Posts in Customer Experience

How will the VAT cut affect e-commerce?

The Chancellor yesterday anounced a cut in the rate of VAT from the current 17.5% to 15%, effective from Monday 1st December.

The intention is to stimulate consumer spending to help businesses but, as Patrick at Blogstorm points out, this could turn out to be a major problem for some online retailers.


Great music apps for the iPhone

Among the many apps available for the iPhone are a number of ways to listen to music other than that stored on the phone.

There is more of a choice in this area for US iPhone users, as services like Pandora are not available in the UK, but there are still a few good apps around...


Site review: is the online arm of independent electrical retailer Strangewood Group.

The site has been updated recently and I've been taking a look to see how it measures up against the bigger electrical retailers' sites...


Debenhams' website cracks under the strain

It seems that Debenhams' website has been unable to cope with the extra demand placed upon it by its pre-Xmas sale, and it has been down since yesterday afternoon.  

I looked at the site yesterday morning and noted that it was becoming pretty slow to load, and it seems that the site finally buckled under the strain of the extra traffic around 3pm.

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Site review:

Fitness Footwear was launched by Luke Barlow in June 2005 as a way of selling Chung Shi sports shoes, which couldn't be found anywhere else in the UK.

Fitness Footwear homepage

Four years on, the site is doing well, and Luke now has a team of ten, and the business is currently outgrowing its warehouse in Hertfordshire, and has even launched a sister site,

Having started as a family business, the website has been created on a limited budget:  Luke has spent around £100k on the site since launch. So how does it shape up? 


What should 'continue shopping' mean?

When customers have added items to their basket and want to continue shopping, where should they end up on your website?

Not the homepage; as Brendan Regan points out on GrokDotCom, the 'homepage dump' is a user experience mistake to avoid, so where should they be sent instead? 

I've been looking through a few retailers' sites for examples of good and bad practice in this area...


How is M&S handling its pre-Xmas sale online?

M&S launched a 'one day spectacular' sale today, in an effort to attract more shoppers in the run-up to Christmas, offering 20% off just about everything.

Rival high street retailer Debenhams also has a sale on at the moment, offering 25% discounts, so how are these offers communicated to customers and handled online? 


Q&A: Richard Weaver of Majestic Wines

Majestic Wines has been in the news this week,with the slowing economy hitting the company's pre tax profits.

Despite the drop in offline sales, Majestic continues to grow online, with an impressive 11.5% year on year increase in website orders compared with last year.

I have been talking to Majestic Wines' e-commerce manager Richard Weaver about the company's approach to selling wine online...

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Tips for reserve and collect services

Plenty of shoppers are researching online and buying offline, so the 'reserve and collect' services offered by multichannel retailers are a great tool.

When done well, they can help customers check whether items are in stock before they actually go and visit a store, as well as providing another option when products are unavailable for delivery.


Fight club: BBC Mobile v ITV Mobile

ITV has been adding more video content to its mobile service recently, as well as promoting it between TV programmes.

With this in mind, I decided to take a look at the site and compare it with the BBC's offering, which was upgraded earlier this year...


Site review: revamp

The Financial Times began rolling out changes to its website earlier this week, with a new look and very pink homepage being the first major update.  

 Redesigned homepage

This is the first stage of an ongoing redesign process and so far it looks like a big improvement. I've taken a closer look at the changes...


Q&A: mydeco CEO David Kelly on e-commerce

Launched in beta earlier this year by a team of 20+, mydeco is an affiliate-cum-online media property focused on selling interior design products and hosting a community for home furnishing shoppers.

We caught up with CEO David Kelly to talk about the site’s planned launch of widgets, its focus on driving conversions through 3D room-planning software, and the way it has gone about building its design and development team.