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M&S sales drop 8.1% due to issues with new website

16 July, 2014

M&S

Marks & Spencer has reported an 8.1% drop in online sales as its revamped website hit problems.

M&S has recently redeveloped the website, but admitted to shareholders last week that its launch had been flawed. The issues with the website relate to customer registration and navigation, and have had a direct hit on Q1 sales for the retailer.

The revamped site was launched in February, with improved search functionality and global navigations and the addition of editorial fashion and lifestyle guidance.

M&S chief executive (and former boss of Morrisons) Marc Bolland blamed the drop on a “settling in period”, adding that the company was now simplifying parts of its website and expects the online arm to be growing again by the retailer’s peak trading period which begins in November.

Around 16% of M&S general merchandise sales are made online through its website.

Neil Saunders, managing director at retail research group Conlumino, said: “While Marks & Spencer was right to invest in its online channel, we believe that the present site is a literal victory of style over practicality.”

The importance of CRO

CRO

This news illustrates just how important it is to consider all aspects of the customer journey when developing a new website.

Your new website may look beautiful – but does it work?

The beta testing period for a website should be thoroughly planned and adequate time allowed for testing when putting together a website development project plan, especially for ecommerce website development.

Thoroughly testing the customer journey – from registration and browsing through to product selection and purchase – is all part of the process of conversion rate optimization process.

Conversion rate optimisation (or CRO) considers all aspects of the customer or website visitors experience that may affect your conversion rate.

Effective ecommerce website design is not completed in the IT department. It requires input and feedback from your customers. You can gather a lot of information about your customers’ online behaviour and buying patterns from sales data and Google Analytics. But all changes to websites should be thoroughly tested (try to break it!) before being rolled out.

If you’d like advice on conversion rate optimisation for your website or ecommerce website development project, please give me a call on 01133 20 21 21.

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