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Martin Newman Chief executive of ecommerce consultancy Practicology

The Paul Smith website is more ‘on brand’ than it has previously been in terms of the imagery on the site. However, like many retail sites, there’s a significant disconnect between the rich content that it could do so much with and the bland, uninspiring transactional experience.

There are also many usability issues and conversion blockers on the transactional site. One key challenge, for example, is around site search.

I started by searching for jeans and I got a scrolling list of sub-brands and styles of jeans, but what I didn’t get was the traditional filtering and sorting capability as seen on most ecommerce sites. In other words, the option to narrow my choice down by gender, size, colour, style, price and so on, wasn’t available.

When I searched for denim, instead of jeans I got a completely different selection of products back. It also told me that there were only 29 products available in the men’s jeans collection, yet when I searched under ‘jeans’ there were 150 styles available.

This is a good example of the lack of correlation between the online and bricks-and-mortar shopping experiences. In the store you would expect the staff to help narrow down your choice of product.

Don’t get me wrong - I love the product and the brand. But it’s a little surprising how little thought appears to have been given to the customer experience.

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