Bad websites = unhappy customers

online shopping

What do Next, M&S, Amazon, Debenhams and Asos have in common? Fashion shoppers like their websites. In the case of Amazon and Asos that must be something of a relief because if they’re not scoring well online then they’re simply not scoring.

And it must also be pretty gratifying for M&S after all its online woes, and for Next whose giant Directory business is now about the web rather than its printed catalogue.

But (yes, there’s always a ‘but’) a lot of other retailers get pretty poor marks as far as user experience (UX) is concerned) and even the top scorers aren’t perfect.

So what don’t fashion shoppers like and what are their biggest gripes? New research from the data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company Aimia showed that fashion shoppers hate being bombarded customers with messages about products and items they would never want to buy, and also that some websites are very far from user-friendly.

  • Aimia’s Loyalty Lens research shows over half (52%) of online fashion shoppers are shown irrelevant buying suggestions.
  • Two thirds (66%) have been targeted with ads for products they’d never buy.
  • Six percent of online fashion shoppers say they get fashion messages suited to their tastes. Yep, just 6%.
  • Almost seven in 10 (69%) Britons saying they will close down accounts and subscriptions and ‘unfriend’ companies on social channels due to such poorly targeted communications.
  • Nearly half (49%) of online fashion shoppers have had difficulties finding what they’re looking for because a website is hard to navigate.
  • Over half (56%) struggle because there are just too many products (although a well-designed website should deal with that problem).

 What’s the solution?

A well designed website – d’oh! Actually, that’s easier said than done. But for those who get it right, the opportunity is huge, especially at this time of year with shopping events like Black Friday expected to top £1bn in spending in just one day.

Given that 45% of shoppers say they actively share their personal details with brands to receive relevant offers and discounts, the opportunity to reach them is enormous. But too few brands are making the website experience a pleasant one and too few are managing to get the right offer into the right inbox or onto the right social media feed, according to the research.

Aimia said that those fashion e-tailers that successfully tailor their offer to customer preferences are likely to reap the rewards of increased sales not just in short term, but they’ll also lay strong foundations for building longlasting relationships once the Christmas spending frenzy is over.

I have to say I agree completely. Too many websites just make the process difficult, complicated, stressful, volatile and generally unsatisfying. Check out my ‘gripe list’ below. Do you agree?

Gripe list – what drives me mad when shopping online.

  1. Slow, inflexible returns policies – if I have to take it to the Post Office and hope for the best I won’t buy, and automated phone lines at UPS that tell me they’ll collect from my office any time until 7pm (when it’s closed) drive me mad.
  2. Not being offered enough filter options when browsing, or the option to save a refined search I do regularly.
  3. Broken functionality – too many websites have questionable functionality either on the Android or iOS app; too many have Android and iOS apps that are very different from each other; too many standard browser sites have features that don’t work properly in a tablet’s browser; and too many have features that work in one browser but not in another.
  4. Product images that zoom only in a small window so you can’t see the entire product – give me a full screen zoomed image, PLEASE.
  5. Products not photographed on a model – a still-life shot isn’t enough.
  6. Not being told the exact proportions of each size or which size the model is wearing.
  7. Not being offered the option to pay via PayPal.
  8. Not being able to surface a product I know is there even though I’ve typed correct key words into the search.
  9. Themed product categories (just tell me where I can find ‘dresses’ or ‘shoes’).
  10. Too-basic apps that limit your options, forcing you to scurry back to the browser-based website.

4 thoughts on “Bad websites = unhappy customers

  1. Yep, refunds definitely take too long. When you consider that you can move your bank account and all that entails in 7 days why should a refund for a pair of boots from Amazon take 2 weeks?


  2. You’re right, retailers need to make the experience more pleasant and more relevant as it’s sending potential customers to their rivals. There are too many things not right about the whole experience. The deal breaker for me is a returns process that involves me doing all the work and waiting ages for a refund.


  3. Oh and another thing I have noticed recently; if I leave my cursor hovering in a relaxed manner on the page I am reading a totally unconnected ad pops up within the website. The ads are tagged to one word within the text, it’s an intrusive way to advertise, horrible, stop it please


  4. I totally agree! One buys a teapot on eBay, they bombard you with ‘personal, just for you’ suggestions for more teapots you may like! Why? How many teapots do I need or want….? Amazon are just as silly, as a middle-aged woman of a certain size and outlook why do they think I would buy nasty polyester dresses entitled ‘Little Mistress’?



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