February 17, 2010, 12:00 AM

OrientalTrading.com`s new site design helps shoppers find products faster

After launching a redesigned web site in September that simplified navigation, Oriental Trading Co. increased its site’s conversion rates, vice president of e-commerce Brian Moen said at the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability 2010 Conference.

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Brian Moen

After launching a redesigned web site in September that simplified navigation, Oriental Trading Co. increased its site’s conversion rates, vice president of e-commerce Brian Moen said Wednesday at the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability 2010 Conference.

Prior to Moen’s presentation, Lynette Montgomery, vice president of direct marketing at Performance Bicycle and Nashbar, gave a featured address Wednesday on her company’s recent site redesign. And on Tuesday, John Thompson, senior vice president and general manager of BestBuy.com, spoke about the importance of web design to Best Buy Co. Inc.’s multichannel retailing strategy in the conference’s keynote address on Tuesday.

 

 

The redesign of OrientalTrading.com reduced to two from four the average number of clicks customers must perform to reach a product, resulting in a single-digit percentage increase in its site`s conversion rate. Moen said in a session entitled "Oriental Trading: Getting shoppers from here to there." The company also cut category pages to 70 from 250.

The revisions, nine months in the making, took into account significant feedback from Oriental Trading’s customers, 85% of whom are female and who generally divide into three segments: Individual consumers, educators and not-for-profit organizations, institutions and businesses.

For instance, the company conducted immersion sessions with more than a dozen customers. The sessions, which took place at customer homes and lasted at least two hours each, had shoppers explain in detail how they plan for events and what their ideal party-planning web site would look like. One line of questioning involved what customers would like to see under specific tabs on the web site. “We definitely wanted our customers to influence the taxonomy of the site,” Moen said. Taxonomy is the organized system of data that describes products and supports how online shoppers search and navigate on a web site.

The company videotaped the sessions. “The information there was unbelievably valuable,” he said.

The company also sought other suggestions, including through an electronic bulletin board where 100 customers commented about the site redesign. Customers pointed out that while OrientalTrading.com offered boys and girls birthday sections, there was nothing for teenagers, some of whom celebrate Sweet Sixteen birthdays.

Customers also indicated a desire to use checkmarks inside boxes to narrow searches, Moen said. Other improvements included a party planning feature that mimics the online invitation service Evite.

The redesign involved seven departments and the integration of five systems, he said. One surprise was that five employees needed only 10 days to add attributes to about 40,000 SKUs, despite predictions from merchandising workers that the task would take much longer, Moen said.

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