October 30, 2007, 12:00 AM

Newegg whips up a site redesign by blending the familiar with the new

When it was time to redesign the home page, Newegg.com had a vigorous internal debate over how much of the original look should remain while also displaying higher-margin consumer electronics to draw shoppers deeper into its product pages. The result was a delicate balance of the two strategies.

Great chefs combine common and new ingredients uniquely to produce a new dish. Newegg.com followed a similar path by writing a new recipe for its web site. The recently redesigned site resulted from delicately balancing longstanding customer favorites with the online electronics retailer’s new plan to focus on its product range.

Newegg, which grew its annual web sales to $1 billion in only four years, established itself by offering aggressive deals on personal computers and related gear to an audience of information technology professionals with strong do-it-yourself tendencies. But beginning in 2005 Newegg.com saw a need to diversify and feature more consumer electronics.

When it was time to redesign the home page, Newegg.com had a vigorous internal debate over how much of the original look should remain while at the same time displaying higher margin consumer electronics in a way to draw shoppers deeper into the product pages. “A lot of time was spent on getting the balance just right,” says Newegg director of web management Gary Zorko. “We made the decision that the new home page needed to emphasize the breadth of product we carry on the site.”

Daily deals

On the old home page, the main element was a box that featured Newegg’s daily deals. But the home page has now been reorganized to emphasize merchandising categories such as computer hardware, consumer electronics, digital cameras and software. To access daily specials on Newegg.com, shoppers can click on a banner ad at the top of the home page or scroll down the page and view larger images and product descriptions. The redesigned home page also features a list of the 10 most frequent product searches, a quick poll, customer testimonials and better organized categories. “The redesign puts more of an emphasis on consumer electronics,” says Zorko.

Designers didn’t forget Newegg loyalists-the biggest art element on the new home page is the ad for daily deals. The deals of the day are also located prominently on the top half of the page.

Newegg is carefully tracking what shoppers think of the new look: so far only about 50% of customers taking an ongoing survey approve of the new design. But sales conversions of products listed on the home page have also jumped by 20% since the new page went live in late May. “Our customers told us they wanted better ways to find the merchandise,” Zorko says. “We balanced that need against showcasing our consumer electronics and featuring the daily specials.”

billb@verticalwebmedia.com

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