February 10, 2005, 12:00 AM

OfficeMax drives up conversions after redesigning site with customer input

OfficeMax, learning that it pays to get customer input on planned site re-designs, increased web sales enough in one month to pay for the re-design project, Jim Carrington will tell attendees at the eTail 2005 Conference next week.

OfficeMax Inc., learning that it pays to get customer input on planned site re-designs, increased sales enough in the first month after the re-design launched to pay for the $1.5 million project, Jim Carrington, senior director of e-commerce, will tell attendees at the eTail 2005 Conference next week.

OfficeMax launched a redesigned OfficeMaxSolutions.com last fall. Completed in-house, the project used A/B testing to let customers experience and comment on different ways to use the site, says Carrington, who will present a Track B, Customer Experience session entitled “Understanding the Importance and Impact of Optimal Site Navigation as it Relates to Your Product Mix,” at 3:35 p.m., Feb. 15.

“We started the process of getting customer feedback at the beginning of the design project, and involved them all the way through,” Carrington says.

Shoppers who logged onto OfficeMaxSolutions, the company’s b2b e-commerce site, were shown the option of navigating to either the A or B version. If they shopped on one version and then wanted to try the other, they could toggle between the two without losing what they had placed in their shopping cart, Carrington says.

One feature that OfficeMax changed after customer input was a shopping cart design that placed all entered items in alphabetical order. “Customers said they didn’t want alpha order, they wanted them listed in the order in which they were entered into the cart,” Carrington says.

In the first full month of running the new site design, last September, OfficeMaxSolutions experienced a 1.3% month-to-month jump in sales conversions, valued at about $1.5 million. “That was our biggest month-to-month jump ever, and it paid for the design project,” Carrington says.

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