Personally, I have never bought spices from an ecommerce site. This is mainly due to the fact that I tend to be pretty last-minute when it comes to cooking, and I just pick up what I need from the grocery store. However, I have to imagine that if I were the sort to plan ahead, an online spice store would be super helpful! At least that’s what I thought before I saw the Spices Inc. ecommerce site… Unfortunately “helpful” is not the word that comes to mind when I look at the design and navigation on this online storefront.
Take a look at the home page, below. All the real estate that sits above the fold is devoted to recipes. On the one hand, I can see why this is a good idea. Spices Inc. wants to show their customers how they can use the products on the site and inspire them to make that purchase. However, on the other hand, it’s really important to actually feature some products on the home page. Recipes are nice, but shoppers are still an extra click away from adding products to their cart.
I decided to explore a category, so I clicked on Seasonings in the top navigation. Here again, I ran into the problem of misused real estate. As you can see, there is one main image here followed by a lot of text. There are links within the paragraphs to actual products, but I don’t think that’s enough. Always go for the visual option in ecommerce! Feature some enticing product images instead of just listing items in the text. Get those shoppers onto product pages!
Scrolling down, I actually got to some product images, along with some sub-categories. Now we’re talking! I would love to see these options above the fold, rather than at the middle of the page. Place images for New Products, Top 10 Seasonings, Dry Rubs, etc., at the top, and lead people to these pages or provide drop-down menus with the various options. This would make navigating the site easier, and cut down on needless scrolling.
Finally, at the bottom of the page, I found a really ugly alphabetical list of all the seasonings. Why take up all this space when you don’t have to? Drop-down menus in the left navigation could certainly help to cut this down.
Spices Inc. has a real problem with organization and navigation on their ecommerce store. My suggestions, when you boil them down, are really just to feature images over text links, and to utilize drop-down menus to cut down on the amount of scrolling. This site feels overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. A design overhaul that makes better use of pages’ above the fold real estate to feature products will go a long way to improving the shopping experience.