Selling online: Garrendenny Lane

Our new series ‘Selling online’, follows on from our very successful ‘Q&A’s for new business bloggers‘ series. Inspired by the post ‘How to sell online in 60 seconds‘; online retailers can submit their website for us to provide custom feedback on how you can sell better online (Good times, people!)

Our first brave online retailer is Lorna of Garrendenny Lane.  Garrendenny Lane sells various home furnishings and gift items from a number of designers.

First impressions

The first thing we notice about Garrendenny Lane is the subtle styling and design (nods head to Lorna). The colours are strong, but the contrast works well. As a creative ecommerce site, the boutique-style compliments the nature of the goods.

I will say one thing however – some shoppers prefer the look of a more mainstream ecommerce site, simply because it shouts ‘bigger brand’. With the internet being open to so many scams, shoppers can be cautious. With this in mind, trust is vital for a small shop such as Garrendenny Lane.

To assist with trust building, try adding to the homepage – customer feedback, adding security logos to show how ‘locked down’ the site is. Have a feed to your Facebook fan following and feature your telephone number, address and company registration number. The reviews per product are great. If you featured more of these on the homepage, then even better!

In my recent Facebook poll, Security was the greatest consideration when choosing a website to purchase from.

Be prepared for potential customers to search for your company name online, so be sure to conduct regular checks to make sure all mentions are in a postive light and that any negative comments are responded to promptly. Google alerts will help here.

Design and Branding – have you ‘wowed’ your audience?

The branding is consistant throughout the site. Its clean, fresh and modern. The design is quite standarised in places, so some customisation would do wonders to soften up the navigation menus and tiles for testimonials and the blog. It’s surprising how a simple change such as curved edges can change the mood of a visitor (look at the history of cars moving from boxey to rounded and sleek over the years).

This would be more to do with styling and setup, but some spacing between products and a restriction on the size so that they all appear more regimented. When you zoom in, it’s ideal for each image to be optimised by still of a high quality level, so that when zomed in, all those small details are in perfect clarity.

Navigation – finding a product

When it comes to navigation, you want to make the search as simple as possible. After all, a frustrated searcher is unlikely to become a customer. A site with many items such as this would benefit greatly from a free text search facility as near to the top as possible. A link to the ‘Advanced search’ can be added for more targeted searching. A search facility can be easiliy overlooked within the navigation.

I would also consider the layout of pages, what categories to use, the order on the page and location (top or side). You will note that most online retailers such as Amazon and Littlewoods focus on the main (top) navigation and use drop-down menus. This is is so the complete navigational menu is above the fold and save visitors scrolling. It also saves width, which can be used to greater effect by filling with images of your products.

For Garrendenny Lane, I would keep ‘Shop by Brands’, ‘Shop by Price’ and ‘Shop by Occasion’ at the top, then list the others in popularity order and use mouse-over menus to hide/unhide sub-pages.

Specialist pages ‘For Japan’ and Summer Sale’ could then be given the top placements,plus perhaps a homepage tile to ‘tempt’ customers in with an short message and prominent position on the page.

‘Latest’, ‘New In’ etc, are hightly sought after pages, so make sure your most recent products are seperated for returning customers to view new items.

Adding to cart and Checkout – making the actual purchase

The product descriptions are nice and full and the add to cart button is easy to see and use. Share buttons are there; great for showing your friends (like an online personal referral). Plus wishlist etc. You could add specifications here, multimedia items such as videos. The Loudervoice Reviews are fab!

The actual checkout process is well thought out. Checkout steps are defined at the top and you can see which stages you are at throughout. Shipping costs are automatically added depending on location selected, plus the shipping page clearly states prices. You could move the account log in to the top right and limit scrolling. After entering shipping and billing details, I note that the terms and conditions are comphrehensive enough and cover security, which is great.

Realex and Paypal are covered, although you may like to add a few extra options such as Google Checkout (becoming extremely popular).

All in all I think Garredenny Lane is a beautiful website that needs only minor tweeks here and there to increase click thru rate and conversions. The individual and creative nature of the site is chic, and the items are diverse.

In fact, I was so taken with the items for the past hour, that Garredenny Lane has been added to my ‘Christmas time’ present and ‘New home’ list. This kooky style is too cool to resist!

Images sourced from


What are your thoughts on Garrendenny Lane?

What you like us to feature a review of your ecommerce website? Comment with the site address below.


  1. Lorna

    Thank you for such a comprehensive review Christina, I have to admit I was nervous when I started reading the the website still has some finishing touches and extra functionality to be added but great to get this feedback before it is completely finished! Keeping a website up to date is a full time job!
    All your points are very clear too My only query is your point re the search box facility – do you think its position on the top left isn’t clear enough?
    I will certainly take on board all your points esp regarding the security, phone contacts, CRO number etc. We decided not to go with the drop down menus as apparently they aren’t so good for SEO although so many sites I looked at had them – John Lewis, Pottery Barn etc. We also have some tweaking to do on the brands page as for some reason, they are not aligning up correctly.
    Thank you very much for that, appreciate it, Lorna :)

    1. Christina Giliberti

      Aww Lorna, we’re suckers for the cause. The web one that is! What’s wonderful about being a website owner is that you are constantly evolving with the site and can experiement with plenty of ideas. But yes, keeping it all up-to-date is a full time job.

      With regards the search facility, most seachers are used to seeing it in a usual place. Top right hand corner or within a box with a prominent position on the page. Thats the reason I suggest having it this way. Within the navigation is slightly unusual and could be missed. You don’t want that!

      There’s always a bit of ‘play off’ and ‘sacrifice’ when it comes to design vs SEO. Trsut me when I say that the likes of Amazon, Next and John Lewis would be steering away from drop-downs if they lost out on the SEO. SEO has as much to do with keyword latency, frequency and backlink building as anything else. All can be achieved with drop-downs. ; 0 )

      Happy tweeking. We’d love to take a lookie afterwards….

  2. Anonymous

    Great advice :)  However I hate dropdown menus from top navigation… maybe just a pet hate of mine!

    1. Christina Giliberti

      Hi there,
      We all have a few pet hates. Drop-down menus can inhibit your viewing pleasure by blocking images, but there are a few winning examples out. Check out River Island’s ( poster style one-line drop-down menus or Cisco’s ( mini-style website-style menu (with images to boot!).

      Appealing and stylish menus can be created; like everything however, its all about making it work for you. There are a number of other ways to set up navigational menus online like building it into your promotional banner ( and (

      I’m sure you’ll find many others, and who knows, some might restore your faith in drop-down menus.

      Thanks for commenting.

  3. [...] Our first brave online retailer was Lorna of Garrendenny Lane.  Read our first online review here. [...]

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