Website reviews bring insights

A review of a website can bring about all sorts of insights.  By way of example, we will review a well known site and see what can be done to increase visitor engagement. 

The site we are going to look at happens to be a shop site, but analyses can readily be applied to information/lead generation sites too.

We are going to look at the BHS site.

Our approach

First analyse the website objectives and then its ability to achieve them.  In the BHS case, they may well be:

  1. sell products online
  2. allow customers to research products before trying/buying in-store

Below are 4 improvements BHS can make which would lead (in our opinion and subject to testing) to greater sales volumes, both online and in-store…

Sort out this crazy disconnected confusion

When you browse to the men’s area, you are asked to checkout before reaching the men’s products.  It would appear that this is because they have two sites that can’t share baskets!! 

website review

Why have two sites?  Why not allow them to share baskets?  Why not detect that I don’t have anything in my basket and save me the confusion of showing me the message? 

Objectives 1 and 2 are severely compromised

Present a connected brand (and site!)

BHS have not one, but three sites at least.  This means that the user is encouraged to go off to a different site, but before you can go you need to pay!  In case you are done for shoplifting no doubt.

please leave this site

Then you have to suffer a change of experience across sites, a new checkout and all this serves to dilute the brand and confuse and frustrate the visitor.  3 checkouts and 3 registrations?  I don’t think so.

Improve this basket

The basket as you can see is as dull as ditch water as you can see.  boring basket

Of course that may not be too big a problem in itself, but what I do expect to see in the basket is a photo of the beautiful knit wrap that I am considering buying.  a) I need the confidence to know that I have the right product in my basket and b) I want to be able to go back to it or other products and re-consider.  If you make it too hard for shoppers to review their products, then they will simply leave rather than spend their money on items they are not sure of.

Don’t be too strict on post codes

Post code look ups are all very well… when they work.  But a failing look-up will cause people to abandon because errors crop up and some people’s postcode cannot be found.

the postcode police

People are very lazy post coders as you can just about see from the example above.  No space and the letter o when it should have been a zero.  This type of entry can defeat post code tools and basket abandonment is rife when postcodes are rejected by the post code police.

What should you do now?

It is easy to criticise a website, but much harder to get it right first time.  That is why it is always good practice to re-visit your website and look at it with fresh eyes.  Get good people outside of the business to review the website against the stated objectives.  Customers or professionals.  Then make changes to this site or your planned new one on the basis of those.

You can always ask web2market to carry out the review. 

If you have your thoughts on the BHS shopping experience, please share them below under comments.

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Nigel White
My career has given me insights into large and small businesses across many sectors. Academically, I have a MA (Strategic Marketing) and use this understanding to provide consultancy and advice to all clients I work with. Very high on my agenda: needs analysis, service, and quality.