Redesigning a web site can make even the most seasoned e-commerce managers cringe, not only because of the toil of revising links, codes and pages, but because of worries about how shoppers will react to the changes.
Retailers can reduce their anxiety, however, by quizzing customers, studying other web sites and creating a detailed plan with specific dates to achieve important redesign milestones, says Jeff Douglas, e-commerce manager, Nebraska Furniture Mart, which is No. 458 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
Douglas will share insights gained from redesigning Nebraska Furniture Mart’s e-commerce site during a session at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in Chicago entitled “Redesign step by step.”
Douglas began Nebraska Furniture Mart’s recent redesign project by identifying 30 desired site improvements. The changes stemmed from customer surveys and feedback, usability studies and through benchmarking the Nebraska Furniture Mart site against the top 100 sites operated by retailers selling similar products.
“Then we put together an aggressive plan that we would knock out all 30 projects in six months and get them launched before Thanksgiving,” Douglas says. “Marketing and I.T. moved into a collaboration room and we completed all the projects by November 15—in time for the busy holiday shopping period.”
Changes to the site included reducing the checkout from six steps to two and adding a guest checkout option, he says.
Douglas notes that redesigning is hard work, so it’s important to reward and recognize staff for their extraordinary efforts.“Since we launched the new site, sales have exceeded expectations and we couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out,” says Douglas.
Internet Retailer’s editors asked Douglas to speak because of his expertise as a web retailer. He oversees all aspects of Nebraska Furniture Mart’s e-commerce site and is responsible for strategy, marketing, site operations and design. Douglas joined the company in 1996 and took over Internet operations in 2003.