CUSTOMERS BUYING ELECTRICAL products, whether it’s the larger white goods that are so necessary in the kitchen and scullery or more discretionary home entertainment items, are often on a mission of utility. Whether it’s a washing machine, an oven, a television or a home computer, these are items that consumers would consider generally essential. These are products that are bought less often than other types of consumer goods – both because they are relatively expensive and because they can last a long time. Electricals shoppers are on a mission to choose well and for the best price. The merchandising opportunity – and challenge – for retailers such as Currys is to inform without confusing, ensuring that they stand out ahead of the competition.
IRUK Top500 research shows that the Currys [IRDX RCUR] website uses both navigation and search to enable shoppers to find products efficiently. For those shoppers who already know which items they want, the site’s search function is particularly useful. It scored top marks in InternetRetailing analysis for product relevance: searches can be made either on the product name or the item number.
For those shoppers who take a browsing approach to looking for the items they want to buy, the research found a navigational approach that helps visitors to travel through the site by filtering by brand, customer rating, and delivery options. Depending on the product, products could be filtered by colour, by kit variation and a range of other options.
Visitors looking for a washing machine, for example, can – at the time of writing – filter the range by price, brand, delivery options, customer ratings, type (freestanding or integrated) and no fewer than 14 other filters, including washing noise level, colour, capacity, and energy rating. From the product listing page, shoppers can see at a glance how other customers have rated the product, whether it’s discounted, and an image of the machine. On the product page itself, shoppers can see more images, video, reviews and a host of other useful details.
Price-conscious consumers find encouragement on this site: research showed that over a period of time, Currys’ online store consistently offered homepage promotions – competing effectively on cost in a competitive market. The site also offers the content that shoppers need when they make buying choices that they don’t make very often, through a series of buying guides covering items from fridge-freezers to the latest home TVs, audio systems and fitness technology. Content and product information score top marks in the InternetRetailing research.
This is a highly successful approach to informing consumers as they make often weighty decisions about the technology and electricals that they need or want in their homes.