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M&S: Brighter, bolder, better?

After much anticipation and speculation Marks & Spencer has relaunched its website. Drapers’ Keely Stocker gives her verdict. homepage homepage

When first visiting the homepage of the new M&S site, I thought the retailer had decided to take a radical approach to the relaunch (think back to the Whistles flash site in 2009) and not include a top line navigation. However, after further investigation (and a few seconds) the navigation faded into the top of the page.

The navigation is pretty standard but it is interesting to see that M&S has decided to place ‘Style and Living’ in first position in the top line nav. Style and Living is the editorial section of the site, taking users through to features including Editor’s Pick, Trend Spotlight, Get the Look and In the Moment. The position of this section emphasises the importance M&S is placing on editorial content.

Venture into the Style and Living section and the layout has a magazine feel, opening with the editor’s comment and displaying lots of large images and model shots. I clicked on the David Gandy article (it was the first that came up, honest) which took me through to a detailed editorial feature including images and a video, but also a ‘Steal his Style’ feature directing me to buy product, giving the page a nice balance of engaging content and reason to buy.

The content on the site is promised daily and this is confirmed by each article displaying the date it went up. This is a nice touch to remind users that there will be something new to come back for on the following day. David Gandy style inspiration David Gandy style inspiration

Moving across the top line navigation to ‘Women’ the second tier nav also starts with content rather than shopping features, such as ‘New In’, which includes the editor’s picks and trend spotlights and ‘Latest Looks’, a section that gives suggestions for outfits by occasion. Whilst I like this new focus on editorial and think it works well in the top line navigation, I think by making ‘Clothing’ (i.e, the direct shopping section of the site) third in the navigation could mean users get too distracted by content and spend more time on this than they do spending money on the site. product page product page

Overall, the site looks nice and clean and is user friendly. Product pages have a range of images (which M&S state they are 50% bigger than they were previously) as well as clear colour and size options, all above the fold. Links to delivery and returns information opens a pop-up box so the user can view the range of options available without ever leaving the page, which should go some way in reducing drop-off at this stage. This is also the case with the ‘Quick look’ pop-up allowing users to view details on an individual item without having to click through to the product page.

M&S has clearly looked at ways to accommodate their range of online customers by not only keeping some users on the site by engaging them with content but also to facilitate those who want to come for a quick buy, reducing the number of clicks to checkout if that is what the customer desires.

What do you think of the new M&S site? Let us know your thoughts in the box below.

Readers' comments (3)

  • They've followed Amazon's method of minimising clicks so it's a lot better for speedy purchases. It is now modern and clean.... but not revolutional. Some of the navigation doesn't work well either... Which is really bad for launch.... I've seen some negative posts on Apple's app review already!

    The magazine format will only be as good as the content. The problem a retailer has is keeping their news fresh and, of course, they need great designs and product to back it all up. Unfortunately the customer knows they will be biased, so it will be interesting to see how this format progresses.

    I cannot agree it's a flagship experience. It might have been 2 years ago when they started testing... Not now. (Has it really taken 2 years to bring this to market? Seems so slow).

    One consolation is that the online experience is better than that in store. However my summation is that there is so much more M&S can and should be doing now.

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  • All M&S is really doing is what everybody else is doing online, while their stores continue to look crowded, dated and obsolete.

    While online is an important part of any businesses overall strategy, M&S's priorities are all wrong.

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  • Maybe its the way my brain works but I really struggled to find what I was looking for. I kept on thinking I wasn't getting the full range and so kept going back to the start. Gave up in the end.

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