This article has been published in May 2015 edition of Internet Retailing
The high-end retail website veryexclusive.co.uk allows customers to pay off their purchases through monthly instalments. Such an approach is more commonly associated with the likes of big purchases; buying a car or investing in a house, and so may be considered unorthodox when applied to clothes.
The following piece reviews the customer journey of finding ladies swimwear with specific consideration around how the pay monthly feature is accounted for during the process.
With summer fast approaching and ambitions of a bikini body looming, swimwear is creeping up on everyone’s wish list.
For those of us who are looking to soak up the sun in the latest high-end fashion veryexclusive.co.uk provides a clean and clear platform to conduct a product search.
The top level navigation is clearly segmented into varying categories for the user signposting the start of their journey. Moving away from the top level navigation, a variety of avenues are offered to the user on the homepage to lead them into category pages such as the carousel with editorial content , ‘new in’ products panel and designer specific links.
The category page adopts a clean visual layout making it easy for users to scan and review products. A variety of filtering options are presented to the user granting flexibility and freedom responding to a range of search behaviours.
At this stage the alternative monthly payment plan is not displayed to the user. The site should be using persuasive methods of advertising to highlight the broken down monthly costs next to the total price. Seeing such a reduced figure associated with a high-end designer item is likely to gain buy-in from customers who may otherwise have been put-off the original price at this stage within the journey.
Proceeding to the product page, the breakdown of cost is highlighted in luminous text which the user cannot miss. The language around the offer should be clearer to ensure a solid understanding around the payment service. Currently the site states ‘take 3 and pay £40.00 for three months’ which may suggest that the user is to ‘take’ three the products and pay £40 for three months.
Something simpler such as, ‘or Pay £40.00 for 3 months’ beside the price would be easier to understand and build trust into choosing this option. Support information around details of this payment process should be provided here either through a hyperlink or accordion text.
Despite having clear images supported by close ups, there are no videos of the item in movement, particularly important when ordering expensive items.
Once the user enters the purchase process they must register or proceed as an existing customer, which is widely known to cause basket abandonment. The flexibility to ‘continue as guest’ should be an option here as it maintains the user’s freedom from the site. Regardless, the support during the registration process is exemplary.
Direct feedback is given on every input field throughout the process, keeping the user informed throughout.
When the user comes to purchase via instalments, their personal income details are required. This may set some distrust within users and so explaining why this information is required would eliminate the likelihood of purchase abandonment’s.
If the user has been unsuccessful in their application for the monthly payment option, it is likely that they may be confused and frustrated; therefore further explanation or support text would regain confidence and encourage users to proceed with the full payment option instead.
Very few usability issues were noted after running a quick accessibility audit on the site. Those that were apparent included certain input fields such as the ‘search’ function not holding associated text meaning it would be missed by screen readers.
In addition, when using the tabbed navigation the user is unable to see where they are sitting within the top navigation menu which poses a usability issue for those who must use a mouse for site navigation.
Veryexclusive.co.uk presents a clean and clear user journey when searching for a desired product. The monthly payment service is an enticing offer and so should be embedded further throughout the site, especially within the category page to persuade buy-in from customers who may not invest in high-end fashion otherwise.
A deeper and clearer explanation of how the service works should be provided to build confidence in the user to ensure potential customers are clear as to what is involved. Otherwise the navigation works well and great form design has been applied within the registration process.