Monday, January 21, 2008

Old Navy's New (E-commerce) Tricks

old_navy.jpg Recently, Old Navy redesigned their site, adding a lot of value with a few changes. The new site provides several good examples on how to improve e-commerce usability by focusing on ways to reduce friction in the customer experience.

So, let's take a look at some of the changes to their product pages and shopping cart to get a better sense of what they've done a good job of so far, and share a few ideas for other changes worth testing…

Better Image Views on Product Pages

Old Navy product page zoom

As you can see, the site allows you to easily zoom into the product you're looking at by using your mouse as a virtual magnifying glass. This saves the visitor time by not requiring them to open a pop-up window to view the product in detail — although they provide that option as well, it's not as helpful as this excellent zoom view. By not forcing the customer into an extra step, the zoom feature will likely reduce Bounce Rate. But more importantly, better product views make people more likely to buy.

Easy Size Adjustments + Cart View

Old Navy add to cart

When you add items to the cart, you're not taken directly to the cart and away from the shopping process. Instead, they acknowledge that your items are in the cart with this mini-cart drop-down on the upper-right side of the screen. After you've added the item, the mini-cart retreats to a simple checkout summary (# of items in cart and total price). Of course, you still have the option to go to checkout if you're done shopping, but they're not in a rush — in fact, they'd like it if you bought more stuff — which should help increase Average Order Value.

Adjust Your Order Without Leaving the Cart

Old Navy shopping cart

Once again, is looking out for the customer — right in the shopping cart, this time. They make editing item details as easy as I've seen it on any e-commerce site. One click of the "edit" button brings up this slick tool (pictured above), which allows you to change the size and color of your items in case you have a last-minute change of heart. Now that's a smart way to lower cart abandonment. (Here are a few more.)

Ideas Worth Testing…

• I'm not sure why they're advertising "free returns on all womens plus styles" when all the items in my cart are menswear; nor does it make sense that they let me know they have the product "Up to XXXL" when I've already chosen "Large" as my size; but those are minor details that shouldn't have much effect on the shopping process. Still, this is prime real estate they're wasting by delivering me a message that's meant for someone else. The team should consider tailoring these messages based on what customers have already added to cart, and testing whether it improves conversion and/or average order value.

• When planning an e-commerce site, ask yourself at least this one question: "What do I hate about shopping online?" I'd be interested to hear your response in the comments section, but in the meantime, I'm sure that if I were to poll everyone at Future Now, most of us would answer, "When sites make me 'register' before checking out." They should test getting rid of that immediately. If you want to a customer's permission to be contacted when they're not currently trying to give you money, the least you could do is ask them instead of forcing the issue. If you do ask — and you most definitely should — please do everyone (your customers and your CFO) a favor and only ask people to 'register' after you've got both their money. You'll have their email address by then, anyway, so it's not as big of a deal at that point.

[Editor's Note: Want more tips on how to optimize your e-commerce site? Read our free white paper on website optimization. Need specific ideas for your checkout process? We can help.]