August 23, 2007, 12:00 AM

ShopPBS.com’s new site design supports shift to e-commerce sales

In its first major site redesign in four years, ShopPBS.com has made it easier for shoppers to find videos and other products from among the site’s 4,500 SKUs, the retail e-commerce unit of the Public Broadcasting Service says.

In its first major site redesign in four years, ShopPBS.com has made it easier for shoppers to find videos and other products from among the site’s 4,500 SKUs, the retail e-commerce unit of the Public Broadcasting Service says. ShopPBS.com runs on the GSI Commerce platform.

“We’re getting a lot smarter now with e-commerce technology,” Andrea Downing, vice president of home entertainment and partnerships for PBS, tells Internet Retailer. “Our customers are very passionate about PBS, and we’ve received good feedback from them about how much easier it is now to find things.”

She adds that new site design supports a shift at PBS to a higher percentage of sales through its e-commerce channel. PBS also sells video products through paper catalogs and promotions aired at the end of TV broadcasts.

ShopPBS.com, No. 368 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, originally launched on an in-house-developed Oracle platform in 1999 before switching to a GSI Commerce platform in 2003, Downing says.

The new GSI Commerce platform is designed with parametric navigation and sorting, which filters video products by attributes such as price, production year, title and whether or not a program has already aired on PBS. This is particularly helpful, for example, when visitors want to see lists of videos only in the DVD format or only in the older VHS format, Downing says.

“The intuitive organization and design of the new ShopPBS.com will make it even easier for our online customers to locate the titles they’re looking for,” she says. “We have a discerning viewer base, and we worked closely with GSI to incorporate design features on our online store that mirror the quality and sophistication of our on-air programming.”

Other new features include:
• Express shop preview windows, which let shoppers mouse over an image for more details without having to click to another page;

• The ability, using cascading style sheet technology, to single-click an icon to put page content into a larger font size for easier reading;

• Catalog quick-order, which allows catalog shoppers to quickly order multiple items by entering product codes from a paper catalog;

• Multi-tier top navigation, highlighting popular product categories such as new releases, recently broadcast videos, and best sellers dynamically organized by sales volume.

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