Epiqfashion.com is a website that has been launched to provide an outlet for suppliers to the now defunct Principles chain to sell the stock left over, which is estimated to be worth £5m.

This is a good way of dealing with all of this stock, but having had a look at the website, the execution could have been better. Here are a few suggested improvements…

Let customers shop straight from the homepage

Instead of sending customers straight to a page where they can start to browse through the product ranges, Epiqfashion has an intro page.

This seems pointless to me, as it just places another step in front of customers who want to start shopping. To make matters worse, the link to shop is so small it could easily be missed. Having looked more closely, there is a link to ‘shop now’ on the Flash display, but users may not see this.

Epiqfashion intro page

Make links stand out more

The links are in a pale colour in relatively small font against a white background, meaning that they don’t stand out as much as they could. The add to shopping bag and continue to checkout links could also be a lot clearer.

Epiqfashion.com links

Calls to action are the most important links on the page, so they should be as clear as possible so customers are in no doubt about what they need to do to proceed with the purchase.

Don’t make users register before adding items to their shopping bag

This is bizarre. Though plenty of sites will ask users to register before checkout, this is the first I have seen that won’t even let people add items to their shopping basket without registering first:

This is an unnecessary obstacle to put in front of shoppers, and is surely a bad idea when you are looking to convert browsers into buyer. People don’t expect to be forced to register at this stage, and many will object and leave the site.

Also, once you do register, instead of being sent straight back to the product page where you were just about to add the item to your bag, users are dropped back at the homepage, meaning they have to start again.

Provide a site search option / filtered navigation

OK, the Epiqfashion site may not have an especially large clothing range, but there are still plenty of customers may prefer to search for a product than browse. Likewise, there is no way to sort by size or colour.

Provide a contact number / address

The only contact option for customers is an email address. Though a response is promised ‘within one working hour’ this isn’t really good enough if a customer is in the middle of the purchase and has a question.

This is also a trust issue; customers are justifiably reluctant to shop online when the site doesn’t provide a contact number or an address, especially in the case of a company they may never have heard of before.

Provide more information about payment methods

Having entered a delivery address and confirmed the order, you are then directed through to PayPal, which may come as a surprise to some shoppers. A glance at the bottom of the page shows PayPal alongside Visa and other cards as what you would assume is merely another payment option.

The site doesn’t make it clear enough that all payments go through PayPal, so sending shoppers to a separate site may confuse some, and could have a negative effect on checkout abandonment.

Don’t make customers enter the same information twice

Having already been asked for a name and delivery details during the registration and checkout process, the PayPal payment screen asks you for this information again before you can complete your order.

PayPal checkout