Furniture giants missing basic website usability

by Jon White on 15 June 2009

Having moved house recently, I spent a lot of time online researching properties and I also began to look for sofas online, and was surprised by what I found. Given that I was just browsing and not really sure what I was looking for, I tried the websites of a couple of major UK furniture retailers (who shall remain nameless) and picked the most generic category to begin browsing.

furniture3It was then that I found that, although there were often 60+ products for me to view, there was no sort function on the product results – I couldn’t view the products in order of price, colour or anything else, I was stuck with the random order that I was given. It was then that I decided that it wasn’t worth spending the time going through all the results and left the websites.

Amazon is a great example of a much more user friendly approach to selling sofas. The website not only offers a sort function but also a faceted browsing function (see image) which allows you to filter out results that aren’t your desired brands or in your price range (among other things).

A sort function really is basic usability for an ecommerce website and without it, retailers will probably find that a lot of users drop-off because they don’t want to spend the time looking through all the results to find suitable products.

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