January 13, 2010, 12:00 AM

ShoeMall.com adds products and tweaks its site to drive a sales turnaround

ShoeMall.com credits new merchandise offerings and adjustments to URLs among reasons for sales improvement during 2009.

After a rocky beginning to the year, Shoemall.com ended 2009 with record-breaking online sales during the holiday shopping season. Shoemall.com recorded a 148% boost in online sales on the Friday after Thanksgiving from the same Friday the year before, its highest sales on that Friday. In December, online sales increased 30% from December 2008. The company ended the year with $90 million in online sales, a 3% decline from $92.9 million in 2008.

“We weathered the storm. We were slightly down at the beginning of the year, but sales have turned around for ShoeMall.com in the last six months,” says Jodi Bresina, Internet director. ShoeMall.com is No. 135 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide (a PDF version of the company’s financial and operating profile can be ordered by clicking on its name).

Bresina credits the addition of two new product lines on its site-children’s footwear and accessories such as handbags, scarves and hats-with improving sales during the course of the year.

In addition, Bresina says ShoeMall’s plan to make better use of resources at hand paid off. For example, instead of manually entering cross-sell and upsell options for products, which they were doing previously, the company programmed the code so that all products on the site are now automatically associated with three cross-sell product options, says Bresina. ShoeMall uses Endeca site search technology.

Moreover, to improve natural search engine results, the site’s URLs have been rewritten to remove symbols or numbers and instead include more search-friendly terms. As a result, the company, which works with iProspect on search marketing, has increased the site’s natural search results by 47% from January 2009 to December 2009, says Bresina.

ShoeMall.com’s 2009 promotions included two contests to engage its customers, for Mother’s Day and the back-to-school shopping season. The Mother’s Day contest entrants wrote a 300-word essay or produced a three-minute video about why their mother or a mother whom they knew deserved free shoes for a year. The back-to-school contest required contestants to complete a registration form and offered a Trek bike to the winner. It drew about 8,600 entries, Bresina says.

Also in 2009, the company launched the blog TheShoeDiaries.com, which is written internally and focuses on celebrity news and affordable footwear alternatives to those worn by celebrities.

Plans for ShoeMall.com in 2010 include streamlining the checkout process, a platform upgrade and the addition of video.

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