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Tech Store Review Issue 01

Evaluating the design and usability of 3 major online retail stores.

December 2013


Contents Page

1 Editors Page 2 Introduction 3 Market Situation 4 Navigation Data + Segmentation 5 Primary Research 6 Chapters 6.1- 6.10 7 Conclusion/ Recommendation 8 References

Editors Page Message From the editors We are team Apollo, a duo of marketing and business students at Bucks New University. In the Last few months we have been working on this project about digital technologies.

About this report This report will aim to analyse, compare and critique the websites of organizations operating Within in the electric good sector. The report will look closely at website design, including Page layout, logo placement and search bars. The three companies we have chosen are: 1. 2. 3.

The reason we decided to go with these three electric retailers are as follows: 1. In Google, if a search saying ‘electrical goods’ is put in, then the three companies are highlighted in the first two pages. 2. The three companies have a big chunk of the market share in their sector. 3. The three companies are listed in the top 20 electronic retailers in the UK.

Company Backgrounds CURRY’S Curry’s was established more then over 100 years ago. At first it was known as H Curry’s and Sons and sold bicycles, radios and toys. In 1984 Curry’s was over taken by Dixon’s Retail DSG. There are now well over 500 Curry’s and PC world stores in the UK and is recognised as one of The, if not the biggest electrical retailer in the UK. Curry’s is the ideal online destination for consumers looking to buy electrical goods such as TV’S, Washing machines and laptops. When purchasing goods online, there are very detailed product descriptions below the products which helps the consumer to fully understand what they are purchasing and what it can be used for. Furthermore, consumers known Curry’s as a big name brand, so when purchasing a good they will be comfortable in trusting that it Is safe.

ARGOS Argos is the biggest general good retailer in the whole of the UK. It has well over 700 stores operating in the UK and many consumers see Argos as the place to go for such things as toasters, kettles and telephones. Argos forms, along with its sister company, Homebase and Habitat, the Home Retail Group. This happened when GUS PLC, acquired Argos on the london Exchange in 1998. Many consumers go to Argos for a number of goods. It is a well known brand and trusted. On their website, full product descriptions are given along with price, therefore making the Consumer feel comfortable in buying products from them. Furthermore, Argos also supply free Catalogues with all their products which can be picked up from stores. This is beneficial for Them because it allows consumers who do not have access to internet to still look at all their products.

Company Background Continued

JOHN LEWIS John Lewis is a chain of upmarket department stores throughout Great Britain. The first ever store was opened in 1864, Oxford Street, London. The company go with the quote ‘never knowingly undersold’. This gives consumers trust. There are only around 40 stores in the UK, however, two of them have been given the Royal Warrant from the Queen. These stores are the Reading store and the London store in Oxford Street.

In contrast to Argos and Curry’s, John Lewis is seen as more of upmarket brand. They pride Themselves on their image and take great concern over the appearance of their stores and staff. When consumers think about buying electrical goods, John Lewis is an option, but a more Prestigious one in comparison to Argos and Curry’s. The fact they only have around 40 stores Shows that they believe customers will come to them because of their Brand image.

Market Research Recently, instead of going to shops to buy goods, consumers tend to buy online. There are many Reasons for this such as its more efficient, easier and sometimes even cheaper. If a consumer went to a shop and brought a product, the time and effort could be a problem. In contrast, buying online is a lot easier because you can do it via, smart phone or laptop and takes a matter Of seconds. However, buying online does have its drawbacks. There is always a risk of fraud when buying online and you can never be 100% sure on what you are purchasing.

As the pie chart shows, more consumers buy online rather in store. The % difference is only 1%, However, this is likely to increase as technology gets easier to use. For example, the new Windows 8 layout allows users to downloads apps, like a smart phone. Therefore, a Curry's, John Lewis Or Argos app can be downloaded, making it even quicker to purchase online.

(Google, 2013)

There is also an overlap in terms of purchasing online and instore. Click and Collect means a consumer is able to order online, and then collect from store. This can be mainly seen as an online purchase because the customer is paying online.

In terms of the current market, the UK economy is rapidly growing. Its monitor of business confidence, sponsored by accountants Grant Thornton, suggests economic growth of 1.3% in the fourth quarter of 2013. ( BBC, 2013 ). This suggests that consumers are spending more so therefore, GDP increases and the economy grows. This is beneficial for stores such as Curry’s, John Lewis and Argos. This should also mean an increase in the use of internet shopping because of increased consumer spending. Therefore, the design and usability of these 3 websites have never been so important

Primary Research Through primary research we found that there are a number of aspects which attracts customers to websites. The graph shows that Accessibility, Quality of Website, Ease of Use and Design Layout are all pretty much equal in terms of attracting customers to websites. Overall, it seems as if the design layout is probably the most important aspect. This is because when opening up a homepage, the design and first thoughts are very important. If the first impression of the design is good, its more likely a customer will further browse the website.

The graph shows that 44% of the people who did the survey, said they preferred to shop with Argos. Second was Curry’s and then John Lewis last. These results fit in well with the other primary research we done. Which was a focus group. In this, we got four people to order something online from the respective websites. They were being timed, and after completing it, they had to fill in a survey assessing how good the website was. The general feedback was that Argos were the best, scoring the highest marks. Also, in terms of timing, Argos was the quickest with all four of our candidates were able to order something within two minutes. Therefore, the fact that most people who done the survey said they preferred Argos is not a surprise.

Primary Research Continued In terms of making our own website, a clear target market needs to be defined. Within the survey 70% of the respondents were below 25. Also, the younger generation tend use to the internet more to buy online as they are more computer savvy. Therefore, the age group targeted would be between 16-25. Furthermore, one of the questions posed in the survey was ‘ does the use of website banners persuade you to buy?’. 70% of the respondents said that the use of banners do not persuade them to buy. Therefore, when creating a website, the use of banners will not be important and in terms of design, consumers have said they it does not make them buy.

In terms of certain aspects which are important such as design layout, are also important for the general public. In the surveys undertaken, we posed a question asking what attracts them to a website. More then 40% said design layout. Design layout is a very important objective in terms of having a good website.

The Objective Of Website Design Introduction Website design is an important aspect of the users experience when on a website. The website is another opportunity to gain more customers or to promote a product or service service, but in order for this to work the design of the website needs to have a structure to follow. This structure can be achieved by thinking about who the user will be and how will they use it.

Store Review Argos has thought about how it’s customers will use the website. They know that customers may already know what products they are interested in and give the option of going direct to that product page via the Argos catalogue number or they can browse via catergries. Cuastomers can compare products and can also read reviews of products Argos allows customers to purchase all products from the website and delivery is arranged as part of the buying process. There is also a function to collect a product from an Argos store of the customers choice but if this option is chosen then payment cannot be completed from the website. There are various ways to contact Argos. If email is a chosen contact method of the customers then an online form is used where the customer is asked to choose from a list of possible reasons why they want to contact Argos. Next the customers information is collected including the customers email address and a space is allocated for the customer to communicate with Argos.

Website Goals Website goals need to be made which are objectives of what the website will achieve. Setting these goals will help to determine what content will need to be included in the design which will start to give a feel for how the websites design will be structured.

Integrated Design The website has to be able to communicate with its user’s both online and offline. Customer’s using the website may use the site to browse or compare products. They may also decide to purchase direct from the website or make the purchase instore. The website will want to promote its offers or capture customer information to use for future use or in order to create an account. These actions can be defined as multi-channel or mixed mode buying.

Store Review John Lewis is very similar to Argos as they have the same search facilities, same options to browse, compare and purchase products both online and offline via collecting insotre but with John Lewis payment is made online for both delivery modes unlike Argos. Again Currys website works in the same way as the other two companies. All three stores allow customers to create accounts on the website. Doing this helps the customer gain a more personalised shopping experience as it allows the customer to save prefrences such as local stores, recently browsed products among other functions. It also allows the websites to match the needs of its customers by learning their buying habits.

Online Value Proposition When the customer visits a website they decide within seconds whether they will stay on the site or move onto another. A way to make sure that they take a closer look at your site is to make sure that you have a great heading and subheading, that you have a good image related to your brand and a few bullet points or a couple of sentences introducing the website. The OVP of a website should let the customer know what your site is about is should be displayed in a prominent position on the websites homepage. OVP is similar to a USP in a offline store.

Currys have some benefits as part of their promotion banner but they also show their benefits below.

Heading and a subheading to show a toy promotion

Here on Argos’s homepage they have located a couple of sentences to tell customers what they sell on their site.

Online Value Proposition

Here are the benefits that John Lewis offer to their customers.

Meta Tags What Is A Meta Tag Meta Tags are written into the coding language HTML when a website is being coded. These tags include information that search engines like Google can use to direct users to the correct webpages for the search term entered. These tags are located near the top of the HTML page and is included in the web page heading.

When the company names that we are reviewing are typed into Google’s search engine you can see that under the company name you get a brief description about the site. This description is also shown when you are on the actual websites.

Below are the meta tag descriptions and keywords from each site. John Lewis Description: "Discover a wide range of products at John Lewis. Shop for the latest iPads, TVs, Sofas, Beds & Fashion online. Free Delivery on orders over £50." Argos Description: "Discover a wide range of products at John Lewis. Shop for the latest iPads, TVs, Sofas, Beds & Fashion online. Free Delivery on orders over £50." /> Keywords: "Argos, online shop, shopping, online shopping, home shopping, internet shopping, home shopping online, UK shopping, store, online store, catalogue, shopping catalogue."

Currys Description: "Discover all our Great Savings with the Big Christmas Countdown. Top offers on Christmas Gifts, TVs, Washing Machines, Cameras, Laptops, Tablet PCs & more." Keywords: "Currys,curry,,curries,currys stores,currys electrical,currie,washing machines,ipods,dishwashers,televisions,tvs,fridg es,fridge freezers,laptops,cookers,computers,sat nav,dvd players,blu ray players,home cinema,mobile broadband,mobile phones,cameras,digital cameras,hifis,playstation 3,xbox,Nintendo wii,gps,ovens,microwaves,tumble dryers,washer dryers,fridge freezers,gas cookers,range cookers,kettles,toasters,health grills,bread makers,fryers,coffee makers,vacuum cleaners,irons,heaters,fans,air con,hair dryers,tvs,projectors,netbooks,desktop pcs,pc monitors,printers,data storage,networking,mobile phones,home phones,fax machines,radios,pc gaming,free delivery”

Meta Tags And Customer Orientation From these screenshots you can see that for each website under the web address there is a brief description so that users can see what the website is about.

Customer Orientation is about how the website can help the customer. The website should make sure that what is contained is foucused towards all customers visiting the site and that they can regonise the company and the branding. You need to also consider what is on offer for the customer? Can the customer track their order? Is there a service that can be launched at a low cost to help make the customer’s journey easier? Can the customer leave feedback for the website? A website that thinks about customer orientation will try and give benefits to the customer when they are using the site such as being able to log into the site and save your favourite store The 6 c’s can be used to help define what the online value proposition will be. When looking at the 6 c’s you will need to consider content, customization, community, convenience, choice and cost reduction. A websites design can either be customer or product orientated. If a website is mainly product orientated then the design will be more focused on making sure all products or services explained instead of matching products to customers needs. The benefits that the customer will want are not made clear and the customers needs are not top priority.

When comparing the descriptions in the screenshots from Google you can see that they are

Argos , John Lewis and Curry's all are focused on customer orientation. All three websites have their product categories as pull down lists at the top of the page which helps customers find the products they want quickly. The search bar has been positioned in a prominent place at the top of the website page. At the bottom of each page of the company's website there is a site map which helps the customer locate the service they require from the website quickly. They have thought about who will use the site and how they will navigate through the webpages.

Dynamic Design And Personalization Dynamic design and personalisation: Customers can get a personalised visit to the website through many different variables. These can include cookies, customer preferences, location, Cookies are key to web personalisation. When a customer visits a webpage a small text file is put onto their computer which holds information unique to the user. When the customer returns to the site setting are remembered but requires the user to give permission for cookies to run which is required in most EU countries. Websites can allow customers to set up certain aspects of the site to their preference. This can allow data to be collected when the customers fill in online forms such as the registration form or customers purchase history

Aesthetics Aesthetics is all about how the site feels. What fonts, colours and graphics go together to give a great style and layout? While these need to be considered the brand values still have to be present.

All three sites use a plain white background so that all the content on the website can be viewed clearly. Argos and Currys websites seem easier to see and appear less cluttered.

Page Design Wireframe Diagram A wireframe is a diagram to show the potential layout of a webpages navigational elements.

Argos , Currys and John Lewis all have simmilar layouts. They all have a logo at the top of the page with a header content. All 3 sites have a primary navigation bar which hold all of their product information. All 3 sites have the same content, just different layouts.

Web designers will use this to decide where the navigational aspects of the site will go.

Copywriting Copywriting Most users visiting Argos, John Lewis and Curry's have a rough idea of what they are looking for whether that's a specific product or a certain area within the website. The customers want to be able to navigate to their way quickly to their point of interest and will do this by scanning their way through the webpages like people scan a newspaper to find an interesting article.

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Digital marketing magazine 2