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Sports Direct is brilliant. Ok, it had some problems last year as its reputation took a blow thanks to the retailer’s use of zero hour contracts, but on the sales front, it’s flying along.

New stores are opening, other sports retailers are being battered into submission and 2,000 staff members are to receive a cool £100k bonus after profits climbed by 40% to £200m last year.

With 12 languages and 10 currency options, the Sports Direct website should continue to aid the company's growing profits.

The website has been praised in many quarters. It’s certainly easy to use and strongly conveys the brand’s identity.

Visiting the site I was struck by just how good its calls to action are, and how easy it is to get around (unlike their stores). I thought I’d round up a few of the best bits.

Enjoy them in all their enormous garish glory. I think they’re part of a growing lust for simplicity that is driving web design forward.

Full monty product pages

Reviews and ratings, discounts, pop-out sizing chart, zoomable images, sale marker and savings indicator,  scrollable product info, delivery and returns info box, ‘people also viewed’ sidebar, ‘you might also like’.

Wonderfully done.

No guesswork

Below there’s a screenshot of me hovering over the Men’s category in the top menu. Look at the drop down menu. I’m not just given five subcategories (Footwear, clothing, fashion outlet, accessories, clearance), I’m given all the categories within, too. 

So if I want to find gilets, I can do so directly from the homepage. The best navigation works like this. 

No nesting

If I actually click on the Men’s category, again there’s no hiding what I want to find, the category page has every Men’s sub category on it, in a great big list.

There are few websites I can think of where I’m so sure of where I am on site.

 

Vanilla filters

When I take the plunge and select a specific category page that sits at the bottom of the merchandising hierarchy, I am served the items in ascending price order as befits the brand.

I can also filter by price, colour, size and category (as some items sit in more than one category e.g. hi tops and boots).

Sale products are clear as day, stickered with a red and yellow sale badge and popular products are still surfaced in a panel at the bottom of the product selection.

There are some pages that don’t have these standard filters and these seem to be for particularly important categories such as football boots. Sports Direct is a go-to destination for football boots and has obviously prioritised this category. 

The football boot category page is more of a landing page, however, as once the user selects a particular style or brand of boot, they are directed to a filtered list once again.

Enormous ‘sales’ calls to action

Notable for their bold colours and size, here are some of my favourites:

Footwear sales

The screen shot below shows my entire window. 

 

Back to sales

Keen as Sports Direct is to keep you shopping sales items, look at these calls to action to go ‘back to sales’. 

Clothing sales

Like footwear, nothing left to chance here. 

Sales landing page

Again there’s a separate sales page just in case you miss the links to categories on the home page. 

Ben Davis

Published 17 January, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

696 more posts from this author

Comments (13)

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Filip

Not a big fan of this. Garish like their shops. Doesn't really inspire me to buy.

over 2 years ago

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Dan

Which agency do they use or is it all in-house?

over 2 years ago

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Mark

Would be interesting to know if this is an in-house team or the result of an external consultancy.

over 2 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

As far as I know it's in-house, but not 100% sure.

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

Yes, I couldn't find out. It doesn't scream agency though.

over 2 years ago

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Stuart Edwards

Yes not the obvious creative approach for an agency solution but clearly it works. At least the brand doesn't get in the way of teh user journey.

My design said "they are the Ryanair of online shops" which i can understand. Difference is that you don't then have to suffer a painful journey with them after being sold insurance you didn't want.

over 2 years ago

Antoine Becaglia

Antoine Becaglia, Digital Strategist at WebPropaganda Ltd

You got to love when such a retailer gives a lesson in e-tailing. Their brick and mortar shops are dreadful, their staff willingly un-helpful, the products you want rarely in stock, their customer service non-existent...yet their website is easy to use, stocked up and simple enough for everybody to use...

over 2 years ago

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reatil legend

I invite you to my sportsdirect.com store and you will find nothing but willing to help staff and a high level of product knowledge , we are growing as a business in service just like out web-site has grown.

over 2 years ago

Antoine Becaglia

Antoine Becaglia, Digital Strategist at WebPropaganda Ltd

@retaillegend Well, my experience of various of your stores was indeed very different...

over 2 years ago

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Tom Johnson

Agency doesnt have to mean 'creative' web agency.....It does however scream optimisation and/or SEO input. And plenty of agencies have those dept's. Whatever and whoever was involved. It does the job, well.

over 2 years ago

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Sarah Ward

Having taken a look at the site and gone through the buying process, the user experience is let down by the fact you don't find out the delivery information and costs until you've either set up an account or signed-in to pay via Amazon or Paypal. I had to exit the checkout process to find a delivery page to locate these, Also disappointing to see they don't offer Click and Collect. It would be interesting to know what their basket abandonment rate is.

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@sarah

Good point about click and collect. They have so many stores now it would make sense. I guess there's still some work to do on the operational side considering how much diverse stock each store has, in order to make it work.

The checkout isn't the best and is a bit cluttered, however there is clear information regarding delivery prices on the homepage when not logged in. The only ambiguity is that international delivery is 'from 4.99 euro'.

over 2 years ago

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Deon

Nice and useful explanation of the call to action and an effective ecommerce site should have all the fitures for the visitors.

about 2 years ago

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