Web Site Relaunch: How Bloomie’s Revamped Site Reaped Rewards
The oft-repeated rap on pure retailers’ online efforts heard at the recent e-Tail conference held in Washington, D.C., was that, by and large, they’ve always been a step behind from a commerce and developmental standpoint than Web pure plays and catalogers.
Although mid-scale retailer Bloomingdale’s got on the dot-com wagon early, led by a separate division that handles both its and Macy’s online units, the Bloomie’s site eventually needed an overhaul. Since the site’s relaunch in 2004, Bloomie’s Web business has risen from near-bottom to No. 4 when counted alongside Bloomie’s 38 individual stores.
The retailer’s Director of Internet Production Sonja Kristofferson shared a number of the improvements Bloomie’s has made and how other marketers can learn from them.
* Site search. “Our No. 1 complaint was that we had no site search,” Kristofferson said. Working with Web analytics firm WebSideStory (now Visual Sciences), the most noteworthy change was to enable customers to do searches by catalog product numbers. “That enables us to leverage marketing executed in other online channels,” she said. “And we don’t set it and forget it; we’re constantly monitoring what our customers are doing.”
* Brand landing pages. The marketer implemented brand landing pages through its searches by taking shoppers searching the Bloomie’s site for specific brands directly to brand-focused search results pages. “This gives shoppers what they want faster and with greater accuracy,” Kristofferson said. “It offers us an alternative way to feature hot brands or focus on particular brand relationships.”
Specifically, Bloomie’s can feature more information about the brands it offers.
* Custom messaging. Rather than have searches that come up empty simply say, “failed search result,” the Bloomie’s site directs customers to similar products if they’re searching for something the company doesn’t stock. “It reduces the number of zero results returned,” Kristofferson said. “And it also can say that the brands or products not in stock are ‘coming soon; check back with us for an expanded assortment.’”