Thursday, 16 September 2010

H&M goes online, and kills the user experience by crude cross-selling

E-commerce fashion geeks might be aware that H&M has just opened up to online shopping in the UK. Following success in Sweden, a country obsessed with fashion and fashion blogs, I bet you H&M HQ couldn't wait to test the waters in the UK. This afternoon on I headed out to H&M's UK site and here are some quick thoughts.

Ladies landing page
Landing page features the promotion of a red top. Curiously there is no CTA and the only link is the price, so far so confusing. What I do like though is the super strong use of imagery against white background. It's very H&M and follows their style template for billboard advertising.


Product selection
Eager to check out the offering of ladies clothes, I click 'Ladies' in the top nav and a left hand side nav column appears, 'dresses' selected. Having found a dress for £19.99 I click on the image and see a light-box (which doesn't dim the background) and - this is a problem - see the individual pieces which make up the product image I clicked on. In terms of usability, this is really bad. Cross-selling benefits aside, I clicked on 'Dresses', saw header indicating that yes indeed I am in the right category, but now see a mix of garments?

Lesson: If a user has selected product type by sub-nav, selected a garment within that category, then user should see a product page 100% focused on that garment.


After a bit of confusion, I click on the dress and get taken to check-out. Fine.
I decide to confirm shopping bag and expect to start the login and payment process. But instead, H&M display a light-box with seemingly completely unrelated products such as place mats.


I love H&M dearly, being Swedish means it's as much a part of your national identity as Volvo and IKEA. Therefore it actually hurts critising them. But I don't like it when companies overcomplicate fairly simple actions. If a user is interested in a dress, then let the user see the relevant information and make it easy to buy. Let's hope that H&M sort out these irritation moments so it become a joy and ease to click away and make some purchases!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Beautiful lonelyplanet.com


Recently I have really fallen in love with lonelyplanet.com. The site practically bathes in informative and engagine content and uses strong enticing imagery. Find your destination in a multiple of ways (top nav, map, search box), learn about the country and city, share your opinion with others and buy lonely planet books.


This site is pretty massive in terms of content and you can spend hours on it. It is a little bit like BBC.com, which is no great surprise considering BBC owns 75% of lonely planet. If you're a fan of travelling and fancy spending a few minutes getting a good dose of inspiration, then do give lonelyplanet.com a go. Some good lonelyplanet.com site features:

*emphasis on search. Sites know their users use them, yet few make the search box a fairly integral part of the site. lonelyplanet.com's destination search box even uses inline validation, great!

*quantity engages. On each destination page, lonelyplanet.com features quantity of restaurants, sights etc. If you've got information, and have categorised it, don't be afraid to display and promote it.



*cross-sell when relevant! Make it easy for site users to buy relevant products when accessing site content. Test the CTAs and placement to see what works best.


What I would wish for, is better integrated user generated content. Whilst lonelyplanet is beautiful and good to use, personally I would only use it for getting inspiration and information. I'm sure most would find tripadvisor.com the site of choice for UGC and reviews.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

How did I miss these sites!?

Was going to write about the use of points when estimating future work requests but instead stumbled across three ridiculously adorable and quite frankly addictive sites.

Everyone now: 'Awww' 'ooooh' 'oh please can we purleease get one?'


http://www.dailypuppy.com/

http://dailyotter.org/


http://dailybunny.org/

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Summer holiday

This week I've recieved three blog updates from bloggers apologising for not being quite as blog-centric over summer. They felt that was fine, I think that's fine too. It's good to get a big of a break.

Someone told me the other day, the days off can be more productive than the hands on days. Because that's when you filter what you want to say and the next direction you want to take.

Expect to see more regular posts in about a week :)

Friday, 18 June 2010

What do you think about Whistles.com?

A year ago I praised Asos.com for their fantastic site navigation, and in the same post dissed Mango.com's efforts.

So as a fan of clean and product specific e-commerce navs, Whistles.com kind of blows me away - although I'm not quite sure in what direction.


Enter the Shop and pick sale, you will find not a conventional drop down but one that's integrated with the garments. It's fascinating, beautiful but also kind of irritating as it's an involuntary brain exercise - when all I wanted was clothes!

I can't make my mind up. It's good what Whistles.com are trying something new, maybe it fits with the brand which had a bit of a revamp a few years ago. What do you think?

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Zara.com sadly disappoints


As a regular online clothing browser and shopper, I thought I'd spend a few minutes writing about Zara.com. I love Zara (the shops), but am not that keen on Zara.com (the site) - and I wish that wasn't the case! They could do much better and increase loyalty and revenue by focusing on their online products. Think Asos or Topshop.com that have done so remarkably well online.

So let's check our their site
Zara.com doesn't yet allow online shopping, at least not in the UK, but they're showcasing their products on a horizontal carousel.

Unfortunately, using a slider to view the full range of say 100 dresses takes its toll on the user's eyes. With only three dresses in view at the same time, it's a real pain for your poor eyes to scroll through all the clothes. Whether your site does e-commerce or not, it should be easier to overview the offering. That's the whole point of specifically browsing a certain category on a publisher's site! The best bit about Zara.com is their look book, an area of the site which matches its clean and sleak brand.

I've heard Zara's got an app?
Zara.com recently released their own iPhone app which got a fair bit of attention and a luke-warm reception as there wasn't much a user could do with the app except from look at static images of some of the garments. See Econsulty's 'Zara releases a pointless iPhone app' and you'll get the picture.

Is Zara doing social media?
Facebook:
Yes Zara is on Facebook. Whilst they're not lacking a shortage of fans (currently over 2,6 millions), their feed leaves a lot to be desired for. Basically, it's a look book feed with no written engagement from Zara HQ.


Twiter: No.

Company blog: No

So, this is a bit of a disaster!
For a company that knows its customers well and has excelled in managing super quick turn-arounds (reportedly only weeks between HQ design desicion, manufacturing and store availability), I'm a little bit surprised that they haven't yet optimized their site or made a better effort on Facebook. Sure, Zara is doing well already so maybe excelling in an online presence isn't exactly vital, however it's kind of what customers expect nowadays.

What I would recommend
*Clear overview by product - grid system of images and product information is sufficient.
No scrollers or complications.

*Tell me more about Zara. Nowadays, corporate responsibility is a big deal. Promote what you do well, even in areas surrounding your product.

*Focus on the everyday elegance which you do so well. The beauty with Zara is that the clothes and they way they look can convey luxury - at high street prices. Include a visual blog and / or Facebook feed which won't be dependent on the many langugages Zara customers speak. Think The Sartorialist.

*In my ideal world, an easy to use e-commerce site.

Come on you Spaniards, you can do better I know it!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Had this idea of the future


Had this idea the other day, about what kind of device might one day replace laptops and even iPads.

The future is a folder
The folder is of A4 size with hardware inside the thin case. Its inside can when activated function as a keyboard.

Thin A4 screen papers are placed in the folder and can be attached to the case, so when tilted, the folder can function as a conventional screen and keyboard combo.
Each screen paper can store a certain amount of data. You can buy additional papers instead of buying and installing memory to a particular device.

The future is sharing
You can activate more than one screenpaper and they will all be based around the same 'PC' user account. This will come in handy when doing presentations or when gaming with your family.
If your friend has a future folder, you can attach one of your sheets to the folder to share documents.

Light and portable
No more clunky laptops.

Be proud of your pics
Simply slot one of the screenpapers into a frame holder and hang your pictures on the wall!

Does this seem realistic?

Monday, 17 May 2010

Are you on foursquare?


In love with foursquare!

*I can in a stalkerish fashion know where my boyfriend is as he regularly checks in to pubs!
*It's childish fun to check-in and hope to become mayor!
*People who become mayors of US Starbucks branches can get discounts, lucky them.

Seriously excited about foursquare, so many opportunist both for retailers and for consumers.
It's products like these (augmented reality being another) that merge online with offline that feel so exciting right now. This is the future kids!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The simple life

See, sometimes happiness can be just that. A new magazine, a bar of chocolate. Having recently acquired an iPhone has made me think of products that work, that make us happy, that we look forward to using and products which brings a smile to our faces. Turns out, our faves also tend to be quite simplistic and straight forward. Do you agree?

Favourite belongings
:

*My iPhone. In particular the free Spanish apps which have helped me prepare for trip to South America. ¡Lo amo!

*My bike. It takes me places, keeps me fit and is a tremendous amount of fun to use. As a side note, it's an Africa Bike with backbreak, made to last forever steel frame and three gears. It's basic, but updated to fit today's needs.

*My X-pole (strictly fitness, naturlich). It's like being a kid again, throwing yourself upside down and trying to hang off it only holding on with a tight knee grip. Pole fitness helps you build muscles, get a strong and lean body, is seriously addictive and most of all works wonders for your confidence. It's just a pole and it's good fun.

And as this is a web blog, here are some sites which have taken my fancy lately;

*Soundcloud - 'SoundCloud lets you move music fast & easy. The platform takes the daily hassle out of receiving, sending & distributing music for artists, record labels & other music professionals.' Feels like a new HypeMachine, easy to use and easy on the eye.

*ZentoFitness - 'The simple, no-nonsense guide to staying fit while living life'
Kind of similar to Zen Habits and always brings a bit of perspective to your day. Clean design, straight forward posts and it all makes good sense.

*GOOP - Does what it says on the tin 'Make Go Get Do Be See' signed Gwyneth. Even The Guardian says it's a must-read. Each newsletter has a theme, be it 'Go', 'Do' or 'See' etc. The newsletters are very focused and very engaging to read, they are also very soothing and the blog colour palette is quite muted.

So, what is it about simplicity that makes it so 'in' at the moment? Political climate, tightening purse strings: I'm sure there are numerous socio-economical reasons. Maybe we simply want less stuff, but not compromising on quality.

I read that when Gandhi died, he only had 10 belongings including glasses and shoes. Few of us would be able to or want to cut back on belongings so drastically, but maybe there's a reason for why psychologists say decluttering is a good way to a clearer mind and better psyche. Maybe the quest for simplicity is simply no more than a late 90s Calvin Klein revival gone web, but this time I really think it's here to stay.

(Pardon the pseudo psychological stream of consciousness, just sat through Notting Hill and it was all so romantic and lovely)

Friday, 26 March 2010

Pimping a comparison table

Thought I'd update the blog with what I've been working on lately over at LM HQ...

A few weeks ago we decided to give our credit card centre a quick update and decided to introduce these new features;

*status update above table
*expert video reviews for each 0% balance transfer card featured in our table
*video scripts to compliment the videos
*live chat with LM staff for those who need additional help when comparing credit cards

Here's a screenshot of our new credit card table as from our release two days ago:



Now I don't know about you - and obviously this is my 'baby' - but isn't it quite impressive having an in-house video team and staff ready to answer customer questions via chat? I'm pretty proud.

Here's an example of one of the videos created, you can find a unique video for each of the cards in our 0% balance transfer table: