Indigo Online Store Review – 5 Most Important Factors

Indigo Online Store Review – 5 Most Important Factors

    Indigo – Leading Canadian Book Retailer 

This week we will be reviewing Indigo online store ( to see: how well the site performs, how easy it is to make a purchase and whether the price is right. You can read all about our framework and evaluation methods in this article:

Indigo traditionally a book store has transformed into a store that pretty much carries everything. Below is a market overview of books market in Canada. We can see that online is the number one place where books are sold. It changed drastically in the last 2 years. It made full business sense for Indigo to add a variety of items to help increase their market share. If people will buy a book online they might as well buy a new toy in order to get the free shipping. It was a good strategic move for Indigo to diversify their offering online.

The chart below compares how Canadian Book Consumers  were buying their books using different channels in 2015 and in 2013. (1)

Eradium ecommerce review indigo canada-books-sales-2015-2013
Eradium ecommerce review indigo books-sales-by-channels

How Canadian consumers buy books in different regions  (2)

Eradium ecommerce review indigo how-books-are-purchased

Our evaluation framework takes into consideration the following five factors:

  1. Functional features of the site
  2. Cognitive factor – perceived conscious efforts to complete a purchase
  3. Emotional appeal of the site
  4. Product selection
  5. Price competitiveness


All features will be rated from 1* to 5* scores, where 1 means poor and 5 is great

About Indigo

The company was founded in 1996 by CEO Heather Reisman, wife of Gerry Schwartz, majority owner and CEO of Onex Corporation.

The company’s first big box bookstore, initially called “Indigo Books, Music & More”, was opened in Burlington, Ontario on September 4, 1997. With the aid of Onex Corporation, Indigo bought Chapters, their largest Canadian competitor, in 2001 and continues to operate many stores under the Chapters banner. Indigo also gained the ownership of the Coles chain of small-format bookstores, which was also owned by Chapters.

Indigo closed three high-profile stores in Toronto in the spring of 2014, including the “World’s Biggest Bookstore”, which it acquired when it bought Chapters. In June 2014, Reisman said the company was headed into a new phase, selling a much higher percentage of non-book items.

You can read all about Indigo’ marketing campaigns in one of our previous article The Science of Color in eCommerce Email Marketing –

1.   Functional Factor

radium-ecommerce-review- Check-mark Home Page

Eradium ecommerce review indigo home-page

1 . eCommerce Platform Fit – SCORE: 3.5

The Indigo ecommerce store combines the custom integrated ecommerce platform with multiple third party systems and software services to support front-end and back-end functionality. The web site had several redesigns over the years with the last major redesign in 2013. The store is available as a web site and also via native mobile applications for iOS and Android devices. The company is increasing their focus on omnichannel shopper experience. The eCommerce platform allows shoppers to check the physical store inventory online prior to visiting a store or order items online and pickup in the store.

2. The site speed performance – SCORE: 3

The site speed performance is about an average for the eCommerce or the self-service business websites. You may see here the speed test report card from the test that we perform with web performance testing tools:

Eradium ecommerce review indigo speed test report card

3.    Mobile Friendly – SCORE: 3

The mobile site is present, but it still requires a lot of work. The images are too small and not clickable; the menus do not fit on the screen, too much black color – not consistent with the main site color scheme.

Eradium ecommerce review indigo mobile-screen

4.    Search – SCORE: 3.5

The search includes the standard filters found in most eCommerce sites. It also has a more advanced feature to help you narrow your search. The problem with the advanced search it still returns too many results. This function should include more mandatory fields to reduce the number of products in the result list.

Eradium ecommerce review indigo search result filter
Eradium ecommerce review indigo advanced-search
Eradium ecommerce review indigo search-results

5. Real-Time Inventory – SCORE: 5

This is a very good feature that not only shows inventory online but also show in what stores and what quantity of the product is available.

Product Page

Eradium ecommerce review indigo product-page
6. Zoom Feature – SCORE: 3

There is a basic zoom feature to show the product in a larger window. There is no possibility to zoom on the product specific features.

7. Product Comparisons – SCORE: 0

There is no such functionality on the site.

8. Live Chat –  SCORE: 0

There is no such functionality on the site.

9. Product Demos- SCORE: 2

The site includes very few demos. This functionality needs to be offered on more products in order to be effective

10. Product Description – SCORE: 3

There is basic information but not additional information on fit, ingredients or any extra information that would make a purchase more convincing.

11. Cross-sell popular and related products – SCORE: 2

This functionality is not present on the site. Only products viewed by others people appear on product pages.

Check Out Process

Eradium ecommerce review indigo checkout-process

12. Payment Options –  SCORE: 5
Eradium ecommerce review indigo payments

There is a large variety of payments available to please the different types of buyers.

13. Express Checkout – SCORE: 4

The site allows guests to checkout. This feature increases conversion.

Eradium ecommerce review indigo secure-checkout
14. Security – SCORE: 5

Not only is the Norton secure icon appears on the footer of the site it is also appears on the checkout page as a final reminder to the user that the site is secure.


15. Order Tracking – SCORE: 3

You can track an order as it is placed.

16 .Past Order Display – SCORE: 3

Easy to view and purchase past products.

17. Favorite products  – SCORE: 0

There is no such functionality on the site.

18 . Communication preferences  – SCORE: 3


There is no ability to manage the frequency or type of communication to be received.

19. Wish List/Registry – SCORE: 4

There is a simple to use the wish list. It also has a functionality to create a gift list for different people. Very useful to keep track purchases when purchasing for multiple people.


2. Cognitive Factor

A retail website must be easy to navigate and help visitors find relevant information quickly. Knowing your audience is the key to creating an effective site by combining the right elements in order to have the best appeal to your shoppers.

Site Structure and Information Architecture

Eradium ecommerce review indigo main-menu
1. Search – SCORE: 4

Is found in a prominent location but the light colors get it hard to find.

2. Site Navigation – SCORE: 3

Easy to navigate but the colors blend in with background.

3. Alternate Views – SCORE: 3

This functionality is inconsistent through the site, with some products having this functionality and others do not.

4. Visual Cues- SCORE: 3

There is not enough visual contrast to bring the shopper’s attention to various important messages through the site.


3. Emotional Factor

Emotional connection of a website to the target market

Eradium ecommerce review indigo product-options

3. Emotional Factor

Emotional connection of a website to the target market

1. Show Products on Human Models – SCORE: 0

This functionality is not present on the site.

2. Quality of Image- SCORE: 3

The site presents generic product photos. There are no distinctive images creates for this specific site.

3. Share Buttons – SCORE: 4

Share buttons are included for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Google Recommendation, Facebook Like button.

4. Email a Friend’ Button- SCORE: 5

Great feature, it allows you to email up to 5 friends a link to the product with a description.

5. Consumer Reviews- SCORE: 3

The reviews are very basic and do not have more advanced features such helpfulness and category ratings. Site feedback however is more advanced and has rigid criteria.

6. Make it easy to call you –  SCORE: 3

There is no easy or visible way to see contact information. The only thing that is very visible is the site feedback button that is always in the same position


3. Product Selection

Variety of Products

It is critical to have a variety of products that you specialize in, whether it is a specific category or type of product.

Eradium ecommerce review indigo product-variety

Product availability

1.    Color options – SCORE: 2

There is no good color options selection. Products are displayed as different products once they are a different color. There has to be a better integration between the products and all its options.

2.    Size options –  SCORE: 2

There needs to be a better connection between color and size option. You need to be able to select the color and then only the sizes that are available in this color should display.


5. Price Factor

Is it Amazon Competitive?

Random sample of 4 products:


Eradium ecommerce review indigo Amazon-the-girl-on-the-train

Indigo $17.97

Eradium ecommerce review indigo price-the-girl-on-the-train

LEGO Friends – AMAZON  PRICE $26.92

Eradium ecommerce review indigo Amazon-friends

Lego Friends – Indigo  $39.95

Eradium ecommerce review indigo price-friends

Crayola Crayon Carver – AMAZON $19.97

Eradium ecommerce review indigo Amazon crayons

Crayola Crayon Carver – Indigo  $28

Eradium ecommerce review indigo price-crayons

FurReal Friends StarLily My Magical Unicorn – AMAZON $153.99

Eradium ecommerce review indigo StarLily

FurReal Friends StarLily My Magical Unicorn – Indigo  $119.95

Eradium ecommerce review indigo price-StarLily

Most products are more expensive than Amazon but surprisingly there are also a number of products that are much cheaper. The few random items that I found to be cheaper were usually toys. This is a great way to compete with Amazon is to be known as having the best variety and price for toys. People will also buy the other items they need if they will buy the hard to find and cheaper toy.


The site is one of the better Canadian web sites. It has a loyalty program, innovative features and an appealing look and feel. There are still many areas were improvements can be made especially on the mobile site. The best thing I like about the site that I have not seen on others is the tab on the bottom of the page, it serves like mini tool bar. Indigo definitely on the Canadian innovative list.

Eradium ecommerce review indigo mini-toolbar

5 top recommendations for Idigo ( for 2016:

radium-ecommerce-review- Check-mark
  1. Improve mobile experience – make mobile your prime interface not secondary.
  2. Use better and original quality images – get your products stand out from the rest of the sites.
  3. Include more demos on more product – consider investing in your own demos instead of relying on brands-those videos many other sites have but original would be a unique feature to Indigo site.
  4. Do not sell product categories that you cannot compete with Amazon – instead invest in a specific category to create the best selection online.
  5. Improve search to allow finding products fast and easy.


  1. CTV reports on e-book sales decline,
  2. 2. The Canadian Book Consumer 2013 Cost to Coast Book Buyers Across Canada,
Anna Battrick

Anna Battrick is Eradium’s Director of Ecommerce Services, has an extensive background in retail marketing and project management. With over 10 years of managing complex projects from inception to completion while always maintaining “it can be done” spirit. The world of retail is not only a professional interest but also a personal hobby which lets Anna see the other side of retail, from a shopper perspective. This helps create engaging marketing programs that speak personally to the shoppers interests and engage them in a conversation.