Today we review another ecommerce company who is offering itself up for an outtakes analysis! I’m looking into dressfirst.com, a web-only dress company that offers a myriad of fancy styles for weddings, proms and parties. Arriving at the site, I’m met with a selection of well photographed gowns of all styles, a confirmation that this is indeed a one-stop-shop for any dressy occasion. Additionally, the top of the page provides me with some useful (and tempting) information – it seems that many of the gowns are up to 80% off, and all are accessible by worldwide free shipping for the next two days. A customer always likes to know that they’re getting a deal!
The site can be displayed in twelve languages, and items paid for in twelve currencies; this is a truly global company. One of the downfalls is that it is a bit impersonal – there is no phone number for customers to access a service representative, just a button near the top that says ‘live chat.’ But when I click it, the chat is not live at all! There is a form that requests my name, email and the inquiry I have, and then says I will have a response within 24 hours. A bit long if I have a question about a dress! Enough time for me to find an alternate website…
Scrolling to the bottom of the page is better news, that the site is PayPal Verified and Norton Secured – I feel safe. The main page is fairly clear in terms of categorizing the different styles of dress. If anything, there might be just a few too many categories for women who aren’t well acquainted with dress terminology (mermaid, empire, sheath or princess, anyone?). I would suggest the site could provide a page of style descriptions.
I click into the dresses and find one I like – and am happily surprised by the custom size option! I’m able to put in my exact measurements (they are very clear about what is what in terms of where to measure), and when I accidentally put in a faulty measurement, the website corrects me. However, what is most disappointing about the purchasing experience is that when I select a color (it’s great there are so many!), the image of the dress doesn’t change, making it difficult for me to imagine on my body.
It would also be helpful to be told the estimated waiting time for a gown I have selected – as I found elsewhere on the website, the length of time to make and ship each dress differs according to type of dress and general business of the company. No one wants to wait until they’re halfway through check out to discover how long the dress will take, or even worse, have to wait 24 hours for that question to be answered.
Check out requires a login, which I often find frustrating since it seems like I always get locked into the requisite mailing list when I begin ‘accounts’ at ecommerce websites. But I suppose it will help if I decide I like my dress and want to order a second.
All in all, dressfirst.com is a very thorough site, and well suited to the sheer volume of dress options it offers. A little bit of personalization with its customers never hurts, and my recommendations for improvements are: applying different colors to images of each style, more immediate customer service communication, and conveying the processing and shipping times upon adding to basket. Otherwise, great selection of color, style and product – a true one-stop-shop experience for fancy events.