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Ask the Experts: Australia’s Leading Marketplaces
Online marketplaces have become one of the leading platforms for digital retail. We sat down with e-commerce experts to dissect the three leading online marketplaces in Australia.
Power Retail selected three of Australia’s leading online marketplaces, Catch, Kogan and Amazon Australia, and asked experts to review the shopping experience on the platforms. We sat down with Emily Townsend, Co-Founder of Workit Spaces, Nima Yassini, CEO and Co-Founder of New Republique. and Carley Johnson, Fashion Wholesale and Brand Launch Expert at Unzipped, to discuss the marketplace.
Catch has been one of Australia’s trailblazing online retailers. Famous for its never-ending set of deals, the retailer has proven itself to be a leader for tech innovation and marketplace excellence.
Emily Townsend: “The homepage is easy to navigate with the categories down the left-hand side. However, the endless scroll makes it a bit difficult to get to important information on delivery, terms and conditions, etc. The deals that load on the front page don’t seem organised but do their job of keeping you on the site”
Carley Johnson: “Catch homepage has a clean left-hand menu that immediately strikes your attention, even with the bold adverts. Part of its success is knowing its customer and auto filtering on today’s deals. Also, the use of the colour red resonates with ‘sale’ and catches the shoppers attention.”
Nima Yassini: “The use of a cultured experience denotes bargain, range and depth. This point is further confirmed via the text in the search box ‘Search over 2,000,000 screaming hot deals’. Catch’s greatest challenge is to surface all of the content and offers they have available. The way catch does this via a sophisticated algorithm that merchandises the homepage continuously, showing the most popular offers on the homepage. The mobile experience of Catch, however, has some challenges, hence the push to download the app.”
Product Page – The Ordinary
Emily: “After clicking on a deal for The Ordinary from the front page, the brand page loads relatively quickly. The placement of the filters and sorting options are very clear. From there, clicking on the product The No-Brainer Set, the product page loaded well. There were multiple high-quality product images so that I could view ingredients and other details.”
Product Page – Women’s Dresses
Carley: “As a fashion consultant, I focused on reviewing a women’s dress, my feedback is super positive for a sit not focused on fashion sales. Aside from offering video, the imagery and copy told me everything I needed to know about the product. Alongside reading the customer reviews which were easy for me to find. Overall, I would feel confident in making a purchase.”
Product Page – TV
Yassini: “The use of the number of people viewing the item is a cognitive bias known as scarcity. Scarcity plays on the fear of missing out, thus driving the user to make a quick decision. The price display and saving using the arrow in the price to focus the user on the saving rather than the price. The presentation of a new offer to ‘join club catch’ is a risky design move as it moves the user away from the primary action of purchasing the item. The delivery timeframe plays on the cognitive bias of framing. In this instance Catching is framing in the quick delivery. This, however, is small and not in close proximity of the CTA. The current page design pushes much of the content on the PDP below the fold. Past research has shown 50 percent to 60 percent of audience don’t scroll below the fold, as such the page design should try and push more content above the fold.”
Emily: “Once I added the product to the cart, a temporary pop up appeared, allowing me to go directly to the checkout page. Calculating delivery for my postcode was very easy. There was a range of shipping and payment options available, super important in today’s age. The checkout process flows well and is easy to navigate.”
Carley: “The checkout page doesn’t highlight to you your next step, which is actually to select a delivery method. Upon landing on the page, I originally thought it was free shipping. Also, I could fault the page for having one or two many options in addition to making the purchase for example coupon entry, sign up to Club Catch etc you could risk annoying a customer and seeming too salesy.”
Yassini: “The use of the message, ‘Be quick!…’ uses a cognitive bias of Scarcity to drive the user to complete the purchase. The collection of the email as step one ensures that if the user abandons, they can be retargeted via marketing automation to drive the user back to complete the purchase. The reduced forms help make the process simple and quick. The sticky cart following you down the page helps connect the task of filling in the form with the emotion of the purchase. The use of the ‘savings’ message helps focus the users on the value of buying from Catch.”
Why is this retailer one of the leading marketplaces in Australia?
Emily: “Catch Group is one of Australia’s largest online retailers and have been in the e-commerce and online fulfilment game for a long time. More traditional retailers had yet to transition online when Catch was first established in 2006. They’ve managed to build a large customer base and sell what seems like an endless amount of products. Last year, they were bought by Wesfarmers in a $200 million dollar deal that will only give them more growth opportunities.”
Carley: “Price and reputation. Upon moving to Aus in 2017, it has led the market and has earnt its reputation ahead of the Amazon’s of the world. I also feel like Aussies are proud of home businesses and will support them.”
“At the moment, Catch has primarily been known as being a ‘deals’ retailer. Depending on how the e-commerce market shifts and changes in the coming years, Catch will need to stay adaptable. They’re now competing with massive names like Amazon and Kogan and need to make sure they stay ahead of the curve to prevent losing market share,” said Emily Townsend.
“I haven’t actually looked at Catch fashion for two years, and I’m really surprised and how much the fashion pages have improved. I would consider now purchasing fashion items now along with office and homeware,” Carley Johnson told Power Retail.
Yassini: “Catch is a leader in Australia for two reasons: 1. It has seen the test of time and has created a groundswell of loyal customers. 2. The arrival of amazon set the stage to create a comparative and competitive offering.”
Kogan is one of the most popular destination for online shoppers. The retailer, which was established in 2006, has become one of the biggest players in Australian e-commerce. In June 2020, it reported more than two million active customers and acquired some assets from furniture retailer, Matt Blatt.
Emily: “Though the homepage looks very busy, the categories make it easy to find the products you’re looking for. As you scroll, the page is set up into easy to navigate sections such as Current Deals, Popular Categories, Trending Products etc. Plus, the navigation bar at the bottom makes it easy to find any key information that you would need. However, the top navigation doesn’t stick to the top of the page, meaning you have to scroll back up to find it.”
Carley: “Poor initial experience, through experiencing three individual pop-ups within seconds. Even upon scroll down the homepage, your cursor brings up each item name onto of the product listing which is totally unnecessary. Similar to Catch, the left-hand B&W menu is clear and catches your attention.”
Yassini: “The Kogan website is primarily focused on tapping on 1 primary motivation. The desire to purchase products at discounted prices. Traditionally in UX, we are taught to declutter the experience and create focus. This, however, would
have an opposite effect for Kogan. The Kogan UX benefits from a cultured experience, giving users a feeling of
depth, range and diversity. The more “non-traditional” and “bargain hunter” the site looks the better it connects to the brand proposition and supports the expected experience of the user.”
Product Page – Samsung Galaxy S20
Emily: “From the Popular Categories section, I clicked on Samsung Phones and was taken to the Samsung Galaxy Smartphones page. The page loaded quickly, and sorting and filtering were intuitive. The Samsung Galaxy S20 5G product page was well organised and I was able to find the information I was interested in. There were multiple, clear images of the product.”
Product Page – Women’s Dresses
Carley: “Really bad imagery, poor product content. For example, I don’t know the fabric composition percentage. The product page gives me no desire to buy. Also the basics like a product description a sales paragraph is missing. It is clear it is a 2nd hand item via marketplace though, but would it be to a ‘normal’ shopper?”
Product Page – Kogan Smart TV
Yassini: “The Star rating utilises the cognitive bias of social proofing and bandwagon. This feature helps customers who do not know much about the product quickly get an assessment of quality based on the star ratings. The call out of ‘Our lowest price’ uses the bias of framing and anchoring helps the user see the value they are getting in comparison to the original price. The delivery timeframe is anchoring the user on a time based scarcity to drive urgency to act.”
“This presentation of the saving further support the framing and anchoring mentioned in point earlier. The CTA of Kogan fills as the user however over it. This is a form of completion theory. The visual style of the CTA and the use of ‘+’ plays on the cognitive idea of cumulation i.e. adding the item to cart. The current design has all the key element needed for purchase is above the fold. Past research has shown 50 percent to 60 percent of audience don’t scroll below the fold.”
Emily: “The checkout page was easy to navigate to and easy to understand. I could find delivery, freight and care options easily. However, Kogan automatically added a mobile prepaid voucher. Though it’s free, it could be a turn off for some customers who don’t want to feel like products are being forced on them. There are separate pages for contact details, address and payment options which make the checkout process a bit longer than necessary.”
Carley: “One to two-second delay for the checkout to load, but a very clean and clear checkout page. I would even say it doesn’t match the rest of the site but I like that! I am very clear about when I will receive my item.”
Yassini: “The checkout uses a hidden stepped process i.e. details, delivery address, payment. The benefit of this is that the user focuses on one step at a time. The bad is that the user is unaware of the number of steps and fields required to be filed. The use of social logins are great as it speeds up sign-in. However, their location is not in close proximity of the form i.e. the most relevant location to show the feature. The use of the product image is utilising the cognitive bias of Anchoring. Keep the user emotionally engaged to continue with the purchase. The use of free standard care is a form of Hyperbolic discounting. Giving the user the idea of greater value at no cost. This a form of perceived value.”
How can the retailer improve on its current offering?
“Though Kogan has a lot of products on offer, the actual website isn’t great for browsing. For example, if I’m looking to buy a new television, it seems like there’s an endless amount of clutter to go through. Rather than telling you how many items are available in a category, it’ll say something like ‘Showing over 30 products’. Category pages don’t have proper pagination, meaning you can’t see how many pages there are in a category. You can only see the ‘View more’ button at the bottom. These are small features that make the site significantly harder to browse,” said Emily Townsend.
“Implement standardised rules around imagery to start with,” said Carley Johnson.
“Ideally, the Kogan site appeals to a specific user type, the bargain hunter. As such, the site needs to keep the same frameworks and structure. The places the site can improve is within the checkout process,” said Yassini.
Why do you think this retailer is one of the leaders in Australia?
“Kogan is an up and coming online retailer that’s been successfully competing with Amazon and Catch. The marketplace has gone the public route and have raised a lot of money that they can use for growth opportunities. For instance, they already have one of the largest logistics networks in the e-commerce industry and definitely have room to expand,” Townsend told power Retail.
Carley Johnson kept it simple: “Vast amount of products it sells. A one-stop-shop for all!”
“Kogan is a leader in Australia because it has built a consistent brand experience. Its promise matches its prices and is further solidified in its design and user experience. It is a great example of a connected brand experience. Well done, team
Kogan,” Yassini explained.
Amazon is not a new e-commerce player, but the Australian leg of the company only entered Aussie waters in 2o17. After three years in Australia, it has become one of the rising stars in the industry,
Emily: “The Amazon Australia homepage is not the best but it does what it needs to do. The options on the top navigation menu don’t make much sense. However, you only have to click one button to view the categories in a side menu. As you scroll down, the page is separated into clear sections such as Mid-Year Sale Deals, Sale on womenswear, Sales on menswear, Bestsellers in Kindle eBooks etc. Key information is easy to find in the bottom navigation.”
Carley: “No adverts, and applying homepage focused on taking you to the category you are shopping for. The colour palette is sophisticated and on-brand.”
Product Page – Books
Emily: “I clicked on the See more button next to the Best Sellers in Books header and was taken to the Amazon Best Sellers page. It loaded quickly and was well laid out in a table with categories on the left-hand side. I clicked on the Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind product. One of the benefits of the Amazon product page is the extensive reviews you’ll find often. The descriptions and features are easy to find as well. There were only two product images, however, that’s all that’s necessary for a book.”
Product Page – Womenswear
Carley: “Really poor copy. Repeated phrase is seen four times, clearly a typo. The price range is confusing. What price am I paying and is it brand new? Zero fabric compositions and the fact you have to scroll so far down for the information doesn’t work. Customers want fast access.”
Emily: “From the product page, you can click Add to Cart or Buy Now. After clicking on Buy Now, you’re taken to a Sign-In page and you’re unable to continue without an account. This is definitely a turn-off. From here, I’d be unlikely to buy a product unless it was necessary.”
Carley: “Three-click process before gaining access to the cart. Also, you are then required to sign in, all of these delays will lose a customer.”
How can this retailer improve its product offering?
“Though Amazon has done well in the US market, I think there is room for improvement in how they target the Australian market. Overall, they make up a much smaller percentage of the market here. From our experience, we’ve found that retail businesses in Australia aren’t as keen on putting their products on Amazon compared to in the US. With fewer fulfilment centres here, there’s less of a reason for businesses to share the products,” said Emily Townsend.
“The copy has to be there. A customer needs to know what they are buying and the seller needs to give them a reason to buy,” said Carley Johnson.
Why is Amazon Australia a leading marketplace in Australia?
“Of course, Amazon is a massive company with a lot of money being injected from the parent company. They do retail sales, third-party seller services and offer a subscription service. Having an established brand and multiple revenue streams have definitely helped with their growth in the Australian market,” Townsend told Power Retail.
Carley Johnson explained: “It’s not. But it’s a global leader and gives Australians access to other countries product with ease.”
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