Almost a month ago, LaFraise.com (owned by Spreadshirt.com) announced they would be selling their popular t-shirt competition designs in the United States (see our previous article and the Spreadshirt Blog). LaFraise has been called the European version of Threadless.com. Now, when you visit LaFraise.com you can see the grayed out option for USA in the left column.
However, when you click on the USA link you get sent to a LaFraise branded Spreadshirt store. The experience on the LaFraise branded Spreadshirt store does NOT compare to that of the original LaFraise.com. It is disappointing that the US component has been separated out. On the U.S. La Fraise “Spreadshirt Store” you can only purchase items and then are redirected BACK AGAIN if you want to submit a design to the competition (which you can’t do yet).
In my opinion, these sites need to be completely integrated or totally separated and not called LaFraise for the U.S., just call it Spreadshirt competitions. I understand they need to have a way to separate the orders so U.S. customers get it printed in the U.S. facility but you would think they could do this on the backend instead of making the customers and user bounce across different domains. It gives me the impression that Spreadshirt was lazy in their integration of the U.S. component. Why couldn’t they have used the LaFraise.com domain and just added option to see the prices in US dollars and have a way for orders just to be directed to the correct location (i.e. Spreadshirt US) instead of redirecting the user to navigate the La Fraise Spreadshirt shop. The LaFraise.com site is fun, its easy to see the designs and the Spreadshirt store doesn’t give that same feeling.
Just look at the difference in shopping experience between the two sites. Note, these are ACTUAL sizes of the shirts IN the stores. Now tell me, which has a better shopping experience for the user?
Personally, when I am shopping for t-shirts I like to be able to read or view a t-shirt without having to click a lot (like the left image above). LaFraise.com has a great interface and it is disappointing the U.S. version does not have the same look. There are also a few other things that aren’t clear to me. On the LaFraise.com site it does NOT mention that they ship to the U.S. on the bottom of the site. It also doesn’t provide a way for folks in the U.S. to be affiliates. You can’t even sign up as a U.S. citizen. The only way to know you can get something in the US is if you click the grayed out USA flag.
As of now there are only 20 products for sale at the U.S. store (and not the ones I want to purchase). To further compare the experiences, I have taken a few screenshots to compare LaFraise.com and LaFraise USA. Note that I have reduced the size of the screenshots but the scale has remained intact.
Where would you rather shop?? It is great that LaFraise is going to ship to the U.S. but don’t reduce our experience that LaFraise spent so much time building. On the U.S. site header it states “You want fame? You want to win $1350 USD? You want to be a part of europe’s largest design contest?” That seems to give the impression that you can particpate. WRONG, you can’t yet, if you go to LaFraise you can’t register if you are from the U.S.. Currently, as U.S. residents we can only purchase selected designs (NOT those on LaFraise.com), only those that end up in the Spreadshirt LaFraise Shop. There might potential for U.S. residents to participate and purchase designs (they want) from LaFraise.com (and enjoy it) but its not quite ready yet. If you are ready, go signup or buy a shirt at LaFraise.com.