Ask the Experts: Skincare Retailers – Mobile Edition

Reading Time: 8 mins
By Published On: July 13, 20200 Comments

Mobile shopping is becoming more popular than ever in Australia. As such, it's more important than ever for online retailers to pay attention to the experience that consumers have via mobile devices. Greg Randall dissected three of Australia's leading makeup and skincare retailers and their mobile offering.

Online shopping is one of the most popular platforms for consumers in this current environment. According to StatCounter, there has been significant digital growth, with a 7.1 percent increase in internet users and a 2.5 percent increase in unique mobile users. Moreover, 76 percent of people are spending their time with a smartphone, whereas 45 percent are spending their time with a laptop.

As such, creating a great experience for mobile users is more important than ever. We asked Greg Randall, the Founder of Comma Consulting, to investigate some of the leading beauty retailers in Australia and dissect its mobile offering.




Greg: “In the header, there is a ‘chat icon’. Most consumers would think this is a method to chat with an employee. However, once selected it takes people to social posts, this will create confusion. There are too many products on the homepage and no strong presence of category content to direct consumers through to relevant product ranges.

“There is a good strong ‘free delivery’ message at the top of the page. However, as a result of COVID-19 and its effect on supply chains and last-mile deliveries, consumers are now seeking ‘reliable delivery’ messages such as “We can ship anywhere in Australia in under three business days”. There is nothing like that with this retailer.

“The search box should be permanently displayed and not hidden behind a ‘magnifying glass’ icon. Below the feature banner is a single product being featured. For a retailer with a large product range on offer, it is not recommended to call out specific products. It’s impossible to accommodate a large volume of traffic via the presentation of a single product or selection of products.

“The way the content is structured on the homepage is confusing. There are banners which feature a specific product category and below this is a product which relates to that category. The issue is the visual presentation of this content is confusing. There are no visual design cues showing the banner and the product are connected making the homepage appear visually disorganised.”


Product Page – Ultraplant Facial Cleanser


  1. “The featured image is small;
  2. There are no other complimentary images;
  3. The call to action “Add to Basket” is not visually strong and sits in a busy crowded position on the page;
  4. The star rating at the top of the page is good but there are no clickable elements to prompt engagement with review content;
  5. The font size on mobile is good – nice and big;
  6. The ‘Ingredients’ content is a good idea, but this retailer uses a mix of images and copy which displays to a low standard on mobile screens.”


Checkout Page



Greg: “Purchase validation once “Add to Basket” is selected is very good. The checkout page is simple and shows a “Customer Care” option which is good. There is good delivery messaging at this step also. However, there is too much black being used on this page making font sitting on the black background harder to read.”

“Nice big font used throughout. The fields to enter information are also nice and big, with good spacing between each field. When entering phone number and credit card number the numeric keypad is not the default making numeric entry harder. There is great ‘How we use your information’ content to make consumers feel at ease. Nice big calls to action for each step in the checkout. Very easy step to select ‘Flat rate shipping’ or ‘Express shipping’. Though these are different services and different costs its well-presented. Payment page is confusing. The consumer is presented with multiple payment options with no obvious method to select the preferred method.  When taking a back step from the payment page to the Delivery step, the order was lost. Consumers taking back steps during the checkout is very common meaning, checkouts need to accommodate for these behaviours. This checkout does not and will result in a lot of bailouts.”


In Summary

Greg: ” Due to the experiences being exhibited from this retailer I would not purchase from this retailer even if it was a gift for my wife. There are too many fundamental issues with how experiences work on mobile. This retailer needs to audit the mobile experiences. It appears a lot of effort has gone into the desktop version of the site but little effort has gone into how this translates to smaller screens.”


Adore Beauty

Home Page



Greg: “The first thing that happens when arriving on the homepage and trying to review the content is being interrupted by the pesky ‘pop up”’ Google is now penalising retailers for this activity. And even though it’s an attempt to make first-time visitors buy, it’s forcing consumers to memorise the code which increases mental effort and friction. Then once this pop up closed, a second pop up immediately displays with ‘Don’t miss out’ content that is irrelevant. Very poor first impression for a consumer trying to find a relevant category that meets her needs.

“Some good things on the homepage…

“Permanently visible search box making searches easy. In the body of the homepage, sitting in view without scrolling is a simple elegant presentation of popular categories. This helps consumers quickly find what they are looking for.”



Product Page – Skinstitut Gentle Cleanser



Greg: “Nice strong product title at the top of the page with a good product image. The complementary images do not add any value to consumer decision making. These multiple images are repeats of the feature image and while there are good images showing the texture of the product, this is also unnecessarily repeated. This creates unnecessary effort from the consumer because she cannot visually scan these images on mobile (but can on desktop).

“This retailer would be better off showing the back of the product so consumers can read the content just like they would do in-store. The statement saying this product comes from an ‘Official Australian stockist’ is a very clever tactic. The new ‘COVID Consumer’ is now gravitating to locally sourced products and wants assurances for reliable delivery. Sourcing local contributes to this new consumer need.

“The sales pricing shows the percentage saved which is a proven tactic to prompt buying. This retailer would benefit by showing the dollar amount saved. Good ‘Delivery’ and ‘Returns’ content on product pages. The manner in how this retailer uses review content is to a good standard. There is a high-level summary of all reviews so consumers can see the volume of 5-star ratings vs the lower ratings.

“The issue with this is, there are no way to sort or filter reviews so consumers can engage with specific types of reviews. Once an item is added to the shopping cart good purchase validation is presented however, there is a message stating free samples are on offer with no presentation of the samples to prompt more buying behaviours. Showing the samples would deliver greater impact.”





Greg: “The overall flow of the checkout process is to a good standard. The fields for data entry are large. Whenever the right data is entered a ‘tick’ icon displays making the consumer feel good the system is capturing their information current. The numeric fields display the numeric keypad. All font on these pages are large and clear.  Overall it’s to a good standard. I would purchase from this retailer.



Home Page


Greg: “This page is full of product recommendation which has no relevancy to the consumers landing on this page. When landing on the homepage there was a series of product recommendations: ‘Recommenced for you’, ‘Favourites’, and ‘Your Next Obsession’. This is odd when considering I have not been to this site before. For a retailer with thousands of products on offer, its literally impossible to present relevant products on the homepage with no context to the consumer’s needs at that moment of arriving at the homepage. This page should be full of category content trying to introduce product ranges to assist the consumer in her next step.”


Product Page – Peter Thomas Roth Cleanser



Greg: “The product title is not visually strong enough and needs to be positioned at the top of the page. This is important for Google Shopping campaigns. Consumers move from Google search directly to product pages and require validation to signal they have landed on the right page and is viewing the right product. This retailer has a confusing method in how it presents its content. It displays three titles (‘Description’, ‘Ingredients’, ‘How to’) all beside each other with no visual cues as to what content is displaying below these titles and how to toggle from one content type to another.

“The font on these pages are small and crammed too close together increasing the effort for consumers to read the copy. The presentation of pricing with a discount is good but, like Adore Beauty, this retailer would benefit from also displaying the monetary value saved.

“Sephora has a great method to sort review content. This method to view certain types of review content will assist in buying decision making. The issue of having too many reviews is now commonplace and reading the most recent reviews is not enough for many consumers seeking opinions on certain products.

“There is one big issue when consumers look at review content. There are no intuitive cues to take her out of the ‘Customer Review’ screen so she can go back to purchase the product. Delivery messaging is hidden behind a ‘Customer Care’ title and ‘Returns’ content could not be found at all. When adding a product to the shopping cart the visual validation is weak and disappears after only being presented for 1 second. This experience is to a low standard.”





Greg: “The shopping cart presentation is to a low standard.

“Once consumers arrive on this critical page, they are presented with messaging around ‘Beauty’ rewards and products that can be redeemed under a rewards system. The actual information about the product that was added to cart was not in view and requires consumers to scroll down the page to see it.


  1. There are no security assurances
  2. There are no delivery cost statements
  3. There are no delivery options presented – no explanation of fast vs slow options
  4. The call to action is ‘Checkout’ on this page, however, to a consumer they think they are already checking out, this statement will cause confusion. The ideal call to action is ‘Proceed’ or something that clearly indicates this button moves the consumer on to the next step.

“It’s important to note, while some of these comments may appear petty, retailers need to understand, as a result of COVID-19, there is a significant increase in ‘first time online buyers’ This requires retailers to work hard to make everything clear and obvious.

“Once a sign-in option is established, an order summary is presented BUT this checkout process skips the delivery step (referred to as ‘Shipping Method’) and bypasses the question to consumers if they would like to select ‘Standard’ or ‘Express’ delivery options.

“The other issue comes in the explanation of ‘Standard’ vs ‘Express’ shipping. ‘Standard’ shipping is two to ten days and ‘Express’ shipping is one to eight days. For consumers to spend more money on express shipping, where is the value? How is this different based on these timelines?

“If a consumer takes a ‘back step’ in the checkout process, all their personal information is lost. If a consumer is on the payment page step and wants to take one step back to the delivery step, consumers are forced back to the beginning: the shopping cart step. They are then forced to start again. This will cause many bailouts. I would not shop with this retailer.”


You can find the desktop version of this road test here, featuring some of Australia’s leading e-commerce experts.


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About the Author: Greg Randall

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