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A streamlined web site, better search and expedited customer service helped J.C. Whitney & Co. top $100 million in web sales in 2006. J.C. Whitney also expanded its merchandise selection to 130,000 accessories, fitting over 6 million different vehicles.
A streamlined web site, better search and expedited customer service helped J.C. Whitney & Co. top $100 million in web sales in 2006.
For the year, the direct marketer of automotive parts and accessories, No. 97 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, posted web sales of $100.9 million. That’s an increase of 11.8% from e-commerce revenue of $90.3 million in 2005.
To expedite web sales, J.C. Whitney expanded its merchandise selection to 130,000 accessories, fitting over 6 million different vehicles, and 1.2 million hard parts, encompassing over 25 million different vehicles. The company also completed a major site redesign, which resulted in the launch of 11 shops for cars, trucks, jeeps, motorcycles, a new parts counter/replacement parts outlet and other specialties.
“We redid our top selling categories and cleaned up the product information across the site to improve merchandising and the accuracy of the presentation,” says vice president of e-commerce Geoffrey Robertson. “To improve the integrity of our product information, we added site functionality by soliciting customer feedback regarding product data and imagery.”
The newly redesigned JCWhitney.com also includes better site organization and internal search that enable shoppers to search by the make, model and year of their vehicle, store information within the “my saved vehicles” and “my account” sections, and depict more categories on related search pages. “We conducted usability research and spent considerable time developing a new web design to provide a more intuitive automotive accessory purchase experience,” says Robertson, who will speak at Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, June 4-7 in San Jose, in a session titled Using Customer Product Reviews to Attract Loyal Shoppers.
To expedite customer service, J.C. Whitney also added more features and functions such as a “best price guarantee,” product availability on merchandise pages and customer reviews. “Auto accessories are particularly complex products due to the need to accommodate a vehicle’s year, make, model associations and other vehicle and part specifications,” he says. “We redesigned the web site to eliminate as many screens as possible so customers can get to the final purchase.”