November 30, 2012, 12:00 AM

Mass Merchant

Retailers who aren’t afraid to change.

Lead Photo

The common thread among the retailers who make up this year's Hot 100 mass merchant category is change.

Hayneedle.com this year doubled its selection of home décor and furnishings and updated its site search and navigation. It added filters to refine searches by product type, quick shipping, top-selling and sale items, and added Google Commerce Search as its site search provider. The changes helped spark a sharp rise in the on-site search revenue, use and conversion, says Donna Faust Aman, Hayneedle's director of brand marketing.

Target.com put a rocky redesign behind it and completed a site makeover that resulted in a clean, orderly look and greater stability. The design draws shoppers' attention to its hero shots, which point to merchandising tools like a toy catalog in the run-up to the holidays. The dynamic catalog enables shoppers to search several ways, such as by top toys, boys, girls, games and gadgets. With a click, consumers can add a product to their wish lists.

JoyUs.com, meanwhile, emphasizes rich media. Large images and two videos dominate the home page. Clicking a featured video takes consumers to JoyUs.com's take on a product page where the video continues to play, this time with sound, as a JoyUs staffer describes the product and makes recommendations. Shoppers can purchase products on the video page, such as a gourmet food sampler. The retailer loads two to three videos per day that feature staff experts on food, beauty and style.

In rolling out a steady stream of novel ways to spur shoppers to make a purchase, these retailers are demonstrating the value of ongoing reinvention.

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