Researching the Competitors

Before starting to think about how I intended to shape my own website, I was tasked with researching existing e-commerce sites. This exercise was beneficial in helping to separate features that I wanted to include in my own site, from the one’s that I wanted to exclude.

I chose to review Marks and Spencer’s website as they are a well established and well known business; I would therefore expect their website would be a good example of a well put together e-commerce site. Whilst navigating around the site, I made a list of notes of my observations as shown below. This is a combination of different features the website has as well as my general thoughts.

M&S website notes: 13/10/2016

  • Brand logo highly visible
  • User search bar easily located
  • Your bag/shopping cart
  • Main menu categories are simple and easy to navigate
  • Lots of imagery with click through links to specific products; products are season specific
  • Slider with visual images
  • Multiple Blog links on homepage; used to highlight specific items
  • Delivery information
  • Returns information
  • Social Media links
  • About us
  • Terms and conditionss
  •  Further subsidiary brand links

My initial overall impression of the site is that there is far too much going on. I found the level of information on the homepage to be excessive and felt confused as to who the target audience is meant to be.

In terms of navigating the site, I had no issues finding my way around the site. My overall user experience was OK, but wasn’t particularly standout. All the required information and functions are there but the site feels boring and in particular, overloaded with information. I certainly didn’t feel excited by the site or enticed to return.

Moving forward with my site, I would definitely want it to be far more streamlined than the site I have reviewed. I want to ensure my users find the site quite simple and easy to use. Other things I would like to include is ensuring that there is a link to returns, delivery, and contact information. I also liked the click through slider that links through to the product page and would like to incorporate this if possible.