You can shop, but only with IE, says Marks & Spencer

Time to read: 2 minutes

It all began with a simple tweet. Marks and Spencer advertised Autumn outfit ideas, and posted the link to a page with a nice scrolling gallery. Looked like flash. It wasn’t, it’s designed in HTML/CSS, making it in theory very accessible.

I browsed the gallery quickly, all items popped up as “out of stock” when I clicked on a (+) symbol next to an item… So I contacted M&S via their twitter feed. They promptly responded that there was a known issue with Chrome, and could I try with another browser. Thing is, I was using Firefox. So I also tried it on Safari on my nearby mac. Same problem. A friend did manage to view items normally, using Opera.

Marks and Spencer apologised and said I should use Internet Explorer. Shame, really. Of the top four browsers in the world, they only support one. The only one I will never allow anywhere near any machine I own. What a shame about the other three: Chrome, Firefox, Safari. So much for accessibility, open standards, user experience, and unbiased selling…

The amusing thing is, based on w3schools browser statistics, they’re only catering to 16.3% of their customers.


More stats from w3 counter. IE corresponds to less than 30% of visitors.


More stats, EU-wide, from statcounter. IE is 36.64% of browsers in the UK, but is a mitigated number given businesses are stuck with it prefer it  to other browsers. Home browsers lean towards Chrome.

The discussion concluded with me recommending they talk to their development team, since supporting 3/4 of their visitors has got to be a bad thing for business, and them thanking me for that information.


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