In January, I targeted two of my worst habits with my New Year’s Resolutions. The first: become less reliant on my cell phone. The second: stop wasting money online shopping. I blame both of these habits on being a millennial living in the digital age, but that’s not the point. Revolve, a fast-growing, e-commerce clothing company, is a website I visit frequently to further encourage these bad habits.
Understanding the audience
Calling all fashionistas! If you are a young female who enjoys trendy clothing, pop culture, and social media, congratulations! You are Revolve’s target audience, and you most likely will not escape the website with as much money as you went in with. You will begin to casually scroll through the pages and pages of merchandise, modeled by your favorite models and socialites. Magically, your wallet will find its way into your non-scrolling hand, and before you even realize what’s happening, you’ll hear the PING of a confirmation email arriving to your inbox thanking you for your purchase (but if you fit the aforementioned description, you already knew this).
With a target audience in mind, and a strong understanding of how they think and shop, Revolve caters every aspect of its website to them. Purdue OWL’s article, “Rhetorical Awareness and User-Centered Design,” states that to achieve a user-centered design, one must consider the audience’s expectations, characteristics, goals, and context. Revolve’s target audience is young women in their 20’s and 30’s, who are up-to-date with fashion trends, and who use social media.
The typical Revolve shopper wants a convenient online shopping experience, with a large selection of trendy pieces. Revolve sets itself apart from other online retailers, by capitalizing on its audience’s heavy internet and social media use. Revolve’s blog content and merchandise section is updated daily, and features popular models and celebrities sporting its products. Revolve understands that its audience follows these individuals, and wants to wear the same styles.
Revolve’s design elements
Like any business, Revolve’s primary objective is to make sales (and they have been). The website has visual features that convey Revolve’s message: “Buy these items.” In Daniel T. Richards’ article, “The Importance of “Importance” in Visual Rhetoric,” Richards explains that the fundamental choice when creating images is the choice of representation. When using images instead of words, the images represent the desired message.Revolve’s website is persuasive to shoppers without ever making an “argument,” because when shoppers can see celebrities in Revolve merchandise, they are assured that products are trendy and desirable.
Revolve is unlike many other e-commerce stores, because it has a blog-style home page, that details the latest fashion and beauty trends. By combining a blog with a retail store, Revolve advertises its own products on its own website. This is the perfect layout for the busy, multi-tasking, young woman that Revolve markets to. She can visit just one website to gain knowledge on current fashion trends, and also to purchase them.
The blog- style homepage is laden with colorful images, and fun text to draw the shopper in. However, with the exception of the blog content, the entire website has a black and white theme. The website’s logo, text and headings are all black, and the background on every page is white.
In the Before and After video lecture with John McWade, McWade explains that a simple design keeps the audience’s focus on the message. He suggests that a design should have a main “focal point” to give the viewer something bright and bold to focus on, but be otherwise simple. McWade also suggests using “white space” to maintain the simple look, which is what Revolve does with white backgrounds.
The white backgrounds make it easier to view the details of the merchandise. The small black lettering for the prices and item names also keeps the focus on the clothes, and draws attention away from the price, to further encourage sales. Each item also has a “one-click to buy” feature, to further cater to the targeted young, busy shopper. Revolve’s simple layout is a calculated strategy to keep the shopper’s attention on the apparel, and keep them from getting overwhelmed while browsing through thousands of items.