Melanie Teed-Murch has been with the retail chain since 1996.
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More importantly, the company is reacting more swiftly to expand the number of products it offers on a category page and is enhancing hot selling items with bigger headlines and higher page placement to encourage impulse buying. “When we used to do all of our paid search around specific products, we would get what I call ‘one timers;’ they were on the site for one page view and maybe make one purchase and then they were gone,” Yonts says. “Now we are getting better results with our focus on category-driven search terms. It’s paying off with more page views and sales from repeat buyers.”
The new approach Technobrands is adopting for paid search also is helping to jump start e-commerce sales, which in recent years have remained flat. Today there is much more competition in the online gifts space and there is a limit to how many gadgets such as air purifiers, retro phones and bed desks that shoppers will buy. That fact was reflected in Technobrand’s e-commerce sales.
In 2005, FirstStreetOnline.com generated web sales of $11.5 million, barely up from $11.4 million in 2004. But with a more effective paid search strategy and a new emphasis on lifestyle-oriented merchandising, FirstStreetOnline.com is on track to grow sales by at least 10% in 2006 to around $12.7 million. “It’s netting us sales we otherwise wouldn’t be getting,” Yonts says.
The new emphasis on lifestyle-oriented search engine marketing and merchandising will also keep Technobrands busy expanding the number of categories on FirstStreetOnline.com to as many as 30, compared with about eight major categories today. “We will create new categories based on metrics such as traffic flow to a particular set of products,” Yonts says. “Our emphasis has shifted to a more customer-centric approach.”