Usography, a consulting agency focused on user experience strategies for top retailers, released their Spring 2012 Retail UX Audit, with its focus on top apparel companies. The Audit examines facets of the online shopping experience that are shown to make the overall experience more effective, convenient, and up-to-date. The Audit highlights features changes that certain apparel websites have that others don’t.
The main new feature that was seen on the sites for Forever21, Urban Outfitters, and Anthropologie was a link to ‘pin’ items of your interest to Pinterest, a new and ever-expanding social lifestyle sharing website. A few companies, like Gap and Anthropologie, had extensive customer review sections more in depth than most, giving customers the ability to figure out whether items ran true to size, or the age, height and body type of individuals who had previously purchased a particular item. One final intriguing aspect that only one site, American Eagle, had adopted, was a link to their Pandora page. American Eagle is known for playing up-and-coming popular music in their retail stores, connecting their online store with the in-store experience.
The Audit reviewed 30 different popular and recognizable apparel brands and stores; Abercrombie & Fitch, Amazon, American Apparel, American Eagle Outfitters, Ann Taylor Loft, Anthropologie, Bebe, Belk, Charlotte Russe, Chico’s, Express, Forever 21, Fossil, Gap, J. Crew, JCPenny, Kohl’s, LL Bean, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nike, Nordstrom, Old Navy, Saks, Sears, Target, Urban Outfitters, Vitoria’s Secret, Walmart, and Zappos. These particular apparel stores were chosen because of their overall presence, high traffic websites and sales.
These companies were assigned an overall score, out of a possible 30 points, based on the occurrence or absence of particular design features, which were derived from a comprehensive review of retail industry best practices. Features were broken into categories that included Social Commerce, Purchase Support, Catalog Navigation and Multichannel Shopping. Amazon.com and Sears.com tied for the highest UX audit score, both receiving 13 out 30 points. Target.com, Express.com and Walmart.com came in close behind with scores of 12, 11, and 11 respectively.
While these sites were given top scores, this does not necessarily reflect that the UX score is the only component that leads to success. Paul Bryan, Director of User Research and Design Strategy for Usography said "As UX strategy consultants, we're not trying to imply that the total number of UX features is in any way a measure of a successful UX strategy. Developing a winning UX strategy requires an intensive analysis of many internal and external factors. Usography considers such factors when conducting research and strategy engagements for our retail clients. The UX Audit is one small part of the work that goes into a UX strategy, and we choose to give that work away as a means of familiarizing retailers with our UX research and strategy consulting practice."
The ‘Retail UX Audit: Apparel’ is the basic free version of more extensive competitive and best practice reports produced by Usography in the area of multichannel retail. More detailed reports are available on a monthly or quarterly basis, filling the need for an inexpensive way for all team memberes and executives to stay current in the state of the art of digital retail user experience. Please contact Usography for pricing information.
The ‘Retail UX Audit: Apparel, ’ with links to screen captures of the pages of all 30 apparel sites can be found online.
Usography (usography.com) is a customer experience research and design strategy agency located near Atlanta, Georgia. Usography’s clients have included some of the largest and most successful corporations in the world, including: The Home Deopt, Coca-Cola, SAP, Delta Air Lines, Phillips, Macy’s and Bloomingdales, Gerogia-Pacific, Cox, and GE. Usography’s research and strategy work has encompassed locations throughout North America, South America and Europe.