The Times Raconteur supplement wrote another forward thinking issue on the future of retail and approach me to contribute from a user experience perspective.
The focus was on how the leaders in the field opt for a simplified UX in order to build customer confidence and in turn increase profits and stickiness. I recommended they focus on ASOS as an a example of a large scale retailer doing things right – a surprisingly rare thing.
ASOS’s active customer base in the UK broke the five million barrier in early-2017, up by almost 30 per cent year on year, with no sign of slowing down. “By focusing on making search really easy to use, making product discovery easy and heavily investing in a strong mobile UX [user experience] strategy, ASOS have been able to grow to the juggernaut of fashion retail they are today,” says Jon Darke, UX director at Every Interaction.
To expand on the quote I provided; it’s rare to find innovation in UX for online retail as to operate at scale you need to rely on a 3rd party platform. Often investment in a new store is expected to be a smaller investment because these options exist. You can build your own solution but the outlay would be comparatively enormous and you would need a very good reason to take this path.
It’s not that the platform providers aren’t good, but that try to target a wide range of customers to maximise their market fit. As such the experience is limited to those features and the way they have been implemented.
There is plenty of innovation in e-commerce, but the majority is happening at the really small end of the spectrum where a bespoke solution that allows for experimentation is more viable. ASOS are an exception to the rule and really invest their customers user experience, and judging by their success, it’s paying off.