I’m a firm believer that when it comes to e-commerce sites, its wrong to go too far away from what customers are used to. Every 3 months I take a look at the tools, features and styles that the top e-commerce setups are using to woo customers. My snapshot takes a look at some of my favorite shops and shops that consistently feature well in hotlists.
Who are we looking at?
Ebuyer | Asos | Argos | Boden | B&Q | MyDeco | Apple | Tesco | Ebay | Amazon | John Lewis
Its appears to be true that there is now a way e-commerce should look and feel. There are standardised design elements throughout big brand e-commerce
Consistently menus now reside on the top, with logo on the left, search & shopping basket on the right.
Always featuring a big picture of some kind, normally full width with no side navigation
Sidebars to narrow searches are commonplace and getting more intelligent.
Products – full width
Once you get to a products page its now mostly full width, with no side navigation, and heavily product focused above the fold.
Video is a trend that seems to be cropping up regularly and I love it! Video provides masses of extra emotion and trust on any product it appears on. For me the best use of this is at ASOS, fantastically emotional salesmanship on the kids cloths and great runway videos for the products in adult fashion. Its also in use at Ebuyer with selected lines giving QVC style buying guides. Do your videos have to be flawless to get a response? If you take a look at this youtube clip of somebody unboxing his new ipod with over 650,000 views you’ll see that real user videos are also a massively powerful customer conversion tool.
3. Quality of photography
If your retailing online and want to roll with the big guys there no excuse for an under exposed 50×50 jpg anymore.
I see a few consistencies from my chosen retailers:
- Giant images are OK for homepages (see examples below)
- Branded commodity items image quality isn’t so important (have a look at Argos, Tesco and John Lewis sites for examples of this)
- Providing more that 1 image if possible is most definitely better
- Modern e-commerce layouts absolutely place focus on product shots
- At each of the sites I looked at there was no genuinely poor images.
- On a number of sites I saw standard product images teamed up with “in use” pictures with people in them
4. Search tools
Second stage filtering of search results was an absolute requirement for all stores for me mydeco ruled on this one, the colour chooser was a nice touch. Despite Apple having a great search it was one of the few stores were I didn’t feel a need to search as the navigation was incredibly clear.
A constant frustration for me with online shopping is poor delivery information. I started out in Automotive parts and its shocking how poor many of the distributors of these parts are compared to leading online shops.
ebuyer and asos stood out as excellent examples of going above and beyond for customers.
- Ebuyer offers next day delivery on orders up to 11.00 at night. WOW!
- ASOS offers same day delivery in London. WOW
- Zappos in America stood out with its free delivery both ways promise
2 consistent elements cropped up.
- Free delivery is commonplace (and so it should be, it removes all confusion)
- Delivery on a nominated day is gaining traction
If there is one thing that’s clear above all else is that the strength of modern platforms means its all about high quality content. Many of the sites I used looked and functioned in pretty much the same manner.
Selling online now is more about the determining why somebody should buy it from you. Is it the quality of the service, the great video help, the awesome delivery or something else.
I wouldn’t use any of the companies because they have a great site, but because they are great companies. Good sites are just a tool to that may provide enough extras to push customers in your direction rather than some other retailer.