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Marks and Spencer has revamped its online retail site with a little help from Amazon, hoping that its new multichannel approach to retailing will increase its online sales.

At the launch of its interim results for 2006/2007, M&S chief executive Stuart Rose said that the company intends to double its online sales from £100m in a short period of time.

After a positive online performance over Christmas, M&S will be hoping that the usability improvements and new features on the site will help drive its online business.

The new site, designed by Marks and Spencer's in-house team in conjunction with Amazon, takes some of the latter site's ideas, such as showing recently viewed items and recommending items based on your previous browsing.

The site navigation and feature filtering has been improved and makes intuitive browsing of the site and product comparison easy. This is useful for customers who need ‘help to choose’ - those who arrive at a site with few criteria upon which to base their purchasing decision.

A search for an item will return a good range of relevant results, and plenty of options to filter and refine the search, e.g. a search for shoes will allow you to filter results by size, style, colour, price etc. The number of products available for each filtering option is also displayed.

In addition, images of search results are displayed, with the option of viewing products in different colours/materials and from a range of angles, allowing customers to test their choices.

M&S has also improved delivery options, with a range of choices depending how quickly you want your items, as well as the ability to track the progress of your deliveries.

All in all, the revamped site is a significant improvement on its predecessor, and bringing Amazon on board seems to have been a smart move.

In addition to the site relaunch, M&S is currently looking to improve integration between the site, shops and telephone ordering service, before launching a full multichannel offering later this year.

Further Reading:
The 12 fundamentals of e-commerce
Online Retail User Experience Benchmarks 2006


Graham Charlton

Published 26 March, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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