Fashion retailer Oasis has just launched a redesigned version of its website, with the stated aim of making the purchasing and checkout process smoother.

Oasis new website

We’ve had a look through the site to see if Oasis has managed to improve on the previous version…

Homepage

The homepage looks good, though the links to other parts of the website don’t stand out as all are in the same font size and colour.

Also, because most of the page is taken up by the photo representing the Autumn / Winter collection, some links to useful areas of the site are below the fold.

Oasis homepage below the fold

Navigation

Most of the category navigation (jeans, dresses etc) is on the left side of the page, with the top reserved for links to the store locator, accounts and the shopping bag.

Users can also navigate to Oasis’ exclusive brands using the links on the right of the page, or scroll down to browse through new arrivals on the site or items in the sale.

The navigation remains constant throughout the site, which enables shoppers to easily get back to a previous point in their search. Oasis has also provided a handy breadcrumb trail for this purpose.

There is also the search box option, though I think that Oasis could have made it bigger and more prominent, as this is a popular feature for many web shoppers.

The site search results for the search terms I entered were pretty disappointing too. For example, a search for ‘black shoes’ gives you a lot of irrelevant items and only three pairs of shoes on the first page.

There are some useful filtering options, but these are less useful when most of the search results are unrelated to the term entered.

Product pages

The product pages provide most of the details that shoppers using this site would need to decide on their purchase:

Oasis product page

Available colours and sizes are displayed clearly alongside the main product photo, while delivery charges are also shown prominently so customers don’t have to search around for this important information; something which can be a problem on many e-commerce sites.

The photos are good too, and hovering over the picture brings the zoom tool into use, letting users see close up detail on garments.

One useful feature on the site is the ‘fitting room’; a Flash tool which allows you to put outfits together from the stock on the website, and see how they look: 

Oasis fitting room

A good, clear call to action is provided on the page, and customers have also been given the choice between ‘add to bag’ and ‘add & checkout’, which is a useful feature: 


Oasis call to action

Shopping basket

Oasis provides a mini basket which provides users with a quick summary of its contents and the total price when you hover your cursor over the link:

Oasis mini shopping basket

This is useful, but the main shopping basket page lacks some crucial details:

 Oasis shopping basket

A summary of items is provided, and items can be easily removed, while delivery options and times are also displayed clearly.

What’s missing though, are details on the site’s returns policy, reassurances over server security, and available payment options, all of which may be important to some shoppers as they decide on a purchase.

Checkout

The process has been kept to 4 steps, which are clearly marked, while not too much scrolling is required to fill in address and payment details, which is good practice.

Oasis checkout process

All the forms work well enough, and Oasis hasn’t made the mistake of asking for too much information, or over-complicating the process.

There are a few problems though; the first being that you cannot easily navigate back and forth between the different steps in the process in case you want to alter address or delivery details, for instance.

No links are provided to do this, so customers are left with the option of hitting the browser’s back button. Unfortunately though, this will result in the loss of any information you have already entered, and could be a source of frustration for some customers.

In addition, though it has removed the majority of main navigation links, the process is not fully enclosed, so customers could easily click on a link to elsewhere on the site and have to start the process again.

A ‘help’ link is provided throughout the checkout process, but all it gives is an email address to send any questions to. For a customer in the middle of a transaction with a crucial question to ask, an email address is not good enough.

In this situation, customers need an instant response, which means a contact number not an email address. Rather than waiting for a reply to their email, shoppers may instead choose to abandon the process.

Conclusion

Oasis has made a good usable site here, which has some useful features to help shoppers; the fitting room feature is useful, while the product pages are good.

There is room for improvement in some areas though; more information is needed on the shopping bag pages, while security conscious shoppers could do with more reassurance (Verisign logos etc) during the checkout process.

The lack of contact details throughout the site is poor though. There is a ‘customer service’ link which provides FAQs and an email address, but a contact telephone number is nowhere to be seen.

Related research: 
E-commerce: A Beginner’s Guide
Online Shopping and Credit Crunch Survey Report

Related articles:

How to plug leaks in your shopping basket

Why do customers abandon the checkout process?