Website of the Week (Week 101)

Lakeland

Established kitchenware retailer, Lakeland, wins website of the week!

With technology allowing users to seek the wonders of the internet anytime and anywhere, shopping has never been easier or more accessible for those who suffer from ‘busy persons’ syndrome – I for one am guilty of this.

E-commerce websites have become an essential part of the shopping experience for consumers. By removing the barriers of time and distance, while providing information, such as customer reviews, that might not be available in store, sales conversions can be dramatically improved.

Lakeland’s website – www.lakeland.co.uk – includes many user experience must-haves to ensure it’s a lucrative and profitable e-commerce channel.

Here are just a few examples of why I consider this website a solid and successful one…

Clear Purpose to the Landing Page

A hero carousel introduces the user to the website and features Lakeland’s latest offers. This is a great way to immediately engage the consumer, especially if users are browsing rather than having a specific product in mind. Large “call to action” offers sit beside clearly laid out and well photographed products, pulling out a leading colour from the photograph as the background to the copy to ensure the overall aesthetic complements each component.

Immediately below, is a simple yet clear grid structure, arranged over three rows, which represents three different “calls to action”. These are tailored to trending items or items which Lakeland is promoting to the user based seasonal shopping habits – subconsciously planting the question in the consumer’s mind ‘do I have/need one of these?’

Combining these clear CTAs with the additional incentive of discounts increases the chances of a higher click-through rate, which should lead to a higher conversion rate. It can also help boost short-term sales, reward repeat customers and gain new customers.

Easy Navigation

The Lakeland site includes a fixed mega drop-down menu at the top of the page, which is divided into popular categories for easy navigation and then sub-categorised in alphabetical order. This allows quick access to any section from anywhere in the site. It also provides the opportunity to reinforce offers to the user.

The top navigation provides a clear search function for quick product access for those not necessarily browsing, and also cleverly predicts items based on the characters entered in another drop-down menu, which is a thoughtful time-saving feature.

The top nav also displays the basket area with a quick checkout option; a login area for returning customers (providing a personal, speedy purchasing process); and a store locator option for those wanting to see the product in the flesh before purchasing.

Product Overview Pages

The same grid structure from the homepage is used throughout the website, including the product overview page, allowing each item to stand clearly on its own with a relevant photo, title, price and product ratings.

Labels like ‘new item’ or ‘reduced’ are also displayed at this level and are coloured red to grab the consumer’s attention. The same red colour palette is applied to most CTAs so they’re familiar and consistent for the user.

A left-hand-side filter menu enables products to be narrowed down by category, brand, price and offers, enhancing the user experience by helping the consumer find the product they need as quickly and easily as possible. The user also has the option to view products filtered by popularity, name or price, and then select whether they view 36, 72 or 108 items at a time.

With such a large catalogue of products, Lakeland have recognised the need to provide features to narrow down the consumer’s search and avoid potential frustrations that might cause them to click away from the site.

Thoughtful Product Pages

This page is detailed but well organised, leading with the product name, price and photo. Below this sits a selection of other photos to view, giving the potential purchaser the option to see more detailed features, and in some instances, lifestyle shots and short demonstration videos.

These help form a connection with the user, and can assist in selling the product by showing it in action, highlighting the product’s key selling features and the results it can achieve. Studies have shown that product videos can increase sales by 20–40% and reduce the number of returns.

A key feature list appears in a tab menu should the user choose not to view the video, or where a video is not warranted, providing a quick overview of the benefits. A more detailed description is also available if the user wants in-depth information. By layering the information in this way, Lakeland caters for a wider demographic, and consequently, has a greater chance of converting a sale.

Reviews are valuable on product pages as they provide additional substance to aid the buying decision. They’re particularly effective when key pull-quotes are used to headline the review. What I like about Lakeland’s review section is that it includes the more average scoring and comments, which makes the ‘outstanding’ reviews more credible.

Customer Focus

I also love how they’ve taken the time to reply to individual customers to try to resolve any issues they may have had. As a potential buyer, I would feel confident that if I had a problem with my item, Lakeland would repay the trust I’ve placed in their brand when I made the initial order.

Adjacent to the review tab sits the delivery and return information. Lakeland have thankfully taken the pain out of returning items, which provides further reassurance to customers when they decide to purchase something for themselves or as a gift.

Lakeland have had the foresight to recognise that not all of their stores are within easy reach of their customers, so to alleviate this problem, they provide free postage returns. Whilst this may impact slightly on their profit margin, their long-term objective to retain customers is noticeable and notable.

Finally, towards the footer of the page is a dedicated area for related products and trending products purchased by other customers. By tracking product impressions and clicks, this feature can upsell other items based on historical purchasing behaviour, thus increasing the value of a sale.

At the Checkout

Another positive for me is the ability to make a purchase without having to sign up. Asking customers to register for an account before they can enter the checkout process can create a barrier to purchase. I personally find it frustrating when I’m prompted to do this.

Offering a guest checkout seems like a win/win option as returning customers have the option to sign up for an account during the checkout process should they choose.

Social Presence

My final positive observation about Lakeland’s website is their social media presence. Whilst this is somewhat indirectly related to the functionality of the website, the wide array of social media platforms and content helps drive traffic to the place where sales are made.

With the right marketing, social media platforms have shown that they can act as the new ‘high street shop’, where retailers can use their social profiles as their storefront, displaying products and offers and communicating with their target audience.

Better still, brands can listen to what their customers and potential customers are saying and respond in real time. This collation of data helps to build and optimise marketing campaigns, which communicate directly to their target demographic and build a sense of community around the brand.

#MyLakelandBake

Lakeland have used this to their advantage, and with “The Great British Bake Off” currently taking centre stage, their social media platforms have acted as the perfect opportunity to promote baking products, while encouraging customers to showcase their showstoppers!

Lakeland also post recipes relevant to the featured weekly topic on “Bake Off” and offer prizes for the best entrants shared on their social channels. This encourages shoppers to visit the Lakeland blog to see what they’ll need for the recipe, and subsequently, increases the chances of those items being purchased from the main site – great exposure and savvy marketing.

If the tasty content on their website and social channels is anything to go by, Lakeland’s recipe for success has the right ingredients to continue to rise!