The Purpose

In the age of fast fashion, it can be difficult to find quality clothes at a reasonable price. While fad brands come and go, Ann Taylor has been providing the working woman with modern, stylish pieces for nearly 70 years. Within the last decade, Ann Inc., the parent company of Ann Taylor, successfully kept its flagship brand above the surge of competition in the late 2010s.

In this case study, I explored and evaluated Ann Taylor’s website to understand where they were winning and present suggestions for enhancement. To provide a clearer picture of the fashion retailer landscape, competitor New York & Company was used as a comparison.

Ann Taylor caters to a distinct audience…

When you look at Ann Taylor’s marketing, it’s easy to see that they hone in on a singular market: the modern working woman. Having mastered the balance between board room and comfortable classics, this brand values a consumer who needs to communicate with their clothes, as well as their words.

Here is what they might look like…

Ann Taylor works to create an online experience that can work to create an experience that satisfies the breadth of their audience by identifying how needs and motivations differ from customer to customer.

Below are two personas that cover the extremes of their client spectrum. There were several common themes: the need for streamlined searchability, the need for security, & the need to be confident – in the clothes that they’re wearing, but also within the shopping process.

Competitive Analysis

Ann Taylor and New York & Company are two popular retailers in the US for women’s business apparel. Both companies are similar in branding and target the same market. While there is a gap in price point and product quality, I felt that these brands exceeded in uplifting women through fashion and career empowerment.

Here you can find the full website analysis conducted (complete with video examples!), but here’s a quick summary of what I uncovered.

Ann Taylor

New York & Company

The Good:

  • Clear aesthetic point of view
  • High contrast and conscientious text placement
  • Accessible navigation

The Good:

  • Endless scroll function
  • Extensive filtering and product information
  • Secure & simple checkout

What Needs Work:

  • Website is not completely responsive
  • Disorienting pop ups detract from shopping experience

What Needs Work:

  • Hodgepodge aesthetic that is hard to understand
  • Lack of accessible & inclusive website features

The Conclusions

After exploring and testing both websites, I have to say that Ann Taylor is where it’s at for a great online experience while buying business apparel.

Crucial information was presented up-front and efforts were made to ensure the user knew where they were on the site no matter how “deep” they were. What also surprised me was their attempt to take accessible web design into account. Inclusivity is everything!

Although New York & Company had a very similar layout and feel to Ann Taylor, their lack of distinct branding and clunky interface made it difficult to enjoy the shopping experience. From the obnoxiously designed banners they used, to the non-alphabetized tabs, their lack of finesse made me work way harder than I wanted to.

From this exercise, I concluded that Ann Taylor’s steadfast consistency and attention to detail is what gives their brand a superior experience. Users feel confident in their actions and sure that they’ll receive a quality product every time without a hitch.