Ellos at the forefront of Nordic Digital e-commerce

If I would have told you two years ago that in 2011, one of the leading e-commerce companies in the Nordics, would be a catalog/distance retail company, it would probably not seem too far stretched. However, when you consider this specific company, the kind of clothes they retail and their target group, I assume, that you would have laughed at me.

The unexpected transition of Ellos

Ellos is a company I associate with ladies 35+ who indulge in home shopping as a substitute for love. I know Ellos will probably read this article and I apologize for what I just stated. But seriously. In my mind you have always been a quite “old fashioned company”. Never in my life would I expect you to be the front runner of digital development in the Nordics. I guess that’s perhaps why I get such satisfaction now that you prove to be just that.

A second reason for my new found admiration is that you do it good. Actually you do it better than good. It is not usual that I am happy when I get to work in the morning, but the day last week, when you released your new Facebook integrated online store, I was. All my colleagues asked what was wrong with me… I told them: “it is not every day that I expect something terrible, and it turns out to be the very opposite”.

Enough of the praise which I guess is vaguely interesting for my common reader. Here is what they have done.

iPhone Application

Ellos has produced an iPhone application which is quite simple. Not only in the way that it is constructed, but also because it is easy to actually shop from it. I heard from another client that “I had to download it” as it was supposedly “fun to shop through”. As I browsed the different sections I was inclined to agree. It worked.

Considering the load of useless applications out there from companies trying to brand themselves, rather than giving their visitors and easy and mobile access to shopping, this was indeed a luxury of joy.

Create account

The first screen after download gives you three clear and distinct options above the fold, leaving you with at least one option that you can do something about. Choose a language/site to connect through, log in or create a user, or connect to Facebook. This will incline even the most lazy downloaders to complete the task of registration.

As you see, this setup really gives you no “no”-option. They all mean yes, but in different ways. Just like an ol’ doors salesman would ask you to pay now or in thirty days, this app gives you no reason not to register.

Category page

Look at the top of this interface. What does it include. All that needs to be said. Right. Cause what do you ask yourself when in a store?

  • What’s new?
  • What is popular?
  • Can I find exactly what I’m looking for?

The top navigation of this application gives you these three options. It gives you an option for the latest items, it gives you a toplist and it gives you a category listing to browse through. Above it is the display of the category listing. As you can see they could have easily hidden “Underkläder & bad” and “Skor”, translating to “Underwear & bath” and “Shoes”, underneath the option “Mode” which translates to “Fashion”. But no, they don’t. Why you might ask? Well, probably because these are very popular categories and thus need to be elevated.

This proves Ellos have created their application with an outside-in perspective rather than an inside-out perspective. They know what their customers ask for and need, and they deliver it the way the customers want it. Top selling categories should be elevated as they are the most popular. By elevating them, your application becomes more popular, as many people can relate to it. Thus they start using it. See… if you want someone to start using something you should make it easy.

It might sound like a joke, but most companies don’t think this way. They develop a rigid strategy and then employ their expensive value driven and branded lingo on their online content. That’s rarely what the users want. They want jam-jar copy. What’s in the jar, should be written on the outside of the jar.

Jam Jar copywriting

See. If you give a jar of jam to a creative or a copywriter, they will naturally write “sweet and sticky” on the outside as it describes the experience of the contents. However, this is not what the user searches for. They search for “Strawberry jam”.

Product display

The products are listed in an orderly fashion with the product thumbnail, name and price as the most predominant features. This is all you need. If you have a discount or an offer you should do like they do here below. Make the price red.

The actual product display leaves little to none to ask for. The top option “Välj utförande” gives you the option to see the product in another color or in a different setting. The second option “Välj storlek” gives you the option to choose size. The third option is about quantity.

Then you have the price, the call to action in a light green color “Lägg i varukorg”, emphasizing the preferred action with a different color. Finally you have the “Spara i önskelista”, or “Add to wish list” and the user ratings. What else do you need in order to purchase this item, given you need (or at least believe you need) or crave the item?

Ellos launches Facebook Connection

As if the iPhone application wasn’t enough, Ellos went Amazon on me the other day when they launched their Facebook connection. When I first saw the tweet posted by the excellent blogger and consultant @kullin about Ellos Facebook integration I felt the “near puke”-sensation in my mouth.

I didn’t recall the excellent iPhone application at the time and I thought that this would be yet another ASOS disaster putting a webshop onto the Facebook platform itself. I tell anyone I meet that they should try to get products on Facebook as a status update after purchase as this induces other people to buy. However, to put your webshop on Facebook is a bit pre-mature.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t say that the companies who do should be shouted at for trying. I’m just saying they’re probably wasting their money on something that will not come into effect in a couple of years. However, if no one is first, then there will probably be no evolution to speak of. So… I take back the whole “disaster” thing I said above. Well done ASOS as well… but don’t expect returns anytime soon. (yeye… know I will get punched for that one, but seriously, ever heard of alternative costs?)

Back to the issue at hand.

Ellos proved me wrong. Yet again. They had done something which I didn’t expect at all. They had understood that all that Facebook is for business is a bunch of data collected in networks. The best way to do business on Facebook is to use that data in order to enrich the shopping experience.

So this is what the application does and looks like. You’re able to like, buy and post, recommend and view your friends actions whilst shopping. Once again, all you need in order to make a purchase decision.

I don’t necessarily like the Like-box integration on the right hand side. But who’s perfect? There are still some SEO issues with the product pages, but I am sure that this is a transition challenge. However, making each and every product a digital asset and thus shareable is worth a 5 minute cry of satisfaction for anyone frustrated enough (read Jesper).

The thing that made me cry the most was probably their incentive to make their store viral:

If you invite 5 friends, you’ll get 50% discount on a purchased good. They truly understand the value of connecting to a network of friends and the proximity rules of influence. If people shop together, they are likely to buy more than if they shop alone. By making this option available they are truly giving their shopping platform into a viral campaign, and thus getting a sufficient amount of users to actually be able to present some exciting stuff in the “friends section”.

This application would be useless if you were the only one using it in your network. By emphasizing the sharing aspect as soon as you connect, you as a user become partially responsible for the quality of your Friend Store. If you don’t invite, you’re responsible for not getting the great experience. Plus, you miss out on a 50% discount. Although I haven’t read what the * means next to the word “valfri” (any) product, I am just too excited by the execution that I simply do not care about this conversion killer of little star.

Ellos future

I will follow Ellos with great anticipation in the future and I will update you on the continued evolution of this company. If they are using consultants, I sure want to know who you are, cause I need to recruit the living crap out of you. If you’re not using consultants, then I just have to thank you! Your shopping experience is a blessing.

Now. In order for this to be a true Jesper article, I have to do some bashing as well. Considering you do have such great digital assets you should probably start thinking about cutting down the paper back editions. Especially to those who do not wish to get them.

Make that a game as well. Perhaps – “If you do not wish to receive these send outs anymore, register to our online nix-list available at Ellos.se, and we’ll make sure to turn your paper waste into online savings.” Or something like that :). I know that was some weak ass bashing, but seriously. They’re good… don’t you agree?


2 thoughts on “Ellos at the forefront of Nordic Digital e-commerce”

  1. Hello Jesper!

    Thank you for your kind words and also your bashing! It was with a happy mind and a peaceful soul, that I read your “review” of our site. It´s very rewarding to get this kind of specialist eyes, from outside of the company, to go through our “business”.

    A lot of exciting things will happen in the near future, and once again, words like this tells us we´re on the right track!

    Kind regards

    Per-Henrik Persson, Creative Director/Communication Department, Redcats/Ellos.


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