Monica & Joe, the eponymous online boutique from husband and wife Monica and Joe Wahla, stocks a range of labels from the quirky Peter Jensen, via Sarah Wayne, 2nd Day and Cacharel to the easy-to-wear Day Birger et Mikkelsen.
The distinctive handwriting is a relaxed style that works well in a modern professional environment. Feminine prints with plenty of contemporary neutrals are presented in a confident edit. It is particularly strong in Scandinavian brands. Pricing is in the high end to affordable luxury region.
The overall look and feel of the site is quite restrained with a clean white background, grey font and muted feminine neutral highlights and headers. The imagery is clear and plenty of products can be viewed per page. Some of the photography is inconsistent, but I find that in keeping with such an individual boutique.
The site navigates well and loads quickly. There is some filtering, but this could be used to a fuller effect, in particular by adding a size filter option to the full-price product as has been done in the Sale section. There are, however, filters for product and designer.
Monica & Joe attempts to engage and support the user through a variety of methods: the blog, which includes press cuttings and videos, is warm and open, and of course it has engaged on Facebook and uses Twitter to good effect. Having a good engagement with customers is also a useful marketing communications tool.
I was particularly interested in the live chat option as few transactional websites have this feature. Live chat is a useful tool to not just assist potential customers who may have product queries, but also with real-time usability information direct from the shopper. Companies using live chat can take advantage of this continuous feedback, learn from it and use it as a basis to enhance the site.
At £9 for a delivery, Monica & Joe’s fulfilment could be viewed as expensive compared with the rest of the market, but it is for a next-day service and is free when spending over £150. The site also has worldwide delivery options (free for orders over £175), which will provide data on those international markets worth developing.
The warm and restrained feel across the product range and social engagement lends authenticity and trustworthiness. I feel sure this earns the site good customer retention levels.
- Claire Muir, Business manager at logistics provider Amethyst Group