What Amazon get right but American Apparel get wrong

Amazon uses focal points to help its customers use its website but American Apparel doesn’t.

Yesterday’s post (here) talked about focal points helping your staff to make the right decisions. The same ideas can be applied to your customers.

Products and processes need to be designed to follow natural focal points for customers. For any process that you want your customers to go through there will be things that they naturally expect to see, if you find these and incorporate them in your processes then you will make life easier for them.

For example, when someone visits Amazon they are likely to want to search for something. So the search box is big and right in the middle at the top of the screen. Lots of other sites hide their search boxes away in a corner.

Most retailers like Amazon now have similar, large search boxes but fashion retailers focus more on stylish design than finding focal points for their customers. If you visit the American Apparel site this is their homepage:

I can’t even buy anything from this screen. I need to find the correct country flag on the bottom left to then click through to the online store, which looks like this:

Now the bulk of the page is taken up with the chance to explore their factory rather than products that I might want to buy, and the search box is fairly small. Their design led approach looks good but it isn’t giving customers an easy path to find what they want. They are trying show the customer what they want them to see rather than what the customer wants.

Today’s takeaway: Find the natural ways that your customers follow a process or use a product. Find their focal points.

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