top 100 retail web sites part 2

top 100 retail web sites part 2 - ; I REJUVENATION.COM F or...

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Unformatted text preview: ; I REJUVENATION.COM F or the owner ; of a 1912 Craftsman bun— galow, few thing motivate home improvements like seeing how another owner solved the same design problem _ V_ 7 he has. Expand the concept to other home styles, put it online and you have the Projects Blog at the web site of Rejuvenation Hardware. Viewing posted photos, visitors follow the progress of actual home restorations that feature Rejuvenation’s period-style light fixtures, offer advice or find ideas.The site also features a customization tool that lets shoppers select fixture options. As options are selected, a dynamic rendering shows customers what they’re ordering. Tying images of customer’s selections to the shopping cart has reduced abandonment. Together, the blog and customization tool help customers connect with the right product and with each other. Passion Is The Key 01: My! hllilnihm‘ly Manama Inuit-whim?” Run“ 5:“ WW5 madam-magnum nu nun m: muum amp Win 1 ma wanmmmmnmmmmam am: we I Home Pm: an autumn.“ VeriSign Secured Parformaneé measured by- Game, Availability P 00% " ‘Remeconds - Consistency score: Excellent VANDYKES..COM9;;,. _,: Restoring style Riiéiii‘ies and furniture can require a lot of motivation, painstaking attention to detail, and patience and luc in finding the { right materials. VanDykes.com, the e—commerce site of Van Dyke’s Restorers, a unit of Cabela’s Inc., provides a place that supports all three of these requirements. For motivation, even etched doorknobs are embellished in intricate high—resolution images. For details, Van Dyke’s makes it easy to search for architectural styles such as the several colors and metal varieties of antique tin ceilings. And for hard—to—find products, it offers useful features like its Boring Search tool for finding replacement cabinet handles based on the distance between the screw holes bored in cabinetry. VanDykes.com, it’s fair to say, restores th sp‘ 't of the restorer. ism sums VeriSign Secured wnsTERIjA.‘coM.jI he Heavenl here are W1§TE RI /\ Bed that obvious the Westin hotel challenges to chain introduced selling unique furniture pieces custom designed online. It’s often to impart a sense « I - v hard enough of luxury, with V- i = a '- for shoppers I asig‘ttk'nl‘ . . layer upon layer in a bricks- of sheets, blan— _ r k p \ _ I _ and—mortar kets and duvet covers, and piles of pillows. Westin, part of showroom to visualize how a piece will look in their Starwood Hotels and Resorts Inc., began selling it online, home amid other decor. Wisteria.com, which sells a in 1999 was and this spring, for the beds 10th anniversary, redesigned mix of distinctive new and vintage pieces, addresses , its site to merchandise the bed in a more compelling way. the problem by featuring several artfully photographed Mousing over each element of the bed fills it with color images of a product, including at least one in a real—world and highlights nearby text that links to more informa— room setting. For those seeking a personal touch, the site tion about the item. It’s also now easier to buy it all, and features several community elements, including Facebook live chat provides fast answers to customer questions. and Twitter pages, as well as blogs that highlight both Conversion rate is up, and time on site is down, a sign the personal and professional lives of the company’s staff, customers are finding it easier to bring the Heavenly Bed and of the artisans who make Wisteria’s products. And if a shopper isn’t familiar with a design term, she can find it home, says Alyssa Waxenberg, senior director at Westin o the site’s extensive lossar Interactive Marketing VeriSign Secured man___ Sité search Dydacb‘mp Web analytic Googie, _ _ Web hosting: Dydac'ompi Site-perform rce Performance measured, by Gomez lnc‘ Availability:.99.95°\/o, ‘ ,_ Response time: 3.31 seconds _‘ Consistency score:Good ' ‘ Availabiiityé‘ 99.95% " _, V Bespcnse time: 7.98-iscconds' »ccnsistency score: Fair Mass merchants flex their muscles he mas-s mar et retailers in the Internet Retailer Hot 100 have one thing in common: they’ve used their considerable resources, includin their stores in the case of retail chains, to make themselves more appealing to online shoppers. Amazon.com, which defied the recession with steady sales gains,=puts its cash to work buying Zappos.com, the leading shoe e—retailer. Amazon also bought Lexcycle Inc., a developer of software for digital downloading, to support its sales of digital content and of the Kindle e—book reader. In a potential game—changer, it also intro— duced same—day delivery of online orders in seven cities. Overstock .com this fall launched O.biz, a wholesale site that sells goods in bulk, targeting businesses. The e~retailer also improved personalization on its site, recall— ing the items a shopper previously viewed and present— ing those and similar products on its home page on the Shopper’s return. Kohls.com makes the most of peak buying periods with temporary shops featuring seasonal items. A Holiday Gift Shop, for example, corrals lower-priced gifts for shoppers looking for great values. Sears.com and Walmart.com leverage What mass multi- channel retailers have plenty of—~stores—-to close the loop on online orders and boost sales. Searscom customers can pick up their purchases in stores, schedule a pickup online or designate others to pick up purchases. Walmart.com has built on its successful free site—to—store program with a new offer of a year of expedited site—to—store shipping for $29. By taking advantage of their large organizations and deep pockets, these merchants are making themselves more formidable online competitors. AMAZON.COM mazon. COI'Il Inc., alread the leading New Kindle 1 1- .11 New Lower Pnce w on lne feta er WW‘. anérfi’wm by sales, used its —_ ‘ W 2...; r . . we... . Digital SLR Store financral might ' ‘ r ---- -- g this year to expand its reach in digital books and mobile com— merce and its assortment in shoes and apparel. In April the company bought Lexcycle Inc., developer of Stanza, a software program for downloading and purchasing digital books. In June it bought SnapTell Inc., a specialist in visual product search technology for mobile devices. In October it reduced the price of the Kindle e—book reader to $259. And in November Amazon bought shoe and apparel retailer Zappos.com Inc. For recession-minded consumers Amazon expanded its private label brands into electronics and kitchen utensils. And the e—retailer raised the bar for fast delivery this fall by rolling out same—day d l'ver in seven major cities 3 “a”: .. . fa curiae“? VeriSign Secured Mobile commerce; In-house Order management: ln-house - , - . HAYNEEDLE.COM ' Sorting the stack P roduct ._ navigation r ' WM” ' ' can be a challenge ‘ ’ ’ ' to any e—retailer; bringing together a task of epic proportions. But Hayneedle.com , x . . has done the job. The former NetShops.com redesigned its web site and refashioned its name to build the Hayneedle brand and tie together thousands of SKUs for housewares, and outdoor and home products.The new Hayneedle.com site—and its specialty web stores—all feature sharp imagery, a top navigation bar that gathers related web stores’ products together, and a universal shopping cart that follows shoppers from site to site. “NetShops was a discon— nected collection of unrelated stores,” says Ash ElDifrawi, chief marketing officer, Hayneedle Inc. “Now shoppers get product recommendations and we’ve seen a significant increase in multistore sales.” Availability: 99.74% Response time: 1.95 seconds Consistency score: Fair Pen? rmance measured by Gomez Inc. KOHLS.COM ohl’s Corp.’s 's N web site, launched later “m” 'W‘E'Sfiflzsm‘zsigithfissml than some " in 2000, has 555 v Simu- advanced to the point of boasting features that other e—retailers can learn from. Kohl’s strategy creates a sense of excitement about shop— ping the site, with online exclusives and time—limited offers such as one—day Power Pricing and a Deal of the Day at certain times of the year. Kohls.com also responds to specific shopper concerns with savvy merchandising. For example, a Holiday Gift Shop, one of several shops it creates during peak shopping periods, addresses custom— ers’worries about finding great values by offering gifts by price categories and a shop—by-budget features. Kohl’s also has introduced an iPhone application that delivers “Today’s Ad,” letting shoppers purchase from the ad and ' ' loc VeriSign Secured . Site perfo Performance me Availability: 99" Response time ,. MEIJEKCOM‘ Social and mobile eijer Inc. is back on the Internet Retailer Hot 10 V list for the second consecutive V year with new features that leverage trends in mobile com— merce and social networking. Its Mealbox and WineList software widgets can be used on an iPhone or a PC to View products, prices and specials available in Meijer stores. Meijer.com engaged back—to—school shoppers with a product price—guessing game that awarded winners ,Blu—ray DVD players and let players post their results on Twitter and Facebook, boosting conversion rates and the number ofMeijer’s e—mail subscribers. For the holidays, the retailer launched an “Elf Daily Steal” daily deal fea- ture. “Sales are up two and half times over last year,” says director of e—commerce marketing Dawn Bronkema, and ' more innovation to come, M Garmin nuvi 765T flverfi 0H! sh ays‘ h Response time: NA Consistency score: NA OVERSTOCK.C.OM‘: {i “ Keeping. it new 0:231:12: launched a decade go with the mission of selling excess , _ ‘ inventory ' ' through the Internet, aim— ing to combine the best values in merchandise with a great customer experience. This year, Overstock sought to enhance that customer experience with personalization, community ‘ features and mobile outreach. The site remembers what a visitor has viewed on previous visits and spreads thumb— ‘ nails of those products, plus similar items, across the home page for consideration on the visitor’s return. Community features include ratings and reviews, as well as footholds on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Shoppers can register to receive coupons and deals on their mobile phones. And Overstock unveiled this fall a new bulk buying site, O.biz, aimed at small and midsized businesses VerlSlgzn‘ > Secured Channelxln ChannelAdViso ' INTELLIGENCE Payment processor: CyberSource, Chase Paymentech j SEARS.COM WALMART.COM Choice is the key _ Safety in numbers 822%?“ * ‘ ’ ‘ " he “W Walmart :k “Wu—m. murm— mrm- sine-m- nnegmxy - ma omn Exchange” retailing his— at Walmart.com . tory, but it’s 7 leverages the p 7 , '1 633:5;ng determined not ' ' a ' 11:31:; large number of ‘ ‘ Value - V 2 Bundles to be history. loyal shoppers * g - 3,],uw 7 Sears Holdings who visit the 7 1 ' Corp. has ~ e—commerce site invested heavily ’ ofWal—Mart in Sears.com and Stores Inc. - V . . . , , Kmartcom, in a groundbreaking mobile commerce site, Customers can ask a question or browse the hundreds Sears2go, and in tying those initiatives to its stores. “Our - that have already been asked in a given category, sorting goal is to provide customers with choice and help them by number of answers if they like. Each answer is identi— find whatever they want when they need it,” says Imran fied as coming from a shopper or a Wal—Mart associate, Jooma, senior vice president of online. A newysite design and viewers can rate answers as “helpful” or “not helpful.” this year features navigation categories that fly, out to Customers can also click on other shoppers’ profiles to display sub—categories. Qiick View buttons on product View their age, gender, location and previous answers or images provide more data and a buy optionflhere are product reviewsThe site—to—store option allows shop— more ways to pay, buying guides, wish lists, and integrated pers to ship items to the store nearest them for no cost. checkout for Searscom and Kmart.com. Consumers can Members who join “Site—to—Store Express” for $29 get not only pick up online orders in stores, but schedule a full year of faster site-to-store shipping—items arrive with'n five da s——on thousands of eligible items. , pickups and designate others to pick up an item._ VeriSign Secured rte ,nerfor 'lnfho e“ Ke . _ v __ ’ PerformanE‘e measured!) ornezI , Site search: Omniture, - A - ‘ ‘ AVailability. 99.59%, ‘ Progress EasyAsk ‘ - , Web analytics: Omniture, ForeSee Web hosting: Berbee Information Networks “ ' , OFFICEDEPOT.COM Less is more hen .. mm;- We“. Oflice Depot Inc. launched its . web sitelrede— sign in April, it had a simple goal—make the site more user—friendly. “We wanted it to be faster, easier and more intuitive,” says Monica Luechtefeld, executive Vice president of ' e—comfnerce and direct marketing. Out went cluttered ad tiles and banners. In came simple, clean hero banners and fly—out top—navigation categories, with the most popular subcategories highlightedIhe ofiice supplies retailer added suggested terms to its site search to help shoppers get to products faster. It also enhanced the site’s product comparison feature, allowing users to click a box at the top of product listings to compare products side by side. “Usability was the key,” says Luechtefeld. “We didn’t want to make our customers have to learn how to use the site.” VeriSign Secured Site; performanCe Performance measnred by Gomez In ‘i Availability: 99.44% i Response time: 13.55 seconds, . Consistency score: Poor » OFFICEMAX.COM No wasted motion ecause Office Max.com cus— tomers have long shopping lists and little time, the e—commerce site of office supplies chain OfficeMax Inc. ° _ provides many ways to shop right from the home page. Mousing over five major categories in the top navigation bar reveals many subcategories. Down the right side of the page are more popular categories, such as computers and digital cameras. The center of the page features more than a dozen bestselling products. Major brands are listed across the bottom so shoppers can go right to Sharpie products, for instance. Top—of—page tabs let customers order by product number. But OfficeMax.com is not all business. Its fourth annual “Elf Yourself ” promotion— allowing visitors to add their photos to electronic dancing elf greeting‘cardswnow ties into Facebook and Twitte VeriSign Secured Site. perform. Performance meals ' Availali :ty: 99.91 Response‘time:,1 ' 75 . SORTINGWITHSTYLE.COM 'S PLE'SLCOM . l Colorful business V Easy 15 a staple t S t' v fli . it’s all about "' ‘ ' retailer Staples dressing up Inc. wants its and personal— core customers, small business owners, to say izing office space. Founder and CEO Sayeh . . i . “That was easy” Pezeshki has a " ‘ ‘ Summer H’" p I after shopping flair for combin— . , i at Staples.com 3” ing elegance in both product and web page design—with or the chain’s stores. Staplescorn this summer added _ timely input from consumers through online social media. a question—and—answer feature to make it easier for “Our products are all geared to having a more fun and customers to retrieve product information online. Both ‘~ " stylish work environment,” she says. Selling products like employees and shoppers answer queries. Staples offers 1 ; stationery, mouse pads and USB hubs, SortingwithStyle a desktop widget with special deals, weekly ads, a store 3 competes against major retailers. But using social net— finder tool, and an ink and toner refill feature. Customers working input from Twitter and other sites to keep up on the go can access weekly offers at Staplescom or get ; g with what customers want—like folders splashed in pink them by e—mail. Staples promotes cross—channel shop— : or Zebra stripes—Pezeshki has developed a site that is ping by allowing consumers to order custom printed . stylishly uncluttered and that makes it easy for shoppers items online for pickup in store four hours later and ' to find the designs they want, whether that’s an animal by e—mailing store shoppers coupons for web purchases, print a floral pattern or a “not so basic black” drawin on customer ta from its rewards program. VeriSign Secured Fulfillmentil'n-hous Manhattan Associates, Commer‘ Hub MMahhattan ' V Associates. BABYAGE.CO Web retailers that know their niche does a lot of things right: Top Searches and Featured Products to complement well—honed site search; a Narrow Results feature on every category and results page; customer ratings and reviews; product recommendations; well—written blogs. And it goes the extra mile with content for new parents, or those seeking a refresher. BabyAge.com teamed with - infant health and safety experts at the First Candle/ SIDS Alliance to compile a list of tips to help parents care for their babies. To get useful content, customers can click on any of the events on a 21—month timeline, which includes the three trimesters of pregnancy, hospital stay, welcome home and so on.'Ihis kind of tool, says CEO Jack Kiefer, shows parents BabyAge.com is here for them and leads he site to their friends. ; j mama-awn «mummiwm ,- ~ hen a retailer sells a specialty produ like eyeglasses or mobile phone cases, the mer— chant must know exactly what - its customers are looking for. Each of the 17 retailers in the specialty/non-apparel category of this year’s Hot 100 has found innovative ways to provide the information that its particular customers need. And when shoppers are confident they’ve found the right product, they’re more likely to make a purchase. For instance, a shopper looking for eyewear wants to see how frames will look on her face. That’s why EyeBuyDirect.com features the EyeTry virtual eyeglass— fitting application that allows customers, after uploading their photos, to see how a pair of glasses would fit and _ look. SunGlassHut.com solves the same problem by featuring a front and side View of the frames on category pages, while also offering two—way free shipping so consumers can try sunglasses on at home. Both ParentGiving.com and BabyAge.com sell products to caregivers. Knowing that caregiving, be it for a parent or a newborn child, can be a nerve—wracking experience, the sites provide original educational content. BabyAge organizes its content around a 21~month tirneline,while ParentGiving focuses on such necessities as housing options. The biggest piece of information someone shopping for a mobile phone case needs is will it fit his phone. That’s Why Case—Matecom allows shoppers to search the site by wireless carrier or phone type.The site’s product pages fea— ture product details, as well as several views of a case. Some even have embedded YouTube videos showing off a case’s features. It may just be a mobile phone case, but consumers Still want to know they’re getting what they need. ' CASE-MATE.COM 0n the case etarler Case— r unease—mate ost of Mate.com, Century which sells Noveltycom’s mobile phone customers have cases, lets con— never heard of sumers search by , await... . - the party sup— wireless carrier i " ’ ' plies e—retailer w raw», or phone type, before they arriv ' 1‘ I ‘l because everyone at the site via ‘ j ' knows what ,, . , . ‘ 'V ' f f“ “a” _ paid or organic “ phone they carry and their carrier, says Andrew Knight, search. “All they know is what they see on site, so we *5 Vice president of e—commerce.'Ihe new version of the try to make everything perfect since our web site is our ~ ,. site, launched in April with vendor ShopVisible, includes brand,” says Ian MacDonald, vice president and general embedded YouTube videos on product pages that show manager of Century Novelty Company Inc. That’s why off each case’s features. Viewers can double click on a the web site seeks to make it as easy as possible to throw ll video to go to YouTube.com, where they can comment on a party. Customers can search for items by event, theme a video or share it with friends. And they do. One video or product category. To ensure orders arrive in time about a new iPhone case that carries credit cards and for the event the site tied together its shopping cart 'y ‘5 ID was viewed 42,000 times in the six weeks after the application and order management system to provide l product’s launch. Case—Mate also solicits comments from information about when items will arrive by various 51" visitors with a Feedback tab on every page, and Knight shipping methods. And if an item is out of stock, the al ernatives. says that input helps shape company product plans. Slt mm d VeriSign Secured VeriSign Secured Voons'istl‘e ‘py-score Fair ‘L e chat/click-to call: 'ProvideSup‘port - Orderm'anagemen Response time: ‘ " nt processor Consistencyvscor DNA11.COM -' Well traveled DEZIGNWITHAZ.COM , m -r. ezign veryone WithaZ.com has DNA. excels in oficering So DNA 11, “Portraitva unusual designs which sells Andy, for room décor. Warhol~esque “With many art created from homes having consumers’ DNA the same type of decided everyone furniture, we help V, to differentiate ,. . _ , . 7, it,” says Florent Lavaud, CEO. 'lhe e—retailer provides life—size vinyl decals, including images of people, animals and plants, that customers can stick to a wall. A strategi— cally placed decal of a flowering plant, for example, can be made to look as if it’s growing out of an actual vase sitting on a table. How—to videos show how to prepare and mount the vinyl products, and sample online room settings let shoppers instantly change colors of walls and illustrations to see how decals might look in their homes. DezignWithaZ.com not only offers new ways to embel— lish room arrangements, it makes an unusual decorating technique easy to u derstand and deploy. is a potential cus~ tomer. Although I the retailer’s annual sales are less than $5 million, it’s adopted a strategy more common among big retailers: It’s gone abroad. Using technology from vendor MotionPoint that detects a visitor’s location from their IP address, DNA11.C0m converts currencies, posts an appropriate country flag and translates text. Today it boasts 48 country—specific sites in Spanish, French, German and English. And the similarities between DNA 11 and larger players don’t end there. One look at the e-retailer’s dra— matic product presentations and it’s clear DNA 11 takes site design seriously. It also sells portraits made from pet DNA b Buddy deserves personal art too m I EYEBUYDIRECT.COM Unique and useful , Raising its sights ith seller New" 1 I m E yeBuy ' p mm W .. w {r from ' 1 A ' Directcom t; more than : .handergegfl am?" is making its 150 countries, . ‘ ~ ,, " successful .. Etsy Inc-y a I l ' " ' " fl] EyeTry virtual ' ' w. Mums» marketplace c ‘ fig eyeglass—fitting ' “gm-m for all things ‘ 3:2: ‘ MM application even handmade, could mm” ' ‘ better. For start- easily become a ers, it is using a ‘ _ cluttered mess » new version of 5 where shoppers have to trudge through artists hawking Flash technology that renders images more quickly. The ‘; everything from figurines to embroidered cloth napkins. eyeglass retailer also now allows shoppers to try glasses on E Instead, the site’s Fresh Picks Showcase, featured on photos of models if they don’t wish to upload photos of } the top of the home page, presents a range of products themselves. In addition, EyeBuyDirect is taking the tech— without text. While that may not work on most sites, on nology to Facebook.com, where shoppers can try glasses 1 Etsy it allows shoppers to quickly cull through a range of on their profile photos and solicit feedback without 1 items. And if that doesn’t work for a particular shopper, leaving their profiles. “We want to create an experience as ; tor’s picks. Or he can use the site’s Pounce feature to shop EyeBuyDirect is also expanding videos to all products recently updated shops that have not had a sale. Then and enhancing them with brief text messages. “People again, he can always search by more traditional categories, retain text messages better than they do video and music,” lik ' uilts Hessel sa 3 “Results have been ve ood ” he can search by color or locale, or look through the edi— near to the real thing as possible,” says Roy Hessel, CEO. i. r l MYCANVAS.COM > GIGGLE.COM A t ' rusted source Stoned photos ultichanne fter a retailer people get Giggle considers help from I p itself a store for Ancestrycom . ‘ fi§3$§2°$é 61' V , suorpms suomcurs _ _ _ . A ,v smzmnmmm parents. Busy or onized “WWWW“»"" in building thelr “ v 4 mew-w" parents. Parents family trees, its ‘ ' i who can go ‘r new sister site, anywhere to find .................. .4 MyCanvas.com, any of the hun— is helping them mew-vs: illustrate their ‘ . V family stories. MyCanvas stands out in the world of online photography sites by letting customers import historical information as well as photos they have stored on Ancestrycom or on photo—sharing site Flickr.com. With a few mouse clicks, customers can design photo books, calendars, posters and other products with information ‘ and images from a family tree. MyCanvas users also can instantly change photo layouts, such as by changing the number of images per page and adding text, before order— ing hard copies. “What resonates with our customers is the flexibility of our tools that really helps them tell their ‘ ” Wendy Jessen, director of product marketing. dreds of products V . new parents are told are essential. That’s why Giggle founder and CEO Ali Wing says she wants the com— pany’s various channels, and particularly Giggle.com, to be the trusted source for those parents. To that end, the site features Giggle Criteria, a simple rating sys— tem that evaluates products in 10 categories, such as healthy (made of allergy—free or non—toxic materials). And it’s why the site features several blogs—written by parenting experts and the store’s staff. It’s also why the site offers a community forum where parents can share tips such as which coffee shops are best for stroller parking near Giggle stores. . V st \ :vailabll v~Respoose,t Consistenp y ?‘ finding it faster “We «minimizing. wees sharpie hough looking V WWW W" "WM Parent for party " giving.corn is an V supplies and I e-commerce site, i "‘ ' nove'lties need it goes beyond look no farther selling elderly and senior care products.'lhe sit site, long popular aims to serve as i with teachers and " . a resource where ‘ I ' V , moms, has taken steps recently to capitalize on that brand adults caring for their parents or grandparents, or seniors i loyalty with a host of new community—oriented features caring for other seniors, can learn everything from how such as ratings and reviews and an e-mail a friend tool. to pick the right Medicare prescription drug plan to It’s added attribute—driven navigation to let customers what nutrients seniors need in their diets. A seasoned I speedily narrow their search of some 35,000 products by journalist oversees the site’s content, which features category, theme, occasion, price, color, characters, brand, more than 180 original articles, as well as four separate holiday and ability to personalize.That’s shortened the blogs, only one of which focuses on shopping. There are average four clicks it once took to get to products to also detailed product selectors to guide shoppers. “The two. A new electronic gift card program can be delivered stuff we sell is not an impulse buy,” says Keith Maddox, within 24 hours or less. Customers also can personalize Parentgiving CEO. “The products are about keeping gift cards by uploading a photo and customizing a H H people safe and comfortable in their home and our greeting card tha accompanies the gift card—for free . content helps people do that.” than Oriental ‘ I Web analvti Coremetiics ‘ Web Hosting: Cosentry Site performance Availability: 100% Response time: 4.57 seconds Consistency score: Good SHOP.MARVEL.COM SHUTTERFLY.COIVI. I Super site 8 pider—Man is just one of the many comic book superheroes Whose products are available at Marvel Entertainment’s ‘ e-commerce site. Shop.Marvel.com _ offers items in multiple incarnations, including wall decals and bobblehead dolls, and employs the bright col— ors that help make the characters so appealing to comic book lovers.'Ihe site organizes products by superhero— such as X~Men and Hulk—on navigation buttons along the top of the home page, and by product categories, including action figures and plush toys. The home page hero shot—appropriately—depicts Marvel comic heroes’ images on T—shirts and jackets, and cycles through three sets of images. Product reviews can be entertaining: One customer advises that a Captain America T—shirt is “not too fl h b ' st right to wear almost anywhere ” A snap to use hutterfiycom is focused on options and ease of use. The e—retailer of online photo print— ing and related‘ products this year launched a Storyboard Tool that chooses the layout of a photo book based on the number of pictures and orientation picked by the customer. The new feature complements such tools as Shutterfly Gallery, which allows consum— ers to share photo book ideas. Shoppers also can view customized photo books via a slideshow or by manually clicking through the book. And they can share the books with others. Beyond its retail site, Shutterfly also offers a mobile app for the iPhone and iPod Touch that enables users to add photos from the devices directly to their Shutterfly accounts, access Shutterfiy albums and pic— '1 or post photos to a web site. _ Besnonse m ’ Consistency ‘ch SUNGLASSHUT.COM UTRECHTART.GOM unGlass n the Hut.com e—cornrnerc makes the case site of Utrecht that those pricey, Art Supplies, rose—tinted ' artists can feed Bulgari shades K » \ l R , \(1 their passion for are worth it. . ' : ' ‘ , their artwork. Relaunched with rlhe painter, e-commerce sculptor, graphic functionality a designer and oth—V year ago, SunGlassHut.com targets both web and store ers can find on UtrechtArt.com the tools and techniques shoppers, as at least 25% of the retailer’s store shoppers of their trade, such as details on the difference between preshop online.'Ihere’s glossy photography and features on a cotton canvas and a pre—stretched linen canvas, while brands like Bulgari and Versace, with inside information also sharing ideas in online forums with pros, students on materials and designers. Category pages let consumers and hobbyists. “Art supplies are a considered purchase our switch between two Views, straight on and slightly to the customers think long and hard about because they have side, which is how people shop in stores, says Marcello an emotional connection with their artwork,” says Don Favagrossa, vice president of marketing for SunGlass Hut, Rodriguez, Internet marketing manager. UtrechtArt.com part ofItaly—based Luxottica Group.'lhe retailer added also feeds that emotional tie with frequent communi— two—way free shipping this summer so consumers can try cations on Twitter and Facebook. There’s also a sunglasses on at home. “Our goal is to make the site the UtrechtArt.com blog and links to blogs for each of the true epicenter of the brand,” says Favagrossa il ’ 38 'd' 1 al 'nforrnation VeriSign Secured GA" Site perfonnanee monitoring. , HP SiteSco‘pe ‘ ~- « VSite searc Endeca _ Web analytics: Omniture ' Web hosting: Rosetta, PFSweb Site performance Performance measured by Gomez Inc. Availability: 98.82% Response time: 4.67 seconds Consistency score: Poor VISTAPRINT.COM Picture this istaPrint, which sells print products to businesses and individuals, has made changes to its site to help it better display its products. It upped screen .. . . V V ,_ resolution from 800x600 pixels to 1024x768, enabling it to add more images and more content above the fold. “We used to show one featured product on pages and now we can show four,” says Jeff Prus, vice president of user experience and content. It also added more relevant testimonials. For example, the product page for custom— ized notebooks features the first few lines of a customer comment about notebooks; users can click Read More to View the whole nOte. VistaPrint also changed its home page, placing categories for small businesses and con— sumers side by side. The old home page put consumer— oriented content below the fold. dnsistehcy score: Fair The wonder of Wont oot.com was among the first successfiil daily deal sites, and it has a particularly 1 intense following , Woot offers one discounted item a day——often computer hardware or an electronic gadget—until the item sells out. Avid Wooters keep a running dialogue during the sale. There’s also a blog and a weekday podcast of a song or skit about the daily item. Fans eat up Woot’s witty tone — and the mystery of not knowing how many items are left. And Woot knows how to generate buzz. While normally Woot doesn’t offer a new item once that day’s deal sells out, the e—retailer springs random Woot—Oifs about twice a month, offering items one after another as each one sells out for up to 72 hours. Once a deal closes,Woot posts data about the sale, from sales per hour to the Woot name of the t‘fsu k ”th t ‘3, customer, to bu the item. Some 500 videos posted on the site. fietailers score by aging customers porting gear retailer Backcountrycorn. was an early ' adopter of cus— tomer reviews. Now it’s pushing reviews to the next level by encourag ing shopper feed— _ V _ back on reviews and rewarding reviewers whose comments other shoppers find helpful. “When you have 300 reviews for a product, people don’t know what to make of many of them,”]ohn Bresee, president, says. “We want customers to rate the content so the most useful and fresh bubble to the top.” Backcountrycom features reviewers in the Leaderboard section of its site and awards them points—and bonuses for ; those who review under their own names—for the useful— : ness of their revievvs.'Ihe more points, the higher they rank. The approach has been successful in keeping visitors on the site longer and landing Backcountry more prominently in search enginerankings, Bresee says. he e~commerce srtes featured in the sport— ing goods/toys/hobbies category offer a wide variety of products, but share a common focus on getting to know their customers and encouraging cus— tomers to engage with each other. » Take Hot 100 newcomer Lakeshore Learning, which sells games, books and learning aids.Web manager lVIichael Moore reads every comment that he receives from customers to understand what they need and how they like to shop. On LakeshoreLearning.com, for example, shoppers can search by grade level to browse appropriate books, puzzles and games. For outdoor sports gear retailer Backcountrycom, customer comments and reviews constitute an important part of the content. Other customers rate those submis— sions, and the site features a Leaderboard Where shoppers are ranked on points that they accumulate based on their reviews, answers they provide to other shoppers’ questions and photos they post. Employees as well as customers write reviews of the bicycle gear and accessories on offer at BikeTiresDirect.com. The staff’s reviews aim to be concise, yet informative. Communication can also take the form of video. PerformanceBicycle.corn hosts videos on how—to topics such as “How to change a tire” to appeal to the wide skill level of its customer base, which includes expert riders and novices. “There are basic things we had to explain to some ofthem,” says Lynnette Montgomery, vice president, direct marketing. SportbikeTrackGear.com uses video to increase intimacy with customers. “We try to put a face on our business that makes customers more confident in making a purchase,” says Brian Van, president, who appears in A", t=< BIKETIRESDIRECT.COM Close the sale veryone V V _ V a V 1BIKE-TlRVE5DIT.CM deal. That’s why, ' - ' " for most of its SKUs, BikeTires w~ ma Direct.com shows shoppers a product’s list ‘ V Price, as W611 as LAY? up 'Youn le POINT {Milfi the percentage V AV V V V _ V discount offered at the s1te.To keep customers coming back, the same price box shows customers how many loyalty points they’ll get with the purchase. And to pre— vent customers from leaving to shop elsewhere, product pages feature a link, “Why shop at BikeTiresDirect.com.” Through it all, the site seeks to address the needs of its two types of customers——avid cyclists and people dusting off an old bike—by featuring staff—written product descriptions that aim to be concise, yet informative, says Jay Torborg, general manager of parent company Velotech Inc. “There’s a balance between too much information ,gh ” he says. “That’s what we shoot for.” _ ' SAVE $8 35% . . ‘ ' on Studded Tlres mmmlflwflfi on.- u. “de GOLFBALLS;COM An interactive ace 01f equip— ment e—retailer Golfballscom communicates am a“... V m. n»...- - M»... : wwwlw-Jvrhu . with its customer On every produc V V _ V page there is a V i I. ' . .' " l I. question—and— ' i i ' ' I" ' answer feature; _ V customers asks questions that can be answered by other customers or Golfballs.com employees.'lhe person respond— ing is identified as an employee or customer, and, if the latter, by how high his handicap is—which can be useful when evaluating someone else’s opinion of a sand wedge or driver. Each page also invites comments on how the page can be improved. The retailer recently wrapped up a “Coolest Pair on the Planet” promotion during which 7,222 participants designed their own golf shoes and shared them with Facebook friends.'lhe design that got the most votes at Golfballscom was put into production by shoe manufac— tur F by Th re 108 474 votes cast. 9,000 Facebook 00f 50,000—plus, akeshore Learning Materials’ retail site provides a unique way for shoppers to match the cogni tive needs of dif- ferent age group with the many types of books, games, crafts and other materials that can aid learning. “The goal is to give customers exactly what they want,” says web manager Michael Moore, who reads every comment received from customers to better learn what they need and how they like to shop. Shoppers on LakeshoreLearning.com can search among items designed for infants and toddlers, then narrow their search into learning materials that support gross motor skills or fine motor skills. Or when shopping for a second grader, they can search among appropriate books and literature, science and mathematics, dramatic play, and Learning, after all, can be fun. is a leader I in shopper “ interaction. It ha 7 W o «in $2 developmental m [on 565 Instant Rebate! ganglia?!) 3 Plus, $70 fans with a goal 1,500 Twitter followers, 50,000 user—generated ., . H 1 product reviews and 500 questions in its Ask 86 Answer section. Golfsmith likes shopper interaction for a good reason: It creates sales. Shoppers who read reviews con— vert on average 5% higher and those who use Ask 86 Answer spend 17% more on average than those who do not. Average orders for shoppers who use another form of interaction—designing their golf clubs—is six times as high as the typical order. Now Golfsmith is gearing up to create original videos for 400 products before holiday shoppipg starts this year. “This is an opportunity to get really far ahead of our competitors," says Jamey Maki, director of e-commerce and online experience. VeriSign Secured ,0 ’ Search: Endeca‘ _ Web analytics: \ Availabilityéiooa, J ‘ Response time: 2.96‘seco sf Consistency score: Goo, Site performance , Performance measured by Gomez In Availability: 99.85% Response time: 8.06 seconds Consistency score: Fair PERFORMANCEBIKE.COM Content rides high Game changer erformance ‘ @pgpanmf mam m w 3 anyone Bicycle had who has a full agenda ever played seri— when it rede— ous baseball or signed its web > softball knows, site this year: It museums“ ‘ the right glove is Wlnlm Rides : wanted to tie the ' crucial to playing site to its stores - “‘53.... é well and enjoy— V l T, r" M “Na . as well as create ing the game. m a good shopping . . , But finding the . ., . , “ experience for its variety of bicycle-riding customers. best mitt isn’t always easy, whether it’s for a high school On the cross—channel front, Performance made the store ace, an adult league player or a fledgling Little Leaguer. locator more prominent and added ship—to—store. On the Rawlings Sporting Goods makes the search for a glove a shopper front, it now hosts nine self—produced videos whole new experience on RawlingsGear.com. Shoppers . on how—to topics (“How to change a tire”) with more can search by criteria such as a player’s age, skill level and in the works. “Our shoppers range from avid elite riders field position to find a glove in stock, then view their to families with kids,” says Lynnette Montgomery, vice chosen mitt from multiple angles. They can also use the president, direct marketing. “There are basic things we retail site’s Glove Design Tool to choose the type of had to explain to some of them.” In addition, it beefed up leather, color, and style of webbing between the thumb its PDF how-to library and will add more. “We’ve had a and forefinger."‘This gives our customers the ability to huge focus on content,” Montgomery says. “The conver— build their own custom gloves just like the pros,” says sion rates on content have been very good.” marketing manager Suzanne Weschke. VeriSignk Secured VeriSign Secured “ web hosting: Peak10“ ” Site performance Performance measured by Gomez Inc. Availability: 99.950/d- * Response time: 3.23 seconds Consistency score: Good ‘ sport biker’s edge rian Van nun-- > oys ‘R’ Us loves to v . I V I may market .......n-.....t....,..-.....t.. . ride sport bike .» '. “~75 _ ' ‘ . ‘ fun and games, motorcycles, I ' mmwunm but the retailer and his passion . ' " gi is serious about shows throughout; m, V its web strategy. E; the web pages ‘ figsm'mm'" v Recognizing of three—year— that its site 5 old Sportbike , attracts more TrackGear.com. “I , . _ , than just parents ‘ _ , didn’t know anything about e—cornmerce when I started— buying toys for their little ones, it recently launched an i ,i computers weren’t a part of my life,” the former Cadillac car innovative online gift finder tool to help friends and mechanic says. But Van—who rides his Yamaha YZF—R6 extended family find the perfect present for a child. Shoppers can list attributes, such as age and gender, and characteristics, like sporty or creative, and the tool will produce suggestions. Beyond its own retail site,Toys ‘R’ Us purchased the web domain Toys.com and relaunched it as a portal Where consumers can find out about deals on motorcycle tracks across the country—learned how to write software code and develop images in Photoshop, and built a team of experienced motorcyclists to rev up an e-commerce site catering to sport bike enthusiasts and on course to do more than $7 million this year. Key to driving growth are some 500 online videos—all developed in—house on Toyrsus.com and at the company’s other e-commerce and featuring Van himself demonstrating products. “We try sites: Babiesrus.com, eToys.com and babyuniverse.com. to put a face on our business that makes customers more While Toys.com promotes the latest deals, consumers ” he says. h th sites to buy. ‘ Performance measured by Game Availability: 100% ' ' ' Response time: 4.03 seconds Consistency s‘cor‘e: Good Site performance Performancenlneasured by Game: Availabilitynom/o'fi _ ' Response time:h'3.2_y7vseco,nds . Consistency score: 6066 ...
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top 100 retail web sites part 2 - ; I REJUVENATION.COM F or...

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