With 2014 set to hurtle to a close in less than a month, it’s time to reflect on the eCommerce year that was. So, which sites have got it right? Which sites are stacking up their hit rates and increasing their sales and who makes it into our 2014 eCommerce hall of fame?
It’s been a year of astronomical sales volumes across the board in the industry. Over the seven days that followed on from US Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 27), a week which was composed of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the UK saw eCommerce sales hit a record total of £179.1m, up 21.8% on last year. But there have been certain sites in particular that have really perfected their practices, and as a result have reaped the benefits.
One site in particular is ASOS. ASOS is mentioned a lot across eCommerce blogs and there is a reason for this. It offers incredible social media, customer service and usability. Its site speed is phenomenal, plus its integration across all devices including, mobile, tablet and desktop, is up there with some of the best eCommerce sites on the web. It consistently delivers what users expect and desire and its enviable levels of revenue throughout 2014 speak volumes.
B&Q is a company that gets a lot of things right on its site as regards the user experience it provides. For example, it provides a successful multichannel approach to selling its products. It offers in-store wi-fi which allows customers to merge the bricks and mortar shopping experience with the digital one. For example, should the consumer see a product in-store that they would like to buy, that is only available to order online, they are able to do just that through use of their smart phone and in-store wi-fi. The desktop user experience is also top class, with its product pages being incredibly easy to navigate and filter.
Any definitive list of top 2014 eCommerce sites would not be complete without mention of internet giants Amazon. Amazon is doing significantly well at the moment and one technique which is fuelling this, which all other eCommerce sites can adopt, is the Amazon ease of repeat purchase facility. Amazon stores your card and delivery address information, allowing you to place an order after one click. No more repeatedly filling in your delivery address details and no more filling in your billing address details every time you shop on the site. This is quick, easy and secure. Consumers love it.
Another great site out there is Schuh. The high street, and now eCommerce, giants offer a fantastic click and collect service which allows users to place an order online which will be available to collect from their nearest branch, subject to availability, within the hour. Now that is service.
At the high end of the scale, Mulberry has proved that luxury and user experience are not mutually exclusive and can be blended perfectly to produce an eCommerce site that encourages sales and achieves great customer satisfaction. The site is exceptionally well designed, with emphasis lying firmly on the quality of the imagery. Indeed, the site is built around its high-definition product pictures, which include the fantastic mouseover effect. This allows consumers to view the pictures of the products that interest them in further detail when they hover their mouse over them. The images pop up in more detail, allowing consumers to get more of an idea of how the product may look and feel.
So, there it is: some great examples of eCommerce sites that have experienced lucrative 2014s due to the clever techniques that they have deployed to put user experience and cutting edge design at the centre of their sites.