The tools build on the vast amount of information Google knows about consumers.
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Customers who use the grill finder are more than 50% more likely to buy than other visitors to HomeDepot.com, reported Tari Huddleston. She noted most site visitors are women who "want to be educated before they go into the store." A JCP.com feature that lets visitors see different combinations of sheets, pillows, comforters and window valances produced sales 290% over plan, said Craig Horsley.
Don`t be too clever
Better Navigation Keeps E-Shoppers On Board
Patricia Graca, customer experience and web site product manager, HP Home & Home Office
Bill Cronin, e-commerce manager, Vermont Teddy Bear Co.
Jennifer Bailey, principal, Red Spade Inc.
Sticking to Internet conventions makes sites easier to use, Jennifer Bailey advised. Navigation should be on the left or on the top. Don`t try to be unique by calling customer service "service desk." "Let`s not be clever," Bailey said. "Just call it what everybody else calls it because that`s what customers will understand."
Two e-retailers speaking with Bailey explained how they tweaked their sites to improve usability. HP Home & Home Office found consumers signed up for a rewards program were not signing in when they made purchases, and then not receiving rewards. By making the sign-in box more prominent and recognizing the customer by name, 30% more customers signed in, said Patricia Graca.
At Vermont Teddy Bear, customers were being presented with options after declining features, leading to confusion. That cleared up after the company eliminated irrelevant options, said Bill Cronin.
Know your customer`s computer
Removing Obstacles to Site Effectiveness
Tim Wolfe, web applications manager, FootLocker.com
Richard T. Litofsky, president and CEO, cyScape Inc.
More sites use video, but whether customers can view it depends on their Internet connectivity and software, said Tim Wolfe. "Know your customer," he said. "If you want to deliver video, know his connection speed." FootLocker uses BrowserHawk from cyScape Inc. that detects connection speed, browser used and other visitor information.
That information enables a retailer to deliver messages tailored to the visitor, said Richard Litofsky. "Instead of asking visitors to figure out what`s wrong, provide self-help that tells them what they need to do," he said.
For instance, with many sites using Flash technology for presenting video, it`s important to know whether a visitor has Flash and which version. Wolfe noted that 98.6% of online users in the U.S. and Canada have at least version 6 of Flash, but only 84% Flash 9.