In a market as competitive as footwear and apparel, an online shopping experience for any brand must be sharp, device friendly, and attention grabbing. The New Balance store has achieved just that with their recent store redesign. There are many factors that set this store design apart from competitors like Nike, Under Armour or Adidas. While other brands may have the star power, New Balance utilizes colorful photography and impactful user interface design to get the job done and keep the visitor exploring.
The homepage features large high-quality graphics that draw visitors into interior store categories and campaigns.
While site responsiveness is the current rage of the web world, it is not always a guaranteed success for an online store. The placement and responsive breakdown of key elements can make or break design on a tablet or mobile device. The New Balance store does a great job accounting for any possible device size and offers a powerful layout for each device screen. On a large desktop monitor, the main banner imagery and other campaign imagery is sharp and spans the entire screen. As the screen becomes smaller with each device, nothing is lost and the images remain crisp. The header is the most important aspect of a good responsive store. New Balance keeps its main logo, store navigation, search, login and cart perfectly organized across the top making it easy for the shopper to find. For small tablets and mobile phones the store navigation breaks down into a collapsible menu. The search and cart revert to large icons and the top store locator moves down and becomes an icon as well. Page elements will always need to be hidden and moved for a responsive theme, but the key is to always consider the shopper using the device when considering where to move or enlarge elements. New Balance has done this very well.
The New Balance store features mega menu navigation for desktop and tablet users,
which helps highlight products and custom options.
As I have stated in many eCommerce posts in the past, the main navigation is key for any online shop. How will the visitor quickly find what they are looking for? Will they give up and leave the site before they find the product that is right for them? A well-functioning and organized navigation structure ensures that even the most rushed or impatient shopper will quickly find their desired product and make a purchase. For a responsive site, like New Balance, there must be an intuitive navigation system for all devices. The New Balance store features a well-designed mega menu for the desktop and larger tablets and breaks down to a full screen overlay menu for mobile phones. The main store categories are large and can be easily tapped, sliding over a new set of sub categories. Mobile users can navigate deeper into the store category tree while easily getting back to the main list of categories. The left and right slide animation is a nice touch and is a transition that a mobile user is very familiar with. Once inside a particular store category, the product filters and sorting also utilize the same slide over option functionality.
Mobile users experience an easy-to-use expandable menu that slides left and right.
It’s the little things in a design that typically make the most impact and stand out from the competitors. Adding an element that shoppers have not seen before or that simplifies the shopping experience could lead to higher conversion rates. One great example of this from the New Balance store is the product details section of the store. Rather than loading an entirely new page with specific product images and details, New Balance chose to load the product detail information in a slide down panel. This allows the user to scroll through several full width photos of the product, select a color combination, alter the size/width and add to cart all from the product listing page. If the customer wishes to read more information including reviews and product features they can do so. While this is a small enhancement, it provides the shopper with an enhanced way to get more information without leaving the page and a faster way to add the item to their cart.
Visitors can expand particular products to either view more details, customize options or quickly add items to their cart.
There can be a lot gained from exploring well designed responsive store like New Balance and I encourage you to explore the shopping experience from several devices. New Balance is a company that is doing things right with its redesign and is setting itself apart from other major brands that rely solely on a m.* subdomains to appeal to mobile shoppers. With today’s competitive mobile market, stores need to be fast, intuitive and appealing in order to get the sale. New Balance is definitely taking a step in the right direction.
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