August 4, 2005, 12:00 AM

eBags learns that lifestyle images work better than product images

Adding lifestyle images to its home page has increased click-throughs to category and product pages at, CEO Jon Nordmark says.


Adding lifestyle images to its home page has increased click-throughs to category and product pages at, CEO Jon Nordmark said at the eTail Show this week. learned early on that it pays to frequently test online merchandising to give consumers what they want. “We learned that none of us was smarter than customers, so we test, test, test,” Nordmark said.

EBags, No. 91 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, uses web analytics software from Omniture in addition to in-house analytics software to constantly test the impact of its online merchandising displays and other site features on conversion rates. After displaying more lifestyle images – such as students carrying backpacks for back-to-school merchandise displays – eBags learned that the lifestyle images garnered a click-through rate 20% higher than the rate for basic product images, Nordmark said.

Nordmark, noting that eBags was one of the pioneers of using web site analytics and A/B testing of multiple versions of web pages, said that eBags’ merchandise managers will change page displays daily or even hourly as they monitor clickthrough and conversion rates. “We have a merchandising plan, but it can change,” he said.

Melissa Payner, CEO of Bluefly Inc., who appeared on an eTail panel with Nordmark, said is using analytics tools to view clickstream data within promotions. “We can see how customers shopped in a promotion and what sold in a promotion,” she said. For example, Bluefly has learned that some shoppers still prefer to shop through regular category and product listings rather than click on a related promotion appearing on the home page.

Bluefly is also getting more accurate measurements of promotions by comparing them to similar promotions that ran a year earlier, Payner said.



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