The clothing range is a good idea – practical merino underclothing with a bit of colour and splash, along with stying that appeals (hopefully) to their target market. I’m a huge fan of merino myself for skiing and motorcycling in the cold, and it’s good to see a number of Kiwi competitors to the fantastic Icebreaker emerge.
Hazels’ article made me think about checking out and perhaps even buying some of their products, but the website made me stop that process.
Indeed the Mons Royale website is appalling – placing function well south of fashion. Even then the website design fashion displayed is dubious at best.
In the above screenshot the only obvious thing to do is to click the yellow “2010 range” tag. So I did.
Then it got tricky:
I have no idea what this is, and what I am meant to do. Most importantly I cannot see the cool gear, just a guy holding a towel or something. I eventually worked out that this was some sort of flash based book, and that I was meant to click on the pages on the bottom.
It looks cool. But that “How do I buy” phrase in red was put there by me out of frustration. There is absolutely no way to buy a garment from this flash monstrosity. There is also no indication of price, and not even a link back to the home page. Seriously – try to find a link to the home page.
So I altered the url and went back to the home page. Eventually I discovered this:
This being the second yellow tag – “where to find it” which only becomes visible on mouse-over. It’s as if the designers have decided that they don’t really want to sell the products. And the linked Where to Find It page backed that up.
After looking for a while at the bland page (why not put the store logos there?) I noticed that three stores had “Shop online here” tags, so I clicked through. The bottom one was false as it was not an online store. The middle one yielded a home page from where I eventually navigated to this page:
The Mons Royale gear looks rather bland and certainly does not capture the flavour of the intended brand and design. The range is forgettable in this site, and the site itself is not going to drive me to buy.
But the top online store, gnomes.co.nz, was worst for Mons Royale . Again I had to navigate to the products from the home page, and again the gear was buried inside the site. However this time there were no product photos at all:
The site gave me no reason to buy, so I left.
In summary Mons Royale appears to have some nice gear, but has not asserted control of their customer experience. This is difficult to do for a start-up placing products into retail stores, but it is imperative to do it right online. Getting it right online gives full margin sales, and also makes it easy to connect with early adopters throughout the country and world. It’s these customers that will be come the evangelists for the products, and so it’s important to make things easy for them.
So what should Mons Royale do? Well I feel they need to get the basics right, so here are three quick wins:
- Transform the flash-book site into HTML – use WordPress or similar. Keep the glossy photos and big design, but make it easy to use and make the links you want people to click obvious.
- Create a simple e-commerce site, and drive the visitors from browsing to buying. Put big buy-now tags on every page. Control the process so that customers get the branding feel that you want. Use WordPress or similar, and ask one of the many excellent home-grown web companies to do it for you – someone with a track record in local ecommerce.
- Over-deliver and continue to improve: track what customers are doing on the site, and work to improve sales per visitor. When you do sell a product then wrap it distinctively, send it promptly and engage them post-sale. Over-deliver to your first customers as they are the ones that will spread the word.
It looks to be a good product range – I hope the founders can get this right.