KPMG Crimsonwing’s insights on the Marks and Spencer’s eCommerce story

High street retailer M&S has hit the headlines today, with its newly-launched website being hailed as the reason behind the 130-year-old retailer’s failure to reach its targets. The website, which was launched in February, was built using a custom-built platform breaking away from its previous Amazon platform. It has also been named as the cause for a fall in online sales of 8.1% in the first quarter.

Indeed today’s headlines are what any eCommerce development project does not want to be remembered for. This is a story that gives us a number of important insights for any eCommerce website re-launch project:

1. User Experience (UX) is simple until you make it complicated

It is important to get UX right, especially in a redesign. People have been used to your website before the launch and if they are happy with that experience, any updates to the new website will impact their current perception of their experience with your brand, not just your website. This, of course, can be either positive or negative. It is also important nowadays to look at the UX on different devices. We are increasingly seeing customers move from one device to the other, even in the same purchase journey. Responsive design is at the core of KPMG Crimsonwing’s eCommerce web development processes with Magento.

2. A simple, optimised checkout is a must

The aim for any eCommerce retailer is to get a customer in and out of the checkout as fast as possible, without any unnecessary frustrations and distractions that could see the customer abandoning the basket. We have seen several retailers move towards streamlined purchase processes and reducing the number of checkout steps. It is important to not burden the customer with unnecessary fields to fill. Ask only what is absolutely necessary and make customers see only the pages they need to see, until they complete their order. KPMG Crimsonwing’s own checkout extension for Magento tackles just this. It reduces the login page to just one email address field, which on input recognises whether the user is registered or a guest. It streamlines the shipping and billing address templates and combines payment methods and delivery details for an easy and quick checkout experience for the user. Finally, it includes an invitation to register as a customer only after the checkout is completed. Customers are more likely to be willing to belong to your brand now that they have invested in it. Additionally the sign-up information has already been collected, so all the customer has to do is add a password.

3. A migration plan from the old to the new website is as important as the development work put behind the new website

The high street retailer’s biggest mistake on its new website, as rightly pointed out by City A.M. this morning, was to ask its 6 million customers to re-register to the new website. The migration of those customers would have been a key element of the website re-launch together with other aspects of the website that needs to be migrated over to the new website. It is imperative to ensure that a migration plan is put in place so that no data is lost along the way. It might be ideal to treat migration as a separate project which kicks off once the bulk of the design and development work has been completed. From the 6 million that were registered on the old website, only 3.2 million customers have re-registered…

The M&S story teaches us that unless you make it effortless and straightforward for the customer to start using your new website, they might simply not comply. KPMG Crimsonwing’s eCommerce project teams will help make your project a success by guiding you along the way up until website launch. Each project is assigned a business and a technical analyst who get to know your business and guide you to ensure that these aspects of the project are dealt with.

1 reply
  1. Jason Zammit
    Jason Zammit says:

    Agree with all your points Sarah! (except the Magento part).
    Keep up the interesting articles Sarah.

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