CTM is the country’s largest specialist tile and bathroom retailer, with over 80 stores throughout South Africa. They playfully claim that every year they buy enough tiles to tile a pathway around the planet, with enough left over to go halfway round again. Their track record of providing massive savings on quality products has earned them their place in the local home renovation and building industry.
While the team at CTM is constantly reworking their brick and mortar retail stores to best showcase their brands and projects, the time had come to consider if their online presence was doing its best to turns clicks into sales. Partnering with their internal development team, the team at FULLYalive set out to research and advise how to best redesign the CTM online e-commerce experience.
Working with a retailer as large as CTM came with its own unique challenges to overcome. The size of their market share necessitated that we design for both young digital natives shopping for their first affordable home upgrade, as well as their older clientele who might not have ever completed a sale online.
Knowing the wide demographic we were designing for, we knew more than ever we had to take a human focus approach to our design. Before pencil touched paper, we tested their website with a diverse focus group to better understand the strengths and weakness of the current experience.
Combining this insight with our own research into the branding, interfaces and online experiences of leading international home improvement retailers, we were able to create a list of both major and incremental improvements that their developers and marketing team could implement to strengthen the CTM online presence.
It can’t be stated enough how vital it is to be involved from the ground up when tackling a project of this complexity. Having an intimate understanding of customer behaviour and access to past analytics allowed us to frame our research and testing in terms of how we can improve online sales conversion rates.
Designing space for seasonal and department based promotions to feel like a native part of the shopping experience allowed the brand’s visuals to take centre stage and inspire users to explore creative directions they might not have previously considered.
A cleaner, more logically structured navigation interface allowed us to address a common issue discovered in focus groups, while the inclusion of a robust, yet intuitive comparison feature provides the closest experience to holding a tile in each hand inside a store.
Crafting simpler and more intuitive experiences can go a long way to avoid customers getting confused and calling help lines to order (trust us, it happens daily), but to truly start converting full carts into empty wallets we needed to think beyond a simple design update.
While shelter is a fundamental human need, the desire to design a room that reflects your personal style goes much deeper. From our testing we understood that while everyone may want that remodel that they can be proud of, many don’t know where to start. Home magazines are filled with lust-worthy designs, but many online shoppers are pragmatic and need to be guided from inspiration to shopping cart.
The FULLYalive team motivated passionately to place greater importance on the quality and styling of the photography that accompanied each and every product. For while it is vitally important for customers to see isolated images of products they are considering, the conversion between browsing and buying comes from the emotional impact of seeing an inspirational image of a product in a real world environment.
Such changes don’t come instantly, but we’re excited about some of the ideas and plans that are on the table behind the scenes, and will be sure to share the results as soon as they make it out into the wilds of the internet.