UrbanGirl.com Office Supply E-Commerce Review

E-Commerce Review

  Urban Girl Office Supply Logo.

Urban Girl Office Supply Logo.

Note about review   ---  This review is the sole opinion of an E-Commerce geek who’s been in the business since 1998.  The author is not affiliated with nor conducts business with the shops reviewed here.  If this review is exposed to the elements or your boss, then you risk bodily harm and or physical injury due to your manager breaking your bones with excitement after your conversion rate increases 3X or new visitors grow by 100%.  Please take this review seriously and do not attempt recreating the recommendations listed in this review unless you are a professional or have professional guidance.

E-Commerce Website Review For

Domain Name

www.UrbanGirl.com

Domain Age

According to Archive.org, UrbanGirl.com has been around for 15 years.  However, it did not include any real content until July 18, 2013.

  Archive.org listing for UrbanGirl.com.

Archive.org listing for UrbanGirl.com.

Number of pages in Google Index

118,000.

Navigation

The navigation is striking.  It’s much different than I normally see.  Top-level navigation is like a combination faceted/filter + navigation element all wrapped into one.  Notice the shop by color feature below.  Below shop by color is shop by situation, which is also a unique approach to navigation.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 2.07.36 PM.png

Hovering over each main navigation element produces another selection of sub-categories which are also nicely organized.  

Clicking on the “Office Fashion” category returns a landing page filled with categories, that I can only assume, include products that are selling well.  Below, I can find the product grid of all “Office Fashion”  products sorted by default.  What does that mean?  Selecting the options shows what it’s not, however.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 2.12.07 PM.png

There’s a common theme with the landing pages.  As I dig deeper into the site categories and click on “Workspace Decor,” I’m shown a consistent-looking page with sub-categories at the top and a products grid with products sorted by default - again.

The product grid includes a unique grid-tile.  See for yourself.

Each grid-tile includes a border to delineate the content.  Normal layout, but the “Urban Girl Product Tile” includes a quick add-to-the-cart function that appears in the form of a branded Urban Girl Shopping Bag.  The shopping bag is the same one included at the top of the page for the shopping cart.  Great way to draw the eye back to the cart with a simple design metaphor.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 2.35.11 PM.png

Hover over the shopping bag and get a visual cue there is more.  The plus cue insinuates add +1 of this item to the cart from my perspective.  Well done.

Also, take note of the textured background.  Between the header and the products grid is more textured background design.

I’m beginning to think this is a site developed by women for women.  Oh wait, lookie there at the top of the page.

I found the “Urban Loft” desk collection and love the unique format and usability displayed here. I can easily add items to the cart or view details about each one.  See image below.

Product pages

Here’s a screenshot for the “ready to buy” section of the product page.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 2.46.53 PM.png

Great title, price, availability, photo, enlarged photo, reviews, social sharing, plus many other features screams normal product page.  What scares the crap out of me is the image/clip art lady holding a bag.  That offers the user no value other than to remind them of what they could look like.  I am curious to know if this is the output of an A/B test.  She’s got to be there for a reason.  Below the ready to buy section of the site is a section for customers who bought this also bought these items.  And another section at the very bottom includes items recently flirted with.  I’m not sure if this is real or just to be cute.  Here’s an example product flirtation.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 2.53.10 PM.png

Checkout

I’ve added two items to my cart and now I’m ready to checkout.  I can do so two ways.  First way is to click on the cart.  Second way is to skip the cart and go directly to checkout page. Nice that both options are available.  

Looking at the cart, I just happen to select two products from the same category.  If you look closely, you can see the product images are not consistent.  Not sure if this is on purpose or by accident.  I prefer painstaking consistency in E-Commerce photos.  It hurts my eyes when similar products are not displayed consistently when I’m shopping.  However, looking at them in the cart, hurts less, but still hurts.

At the top of the page, in big bold letters, Shopping Bag is listed.  Below the cart items, there’s an image of a disk with the words SaveCart all bunched together.  One line below, and in the center, is a button labeled “Update Bag.”  Is it a cart or a bag?  I think bag.

PayPal is offered on the cart - great choice.  Looking at the checkout section, I see the dreaded promo code box.  Everytime I read about promo codes, the pattern is the same.  The customer leaves the site and Google’s “company name” promo codes.  Eight times out of ten, people get sidetracked and do not come back to complete their order.  I would create URL-based promo codes, like if someone goes to http://www.urbangirl.com/promocodes/10%-off which enables 10% off the entire order, then the promo code text box becomes the promo code display area. This way enables promos and reduces abandonment at the same time.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 2.58.50 PM.png

UrbanGirl.com offers a one-page checkout and passive account creation.  Well-done Urban Girl! In addition, next to each user-input section includes support text.  Next to the email address includes this text - Please enter an email address that you check regularly so that we can send you order-related communications, including shipment notifications and tracking numbers. We are committed to your privacy and never sell or share customer email addresses with outside companies or organizations.  This level of reassurance is rarely seen and often under appreciated.  If I were to guess, the Urban Girl checkout page has a lower-than-average exit/abandonment rate.

There was only one shipping option available, however.  Would have liked to order my products next day air but did not have the option.

Social

Facebook account is active and healthy.

Pinterest account is setup and included some collections.

Very active Twitter account showed they are promoting their business, but are also social activists for business equality.  Can’t we all get behind this!

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 3.15.02 PM.png
Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 3.16.35 PM.png

Customer Service

Contact details are buried in the footer.  I generalize when I see this.  I think Urban Girl is afraid of phone calls or has not embraced some good phone technology.  The contact page has a simple form, and the phone number is just part of the paragraph on how to contact Urban Girl. Why not put that phone number in the header of every page?

Under The Hood

Page Speed

Desktop

Mobile

SEO

Shop-by categories are images and need to be a dynamic product grid.  As badass as Google is, they still cannot read the text on the image and make any sense of what it is.  Why not spoon-feed Google instead?

Built With

Want to learn about what UrbanGirl.com is running on their site?  Check out their BuiltWith details.  Checking the advanced details at BuiltWith shows they’ve added some new functionality this year.  Telerik Controls, ASP.NET 4.0, Convert Global, BV Commerce, LogicBlock 7Cart, and Papaya CMS appeared to be added in 2014.  This is a positive sign and shows they are working on the site trying to improve the experience for customers.

Recommendations

  1. Install Google Trusted Stores and save money over paying Trust Pilot - Get the same “Trust Pilot” reviews for free with GTS.
  2. Update your landing pages with real html content - ditch the image maps.
  3. URL-Based promo codes - ditch the promo box.
  4. Checkout RingCentral.com for your phone needs and supercharge your customer service.
  5. Look at adding structured data to your product page and entire site.

E-Commerce Ideas Provided By UrbanGirl.com For All To Steal

  • Perspective - Women business owners and shoppers think differently.
  • Design - Women are visual but the basic checkout cues are still required.
  • Layout - Active category pages are usable and cool.  Try them on your site.

 

Killer Pinterest-Style Product Image Pages for eCommerce Sites.


People are visual searchers.  Through trial and error that has been discovered.  As a result,  Pinterest rose.

According to data collected from multiple websites, product images are still one of the most important aspects in selling products online.  In fact, having the most beautiful images that clearly represent the product are what's really necessary.  If you sell apparel and offer multiple colors, then your product images should reflect your color options, etc, etc.  

Knowing that people are visual searchers and images are still a big part of conversion,  leads me a new direction in eCommerce product page design: Pinterest-style product pages.

On JustBats, there's a defined zone for photos, but what happens when there are more photos for that responsive space?  Here are two views of the responsive page.  Notice the screenshot on the right?  It includes an extra black box with yellow arrow pointing down.

Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 9.13.44 AM.png

Three-column width image viewer

Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 9.19.00 AM.png

Two-column width image view with overflow present

To have the complete picture in your head, let me explain how JustBats collect photos.  JustBats has photographers on staff who take photos of all the products when they come in, then there are contests that JustBats run year-round which allows procurement of  user-generated photos from customers, and finally, JustBats obtains photos from our vendors.  All of these photos are measure independently and in aggregate.  Seeing the multiple ways JustBats collects photos should shed some light on how this problem could ever become a reality in the first place.

I don't remember who was first, but once one did it, they all started, then came Pinterest.  What am I talking about?  The endless-scrolling search engine image search user-interface.  Search for Mickey Mouse in images on Google or Bing and you'll get an insanely visually experience where, you, as the user, can choose from a multitude of Mickey Mouse result images in all shapes, sizes, and colors.  Did Pinterest come before the new image search capability in Bing and Google?  I'm not sure who copied who here.  Anyway, the point is that Pinterest is here now and one of the most fastest growing websites on the Internet right now.  It's visual nature makes search intuitive, and with infinite scrolling, Pinterest makes it easy to slam content at it's users.  I will not go into the fact that most of the content on Pinterest in copyright-infringed, but that just proves the interface works so much so that Pinterest is willing to take a reactive stance to copyright infringement.

So when will this trend hit eCommerce?  Could it take a long time?  

I think so.  I say that because most eCommerce shops do not have multiple images for the product they sell.  There are a few exceptions.  One that comes to mind is NewEgg.  They have included a popup page "image viewer" for years.  The only problem is that the thumbnails are too small.  That's the main problem the Pinterest-interface solved.  Here’s the NewEgg product page for a lenovo laptop.

Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 9.07.22 AM.png

Now, by clicking on the three ellipses, a shadow-box is visible which includes the same visual metaphor that was on the product page.  

Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 9.07.46 AM.png

The same image is presented, and the other thumbnails are small just like when I was on the product page.  Only difference is that all the thumbnails are present and the interface allows for some overflow.  But what about showing all the images of equal or proportal value, then when I hover or click, increase the size.

People, the modern day eCommerce image viewers are dead and worthless.  How many times have you hovered over an image on an eCommerce site and it zoomed, but the before and after zoom level ended up being the same.  I feel jipped when this happens.  How about you?

There is seo value for separating your content, as well.  The way NewEgg does it puts all their eggs in one product page.  See the classic eCommerce url as well - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834310637&cm_sp=DailyDeal-_-34-310-637-_-Homepage.  Homepage / Product / Id.  Consider this url Homepage / images / Product Name which includes all the images plus a “ready to buy” section.

Could this be done for more than just images?  Sure!  A number of years ago JustBats created separate video, Q & A, and reviews pages.  The results have been great.  The key is to minimize duplicate content.

On the JustBats product page, the number of reviews and questions and answers are limited.  For example, customers seeking the entire list of reviews for an individual product are provided a link.  See screen shot below.

Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 10.33.05 AM.png

See the link above labeled, see all 74 reviews about the 2013 product.
The page url changes from Homepage / Product / Product Name to Homepage / Reviews / Product Name.  Therefore, the SEO benefit come when a customer is searching in Google or Bing for the product name or reviews of the product name, JustBats has two links present.  SEO gold.

My idea of a image product page is below.

Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 9.47.41 AM.png

So now that Pinterest has spoiled everyone, how long will it take for you to update your eCommerce website with this new user-interface?

JustBallGloves.com Mobile Site Is Now Available

It's almost time to buy a new Baseball Glove.  Upon your next visit to JustBallGloves.com with any mobile device, you will save hours of time NOT pinching and zooming with our new, custom-designed interface.  Buying baseball gloves with a mobile device has never been easier.

Here's the a few screen shots from the new JustBallGloves Mobile Site.

Home Page

Shopping Cart

Awesome Filtering

Product Details Page


And when it's all said and done, and you are ready to checkout, the page is setup to perform the transaction with the least amount of effort.   It's a one-page checkout where the information is presented in a simple straight-forward fashion that we've seen increase conversion.

 
Let me know if you have any comments, questions, or concerns about the new mobile website.