Selfridges have very recently undergone a radical new website upgrade. The upmarket department store spent £40 million with intention of bringing the website in line with the experience people have of the brand in-store.
Ultimately, the revamp was introduced to reflect the “in-store experience”. Consequently, to realise this goal they had to spend big… and they did! The Independent describes the venture as “the single biggest single investment” Selfridges have backed.
Rather than using multiple images and boxes, the new homepage uses large and bold imagery. The whole experience is very clean and easy on the eye.
Staying true to its roots, I can confidently say that the new website has helped Selfridges’ achieve its goal in creating a luxurious user experience that echoes the high-end appeal of the store.
When we compare it to a rival department store like House of Fraser, it is here that we really begin to see the class of the new Selfridges’ website.
The House of Fraser homepage could be described as messy. The visual impact is not as effective – you are instantly confronted with multiple images that dilute your focus. Not to mention, the content is heavily focussed around discounted products, which on balance leads to an unrefined user experience.
The site is equally as impressive when you visit via a mobile device. Selfridges on average receive around 1 million visits every week, of which more than half of those visits are made on mobile devices. As a result, Selfridges have paid particular attention to the mobile and tablet market with the aim of improving usability.
The site has been completely recreated for the mobile user. There is now a responsive design function; it has been specifically designed to be touched and with a simple swipe you can navigate easily and effectively around the site – which works great!
Furthermore, the luxury retail giant has adhered to market trends and they improved the transactional qualities of their mobile platform. They have simplified the checkout process making it effortless in comparison to the previous structure.
Creating a smoother checkout experience was a clever move because year on year, more and more users, are purchasing goods through either a tablets or a mobile phones. In order to future proof Selfridges’ £40 million investment it was imperative that they responded to customer buying trends.
£40 million – There is no doubt that this is an unearthly figure, especially when the cost of the average website build ranges into the thousands.
However, if we take a step back and think about this from a strategic point of view, to invest £40 million Selfridges must be incredibly confident that they will achieve a return on that investment. I can confirm since the website went live, Selfridges have experienced a 10% increase in traffic. An interesting point would be to see how many of these views turned into sales!
Taking into account the money they have spent, customer satisfaction is certainly achieved. When I view the website and I move around the images it feels great. The website is very responsive and requires minimal effort to create optimal viewing pleasure.
I guess the question you need to ask yourself is; would you buy from this website?