My Ugly Christmas Sweater: When Tacky Design Works

Christmas is coming and if you haven’t received your ugly christmas sweater party invite yet – then you’re out of the loop. This trendy new party theme caters to the recent ironic fashion movement and, as you’d expect, eCommerce developers have caught word of the opportunity and are trying to cash out. One noteworthy site is www.myuglychristmassweater.com.

Breaking Down the Design

The first thing you’ll notice about the site is how perfectly the design scheme matches their target market. It even complements the tackiness of the sweaters! They know what appeals to their unique set of consumers with their appropriately tacky theme. Their interface is user-friendly for the most part; there is a lot of content, it’s well organized, clean and easy on the eyes.

They offer five basic categories in their main navigation, including symbols for ease of understanding. This is the ideal look for a category navigation. However, the developers were clearly unsatisfied with this number as they’ve included a superfluous list in one of the leftmost blocks, which any consumer would likely ignore due to the excess of text.

Room for Improvement

Their site is in need of some light refinement: this last block is cluttered and styleless, so it is likely to be overlooked. Further, their main categories have dropdown arrows without any dropdown functionality. One obvious solution would be to use the excessive left block as the missing subcategories.

A few of their main navigation options are ‘Under $35’, ‘Naughty’, and ‘Lights’. Yes, you read it right, lights. They have a wide variety of styles of ugly sweaters with LED lights sewn onto them, and believe it or not, the batteries are included. Their need for additional development is further evidenced by, disappointingly, a single lonely product under their “Naughty” category, which would otherwise likely be the more popular of the bunch.

While their prices may initially seem steep at up to $125 (for this lovely piece inaccurately sorted outside of the naughty category) these become more reasonable once their costs are taken into consideration. The reasons for these high prices are threefold: as their market is in its early stages of development they must custom-‘uglify’ each product by hand, they don’t yet receive an impressive amount of traffic on their site, and finally their profits vary hugely on a seasonal cycle.

Despite these high prices, the developers are taking steps in the right direction: they actively advertise the history of the ugly christmas sweater tradition, and they are openly hosting party information for visitors to the site. These are both effective strategies for the expansion of a consumer base. They are also mitigating the seasonal cycle of income by linking to a year-round “funny gift”-themed website.

In summary, this website is a prime example of developing eCommerce. Here’s what we can learn from them:

Why This Site Works

– The developers are aware of their consumer base, as proven by the specifically appealing theme and user interface.

– They have an effective strategy to expand their market by providing helpful information like the history of the trend and party-planning tips, as well as hosting ads for visitors to the site.

Why This Site Doesn’t Work

– The navigation is lacking in organization, which may be unpleasant and confusing for new visitors.

– Unfortunately, due to their choice of product, their sales will dramatically fluctuate with the coming and going of the Christmas season

Are you taking part in an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party this year?