February 6, 2008, 12:00 AM

Children’s Wear Digest morphs into web retailing

Children’s Wear Digest used a web site redesign to make the final step from catalog company to Internet retailer, vice president of marketing and operations Tracy Schneider said last week at the Internet Retailer Web Design `08 Conference in Miami.

Children’s Wear Digest Inc. used a web site redesign to make the final transition from a traditional catalog company to an Internet retailer, vice president of marketing and operations Tracy Schneider told attendees last week at the Internet Retailer Web Design `08 Conference in Miami.

Today, visitors to the redesigned CWDKids.com can find merchandise and complete their transaction in about four clicks, a reduction of about 50%, Schneider said. New and internally designed site search also recognizes a wider variety of keywords and phrases and misspellings. When the company redesigned its web site in 2006, Children’s Wear Digest reduced the size and mailings of its catalog to pay for the redesign and add more digital forms of marketing. “We used to look at our customers through the eyes of a cataloger, but the redesign changed that,” Schneider said. “Now we’ve morphed into an Internet retailer with a catalog and room to grow to meet our customers’ needs.”

With a better designed web site as a base, the Internet now generates about 50% of all orders and CWDKids.com’s sales conversion rate has now increased to about 6%, Schneider said. In 2007, web sales also grew by about 12% to $15.9 million from $14.2 million in 2006.

As the redesign took shape, Children’s Wear Digest managers had to work with employees to view the Internet as a new channel with different design priorities. “We had to teach our photographers to shoot new angles and dimensions for the products we posted on the web,” she said.

Even though the company did use an outside company to help redesign CWDKids.com, Children’s Wear Digest managers were still very involved in the design decision-making process. “You know your customers better than the designer,” Schneider said. Children’s Wear Digest is No. 350 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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