Website Review of Roots.com by The Experts at FastPivot
We were delighted last fall to be asked by the editorial staff of Internet Retailer to critique web sites for the Internet Retailer 2014 Website Design Guide.
The editors wanted to know what we thought of almost 20 websites and mobile sites. When you’ve got a team of ecommerce experts, as we do at FastPivot, what “we thought” often exceeded what they could fit into 250 and 200-character text blocks. A lot of the feedback didn’t make it into the final version so we thought we’d elaborate and give you a long-form version.
Today, we’re turning our website review lens on the Roots.com homepage. Here are some of the things that stood out – good and bad – in our eyes. “We” means it was a collective impression of something, while “I” means someone got up a chair and said “This I believe.”
We’ve always liked Roots’ very visual (almost magazine-like) approach to connecting with shoppers, as well as their use of understated menus. I am certain users are drawn to and into the ‘lookbooks” by the beautiful faces and scenes that many smaller generic online retailers ignore
Roots effectively deals wit.h international customers using drop-in/modal/floaters. If a visitor lands on a country site that isn’t correct, they are invited to select the right one. Flag icons serve as localization choices.
It took me two clicks to make the home page clean enough to see the page. Hurdle #1 was a country selection popup. Some kind of Paypal option then slid out from the side and covered part of the banner until I closed it. It returned when I returned to the home page. Definitely not a fan of either option.
While some conversion ‘experts’ detest slider banners in any form, I find the Roots sliders to be engaging (especially the animated one). They actually have a ‘call to action’ to invite a deeper click. Our philosophy at FastPivot is that the use of slider banners isn’t necessarily a liability. However, poorly designed slider banners are certainly detrimental. There are lots of sliders with poor appeal and minimal or confusing clickthrus.
The double (dualling?) slideshows compete with one another and slow page-load time. The “Email Signup” option in the top nav seems to be an anachronism. I can’t recall the last time I saw such a nicely designed retailing experience offer such a bland and tasteless offer to subscribe to an email list.
The large-sized menus are hard to use on desktops, and even harder to use on tablets. Note to all online retailers: Test your site design ideas on mobile, please. Mobile commerce is quickly rising as a percentage of total ecommerce revenue. Ensuring your site is easy to use on small screens is a must-have.
The Last Word
FastPivot CEO Matt Ledford remembers doing a critique of the Roots.com store at an InternetRetailer site reviews session. One of the things he recalls criticizing then was the difficulty in finding a phone number. Matt reports that “I am gratified to find it in the footer, subtle enough to not generate too many calls but sufficiently visible to satisfy those searching for it.”
That’s it. Matt is happy that Roots took his advice. Next website review coming later this week.