February 10, 2011, 1:25 PM

Let ROI calculations drive web site redesign budgeting, says a conference speaker

Betsy Emery says retailers should analyze the potential return from a redesign.

Lead Photo

Betsy Emery Martin, founder and CEO of web development firm Tellus Web, speaks about web content strategies at the Internet Retailer Conference 2010.

Most web retailers realize the conditions for selling online change continually and their web sites must adapt to shoppers’ habits and expectations. Less clear is the scope of changes to include in a redesign and how much they will cost.

Determining how much to spend should be balanced by the return the e-retailer seeks, says Betsy Emery, CEO of web design and marketing consulting firm Tellus, who will discuss investing in and returns from web site redesign at next week’s Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability Conference 2011 in a pre-conference workshop session titled “Costing out a web site redesign.” 

“Web retailers need to right-size the expenditure of a redesign in relation to the magnitude of return on investment expected,” Emery says. “They need to diagnose their individual needs: Do they want better traffic? Better average order value? It’s about looking at making the right decision for your business and then, within that, using a financial analysis to set you up for making correct decisions regarding technology, vendor partners, and how to measure results.”

For some web retailers the hardest part is deciding what they need compared to what they might want, Emery says. “Often people start with the idea that they are going to look at all the options in the marketplace and then try to decide where they fit in all of those options,” she says. “The better way to go about it is to start by understanding yourself and your business and where you are.”

Emery will highlight how, once a retailer has a grasp of its current needs, it can set priorities, which can keep the cost of a redesign down.

Another way to contain costs is to rely on in-house staff to redesign a site—although the project would likely take more time than if the retailer engages a design firm. And some retailers have kept costs low by serving as testing grounds for vendors developing new e-commerce technology.

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