The squeals of excitement from women up and down the country could apparently mean only one thing… Christian Louboutin had launched its first online store.
For the first time ever, British shoppers will be able to buy what I am told is the French maestro’s “signature red-soled designs,” directly from the label’s online boutique. As the saying goes… better late than never, Louboutin.
In true Louboutin style, the website is anything but vanilla. There is a clear focus on the user experience, where you can opt to fast-track or explore the history of the luxury brand on its corporate site.
Shoppers have the opportunity to shop via the website by size, colour and even heel height, making the options very easy for customers to choose from.
You can zoom in on each of the designs, and even view 360 degrees around each shoe or handbag!
Each design is set to a backdrop of photos from the designer’s personal travelogue, including urban contexts and even chickens! One thing I did notice that the pages were often very slow to load. This could be because of design, or maybe the sheer volume of numbers on the site that week; either way, it’s not impressive. A slow-loading site will have your customers peddling for the back button faster than you can say Jim Choo!
When building your site, a useful rule of thumb is to think about the content first, then the navigation, then design. If you do need to use a lot of graphics, make sure to optimise them for the best look and smallest fit.
I really liked the fact that this site had a wish-list functionality. For any site with high-end products like this, it’s a good way of encouraging return visits and a way to reduce cart abandonment rates. Users can then share their finds with friends on Facebook and Twitter. I am already anticipating receiving a hefty list from my wife!
Although the site requires you to register, they do clearly state the benefits of doing so. Giving your customers an incentive is a good way of encouraging them to sign up, again making them less likely to abandon their carts.
The login uses an email as the username which is another good idea that can really speed up the checkout process. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have countless usernames across countless sites, which you will forget. Email addresses are memorable and unique so it eliminates that need for a “USER NAME TAKEN” message.
The sign-up process itself was actually pretty painless. The site uses a postcode finder, another proven way to expedite signing-up. Rather than typing out my entire address, I could just enter a postcode and then select what I needed from the returned addresses.
As a man who doesn’t know his stiletto from his wedges, I was relieved to see the site offered style advice from a team of online personal shopping experts via live web chats and over the phone. Creating a more personalised shopping experience is key to standing out in the market. With so many other sites competing to sell the same thing, it’s really important to have something that will make your company shine above the rest.
When I was ready to purchase, I made my way to the basket and was happy to discover that I could enter my postcode to receive an estimated delivery charge.
Businesses need to be transparent with any additional costs from the start, in order to manage customer’s expectations. Providing any extra costs, including tax and delivery charges, will almost definitely result in more customers completing their purchases.
Overall I was rather impressed with the site; however, my wife might have to wait a little longer than she’d like for her wish list. Although many of the reputable brands are rather late in releasing their sites, they have realised it’s no longer enough to just have a website, which is why the company will also be launching a mobile version and an app later in the year.