Rule the World Trading Co. has Chinese and English language websites. I will be talking about the English version only today.
The first time I got an email from these guys I don’t think they had a t-shirt in the store. There was some talk about a t-shirt design contest from which it looks like 3 t-shirts were selected and are being sold on site. It took me a while to find the t-shirt design contest this time but it is there.
I like the logo. It’s not amazing but is stylish and clean. It comes across as a little formal for a t-shirt brand but overall I think it works for the t-shirts that are in stock. It has class and their t-shirts do too.
I also like the store layout. It is very clean with lots of white space. The branding is clear and you can see all their t-shirts on the homepage in decent sized images. They are big enough so that you don’t feel the need to click to see what’s going on. Perhaps if their designs were more complex you might need to click. The thumbnails are 188x300px and they are all model shots rather than designs or mockups. I approve.
The thumbnails have a nifty rollover effect too. When you put your cursor on the image you can see the name of the t-shirt and more importantly the price.
The product pages are great too. No clutter, a very large image (500x800px) which, if you click, will show a larger image. There is also a thumbnail for other images.
Because there is no clutter it is easy to see the brown Add to Cart button but I would still recommend changing it to orange. If they muted the color it could still retain the classic look they seem to be striving for. Orange is basically the de facto color for shopping cart buttons and it really does draw the eye.
I would also make it clear that the link to the sizing chart is indeed a link.
Product images are great. Large and clear. They look professional. They might want to put some girls into their tees if they want to tap that market though.
The tees themselves are not special but they are very wearable. Five out of eight of the t-shirts are basically logo type tees that you might find in Abercrombie and Fitch but I imagine the quality would be much different. I think the Luigi t-shirt has potential to be a seller because there is already an established fan base but if they go for that market there are copyright risks.
The shopping cart is also very clear but I noticed one thing that bothered me a little. I was asked to select a country and when I selected Japan from the dropdown I was told that Sorry, “RTW Shirts Logo Shirt ” doesn’t ship to Japan. Why have Japan as an option?
The navigation is a simple text menu below the centered logo. It works but I would suggest keeping only the important links at the top, i.e. All Products | RTW Shirts | Contact | Blog. I would move all the other links to the footer. All products is basically a link to the shop front so I would change the text to Shop.
The link to RTW Shirts should be a direct link to the contest. Why make us click twice. In fact I missed the fact that there was a contest the first time around. I originally thought that it was another About Page. Changing the text to Design Contest would be a better idea because some people in the store might just think that it is a link to the store because they are looking at RTW shirts.
Basically they need to simplify the navigation as much as possible in order to promote the important parts of the site. They should also remove any pages that are not adding to the site.
RTW Trading Co. use the domain www.rtwtradingco.com but it is just a landing page with links to their Chinese store and US store. At least it has some function and not one of those stupid splash pages that just waste people’s time but still, I think it could be put to better use. Big clear images with text telling you to go to the Chinese store or US store. Or perhaps a slideshow to showcase their tees. Anyway, people should know immediately from the homepage what the site is all about and Rule the World Trading Co. certainly fails to do that.
For their shopping cart solution RTW use Big Cartel. They are using at least the Platinum package which means they can use their own custom domain. But they are not doing this. The url for the store is a subdomain of bigcartel.com. This is very short-sighted. If they change their shopping cart solution or if they decide to use their own domain in the future they will lose all links to their site.
Apart from maintaining a blog and seeking out links on t-shirt blogs like Tee Reviewer, very little thought has been given to SEO. If they are hoping to make all their sales via word-of-mouth or direct marketing, that’s OK but why not try get a few customers from Google.
The homepage (domain and shop) needs more text. Tell us what RTW is all about. Tell us a story. Tell us a joke. Tell us something. And if you can do that in about 300 words or so it might bring search traffic to your site.
Even the About page has no information. Well here is what they have to say:
Inspired by the trading companies of the past, RTW Trading Co. brings you exclusive and hard-to-find brands from around the world.
If you go to the Design Contest site, on the other hand they have a pretty decent About page but I guess most people will never see it.
Images should be optimized and alt and title tags could be utilized better in order to be found in Google image searches. Using names of the image files is also a good idea. DSC0098.jpg has absolutely no SEO benefits.
Selection and Pricing
At the moment there are just 8 mens t-shirts. Five of them are basically logo shirts though, which is kind of overkill for such a young brand. Three of them are from the design contest. (If you don’t like black or white tees don’t bother looking.) I guess they could be marketed as unisex but you might need to show a few of them being worn by a girl.
Shirts are all priced at $19.99 and that’s reasonable enough. $5 shipping to the US. (I assume they are shipping from China but I couldn’t see any details. Although $5 is pretty low for international shipping. They should make it clearer.)
RTW are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can find the links on the bottom of their website. They are updated fairly regularly.
It’s a nice clean site with great product shots but they need to clean up their navigation, remove a few pages and add some text to tell us more about what they are trying to do. They need to begin SEO too.