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Universal Standard is a brand that I do like, but don’t LOVE. I appreciate their mission to dress all bodies in size 0-40, because that isn’t happening enough, but I do wish that there were more items available and that they had a bit more variety in style.

A further exploration of that is for another time. For now, I wanted to briefly explore the size dropdown menu on Universal Standard product pages.

Here is a typical product page. This time for these cute Sava jeans.

On the right are the typical buttons, for selecting your size and then to add the item to your cart.

Here’s where I get confused. How is this the choice that they have made regarding the size dropdown? With so many sizes available, why has no effort been made to abbreviate the effort to find a larger size? There is clearly plenty of space to create columns in order to avoid this.

I was especially surprised to see this clunky presentation of size choices when I saw this “quick shop” feature on a page with a number of products:

This DEFINITELY needs to be replicated on the individual product page. It’s much cleaner and more concise than the incredibly long, space-wasting dropdown that is currently on the website.

Let me know how you would improve this dropdown on Twitter or in the comments below.

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Sephora Play Box Packaging | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on October 4, 2017

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It’s been some time since I’ve reviewed order packaging, which was previously a symptom of not having ordered from new retailers. However, I recently signed up to receive the Sephora Play Box, and the packaging is so excellent that I felt compelled to share it.

Sephora packaging is mostly great to begin with, but they have taken advantage of the opportunity to create something that will be the same size every month, so it is highly customized. Let’s take a look.

Customized and striking!

OK, this is what REALLY sold me. The tape on the box is custom tape, so that you can barely see it. This wasn’t necessary but is AMAZING. I can’t tell you how happy this tape makes me as someone who is highly invested in commerce.

They are clearly committed to the black, white, and red color palette for the outer packaging. You receive this card to get 50 extra points if you go into the store, and the backing folds open to give you details on each product in the bag!

Not only is this super cute, but this is an item in the box that you can use again. (The premise of the box is that you receive a number of deluxe beauty product samples each month.)

Little touches like an extra mention of the Play URL are not necessary, but create a pop of color in the bottom of the box, and are informative. When this box is being reprinted, I would like to see something here prompting the customer to leave a review of the box online, including a URL of where to do that.

Here are the samples included in this month’s box. I was impressed by the size of the liquid lipstick and the brow gel. These will actually last a while, and I think that the box might be well worth the price.

However, for this inaugural box in my subscription, the packaging is what really made my day. Congratulations to Sephora for recognizing the value in impressive, customized packaging.



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Sperry x Jaws | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on May 23, 2016

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Today, an examination of a product that brings me so much joy.

I wish I remembered where I first saw that Sperry was releasing a line of Jaws-themed shoes for the summer. As soon as I did know, I was on the Journeys website, shopping for a pair of slip-ons that fulfilled every need I have as a massive fan of the original Jaws film.

Once I received them, I was even more excited. Lots of photos to come!

The top of the shoe box. Note the TM on the Jaws logo. I noted on a previous Star Wars x Vans post that I found it strange that the Star Wars logo does not feature a trademark.

Blood-soaked tissue paper!

The commitment to excellent packaging here is so wonderful. Custom boxing, custom tissue paper, it’s all there.

A blurryish look at the inside of the shoe shows a continuation of the bloody cloth theme in the shoe liner, and an incredible recreation of the famous “Beach Closed” sign from the film on the inside of the shoe. I cannot say enough about product design of this nature, meant to be a constant delight to the person who is buying something. As such a big fan of the movie, I am so charmed by the attention to detail taking place inside my new shoes. I am excited for the Sperry designers to have gone the distance in creating a pair of shoes that are a true collector’s item.

The inside of the lid of the box also features the “Beach Closed” sign.

Check out my new favorite sneakers. They are truly amazing.

Congratulations to the Sperry team for this amazing collaboration, and incredible commitment to design.

My slip-ons seem to be the most popular option in the Sperry x Jaws collection. They can still be purchased on Sperry is still offering the other shoes in the collection – see below.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links.



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Dr Martens Checkout | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on March 22, 2016

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I have not been shy about my feelings about Dr. Martens shoes and boots on this blog. I have quite a few pair, and even talked about my first pair, a major experience in my teenage years, here on the blog.

I check in on their website pretty regularly to check in and see what’s new, and this week, I ran across a pair of heeled loafers that looked perfect for me.

When I went to purchase these, it was much more aggravating than I expected. I don’t remember this happening before, but I will admit that it has been a long time since I made the purchase directly from

The shopping experience is quite good, and I may explore that further at a different time, but for now, I want to address issues I had during checkout.

The cart page is really clean and simple, which I like.

I looked up coupon codes online and went to try them out on this purchase. You can see where I put DMFF in the box, but after I put it in there, a little thinking circle moved in the box, and then disappeared. It apparently isn’t valid, but the site doesn’t tell me that! It seemed broken until I realized that it was showing me in the most minimal way that it was processing the code. I can clearly see the “0.00” off for my promo code, so I’m guessing it isn’t working. However, it is super disappointing that they aren’t telling me that my code is invalid in a much more significant way.

Fail number 2 was that there was something up with the shipping options. I chose my state, that was easy enough, but then, when I used the “delivery” dropdown, it gave me 3 listings for “unverified.” Wth. I ended up going back to the homepage and re-navigating to my cart, and it had pre-populated the free shipping option for my order over $50.

I know I said that this page being clean and simple was great, but a little bit more going on is fine, especially if it is going to make it more user-friendly.

Further into the checkout process, I had issues changing my billing address. It took a minute for me to realize that this was because the checkbox for “my billing address is the same as my shipping address” was below the address fields and I had not scrolled down far enough to see it. I was unable to edit the billing address until I had unchecked the box. This needs to be moved to above the address fields.

Here is my order confirmation. The order confirmation screen was short, so I expected more information in the email. Yet again, I run into the issue of a company not giving me any indication of what their order processing time is, how long I should expect to wait before receiving the tracking information. This is basic stuff people! Even a biggish window of a few days is better than nothing, and I know from experience that many customers think that all companies are running like Amazon and shipping orders within hours. I know this is not the case for many online retailers, and we need to keep everyone’s expectations managed properly.

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I joined Gilt as soon as I heard about it. It was early in the flash sales game, and offered a lot of high-end brands, which was attractive.

Admittedly, I mostly do not read their emails anymore. My dollars to be spent online go further at some of their competitors. However, I received this email recently and had to share, because it is such a nice way to invite me to come back and start shopping with them again.

The image of this email is quite big for the best viewing experience. See you at the bottom!

Lovely, right? Let’s break it down.


  • Throwback to the Tarina Tarantino ring! I still have it.
  • Recognition of my apparently early joiner status
  • Coupon code


  • Coupon code is limited, which irritates me for a private offer. This is a personalized email, and I assume it is created as a template and is launched out to customers at certain intervals. Why limit the discount to $50? I would prefer that the discount be placed on a single item and given no limit than randomly limited to “you can only have 20% off if you are spending $250 or less.”
  • After telling me about the great brands I have “missed” – why not name a few? This email is supposed to make me want to come back for more.
  • I’d love to see something about hot deals you missed. A while back, I saw Prada shoes on another flash site, marked down to $69. I almost wept on the spot when they weren’t in my size, and I have told other people to sign up for this other site, citing this insane deal. The nature of this email is such that I think touting the greatness of the site can show real value and create excitement for the customer.

Overall, great idea – and I’m interested in the clickthrough rate and purchase rate with that coupon code. As with anything, I do think it could be improved, but the basic premise is a great move from the Gilt team.


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