine’. This is a nifty tool, helping to quickly and easily narrow down a search in just a few questions.

This is likely to be useful for customers who have a limited level of knowledge about wine or who are typically overwhelmed by choice. Even if the customer does not have white or red preference, for instance, the tool still offers suggestions based on other factors like ‘easy drinking’ or ‘intense flavours’ and whether or not the person favours deals or one-of-a-kind items.

As well as providing general inspiration, this tool could also help to reduce basket abandonment rates, ultimately nudging customers down the sales funnel when they might otherwise get bored or frustrated and leave.

Promoting the little extras

Majestic’s new site is slick in design, if a little basic. One thing that stands out is the promotion of customer-centric extras like delivery, click and collect, and a ‘no quibble’ money-back guarantee.

Click and collect is particularly important, especially when it comes to attracting millennial shoppers. A recent survey found that 87% of millennials have used click and collect – with this generation particularly viewing the service as an incentive to shop with certain retailers.

Elsewhere, the inclusion of these icons on product pages is eye-catching, however the site lets itself down with avoidable mistakes like spelling mistakes or typos in the copy (“It’s up too you”). That aside, I like other small details such as symbols detailing the country of origin as well as other handy titbits like whether or not the wine is screw-cap or organic.

In comparison to Naked Wines, which focuses on conversational (and occasionally convoluted) copy, I prefer Majestic’s succinct and highly visual product information.

Pushing customers in-stores

Finally, Majestic’s new site is clearly designed to better highlight its status as a multichannel retailer, with a focus on improving customer service across the board.

It recently rolled out a new ‘franchise-lite’ model, which allows store managers to become partners, giving them much greater control over the running of day-to-day events and stock. This is reflected online, with the site’s ‘store locator’ also including detailed information about those who work there – plus links to unique Twitter and Facebook accounts for individual stores.

It is quite rare for a mid-size retailer to invest in localised social media in this way, but it can be a good way to foster loyalty of local customers. Another way Majestic is doing this is with in-store events, with the store locator also including information about wine and beer tasting and Christmas-themed experiences.

Customers can also purchase tickets to these events online. But while this feature is good addition, it doesn’t appear as if the events are promoted that heavily on the main site. Customers might only come across them if they are searching via the store locator, and even then the ‘events’ tab is quite easy to miss.

In conclusion…

While many of the features on Majestic’s new site have been copied from Naked Wines, I think the way Majestic has presented the information is much more visually appealing.

There are still drawbacks. Its store locator is a bit lacklustre, unable to detect my current location and failing to promote in-store events in an exciting way. The site is also rather dull in terms of design, but all in all, there’s lots to appreciate.

It’s definitely slicker and more interactive than before, which is likely to please existing online customers. The ability to leave decisive feedback on wine will lead to more informed purchasing decisions while fostering a sense of customer involvement, and the discovery tool should help to push customers down the path to purchase.

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