Wickes is best on the web

Published:  21 August, 2009

LONDON: Merchants adopt a hit-and-miss approach to the design and navigation of their web sites, said Mark Simpson, managing director of Maxymiser.

Mr Simpson said web pages are "arguably the most powerful shop window" merchants have.

"E-commerce has been a booming business for a long time now, yet the majority of online store experiences remain dire, and the very opposite of intuitive, from failing to include search facilities, to wiping clean forms if the customer goes back to a previous page, and numerous shambolic omissions in between,' said Simpson.

The result is that customers are still being bounced around poorly put-together web sites in such a way that they are left dizzy and frustrated by the time they shut down their PC, with their basket still empty, he said.

"The reason it's so important to let customers help refine web pages through live testing is that the factors which make the biggest difference can be small and subtle - something a marketer would almost certainly miss."

He cites Wickes as an example of good practice. "Five different designs of a proposed sign-in page were shown to a sample of around 500 marketers. They were asked which one customers were likely to prefer. When the responses were compared with the results from live customer testing, it was discovered that only 4.6% of the marketing experts had guessed right," Simpson said

"Just flipping the positioning of the company's log-in and 'register' boxes was shown to have a 10% impact on conversion rates." he said.

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