January 15, 2009, 12:00 AM

Action Envelope takes action on design, adding new technologies to the mix

The office products retailer used tools including Ajax and dynamic HTML to erase the need for page refreshes while entering personalized information, and it turned its multi-step checkout into a one-step process, chief operating officer Seth Newman says.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Last year Action Envelope concluded it was time for a new web site design. Its highly customizable products were ripe for online ordering assistance from such technologies as Ajax and dynamic HTML, tools that erase the need for page refreshes, which can come in handy when a shopper is entering a lot of personalized information. So last year the retailer leapt into action and did a complete overhaul of its e-commerce site design.

“We’re constantly expanding product lines and sometimes the format or navigation or category structure of the site didn’t fit well into the existing design,” says Seth Newman, chief operating officer of Action Envelope. He will speak during a session entitled “Springing into action with a new web site design” at next week’s Internet Retailer Web Design ’09 Conference in Miami Beach, FL. “So we re-evaluated everything to make room for many new products and new ways of doing things.”

In addition to altering categories, easing navigation and using Ajax to enable entry of information without the need for page refreshes, Action Envelope took action on its shopping cart design. While Newman says it did not have any issues with shopping cart abandonment beyond what would be considered the norm, he explains that the retailer wanted to try to reduce abandonment as much as possible. So it redesigned its multi-step checkout process to one-step checkout.

He adds that retailers looking to conduct a massive redesign should think through every detail they can prior to starting a project. “My thing was making sure I did everything I possibly could at this one time,” he says. “Not that you don’t continually make tweaks and changes. But for things you really want to be there, especially because many are hard to add afterwards, make sure you hit those from the start.”

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