ASOS case study: sometimes, an unusual approach is the one users find easiest
To illustrate this point, we’ll use those 3 special words the lucky among us have heard before – Free. Delivery. Worldwide. (Why would you think we’d say, “I love you”?)
Here they are on 3 popular eCommerce websites:
“Free delivery worldwide” isn’t a phrase you’d immediately expect to bring users heartache – on the contrary, it sounds like a unique selling point.
But as one of the above websites discovered, it was a silent killer.
ASOS improved international website
ASOS is an online fashion retailer – in case any of you are astronauts and have been chilling on Pluto for a few decades.
Being a mega-retailer, ASOS has customers all over the globe. It has international versions of its website and one way it gets a leg up on competitors is by offering free delivery worldwide.
ASOS ran UX tests with WhatUsersDo to see how well its international websites stacked up against the UK version.
Familiar but unintuitive vs. unfamiliar but intuitive
In the process of UX testing, ASOS uncovered issues on the UK site too. In particular, the fact that many users had issues with the meaning of “free delivery worldwide”.
This lady, whose first language doesn’t appear to be English, first says she thinks “free delivery worldwide” means she won’t have to pay anything to get her stuff:
Then when she clicks on the link, she concludes, “It’s not free delivery then?”
There she is again, at checkout, having trouble with the whole “free delivery worldwide” process:
Certain caveats applied to “free delivery worldwide ” in the context of ASOS’ business model.
This became a problem because the part of ASOS’ old homepage that said “Free delivery worldwide” said nothing else. At a glance, it looked like all it was supposed to do was tell you that ASOS would deliver anywhere in the world for free.
There was no asterisk to suggest certain terms applied. There was no call to action that said “Find out more”. People could just look at it and draw a flawed conclusion – which is what many did.
How did ASOS solve this problem?
Since the folks at ASOS tested with WhatUsersDo, they’ve added an asterisk after “free delivery worldwide” and a CTA that says “More info here”. You’ll notice these in the screenshots but not in the videos of users testing their old site.
Even if ASOS can’t convey all the details underlying the offer on the homepage, it can (at a glance) convey that you need to find out more information. That this offer might not mean what you think it does.
They’ve also made it so that when users click through, they go straight to a huge table with all the countries and their delivery options listed. This replaced the pretty, blue panels that you see in the UX testing videos.
This table isn’t the kind of thing you see on many eCommerce sites (unfamiliar) – not even the ones with a similar offer. But it lets users easily find the information they need (intuitive). People are used to tables – they can figure out how one works, at a glance.
What were the results of user experience testing?
We can’t put numbers to the improvements on asos.com (for confidentiality reasons), but this quote from the international manager should give you an idea of the results achieved:
“Overall, I think we were very happy with the testing and the insight we’ve achieved as a result of it. And obviously, the UK team were impressed enough to run their latest tests through you too!”
And who would’ve guessed that a unique selling point on the homepage could be something that confused users and sabotaged conversions down the road?
Guessing shouldn’t come into it – that’s why user experience testing exists.