Choosing to shop from the comfort of your home can be as stressful as going to the high street. Just why are so many online retailers still getting it wrong?
It should be easy
Picture the comfort of a living room, a glass of gin and tonic on the side table and the prospect of a couple of hours buying presents for friends and family on the internet. It should be so easy shouldn't it? Sadly experiences to date have proved otherwise.
Spoiling the Christmas cheer
Trying to buy some shampoo from the Jo Malone website proved a near impossibility resulting in the whole thing being abandoned. Try buying anything in Firefox on the site and you will note that the layout of key pages is broken making it impossible to fill out information or purchase products.
An unusable site in Firefox
Try registering on the site. I'm using Firefox 2, a browser now used by around 28% of users on the web according to the W3C browser stats. The site is unusable as you cannot enter anything into the Verify Password section as it overflows into the footer. Furthermore the Continue button is viewable but not clickable.
A major issue for online business
With Christmas being a key period for many online retailers this results in two things. Firstly it results in irritated customers who are unlikely to return or will take their business elsewhere. Secondly it results in lost income. Imagine for example if shoppers could not get into a shop or make a purchase on Oxford Street in London? It would be front page news. For the Jo Malone site they are reducing the potential number of customers by 30%.
Why does this happen?
Other than technically, I don't know why this has occurred on the Jo Malone site but in my experience there are generally two issues. Firstly on the client side there is often a very poor level of expertise. Even staff with Online in their job title have little or no experience of the web. Secondly and more worryingly internal or agency staff do not understand the medium they are working in. Cross browser testing is a minimum requirement. The fact that it hasn't occured on the Jo Malone site is an indication that something has gone horribly wrong and that their market has just shrunk by 30%.
I'm sure that I won't be the only one to have a bad online experience this Christmas. I've already taken my business elsewhere.