Will Harvey Norman's much-delayed e-commerce site work?

In an earlier post, we discussed the COI (Cost of Inaction) and started with a quote from e-commerce doubter and Harvey Norman CEO, Gerry Harvey. However, the much resisted e-commerce functionality is now (launched 23 Nov 2011) available at HarveyNorman.com.au; so we took it for a spin to gauge the customer experience the site delivers. At first take, it's a delight!

Observing user experience best practices, the homepage endeavours to focus a visitors attention and get them to immediately select an action. In this anatomical look at the homepage, we see:

  • there is a visually prominent primary call to action, with just 3 items - e.g. giving prominence to important information such as the In Store Pickup feature
  • alongside, there are 3 secondary calls to action - e.g. routing users to stores via the Store Finder
  • further down the page, there are select items featured for purchasing, these are listed in the tertiary call to action section

Moving deeper into the site, the multi-columned drop down menu is superbly implemented (the underlying code i.e. HTML, CSS & Javascript can be tricky). One opportunity here would have been to feature items for sale, as demonstrated over at http://bigw.com.au.

Another familiar feature is the filtering system in the left sidebar. It shows the number of products available within that category, displaying useful information at a glance.

User reviewsstore avialabilitycompare list and wish list are just added bonuses; and more dependent on the retailers' policies and capabilities than the e-commerce platform's functionality.

The detailed product view page continues the theme of laser focused attention to encouraging visitors to complete a purchase. The left sidebar and distracting navigation is disappeared, focusing the user on the product and add to their cart.

Other goodies on this page include user reviewssocial sharingcross selling accessories and an easy, but unobtrusive, cross-navigational way to see related products.

Even the top menu distractions are eliminated on the checkout pages. A clever way to reduce shopping cart abandonment (which can be as high as 75%). They have also avoided the mandatory login step which many retailers used to favour until they realised what an obstacle this was and a significant factor in cart abandonment.

Using Magento e-commerce platform

The site has been built using a popular e-commerce platform: Magento. Recently acquired by eBay, the Magento framework is highly affordable (from free to tiered annual licensing), offering a suite of powerful functionality out-of-the-box. Of these, notable features include:

  • mobile phone optimisation;
  • streamlined checkout;
  • sophisticated shipping options and
  • customer accounts.


Congrats to the Harvey Norman team!

Looks like Harvey Norman made some great decisions and the contracted development agency have put together a tight package! Much awaited, and hitting all the right notes. From our review of the site and the customer experience it provided, the site is positioned to optimise its revenue generation capabilities. So, we predict a 'yes' to the question of whether the site will deliver. Here's wishing Harvey Norman a great XMas season :)


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