CEO Sharon Price John says Build-A-Bear’s old e-commerce system is a big reason for disappointing online sales in December.
At IWantOneofThose.com, merchandising fun and high-tech products is done with several moving product images on the same page. The challenge is presenting all that without causing slow page loading for many customers on dial-up Internet access.
At IWantOneofThose.com, merchandising fun and high-tech products is done with several moving images -- such as a twirling helicopter and an air-blasting gizmo -- that make its home page appear nearly as active as a pinball machine. The moving-image-driven strategy is helping to drive sharp increases in annual sales, but the challenge is presenting all those images without causing slow page-loading for many customers on dial-up Internet access, co-founder and managing director David Booth tells InternetRetailer.com. “We offer entertainment as well as information,” he says. “One of our strengths is the way we sell our products.”
The retail web site, which is operated by U.K.-based I Want of Those Ltd., sells more than 300 products ranging from soundwave-emitting remote-controlled airplanes to hand-winded cell phone battery chargers. Sales this year are expected to reach $15 million, up 60% from $9.3 million last year. “No doubt about it, having a site that’s interactive and live has helped our sales,” Booth says. “If you look at a static site and then look at ours, some of our products almost appear three-dimensional.”
With a staff of in-house web site designers, the retailer has concentrated on displaying several moving images at any one time without requiring high bandwidth for loading pages. “This site is designed for people with dial-up access,” Booth says. “There’s no point in being fancy if people can’t log onto your site.”
In addition to displaying several products in moving images, IWantOneofThose also presents videos of products, including several sent in by customers showing them using products such as remote-controlled cars and planes.
As part of $300,000 site redesign, which will include a site dedicated for the U.S. market, the retailer plans to introduce additional videos with voice-overs. “The videos will be done tongue-in-cheek,” Booth says. For example, he adds, one planned video will show a remote-controlled Humvee all-terrain vehicle with a comical voice-over describing its operation.