March 14, 2012, 11:18 AM

The best time for a total redesign? Never

Small, regular site updates are better than full redesigns, says an IRCE speaker.

Bill Briggs

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Daniel Cotlar

Web site design should be a continuous process of small adjustments, lest the site become outdated as soon as a major redesign is completed, says Daniel Cotlar, chief marketing officer at window treatments and accessories retailer Blinds.com.  Cotlar will talk about how to make incremental upgrades to e-commerce sites at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in a session entitled “When—and how—do you redesign?

“Retailers can develop a process for improving key areas of a web site, prioritizing the most important parts of a site and then continuing to improve them part by part so you’re never betting the farm on a huge redesign,” Cotlar says. “Complete redesigns are characterized by long development cycles, sometimes 12 to 18 months. By then you are at a competitive disadvantage because your changes are outdated.”

Pages that are essential to the shopping process include home, category and product pages; one function to focus on is site navigation. At Blinds.com, No. 215 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, evaluating key pages and functions, among many others, is a daily activity, Cotlar says. “Every time a customer places an order with us we ask what we could have done better, and that gives us a treasure-trove of information. We also use random surveys of browsers’—non-customers’—opinions,” he says.

Internet Retailer’s editors asked Cotlar to speak because he has 15 years of experience in e-commerce. Prior to Blinds.com, he managed online marketing for Reliant Energy and served in leadership roles at several startups. He has experience in online marketing, analytics and testing, and is a guest professor at the University of Houston. Blinds.com won last year's AMA Marketer of the Year Award and Houston's 2011 #1 best place to work.

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