A year ago, PegasusAssociates.com used Facebook, Twitter and the company blog not only to announce a planned redesign of its web site design but invite customers to suggest tweaks. Though the company had decided on the general direction of the redesign, the process reassured Pegasus that it was on the right track, and also helped to strengthen bonds between the retailer and some of its customers, the retailer says.
“Our primary goal was to get our customers engaged with us. We don’t sell shirts or shoes or things that are easy to start a conversation around,” says Chris Johnson, the e-retailer’s vice president. “We sell functional lighting products. This was a way to get them engaged with our brand a little bit, and to give us feedback we could use.”
The company ran giveaways to encourage customers to provide feedback. Shoppers who looked at early test pages and provided suggestions had their names submitted for prizes that included $150 Pegasus gift certificates and iPods. Feedback levels weren’t overwhelming—the first promotion garnered only six entries—but comment levels and detail did improve as Pegasus continued the redesign process and the test pages got more interactive, Johnson says.
The company also sought feedback by phone. Johnson says that whenever he’d conclude a call with a regular customer, he’d ask if he could send the customer links to the test site. Most obliged and provided detailed feedback.
The new web site launched Nov. 1. With it, customers see a new domain name, PegasusLighting.com, a new logo, wider page design, larger text font and a more visible search box. Each product page features up to 15 photos that can be zoomed in on and rotated, and customers also can now rate and review products. Customers also see their recently viewed products as they navigate through the site and get recommendations based on their browsing behavior.
Pegasus also overhauled site navigation from a highly detailed left-side navigation to a horizontal navigation with fewer details at the top of the page, which Johnson says he had concerns about.
“I was really worried that people, especially repeat customers, weren’t going to be able to find anything,” he says. Customer input was especially helpful in soothing Pegasus’ concerns on this point. When customers reviewed the test site, the most popular comment Pegasus received was about how easy the site was to navigate, Johnson says.
On the back end, PegasusLighting.com moved from Yahoo Stores’ Web Hosting platform, which the company had used since 2007, to its Store Editor platform. Moving to Store Editor required Pegasus to change its URL naming process and rename existing pages. Johnson says the company planned and completed all the site design work in-house and then handed the more technical details off to a developer to ensure it all worked. “There was not much we couldn’t do with the redesign. It took a lot of work, but we got there,” Johnson says.
After the launch, PegasusLighting.com again asked customers to comment on the new site using the blog, Facebook and Twitter, and to rate and review products on the site. Customer comments, nearly all positive and congratulatory, are pouring in, Johnson says.
PegasusLighting.com saw immediate results from its redesign. In December, the site’s conversion rate was up 30% and the average time spent on the site was up 25% when compared with October figures, Johnson says.