Two's a Queue

Retail, eCommerce, usability, customer experience, service, technology...

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Perfect Pages #1

This is just beautiful. That's all. It's from online boutique LN-CC.

P.S This is a possibly occasional series which I've basically just thought of. Plus my boyfriend thinks I need more pictures on this blog. So, there will be pictures, and they will be of cool pages.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Ten Reasons to go ‘Oooh’

I feel like the launch of Boux Avenue has really met my (high) expectations, sure there is a few tweaks which could be made – but it's very clear that the team have learned so many lessons from all the successful sites out there and it's raised the bar in terms of what we can expect from new online launches. This means everyone now is going to have to pull their socks up and start competing. Here's the ten things I think are great about Boux Avenue and that will no doubt soon become 'the basics' of any ecommerce site.

1. Perfect Imagery
I'll be honest – almost ten years in store retail means I can be slightly erm..lukewarm about content. My retail teeth were cut in the days when M&S didn't take credit cards – let alone advertise but more and more lately content is so important. Boux Avenue does it absolutely right. Quite simply it's beautifully done, though it's not just a pretty face - the key thing to notice here is that it's beautifully 'Boux Avenue' done - the brand is strong and clear throughout the imagery. The lifestyle settings of the images reinforce the aspirational nature of what Boux Avenue is trying to achieve, the models look great but not skinny- (as a normal sized woman with money burning a hole in her pocket you're not scared off by Daisy Lowe pretending to have 'curves') and most of all the product looks fantastic.

2.Fantastic Features
When you try on a bra in a shop you always turn around and look at the back view. Who would have thought to do the same online? Boux Avenue did. Every single product having multiple consistent images probably cost them double but you know what? So worth it. And the cheeky over the shoulder poses? Awesomeness.

3. Know your nav
The difference between guided and faceted navigation is something which often escapes retailers, and more to the point when to use them. Boux Avenue has it spot on. I want to see lots of things which fit my vague criteria, I might be a 12 or a 14, I might want black or navy. You can do all this and more with their lovely faceted navigation.

4. Product Shots
 This deserves to be at least two reasons, these are just in another league. When choosing a bra you can see the product from the back, full view, close up, front view and in video. And there is a different image for a larger size and a smaller size so you can better gauge if the bra will suit you – and they're not photo-shopped – they're actually models with a bigger cup size! Amazing.

The videos are just great. As per imagery they're beautifully shot, you see the item from all angles and you can see it in a lovely setting which makes you want to buy so that you too can waft fragrantly around your white antique French furniture and gaze into your vintage mirror adoring your fantastically hot body…….

5. Multichannel IS multichannel
Unlike any other retailer to my knowledge (most do either or) Boux Avenue do order online and collect in store (free) and reserve online and collect in store (also free). Also you collect your purchase from a dedicated concierge desk, so no queues – something which more established retailers have been trying to get sorted for a very long time.

Also due to the nature of purchasing lingerie there is the option to get fitted in store or watch the informative guides on how to measure yourself. Again the multichannel experience – customers online shouldn't get anything less than those in store. It's consistent and more to the point it's genuinely useful.

What's also quite special and again enhances the multichannel credentials is that on the store locator you can email each store individually - if you have a specific query on your order or reservation or even what's in stock.

6. Mobile
"In the meantime, our website will still work across all browsers and mobile devices – meaning you won't miss out on the Boux Avenue experience, even when not in front of a computer." I'm in awe. That's all.

7. Free Returns
I'm beginning to feel very inferior….

8. Contact Boux
There is an actual phone number and an actual email address. From a customer perspective this is really positive as there are no barriers to getting in contact and you can do it in the best way to suit you (I work in a team of boys – the last thing I feel like doing is having a complex customer service phone call about lingerie at work – email is the way forward people!). From a business perspective this may start to cause them some problems – depending on how their back end behaves (no pun intended) – in my experience phone calls drain customer service budgets more than email and a simple email address – despite the instructions to include order details- may cause more problems than it solves. Still – I'm hopeful!

9. The 'Men's Buying Guide'
Oh lordy they have realised that men might want to buy gifts and might need some guidance. Nice touch.

10. A great memory
Yesterday I thought I might be losing my mind, today I wondered if I'd left the facets on the left on and the site remembered them. But no – the site actually does remember my size as I browse. Everything I look at defaults to the size of the item I first added to my bag on day one. This is means all I have to do is click 'add to bag' and I'm in. WOW!

OK so I haven't even ordered yet and I'm almost passing out in excitement on the new heights that Boux Avenue has reached (another post for the order process soon I think – watch his space!). Admittedly there are a few bits and bobs which could easily start to annoy me- for a start I really REALLY don't like the font, I hate the text only menus (I know it's for SEO purposes but I really think live text looks crap -  so there!) and I think the whole pink/white/black thing was a seriously safe choice- I'd have liked to see the design boundaries pushed a bit further. The store locator bothers me a tad – it's a bit iffy looking, and I think they need to work out on a product level exactly where they are in the market – the bra set I want is actually only £5 cheaper than one I bought yesterday in Calvin Klein.

All that aside I genuinely think this site is great – usable, pretty, consistent, useful features and true a multichannel retailer…its love!

All images shamelessly screengrabbed from Boux Avenue

H x

Friday, 1 April 2011

Boux Avenue Launch....

I'm literally on the edge of my seat awaiting the launch of The link to the site has started redirecting to the blog now so I’m guessing the reveal is imminent. My finger is actually hurting from pressing F5 :-)

This is for a few reasons but first and foremost because I'm genuinely excited to see a simultaneous online and store launch which might actually live up to the hype. Being in the industry when something like this happens reminds me why I love my job.

There hasn't been that many brand new stores launching in my lifetime (Sorry GIve - yours disappointed me so much I can't even discuss it. Even now. I think I'm scarred) so this one is incredibly exciting, all the more so because it’s actually multichannel. And hopefully multichannel in the true sense of the word and not a hashed together load of systems which talk to each other via the mysterious power of empty loo roll holders and sticky tape.

Hurry up and flick the switch Theo!

P.S The Facebook page is a whole other world of specialness and I absolutely love the fact you have to ‘Like’ it before you see it. Awesomeness!

image grabbed from Boux Avenue on facebook