Thursday, 24 May 2012

Compare and contrast: Ted Baker

We’ve said it before; Americans have a love affair with British brands. And Ted Baker knows it too. During the last financial year, the fashion brand opened eight concessions in Bloomingdale’s, where performance to date has been positive, it says. Towards the end of 2011, Ted Baker opened a further store in San Diego and an outlet store in Wrentham, near Boston, and chief executive Ray Kelvin says he’s pleased with their performances at this early stage.

Going forward, 11 more concessions are planned, as well as a store in New York, which opens in July. Overall, US retail sales for the brand were up 69.4 percent to $34.9 million last year, equivalent to £21.8 million. As well as stores, Ted Baker also operates a US website. Here’s how it goes about translating its Britishness to a US market online.

The homepages
Ted Baker’s UK website (above) can be found at Its US counterpart is at, but users can also navigate to it by clicking the “select region” option from the main site. The differences between the homepages are immediately obvious. For starters, the UK site has a static main image, while the US homepage shifts from women’s new arrivals to men’s new arrivals. On the UK site, visitors can click on the main image to shop from the men’s or womenswear collections. Or use the top menu bar to shop men’s, women’s, gifts, holiday shop or SelecTed—items which have a common theme or collection. The main call to action is for a two-day sale, giving customers 20 percent off their Ted Baker purchase. 

The US website (above) has a brighter homepage, using oranges and light blues, rather than the taupe employed by the UK site—depending on your personal taste, it either clashes or complements the male model’s shock of red hair. The options on the main menu are different too. The choices on the US site include men’s, women’s, accessories & shoes and our collections—presumably collections is more obvious than “SelecTed”. The menus are also much shorter. The UK top-level menu opens up into five columns, with the column on the far right displaying a “feature item”. In contrast, the menu on the US site has only one column per category and no images. The search bar and shopping cart appear in the same places on the two websites, as does the special offer banner, which on the US website promotes “Free US ground delivery on all orders over $200”.

The category and product pages
Clicking through the homepage options to new arrivals in womenswear I am presented with two very different category pages. The UK site (above) has no left-navigation bar, instead allowing users to filter options using a collapsible horizontal menu. Users are allowed to select the size of the images and by doing so, adjust the product density on the page—larger images mean fewer products. Confusingly in my opinion, the UK site has a large image inviting customers to shop the maxi dress range. Call me old-fashioned, but I much prefer the US category page (below), which has a conventional left-nav to help filter down options.

To make a fair comparison between the product pages, I selected the “TUNDA - Flared skirt coat”, which is available on both sites (UK price £229, US price $420). In contrast to previous experience, the US site actually has more detail that its UK sister. Once again, the UK site had me confused (below). Instead of conventional dress sizes, Ted Baker lists the sizes from 0 to 4. There is a size conversion chart, but you would have expected the British site to list UK sizes as the master option. 

The US site also uses Ted Baker’s 0 to 5 system but below it includes the corresponding US size, making it easy for American customers to select the right size. The US site also features a selection of items that may go with the coat, making use of a cross-sell tactic. Strangely, the UK site doesn’t. Although the UK site is more streamlined, I find that hiding everything under a collapsible menu works to its detriment. 

Moving to the basket page, Ted Baker UK decides this is the place to cross-sell. While there are different schools of thought on the topic, I would have preferred to see cross-selling on the product page instead. Happily though, Ted Baker’s platform allows me to add items from its suggested list to my basket without leaving the page, so all is not lost. At the checkout I am also reminded of the 20 percent discount and prompted to enter it.

For the most part the US trumps the UK site in terms of user experience, however, where the UK site excels is in the collections element (above). I can select “cool nautical” and shop the look, or click through to “life’s a beach” and be presented with the beachwear collection. This mirrors the layout of a bricks-and-mortar store, where you’d expect similar products to be grouped together to form a display. Trying to shop from the “our collections” tab on the US homepage is a cumbersome experience (below), where some ranges having a link to the products and others just text about the range. 

Whereas the American site understands my need for clear sizing information, logical lists and an all-in-one product page, it lacked the inspiration of the British website’s collections section. Saying that, I was encouraged to note that both use instigated chat to communicate with customers that may be floundering, showing that it despite the differences between the two sites, Ted Baker does share some best practice across the Atlantic.--MT

No comments:

Post a Comment