E-Commerce Sites: A Comparison of ModCloth, eShakti and Zappos


Dominique Barni and Lisa Kennelly

Our website: ModCloth

Other websites:




  • Prominent brand logo in the top left of the home page
  • White background
  • A rotating slide show of featured content in the center of the home page.
  • Top navigation bar organized by department
  • Newsletter subscription option
  • The free shipping option is featured prominently on the home page.


  • Length of scrolling on home page – Zappos has a significant scrolldown, while ModCloth and eShakti have little content “below the fold.”
  • eShakti features a customer testimonial prominently in the top center of the home page; Zappos has testimonials broken out by product at the bottom of the page after scrolling.
  • ModCloth and eShakti have search bars in the top right; Zappos has a search bar in the top left
  • The shopping “cart” (for Zappos) and shopping “bag” (for ModCloth and eShakti) is in the top right
  • eShakti and Zappos offer a “Help” option in the top right corner; ModCloth has a “Customer Care” link with a talk bubble in the top center of the home page. Zappos also has a 24/7 Customer Service number and talk bubble in white on blue background in the very top left above the logo.
  • eShakti and ModCloth have social media buttons below the center images; Zappos does not display social media integration on the home page.

Effectiveness of Design:

  • ModCloth is clean and easy to navigate, with the bright colors of clothes and special featured designers standing out against the white background and light blue accents. The search bar and shopping cart are easy to find in the top right of the page. Social media integration is a bit buried in the lower left, though the Facebook widget is prominent in the middle right of the page.
  • eShakti is very clean, with a stark white background and black text in a plain, easy-to-read Arial font. The color in the featured dresses draws the eye to the center navigation. The minimal scroll keeps the focus on the center of the page. The large font for featured deals: “save $20 on your first order” “40% off” is effective at drawing attention to those offers.
  • Zappos is the busiest site visually of the three, with a rapidly scrolling center slideshow and multiple navigation options in the top (by category and alphabetical by letter) and left side (categories by market segment). The majority of the text is an easy-to-read blue on a white background, with certain elements (“Search” “Sale” “Free Shipping”) in orange or green font to draw attention. Scrolling down the page reveals more featured offers and sales, customer testimonials, a green bar highlighting a “Zappos Core Family Value” and then another itemized list of all the site’s categories. Although the design is easy to follow, the massive amount of content on this home page errs on the side of being overwhelming for the visitor (though likely very useful for SEO purposes.)

We determined that success for all three of these e-commerce sites is if the site visitor makes a purchase.


Jane needs a little black dress for a holiday party at the beginning of December (three weeks away). Jane is 32 years old and relatively tech savvy (based on our audience determination of women ages 18-45). She has shopped online before but prefers to be able to try clothes on before buying. She is concerned with finding something that fits, shipping costs, delivery time and return policy, because she plans to buy multiple options. She is a size 8. She plans to have it shipped to her office for security reasons. Her budget is $100.

ModCloth Scenario

eShakti Scenario

Zappos Scenario

ModCloth Dos/Don’ts


  • make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for
  • make it easy for customers to add items to their bag and check out (like that there is an option to checkout (button) without having to go back to the car first.
  • offer size charts for clothing
  • offer customer reviews and ratings that make it easier for new customers to choose items they will keep]
  • make it easy for customers to see if their size is in stock
  • make it easy for customers to share items they like (via wishlists and social networking sites)


  • cluster items together inconsistent ways (ModCloth has some groupings by occasion and some by style, but not a full list of each and there is no way to combine these — what if i want a one shoulder party dress? no dice)
  • only show clothing on dress forms — people like to see what things look like on actual people.
  • make customers have to “start over” if they want to continue shopping.

eShakti Dos/Don’ts


  • provide good images of your inventory
  • make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for (in our case, a “little black dress” for a holiday party)
  • allow your customer to “continue shopping” in the same area they left (rather than taking them back to the item they just put in their bag/cart)


  • make it difficult for shoppers to add items to their bag/cart
  • give customers lots of information in large chunks of text that is difficult to skim through (no hierarchy of text or differentiation by size/color/font)
  • make it confusing as to whether customers are viewing all possible items or not (see screencast)

Zappos Dos/Don’ts


  • give your customers lots of options to filter by so they can refine search results to the items that really match what they’re looking for
  • show customers what clothing looks like on actual people, and provide multiple views
  • provide reviews/customer feedback so new customers can learn from the experience of others and be more likely to make a purchase they’ll keep
  • provide product details
  • provide suggestions (if you liked that, you might like this)
  • make important information easy to spot (shipping/return information)


  • overwhelm customers with too much information
  • take customers who just added an item to their bag/cart back to that same item (they already added it, they don’t need to see it again) and don’t make them redo search/filter parameters

2 responses to “E-Commerce Sites: A Comparison of ModCloth, eShakti and Zappos”

  1. Kathy E. Gill says :

    Creative use of video to capture flow! For folks who prefer to read, give them a 5-cent verdict

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