Sears gets personal, in a useful way

Sears Email weather targeted

Sears (via their social platform, Shop Your Way) sent me this email over the winter, and on a snowy day at that. I couldn’t help but smile. They are obviously using some personalization tech — but rather than use some invasive-feeling detail scraped from a social network (“Saw you checking into a bar at 2AM, last night. Want to buy some coffee?”), they are using my geolocation and the weather report to remind me that I might need snow gear.

I thought it was cool, and I’m sure a few people who got this were like “Oh shoot, I totally need a snowblower.”

Saucony’s Shoe Advisor hits the spot

Saucony Browse 1

Saucony rolled out a new feature they’re calling Shoe Advisor – I’m calling it the perfect way to shop for sneakers. They replaced the useless filters that you tend to see on shoe sites with real use-case driven filtration.

Do you want to race? What do you run on? Boom, Boom, and as you click, the tiles live-rearrange in a way that invites you to keep playing.

Plus, each step has education built in. Maybe you’re not sure if you have high arches or not:

Saucony Browse 2

This could be done for nearly any category. How do people use your site? How are you helping them narrow down the product they want?

Easy cart mouseovers on J.Crew

J Crew Cart Mousover

 

I think one of the most annoying things that can happen during a happy checkout process is when you find something awesome, drop it into your cart, and then when you want to check on it, you have to click into fifteen different forms and screens just to find it.

J.Crew’s new feature takes all the hassle out of a simple confirmation. Hover the mouse over the little shopping bag tab, and it shows you exactly what’s  in there.

BCBG brings trendy relevance and video

BCBGMAXAZRIA SHOP TRENDS browse and video

 

The BCBG Maxazria site does something very few apparel sites seem to be doing ==> help you find just what you’re looking for. While most sites only let you pick a category like tops or pants, the “Shop Trends” menu item opens up to let you shop by Lace, Floral Paint and more. The results pull up everything within that trend – whether its a dress, a belt, or a pair of shoes.

If a healthy dose of helpful relevance wasn’t enough, they also have fun videos in most of the category headers. Very much a best practice.

Abercrombie’s live color badging

Browse color badging Abercrombie.com

 

When you’re shopping in a category that is already fairly well understood, what’s most important? Nailing the details.

Abercrombie & Fitch’s browsing experience has a pretty expert implementation of color badges and live previews. Its enough to make an item like the polo shirt in the example come to life in the variety and boldness of the (often refreshed) hues and details that they have. The shopper can check out the different color combinations before even clicking into the product detail page, and perhaps just as important, explore the offering of everything in the category before committing further.

Shoppable showcases on HSN

HSN Shoppable Stories

 

Its a fairly well-adopted best practice these days to put some kind of anchoring content at the top of a high-level category or even sub-category page. This is often a story or showcase image, occasionally its video.

It’s annoying, however, when you see something cool or inspirational in a showcase that you then need to go hunting through the site for. Was that great weekender bag this season or not? leather or canvas? How the hell am I supposed to find it?

The team at HSN does a really good job of making their showcase shoppable. There’s enough whitespace so you can be sure of what you’re clicking on, and helpful tooltips that keep you encouraged.

Super smart search on Sears

Sears Smartsearch

 

Some sites have a ton of product, and some don’t. This is much more applicable to sites that have lots of product.

When a shopper is trying to find something, they are going to search for it. Step 1- make sure the search bar is large and well placed. But then, how will they know if what they are finding is actually what they’re searching for?

Sears takes autocomplete to the next level by showing you top search results within the autocomplete box itself. Its surprising at first, but then quickly becomes intuitive and awesome.

Super simple: Pebble skips all the bs

Who said you had to get from a landing page to a browsing experience to a product page before you can buy?

The team at Pebble is onto something. While this won’t work for everybody, these guys do a very clean job of putting their introduction, their selling points and even their FAQ onto a single, well organized page that will also take your money (thank you very much)

Site funnels were soooo web2.0. Just get to the point.

(For those of you nerds who are keeping track, I tagged this as landing page AND as a product page as a bonus)