Web Site Creative, Part II: Three Lessons Learned From a Web Site Redesign
Once you start a Web site redesign, the results often can be surprising. Geoffrey Robinson, vice president of e-commerce for auto parts cataloger J.C. Whitney revealed several surprises that followed his company’s Web site redesign during a session at last week’s Internet Retailer conference in Chicago.
* Men don’t read! When Robinson and his team at J.C. Whitney added more text-based product information to site search results, they found that predominately male audience didn’t click on the category links listed as text, but rather skipped to the bottom of the page where specific product images related to the search were featured. Unfortunately, these product links often were too specific, and didn’t lead to a sale. Robinson’s team then redesigned the site once more so that site search category results were represented primarily by images, not text, which resulted in higher visitation to category pages and increased conversion.
* Don’t assume you know what the customer wants. Robinson and his team assumed that shoppers coming from search engines would want to be delivered to specific specialty shops within J.C. Whitney’s site based on their search terms. However, this didn’t result in higher conversion rates. When he allowed J.C. Whitney’s shoppers to select the specialty shop on their own from another page, conversion increased.
* Results take time. After a particular test designed to increase average order value (AOV) didn’t immediately beat the control, Robinson cautiously ran the test for a few weeks. It turned out that since Robinson conducted the test using products that had higher price points, customers for those products had a longer buying cycle. After three weeks, the test beat the control and AOV increased.