November 30, 2001, 12:00 AM becomes the latest e-retailer to launch a re-designed site

Discounter has reduced its page download time by 50%, made site navigation easier, streamlined the customer interface and highlighted membership benefits more prominently.

There’s been a rash of retail web site re-designs as online marketers scramble to take advantage of what it expected to be good growth in online shopping this holiday season. The latest e-retailer to make its site more appealing to more consumers is discounter

One of the major changes at, which hosts 1 million visitors a month, was to replace tab navigation with store presentation with highlighted products on the home page, Greg Dowling, director of web design and production, tells Previously, customers would click a tab at the top of the page to enter a certain store, then click on a department within the store, then on a category within the department, then finally on a product. The site now features eight stores on the home page with five to seven categories listed within each store. A customer looking for a product clicks on the category from the home page and receives a page with lists and images of products. “We went from five clicks to about two clicks,” Dowling says. did a soft launch of the re-design on Oct. 9 before announcing it today. Since that time, site abandonment from the home page has dropped 30%, Dowling says. Netmarket hopes to improve its conversion rate from under 2% to as much as 10%. Early results are encouraging, Dowling says. was able to present more information while speeding up page downloads by encoding the home page with HTML to present products. Previously, product images, pricing and other information were delivered from a database, which meant a 5- to 6-second lag as the home page requested the information from the database. Now the home page downloads in less than a second, Dowling says.

Another prominent change to the site is that it features membership benefits at the top of the home page.

Netmarket sells 30,000 products and stocks 70,000 SKUs in consumer electronics, jewelry and other mostly high-ticket items. It is part of Trilegiant Corp., formerly Cendant Membership Services Inc., provider of membership and loyalty services.


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