September 22, 2009, 12:00 AM

SolidSignal.com relaunch catches up with a sweeping technology upgrade

A new homegrown e-commerce platform helped electronics retailer SolidSignal.com implement site upgrades including faster navigation, quicker content uploads and product comparisons.

A new homegrown e-commerce platform helped electronics retailer SolidSignal.com implement site upgrades including faster navigation, quicker content uploads and product comparisons, says CEO Jerry Chapman. Other technology upgrades in the past five months include a paperless warehouse and a new telephone system.

“We’ve been growing like crazy and went through the ‘why fix it if it’s not broken’ thought process for the web site,” Chapman says. “But we were not putting time and energy into the web site and we realized the e-commerce platform we had was not going to get us where we needed to be.”

Numbers aren’t in yet regarding how the new site is impacting conversions or sales, but Chapman says “it looks good in terms of pure conversion. Is it changing the world? No, but it’s better. It usually takes two to three weeks to see any meaningful changes in conversion.” Anecdotally, he says adding a “most popular” products feature tapped into existing product sub-categories resulting in “selling stuff we never sold before and getting customers we wouldn’t have gotten in the past,” Chapman adds.

One obvious change on the home page was adjusting product categories and condensing product navigation across the top and side for a less cluttered look, Chapman says. Reduced clutter makes it easier for shoppers to find products and the new site puts parts displays in a more intuitive order. Those site changes meshed with changes to the back-end technology that enable faster graphics loading and product comparisons.

Solid Signal turned to a core group of its biggest customers to test the redesigned site before it officially re-launched on Sept. 10. Hundreds of customers responded with details on what they liked and disliked, Chapman says. Feedback included a revelation on its site search tool. “We never knew it was slow or hard to use until we got replies that noted it was great the way we changed navigation,” he says.

SolidSignal.com is No. 412 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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