I was recently asked to be a returning expert author for LemonStand, a cloud based eCommerce platform. They have introduced a new weekly series called Funnel Fridays, where online retail shops are reviewed for user experience obstacles.
I was handed two furniture stores to review, CA Modern Home and Bryght.
Conversion Optimization Review #1: CA Modern
Accentuating the color of the sale ending date March 16th – 31st with a more urgent action and capitalized first letter would be helpful. Ex. Order now. Semi-annual doesn’t add to the urgency, even if it’s rare for this designer to be discounted.
There are two very wasted opportunities on the homepage.
Based on Google Maps and their About Us page, CA Modern Home has a swank physical presence in Miami Beach and “Caters to both local and International clients”. Instead of stock photos, show photos of the store or lifestyle shots with some of the local beautiful people who reside in Miami.
Jesse Brody the owner is also a designer.
“Brody’s artistic style can be described as taking simple raw materials and extracting their beauty to produce unique pieces. He says: “I often like to work with common and mundane materials, such as copper, hot-rolled steel, and aluminum to make pieces that are so beautiful and made with such precision that people say wow!”
On the homepage (and a separate page), I’m envisioning a virtual storyboard showing product development. From the original sketch, to high quality raw material photos, through production to the finished piece. This is a huge unique selling point, as most furniture retailers aren’t designers. When viewing the designer’s page, I didn’t see Jesse listed; however even if the products are loosely related, this is still a strong point. This would also serve well to be it’s own static page on the website, which could be used for promotional campaigns showcasing natural artisans.
I was impressed with the classy black and white design, however the homepage really pushed everything as being on sale. All of the red “On Sale” boxes are a conflict to being a luxury brand. I’m confused as to if this is a high-end boutique or bargain discounter.
The middle homepage area could be better served showing an excerpt from an “artist profile page” as mentioned below, instead of brand logos.
Search is done uniquely with a separate drop down area and should be highlighted better. Try enlarging the search box, incorporating the magnifying glass within it and losing the Login button here, that’s confusing.
I was surprised at the low threshold of “Free shipping on all orders over $50”. Shipping costs are likely padded into the product price, given the expensive nature of most products in the catalog. When viewing product pages, they all have a free shipping mention. With that said, I’d state in the header “Free shipping on ALL orders”.
Again there is a push to login or create an account. This area could be used to provide a focused reason WHY I should create an account and focus on that single action.
Or better yet, consider a more prominent CTA (Call To Action) for gift cards. This is a quick virtual purchase and great gift idea for an easy sale. Gift card prices oddly start at $10, yet there is nothing that inexpensive in the store. Consider raising the starting price.
Category & Search Results Page
There appears to be a strong emphasis on the high-end brands carried; yet category pages don’t provide any type of filtering. When I clicked on bar seating, I’m presented with all of the other furniture categories in a text-based format directly on top of the products grid. This area would be much better served implementing custom filtering. For example:
- Filter by price:
- Filter by designer: Magis, BluDot, Knoll, etc.
- Filter by material: Aluminum, Wood, Copper, etc.
While other categories like Lighting list only relevant subcategories, customer attribute filtering is still recommend.
Given the high-end nature of the products, I’d expect being able to zoom into product images, which I can’t.
Under the add to cart area is a perfect spot to list answers to commonly asked questions, with a roll over. If I’m spending over $1,000 on an item, I’ll want reassurance without having to email or call the retailer.
Without detracting from the sale too much, it’s worth showing some social proof. For example, CA Home Designs has over 2,600 Instagram followers. Instagram is mentioned in the footer, but not on product pages. Adding a small widget or mention of this number humanizes the stark white/black theme.
It would be worth noting if a product is available for immediate shipping, or due to the artisanal nature, takes time to produce and ship.
Instead of having a collection of unrelated items under “Other items to consider”, I would use related add-on items. If I’m buying a coffee table, chances are I’ve already browsed other coffee tables and don’t want to second-guess at the last moment. Instead, consider offering Candles or Vases, with an easy add to cart option.
Under the item name, it says, “Default title”, this should be easy to remove.
Incorporating FAQ’s and/or trust assurances here is recommended.
With all the chances for customers to login in, the checkout page defaults to guest checkout, with just a small line of text asking the user to log in. Unless there is a specific reason for customers to create an account, it may be worth using guest checkout only, for simplicity. Alternately, ask the user via a small checkbox if they would like to be contacted in the future with new product offerings, double opt in.
It’s great the store is capturing the email address first. I’m hoping there is some type of abandoned cart trigger email built in here.
Unless discount codes are a big part of the business (unlikely) I’d suggest removing the discount code area. This could prompt users to leave the site looking for one, and the sale could be lost.
Due to the nature of Shopify’s checkout, using a custom SSL is questionable, however I’d recommend offering some type of security/trust certificate on the checkout page.
For the shipping line item cost, I’d use the word Free, instead of a dash.
While time intensive, creating stellar artist profile pages would really step things up. These pages could include video. When people purchase expensive artisanal items, they love to show them off and tell the story behind them. Being able to relate to the artist’s story helps everyone.
CA Modern Home is off to a good start. If they focus on presenting the stories behind their unique designers and retail store presence, it will further set them apart and reinforce the luxury brand.
Conversion Optimization Review #2:Bryght
Bryght’s homepage does a fantastic job of incorporating high quality imagery, promotional holiday verbiage and social proof in the form of customer reviews which link to the actual product and media mentions.
I’d consider adding a text snippet on the homepage for the “Bryght idea” from their about us page.
Category & Search Results Page
High quality images, with color variant option swapping and mark down pricing is shown in an attractive way on the category grid, with infinite scrolling. The price low/high sort is a bit difficult to find on the right side. I’d advise offering price, color and type filtering on the category page to help shoppers narrow down selections.
Overall, Bryght’s product page nails all the important areas, including:
- Good product photos
- Informative copy with bullet points and technical specifications
- USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
- Shipping information
- Guarantee information and return policy
- Relevant cross sells.
Product pages don’t appear to show any reviews, including the homepage products that have actual reviews. It would be worth including these, as some people will not ever see the homepage during their conversion path.
Shopping Cart & Checkout
Bryght smartly consolidates the shopping cart and checkout all into one page after I clicked on either cart or the “buy now” button from product pages.
Intelligent shipping choices are offered to cover different customer scenarios including “Ship to Door”, “Ship to Room” and “Assembled”. Brilliant.
Guest checkout is the default checkout with no intrusive message to create an account. A great way to get the sale without making the customer make any more last minute decisions.
I attempted to place a test PayPal order, and was correctly given field level error messages about required fields, making it easy to correct any mistakes.
From a eCommerce conversion funnel standpoint, Bryght makes it super easy to find items and purchase with little hassle. In order to improve, further research would be required into their analytics, internal site searches and marketing campaigns to find areas for improvement thorough a conversion research & UX analysis.
“I’ve already made the expensive mistakes, so you don’t have to.”