A shopping experience ahead of the rest

A shopping experience ahead of the rest

Shopping online can be daunting and frustrating, from un-useable checkout processes to boring visuals, most online shopping experiences are subpar. Personally, I now do 80% of my shopping online. I prefer it to in-store shopping because it is easy, low pressure and fast, saving me time to do other things. However, my online shopping experiences have not all been completely positive, some ending in frustration, abandonment of my purchase, and occasionally distrust.

When it comes to online shopping, I tend to use the same three or four sites for a range of merchandise (everything from pet food to unique clothing). My favourite online store is hands-down Modcloth. It was here that I made my first online purchase – a fuchsia coloured frock – and I’ve been hooked ever since. This is a website that really locks you into its brand story through eye-catching visuals, and clear messaging about their humble beginnings and dream of fashion for all shapes and sizes. This website has a real visual personality that fits their brand. It is designed beautifully and reflects the desires of their users. You find items that aren’t generic pieces you’d see at the mall but pieces that have personality and feel unique to you. Modcloth’s websites design is fun and refreshing with beautiful photography featured on every page paired with a friendly illustration style. The typography on this site is also really lovely – a nice blend of modern, easy-to-read sans serif with a bit of slab serif for a bit of personality.

Modcloth, in my opinion,  has set the stage for what a great e-commerce experience should be. More than just a shopping experience, Modcloth has nailed down what their users want to do on their site, how to keep them engaged, and coming back to explore again and again. I could get lost in the endless pages of beautiful things, or read about someone else’s fashion journey. It’s not just shopping, it’s a community where you can read comments from other shoppers, leave your own comments, explore fashion blogs, create wish lists, vote on new items, and refine shopping suggestions based of user feedback and filtering.

Another unique aspect is that Modcloth actively listens to its customers and changes its merchandise to better fit the shoppers based on buyer reviews, (whether their merchandise is too short or too long), eventually Modcloth adjusts or redesigns their merchandise based on buyer reviews. This type of conversation creates trust with their customers, allowing them to feel comfortable buying clothing online without ever touching or trying on the items. Real feedback from real people! You feel connected and confident buying clothing online knowing real people with real bodies bought and loved the items you want. It’s like Modcloth has no fear! They know their merchandise is great and their buyers know this too.

Sometimes I get the warm and fuzzies when I hear something about Modcloth’s mission to change and empower women’s fashion. They’ve recently pledged to stop photoshopping their models, understanding that their consumers want to be able to imagine themselves in their clothing. We do not all look the same so why shouldn’t the models look like everyday people? They also have a large selection of plus size items, something a lot of major brands just don’t do. Modcloth tries to help each individual find the perfect fit for their body and offers live online support so online shoppers can ask for advice and help.

Modcloth has created something special for their users – a place to share and feel comfortable being their own unique self. The work within a digital world, creating a new type of shopping experience for those of us who are tired of the same old box stores we’ve been visiting for years. Making discovering their merchandise fun and discoverable while keeping in mind that sometimes you just want to buy something quickly. Modcloth sets a great example not only for other e-commerce retailers but for the fashion industry as a whole – mix of great web experience + great body image/positive messaging.

Jessica Murray is a Visual Designer at Akendi, a firm dedicated to creating intentional experiences through end-to-end experience design. To learn more about Akendi or user experience design, visit www.akendi.com.

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