Comparing Oprah’s Store to

A journalist recently asked about Oprah’s store compared to

For the most part, provides a beautiful ecommerce experience.  The front page has a large billboard advertising “no phone zone” – as opposed to products – which seems a bit odd.  Oprah fans might not mind, though, as the brand is strongly associated with causes.

I wonder who came up with the “May we suggest” suggestions. I was looking at a men’s’ shirt.  The top suggestion?  A coffee mug!  And then, once I was on the coffee mug pages, it was more coffee mugs.  What I miss here is a sense of the personal… Hey, if you want to know about some of the nicest items to buy, come along this way and I’ll show you some.  The feeling I get instead is that of an ecommerce system.  The frontier of great ecommerce is to create sites that feel more personal with all the benefits of the web.

The inventory control is atrocious.  At one point, I added one shirt to my shopping back, only to get a warning message:

  “We apologize, we do not have enough inventory on hand…”(etc)

But I only wanted one!  If you don’t have it for sale, then it should show on the page.  Period.

Once I’m in the shopping cart, I clicked on “continue shopping” and I got a big warning:

 “Do you only want to view the webpage content that was delivered securely?”

This often happens on sites where a user goes from a secure page to a non-secure page… but I would hope that this would have been resolved on a site of this caliber.

The actual checkout system is downright smooth.   The on-page screens are snappy, and a delight to fill in (as much as any form can be!).

This site is certainly not as elegantly designed as the Oprah site – in fact, it’s a bit cluttered.  Some might argue that this is in line with the demographic. I would argue that good usability is good usability. Why have 12 items on the top navigation?  I would break out some of the items, and possibly place them on a “outer nav” – for instance, a dark bar that is above all of the content.

The site tells me that I will get free shipping on orders over $69, and to use a certain code at checkout.  WHY?  This is a computerized system… it can’t put the code in for me automatically?  Or is this a website version of “put the yes sticker on the circle to order this magazine” (an old marketing trick that suggests that customers DOING something will lead them to action).  I don’t buy it – it just clutters up the page.

The one thing that this site does, that the Oprah folks could learn from, is that if a size isn’t available, it’s grayed-out.  Also, the mouse-over on the images, showing a magnified image is pretty much de rigueur these days.

The checkout process seems to be designed by the same people who made the Oprah site, and is comprised of AJAX forms.


One Response to “Comparing Oprah’s Store to”

  1. Gilbert on March 12th, 2014 8:21 am