Last year, health and beauty retailers, Boots were applauded for their multichannel efforts in a user experience consultancy report from Webcredible. The company were crowned as the champions, offering the best user experience across its online, mobile and in-store platforms – beating M&S and Debenhams to the spot. So here at Postcode Anywhere, we thought we would investigate this and see if the site really lives up to its title.
The design and layout of the website on the whole is well thought out. It advertises its promotions prominently, a good way to entice customers quickly.
When I was ready to check out, I looked expectantly in the top right hand corner of the page for the shopping cart. No such luck. It was actually positioned slightly lower, running across the central bar and away from the main navigation. When users arrive for the first time on a website, it’s important that the main components are positioned where the customer would expect. Key housing links such as these should be positioned in the top right and easily noticeable. Users gain crucial confidence from a website that follows these basic design conventions, which is why ecommerce websites should position such icons in conventional places.
Not another one!
New customers on the Boots site are enforced to sign up, which we’ve mentioned before is a huge deterrent for many customers. However, as far as sign-up processes go, this one is quite simple and Boots have anticipated any potential problems that could arise such as a case-sensitive password.
Delivering the goods
One great advantage with the Boots website is their transparency regarding delivery times. When I shop online, delivery charges are always at the back of my mind. I find it so frustrating to discover half way through the checkout process that the charge of delivery is going to cost an arm and a leg! It’s therefore important to set customer’s expectations about delivery up front, as Boots has done here.
It is likely that your customers will feel far more comfortable about adding items to their basket if they already know the charges beforehand.
I liked the fact I was able to collect in-store if I wanted to. It makes good business sense for sites to offer as many ways for customers to buy as possible, so that they can choose whichever channel is most convenient to them. Boots use a store-finder, ensuring that the pickup location is clearly identified.
I did notice that if I did purchase from the site I could in fact bring the goods back in store. This is an advantage multichannel retailers have over pure-play sites such as Amazon so it’s good to see that Boots are making the most of it!
It’s important you let your customers decide which channel they want to return goods. Multichannel returns can also be a great opportunity to drive customers back into your store.
Men are from Mars…
The product pages certainly aren’t short on detail. Shoppers are given as much information about products as possible, complete with customer reviews. This is a good idea for any beauty website considering women are “significantly more likely” to respond to customer reviews than men.
It’s important to encourage your satisfied customers to post reviews on your website because it will differentiate you from your competitors, help gain your customer’s trust and show that you are genuine business. Even negative reviews are valuable, as they can show credibility to the positive reviews and give you the opportunity to highlight your amazing customer service!
The Boots site is reasonably well designed, and doesn’t have any major problems, but there are a few areas where the customer journey could be improved. Customers gain a lot of trust in a website from the smallest of attributes such as navigation and customer reviews. These might not seem like the most important aspects when designing an eCommerce website – but they prove invaluable time and time again.
Boots’ online success has been built solely on its multichannel operations. Customer’s expectations are continuing to develop and so must your website. We now live in a world where we expect to get what we want, when we want, how we want. Offering different options of payment and collection will be the only way for businesses to stay afloat.