EDGE Sporting - e-commerce
Edge Sporting Goods (ESG) is a sports shop based in Liverpool street, London, since 1998. They are proud of being part of their local community with customers ranging from local residents to businesses. With this in mind the business model is based on being customer-centric, with reasonable pricing and keeping it local.
Create an e-commence website to help ESG expand their services while they maintain their small shop appeal. Customer service is key their business success. At all times the e-commerce website needs to accommodate the ethos and priority of in-house warmth, expertise and customer service.
A number of people at all levels in sport were interviewed. They told us that they used search engines to read user reviews and compare products and experiences that people have had with their training equipment.
The interviewees prefer to visit stores to test and receive professional advice from skilled and knowledgable staff, but ultimately prefer to buy online where they can find it cheaper.
Visiting three local, specialised sports stores, Runners need, Whatever it takes, and The brokedown palace, helped us to understand the following:
Their model of customer engagement focused on building a local community, which generates organic growth. Each store has its own audience/market but overall the small-medium businesses focus on providing the best possible customer experience and expert advice in-store.
We also learned that customers who typically shop at big-box stores aren’t as interested in the customer experience, and that Big-box stores usually don’t engage the face to face approach, and attract big crowds, which mean long lines.
To prepare our competitor and feature analysis, we identified 5 relevant competitors. For each, we looked at their website and visited some of their local stores to understand their in-house experience and what differentiates them.
Flagship stores are terrific marketing vehicles, all the sites have similar e-commerce set-ups with a very large database of items and a overwhelming mass approach. Their registration features and payment methods are almost identical, forcing customers to sign-up or login to make purchases.
For each, the primary navigation structure is tailored to a specific market and some don’t make their contact details obvious and visible. We found that most used large images to showcase their work, but few use chatbots or have honest reviews by named staff.
A reasonable number of challenges were seen in the market place, from which ESG has the opportunity to learn when building it’s e-commerce environment — the combination of high quality products and good customer experience is the most important of them.
Based on the results of our interviews of in-store staff we created 3 customer personas to help us identify the key features based on the types of people who would use the website — a Junior Landscape Architect, a yoga entrepreneur, and a Senior Construction Manager.
In addition to our personas we interviewed a textiles designer, a specialised sport shop trainer and management consultant to compliment our personas’ personalities, and help us identify additional customer pain points. What we found is that people like to visit shop only if they know they can receive expert product advice and have flexible delivery or collection of items bought online.
To build on the information collected from interviews, and develop the Information Architecture (IA) of ESG’s e-commerce website, we conducted card sorting exercises and usability tests. The IA determines how information is displayed and accessed across a website. We provided a list of products that our client sells and asked potential users to build categories that made sense to them.
Ideation & Prototyping
We learned that sport enthusiasts like to categorise items based on gender and casual sport users by activity/sport group. From this, we created our first SiteMap, illustrating the hierarchy of content across the website.
With the paper prototype in place, we conducted a number of Design Studio exercises, to unlock and bring to the table more ideas on creative solutions.
One of many things we refined was the checkout page (Express checkout), which you can see in the digital wireframes below.
To evaluating our design we performed multiple user tests throughout the development. We iteratively applied the findings and asked different users to retest the updated wireframes.
During the tests we discovered that users found the checkout process complicated and the font style and size across the site difficult to read.We also discovered that breadcrumbs were missing from the entire structure.