July 31, 2003, 12:00 AM

Best Buy lures shoppers to new site with free shipping

With a boost from a free-shipping offer and a limited advertising promotion, the redesigned BestBuy.com is seeing a strong response from customers, vice president of marketing Barry Judge tells InternetRetailer.com.

With a boost from a free-shipping offer and a limited advertising promotion, Best Buy Co. Inc.`s redesigned BestBuy.com is seeing a strong response from customers, vice president of consumer and brand marketing Barry Judge tells InternetRetailer.com. "Initial response from customers has been very positive and we`ve observed a significant number of existing customers stopping by to check out our biggest store, our web site," he says.

The new BestBuy.com, launched June 27 by an in-house design team, was built around the shopping interests expressed by consumers in focus groups, such as their ability to interact with a broad range of electronics products in a Best Buy store, Judge says. The redesign, which mimics the appearance of Best Buy`s weekly newspaper ad supplement, provides a slew of new interactive features, such as a new home-page research center that provides answers to questions about products highlighted for sale in an adjacent section on the same page.

"During focus groups consumers describe us in positive terms such as dreamland, high energy and sensory overload," Judge says. "Many things contribute to this customer perception of our brand, including store visits to interact with our products as well as our weekly ad. Our goal with the redesign of BestBuy.com was to better leverage that unique brand equity. The redesign allows us to move into a truly unique multi-channel space where we can offer our customers seamless shopping both online and in-store."

In addition to placing additional products online so that virtually everything available in stores is also on the web, an electronic version of the weekly ad for each Best Buy store is now available online. "Design elements that appear in our weekly ad are familiar to our customers, so it was only natural that we would extend their use to our online channel," Judge says.

Shoppers key in a Zip Code to call up the ad for the nearest store. Placing a cursor over the image of a product in the ad will automatically pop up a window with product details. Included in the current weekly ad supplement is a promotion for the redesigned site, including call-outs to a temporary free-shipping offer on all orders and the ability of the new site, which has improved site search and navigation, to help consumers "find what you want fast." Best Buy has not promoted the redesign in other ways, a spokeswoman says.

The site redesign also supports the fact that 60% of Best Buy`s in-store shoppers research their purchases online, the spokeswoman says. Only now they`ll find the same offers both online and in-store. "Before, there was no real connection between our store and our web site," she says. "But now if customerd remember mid-week that they saw a camera they wanted in the Sunday store ad, they can go online and find the same offer."

Other new features of the new site include a new shopping cart that provides links to complementary products, financing offers, and product service plans.


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