Asia-Pacific is an important region for Western ecommerce retailers hoping to expand their businesses beyond their own domestic markets.
China is the most obvious target due to the sheer size of its population and the growing popularity of ecommerce in the country.
However other APAC nations shouldn’t be ignored as they can also provide new revenue streams.
We’ve previously covered digital trends in Singapore but have somewhat neglected ecommerce design.
To right this wrong I’ve been browsing various fashion sites which are apparently among the best that Singapore has to offer.
Here’s a brief run through of what I found, but for more on this topic download our report on the State of Ecommerce in South-East Asia.
Love, Bonito (LB) has apparently built its reputation on high quality products and excellent customer service.
While the website offers a decent overall experience it does suffer from a few UX flaws that could cause frustration among shoppers.
The most obvious issue is site speed, particularly with images on the product pages.
Product images take several second to load and there’s a long delay when you try to switch to a different photo. Incidentally, though there are five images for this dress they are all taken from the same angle.
Another problem is with the stock levels. The only way to tell if the product is available or not is to select the size and hope for the best – most sites now display which sizes are available to prevent any wasted effort on behalf of the shopper.
On the plus side, you can enter an email address to be notified when your size is available.
This is good customer service and also a handy data capture tool.
At the checkout Love Bonito forces new customers to register an account. This is a huge barrier to purchase for Western shoppers, though it may have less impact for Singaporeans.
To make matters worse it asks for a lot of personal information (birthday and phone number) and requires users to enter their full name twice.
These small UX issues can add up over the course of a user journey and make it more likely that a shopper will abandon the site.
Dressabelle mainly sells affordable dresses targeted at young working women.
Its key strengths are apparently comprehensive product information and free shipping, the latter of which is prominently advertised on the homepage.
There’s also a neat reindeer graphic that shows when different offers will be available.
As with Love Bonito the visuals and UX are generally of a good standard.
For example Dressabelle offers a huge range of product photos and the ability to leave product reviews. But it could also improve the UX by making a few fairly obvious changes.
One glaring omission is the lack of any product filters, which makes it difficult to sort through the hundreds of products on offer.
Also, Dressabelle doesn’t include product descriptions. The information on the product pages is limited to garment measurements and a sentence about how to wash the item.
This is missing out on a good opportunity to upsell the benefits of the product, which is important when shoppers can’t actually touch the items.
Another issue worth pointing out is the slightly strange checkout design.
Just above the shopping basket summary there is a CTA that enables you to ‘add/edit billing information’, but at the bottom of the screen there’s another for ‘check out now’.
Weirdly, both of them take you to the same address form.
But that aside, Dressabelle deserves praise for its free shipping and guest checkout option.
Reebonz sells luxury goods at slightly discounted prices, including handbags, shoes, watches and jewellery.
It allows customers to pay for items in instalments and also offers free shipping, however you have to register with the site before you can begin shopping.
Though I’m not a big fan of the homepage design or tiny options in the top nav, overall the site is more in line with what one would expect to see from an established ecommerce store.
For example, if you go to the bags section the layout is clean and simple, the imagery looks great, and there’s a good range of filters.
The product pages are also excellent, offering a huge amount of product information and several images that give the customer a great view of the item.
Reebonz also displays a prominent guarantee that the items are authentic. This is important as counterfeiting is seen as a major problem in APAC.
The checkout also has a clean, uncluttered design that makes good use of white space.
As I’d already logged in using Facebook the only information required at this stage was an address and payment details.
Overall it was a quick, convenient purchase journey, which is obviously important when selling luxury goods.
Zalora sells a broad range of fashion products and apparently offers “a user-friendly interface and a simple check-out process.”
The homepage has a standard design and is certainly easy to navigate, though it would be good if the ‘men’ and ‘women’ categories at the top were dropdowns rather than navigating to a new page.
The category pages are well designed and offer a useful number of product filters.
There’s also a neat tool that displays the sizes available when you hover over a particular product option.
The product pages give a broad range of information including a decent description, care and size details, and delivery information.
There’s also a good number of product images, a massive CTA and prominent reminder of Zalora’s free returns offer.
At the checkout Zalora scores points for taking a subtle approach to new customer registration, though the page layout is a bit confusing at first.
On the plus side it does include many features that we would consider to be best practice, such as:
- Social login option.
- Security logos.
- Numerous payment options (cash on delivery is still very popular in APAC).
Zalora also retains its big black CTA design and commendably has managed to fit the entire payment process onto a single page.
These Singaporean fashion retailers adhere to much of what we’d consider to be best practice in the UK, though with some flaws as I’ve pointed out above.
The only major difference would appear to be the prevalence of Facebook login and the fact that three of the four require all new users to register.
Guest checkout is a common feature among Western ecommerce sites and it’s fairly unusual to see Facebook offered as a login option.
This last point could be down to trust issues among Western consumers in regards to social logins, or the fact that Western ecommerce sites want to own the data rather than relying on Facebook.
Either way, it’s one that I’ll look to investigate in a future post.