April 30, 2008, 12:00 AM

Zappos.com launches beta site with improved search and new products

Zappos.com this month launched a beta site to replace its old site. The relaunch includes improved search, updated architecture and design, and new products such as electronics and games.

Zappos.com this month launched a beta site to replace its old site. The relaunch includes improved search, updated architecture and design, and new products such as electronics and games.

“We made our beta site public with the intention of getting as much feedback as possible at an early stage of development. We were aware of kinks in design and user flow, but we are excited about the detail of feedback we get from customers,” says Brian Kalma, director of creative services and marketing for Zappos, No. 31 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Among the changes, Zappos has shifted the search box from the right to the left side of the page. Enhanced search and navigation technology shows different results and options based on where a user is on the site, Kalma says. Other new features include a wider page, more white space, and more products displayed higher on the page.

The goal of the site redesign is to make shopping easier, Kalma says. That plays out in new features such as a more prominent “add to cart” button and a more consistent look and feel to such action elements as “add to faves” and “view more,” to highlight opportunities for customer interaction with the site.

The site changes are aimed at bringing in new customers to purchase the more than 2.7 million products from 1,100 brands offered at Zappos. The e-retailer’s move to add new products is another major step to boost business and target a wider range of consumers, Kalma says.

“We believe we can leverage our systems and service to sell across most any (product) category currently,” says Kalma, who adds that Zappos built the new beta site thinking of the future. “Who knows what Zappos will be doing in five, 10 or 20 years?” he says.

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