It has been slightly over a month since RedMart moved to Lazada. And it has also been the exact same amount of time since I last ordered with RedMart.
Considering that I used to order a batch of groceries for my household every week, this has been a major lifestyle change for me. And it seems like I’m not alone.
Several friends and colleagues that I’ve asked also stopped ordering from RedMart, and apparently, their parents too.
So what is it exactly that makes the new RedMart in Lazada so hard to use? Isn’t it the exact same RedMart we loved? Was it the right move for Lazada to merge RedMart into Lazada’s user interface (UI)?
In my opinion, here are 7 things that have made RedMart on Lazada’s user experience (UX) confusing and difficult to use.
1. I don’t associate the Lazada brand with groceries, and RedMart’s branding is hidden beneath the fold.
Branding matters. I have come to associate groceries with RedMart, but when I think of Lazada, I think of tech gadgets and accessories.
Sorry, that perception stuck from a few years back. Actually, Lazada now offers electronics, beauty, apparel, home and living items and is on their way to become an all-in-one marketplace. Acquiring RedMart is perhaps their go at having a slice of the online grocery pie.
In my humble opinion, moving RedMart under Lazada’s fold was a mistake. Although you can buy anything from Lazada, its branding as one-stop marketplace overshadows RedMart’s strong branding as an online grocery store. As seasoned marketers would know: When you target everyone, you target no one.
More importantly, it runs into serious problems for the user interface.
To be fair, Lazada app has graciously put the RedMart logo in the centre of the landing page in mobile view, which I suppose is prime real estate. No other partner in LazMall gets such a premium treatment. However, in desktop view, RedMart is 1 of 5 buttons.
Still, this priority given to RedMart is vastly different from when RedMart had their own site and app. RedMart’s landing page, where you could instantly see the different categories of groceries at one go upon reaching redmart.com, was now only accessible from Lazada’s homepage.
So now, instead of feeling like I stepped into a supermarket, with the expectation that I will go on to browse aisles of grocery items, Lazada with a small RedMart button feels to me like a very messy Mustafa, where I have to spend effort to go to a specific level or corner for groceries.
At least Mustafa still manages to lure people in with its eclectic nature in a (kinda) downtown location.
Granted, I should be thankful that as soon as you hit that RedMart button, most of the previous RedMart user interface is retained, but if I’m a new user coming into the Lazada environment, I’d be inundated by all the non-grocery listings, and get distracted to even notice “RedMart”. I’d be surprised to know that this app sells groceries.
By the way, you’d think they would redirect you from RedMart to Lazada’s RedMart if they were serious about retaining customers, but they just left RedMart’s URL alone with a sign saying “We have moved!” Very blogspot-like, circa 2005, but not really encouraging a smooth user journey from RedMart to RedMart on Lazada, don’t you think?
2. Combined check-out carts with other non-grocery items confusing.
In an article titled “Bye RedMart app”, which is enough to send me to tears, AsiaOne reported that before RedMart merged with Lazada, 7 in 10 people who buy their groceries online already do so on RedMart.
I was among those 7. I even have an existing LiveUp membership, which I used predominantly for my RedMart orders.
But I’ve since gone back to walking to the nearest brick-and-mortar supermarket to get my groceries.
That’s because I am in a specific frame of mind when I buy groceries, which I don’t get into when I’m on Lazada. When shopping for perishable groceries online, I would shop, add to cart and cart out within the same hour.
On the other hand, for all other things that Lazada offers, anything from electronics, fashion items and furniture, I obviously need a longer time to deliberate, comparison-shop and finally check out.
While the browsing process is more or less the same on the old RedMart app and the new RedMart in Lazada (after you tap through to its dedicated page), once you get to the checkout page, you see non-grocery items lined up next to groceries.
If I’m just getting groceries for the week, the extra effort to ignore all the non-grocery items to check out what I want from RedMart hardly seems worth it. As you can see in the screenshot above, my groceries were even placed lower than this bicycle basket that I was considering but not yet ready to buy.
And I only had one item. If I had more, would I not even see my RedMart cart, which typically needs to be carted out fast?
In UX studies, even the colour of buttons should be deliberated as it affects click-through rates. I would imagine this confusing combination of checkout carts would cause many grocery shoppers to drop off at this point.
3. But… separate delivery schedules for RedMart and non-RedMart items?
RedMart in Lazada has retained the 2 hourly delivery schedule, which is great.
But if you are checking out your entire cart of RedMart and non-RedMart items, you would then have to do an extra click-through to select your delivery slot for RedMart items.
What an extra step! In the old RedMart app, clicking check out immediately brings you to the selection of delivery slots, which feels seamless.
The irony is that one of the possible reasons why Lazada acquired RedMart, apart from the fact that it was operating on losses and had quietly put themselves on the market, was that perhaps “Lazada is making the acquisition confidently with the knowledge that it can optimise costs by leveraging its own fleet for deliveries through LEX,” as proposed by Tech in Asia.
Well, I don’t know which part of the process Lazada is at currently when it comes to that, but this way of checking out and selection of shipping method is not seamless and may turn customers away.
Without orders, there won’t be need to leverage any delivery fleet, anyway, right?
4. Search on Lazada or search in RedMart?
Aside from the fact that Lazada doesn’t look like an online grocery store, the layered user interface with RedMart under the fold is really mind-boggling.
For one thing, there are 2 search bars.
For the general Lazada sidebar, you can search for groceries and get to RedMart items if they are obvious grocery items. However if you type in something like vegan, you would get vegan t-shirts on Lazada general search bar. Only if you search under RedMart would you find actual vegan food items.
So you would think that the solution is simple: Just search on RedMart if you want groceries!
But then, another friend told me that she wanted to get a specific brand of rice and couldn’t find it within RedMart. But she could find it outside RedMart using Lazada’s general search bar.
5. No more updating your order with items that you missed out.
One feature that RedMart users loved was the ability to update orders even after checking out, as long as the order has not yet been packed and scheduled.
This feature was especially good for groceries, because groceries are of a fast-moving nature. Let’s say on Monday morning I place my order for the week’s groceries and then in the evening, I realise that I’m going to run out of diapers for the kiddo. It would be completely irritating for me to schedule a next round of delivery for that 1 pack of diapers. In the absence of such a feature, I would just walk opposite to the supermarket instead.
You don’t face this problem with most non-perishable hardware and fashion items on Lazada, because a consumer expects a longer shipping time for those types of items.
6. RedMart’s user interface was cleaner and better designed than Lazada.
I admit that I was a RedMart snob. Even if an item were a few dollars more expensive on RedMart than elsewhere, I would still buy from RedMart.
That’s because I could get cash rebate from my LiveUp membership and the user interface of other sites were not up to par.
One major problem with Lazada is that their sellers are typically a varied bunch, with some of them residing overseas.
You end up getting duplicate listings of the same item with zero or badly-written item descriptions, as well as different prices, depending on the seller.
Whereas with RedMart, you know that it’s one seller that you’ve come to trust.
Even though RedMart on Lazada retained their reliable 2-hour delivery slots and most of the UI under the fold of the RedMart button, I would still have to encounter Lazada’s user interface and branding at the beginning and at the end of my user journey, which was not what I signed up for.
I was actually taken aback to receive a Lazada email after ordering on RedMart as an experiment for this article, because my brand loyalty is (was) with RedMart, not Lazada.
Getting sent a messy list of 7 shipments for the 7 grocery items I bought when I have scheduled for my 2-hour delivery slot is not a minor annoyance and definitely doesn’t spark the same joy as my old RedMart emails.
I miss the cute RedMart illustrations and 1 consolidated order with clear and personable delivery instructions. Although it sounds like such a first world problem, it reveals a bigger issue: Lazada needs to seriously analyse and optimise the user journey of RedMart customers to retain them.
7. Lazada app on iPad has no landscape view.
I don’t use an iPad, so I wouldn’t know, but one or two hardwarezone users have lamented that the Lazada app can’t be used in landscape view on the iPad, and they had been enjoying making grocery selections with that view.
This is probably the easiest problem to solve with some tech engineering, but for points 1 to 6, I think the only way to solve them is probably to de-link RedMart and allow them to have their own app and site again.
In the absence of a strong online grocery player in the market right now, RedMart on Lazada does have a chance of winning back the 70% online grocery pie it used to have. Perhaps, it’s still not too late.
RedMart users, do you still order? Share with us what you think in the comments below!