Retail designers got it wrong

by Jim October 16, 2019

We picked up 10 shortlisted entries in this year’s SEMrush Search Awards for Australia, which I’m over the moon about. All the nominations were for revenue model clients, which is a great vindication for the way we’ve pivoted our business this year. I’ve been drumming up business by offering some free insights into retail sites in exchange for snooping around stores. The biggest takeaway seems to be that retail design hasn’t moved with the technological times.

What I learned

  • Our revenue model is producing tangible results
  • Why retail design hasn’t moved with the times
  • Obvious changes can make a difference
  • Can I get some feedback?
  • When was the last time you examined your checkout?


Hey, welcome back Rankers! The SEMrush Search Awards for Australia were announced last week, the shortlists, and I`m happy to say we had 10 entries shortlisted. And that means a lot to us and a lot to me, and I just wanted to thank our clients, who are awesome. And one of the reasons it means a lot to us for shortlisting is because all of our entries that are shortlisted are on our new revenue model. And we`ve gone through this pivot over the last 18 months I guess, moving more towards a revenue focus. And it`s nice to get this sort of recognition. It`s only shortlisting, but it`s a really tough crowd, so I`m pretty chuffed to be shortlisted amongst the crowd that we have been shortlisted amongst. So fantastic staff, fantastic clients.

Retail evolution

And one of the things I`ve been doing with this model is I`ve been talking to as many retailers as I possibly can. I`m trying to get their feedback, because it`s interesting that we`ve made certain assumptions about design and industry and the way that people use computer screens and it turns out to be largely untrue. And I say that because with all respect to people who are involved in design and all these other things, but the reality is, is that the changes that we`ve been making to people`s sites over the last 12, 18 months, they are like, `Oh my God, why didn`t I think of that before? Oh my God, this is so simple.` I was talking to a guy who I`ve known for… Hi Mike, about five years, six years, maybe seven, I don`t know, 10. I don`t know. A while. And he`s a good retailer, a good bloke. And I was talking to him the other day and I said, `I just want to get your feedback on this product.` And I said, `I`ll take a look at your site.`

And basically what I`m saying to people is, look, can I get some feedback? I want to give you my pitch. I`ll give you some free stuff, you can take it away and make your site better, make more revenue, right? So it`s a quid pro quo. Because a lot of these people I don`t want to work with, and it`s nothing personal, it`s just that they`re not right for the model. But I can tell them where I can help them and fix their site. So with him it was the classic shop window even before I got into his site. I said, `A lot of retailers suffer from this shop window syndrome.` And this is a problem that`s coming from the design industry. Right? There`s no reason for it. There`s no logic for it. But for some reason we see this time and time again. Like on his site, on his retailer site, it`s just blazoned across this large carousel, `Why would you go anywhere else?` Well, I`m not. I`m here. I`m already here. I`m right here. I`m not going anywhere else. You`ve got me. How about you sell me some stuff?

Have you tried the checkout?

And it`s largely that sort of stuff that`s happening and has happened in retail since its inception. I sold my first website in 1995, right? And we`ve come a long way since then, but we still make assumptions based on bad data. And we say it time and time again. Even simple things like, Oh, well, we`ve got a nice homepage design. Great. We`ve got a nice category page. Great. Got a nice product page design. Great. Anyone check the checkout? What? Sorry? No. And we see that time and time again as well. And it`s like retail has not changed when it went online, the only difference is the way that we access the information and get the stuff. Okay, so we don`t need to have things in our face when we hit your site, the same way when I go into your store, I don`t want people walking around with placards putting them in my face, telling me to go down… I`m trying to get to the product. Okay?

Simple stuff, but it happens all through the site. And that`s why I`m so rapt about this shortlisting. So thank you everyone for your support. And if you get anything out of this show at all, then please subscribe. Please tell your friends, and we`ll see you next week. Thanks very much. Bye.

Jim’s been here for a while, you know who he is.

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