Online Retail Review – Rating 6/10
Good for fast, affordable fashion for those seeking a regular fashion fix.
Bad for selling each item with engaging product descriptions and imagery.
Sportsgirl began operations in Melbourne in 1948 as the younger, more vibrant alternative to big sister label Sportscraft. They now have over 110 retail outlets, still target a younger demographic and have a reputation for offering a reinterpretation of the latest designer trends at affordable prices.
Founded by Wolf Bardos, the company grew and expanded under his son David and is now owned by Sussan Corporation, a private company owned solely by CEO Naomi Milgrom.
Sportsgirl retail the majority of their products under their own brand and in recent years have also launched collaborative efforts with a number of Australian up and coming designers like Romance was Born, Cohen et Sabine, Ellery and Amsdorf.
In an interview with the University of NSW in September 2010, Naomi Milgrom stated that the Sportsgirl site was the number one online site for 16-24 year old women and received 9-12 million visitors per month.
The home page is dominated by a large rotating graphic with models in alternate Sportsgirl looks in different locations within a home. Clicking on each one, gives a visual breakdown of the style elements in each picture and an option to ‘shop the look’.
However, clicking on ‘shop the look’ didn’t go through to a specific page with links to each item from the home page image but instead to the new arrivals clothing homepage. So if you wanted to buy the items featured you’d need to take note of what they were and then try to find them yourself. The home page pitch of ‘This is our place’ is obviously part of a broader advertising campaign and not tied to specific products.
The homepage has a clean look to it with a white background and simple navigation bar at the top. A rotating bar above the main image highlights the current free shipping offer.
The first thing that stands out is there is no search box on the home page or on the main shopping pages. This is unusual on an e-commerce site and given the volume of traffic to the site, I can only assume that a search box wasn’t working or they’ve never had one.
The product images load quickly and are displayed in small frames 3 high with a side to side scroll bar. The images enlarge to display the product name and price when you scroll over each item. Clicking on a particular product displays a larger image and limited description.
The product pages were disappointing given the effort that has gone into the styling pages accessible from the main homepage. Fabric care is a generic pop up that applies to all products on the site and isn’t adapted to each individual product. There is no information on the length or fit of the product and not all products have alternate product images (for example, images of the back, side, modelled with accessories).
On the product pages I viewed, there were limited links to related products with many products I looked at only displaying lipstick as the additional matching style pick. There are no options for reviews on product pages either.
There is an option to add a particular item to a favourite list which unlike some other sites you don’t need to login to begin. However, the trade off is that your favourites are forgotten once you close your browser.
For those who haven’t shopped Sportsgirl before and saved their details on their PC, checkout is a 3 step process with a 4th step as the confirmation page. This is OK but could be streamlined into one page plus a confirmation page especially as they are targeting speed over substance in other areas.
As mentioned above this information is clearly displayed on the home page above the fold in a flashing yellow graphic on the home page and a small yellow banner at centre top throughout the shop. Strangely, clicking on either banner jumps the visitor to the shop home page and not the shipping page. There is a link to ‘shipping and delivery’ in the footer.
If you receive a product and the size or colour isn’t right and you want to replace it then you’re responsible for the return shipping costs for the unwanted item and the replacement. This places the risk on getting it right with the customer. Given the limited product information and imagery this seems a little unfair.
There are links in the footer to returns, sizing, fabric care, finding a store, shipping and help. The contact us page is extensive offering many different choices for customers to get in touch depending on what they want to say. Even a physical address is provided if you feel up to writing an ‘old school letter’. Social media links are tucked way down the bottom which is odd given the target demographic and their desire to share.
From the style heavy home page and interactive links (style snaps, lookbook, comps, events, forums) across the top nav bar on the homepage, I expected the shop to be more engaging than it was. The Style Snaps and Lookbook pages were very well done, although each only offered two-three different looks.
Given that Sportsgirl is all about fast, affordable fashion pieces with high design turnover, perhaps this is why minimal effort is put into selling each item.
This is a site for a younger female demographic to get their inexpensive, weekly fashion hit. And because they visit often they want change and variety over substance. The Sportsgirl target market aren’t looking for long term investment pieces and the items will probably be pushed to the back of the wardrobe in a month or so when something more eye catching emerges.
While it’s an understandable strategy, it’s important to remember that they are competing with pure play etailers like Asos and Shopbop that also offer fast fashion and make a big effort to inform customers about their products.
Offline: 110 retail stores
What they sell online: clothing and accessories for women
Who’s in charge: Elle McLauchlan, CEO