AWC is a luxury wine and spirits company that was originally established more than 25 years ago by current CEO Stephen Williams. From its headquarters in Marylebone, Central London and its two sales offices in Asia, AWC supplies fine wine to private individuals, hotels, restaurants, and the global wine trade.
Having recently redesigned their main e-commerce website, AWC required Box UK’s User Experience (UX)
consultants to provide an independent assessment of the site, detailing potential UX issues and opportunities along with recommended next steps in order to facilitate on-going improvements. In particular the client was looking to optimise the experience of buying and selling wine, and accessing information on hiring the AWC Wine Academy as a venue, both for existing and new customers.
For a comprehensive picture of current performance and in-depth qualitative and quantitative insights, AWC commissioned a 5-day usability review. As analysis of the user tasks noted by AWC at the outset was a priority, the review began with ‘cognitive walkthroughs’ of these journeys - consisting of two consultants separately stepping through the site just as a user would. Every stage of the journey was then assessed to see how well it performed against UX, usability, accessibility and e-commerce best practice as well as against common ‘heuristics’ or rules of thumb subconsciously employed by users to aid decision-making. The site’s Information Architecture (IA) and navigation, both of which are critical to the user experience, were also reviewed to determine how effectively they supported the user journey.
As visitors typically form an opinion about a website’s credibility in less than 1/20th of a second, it was agreed that the cognitive walkthroughs would be supplemented with data gathered from 5-second tests of the AWC homepage. A popular technique for evaluating the impact of a web page by understanding users’ first impressions, this method of testing was felt to be particularly suitable for the project as analysis had shown that the majority of traffic to the client’s previous site was from new visitors similarly unlikely to be familiar with the brand. Tests were conducted remotely so as to include participants from across the globe, all of whom were presented with the homepage for 5 seconds before being asked to recall information such as the organisation’s name and the products and services on offer, as well giving their opinion on other aspects of the site such as trustworthiness.
Throughout the review, the sites of AWC’s competitors were also assessed, providing a benchmark comparison of performance and highlighting particular strengths and weaknesses. This identified existing points of differentiation that could be reinforced as well as effective elements that could be adopted by AWC to further enhance their site.
The results of the review were delivered to the client as part of a comprehensive report detailing all findings in a clear and visual format. AWC were provided with a series of recommendations for improvement, covering both short- and longer-term next steps to enable them to begin implementing ‘quick wins’ while also creating a sustainable optimisation strategy based around iterative enhancements, regular reviews and user testing. Additionally, the report featured best practice tips for optimising the site’s IA and navigation for improved discoverability and ease-of-use, as well as high-level designs suggesting how the homepage may be refined.
After the review the client was armed with the information they need to align their site with user motivations, requirements and behaviours, in order to maximise online conversions and so help drive increased returns for the organisation. Just two months after they implemented the quick win suggestions AWC had already seen significant results, including:
- Orders up 13%
- Average order value up 46%
- User registrations up 21%
- Pageviews up 26%
- Unique page views up 32%
- Average time on page up 10%