Private equity firm Apollo Global Management will take Rackspace private in the all-cash deal.
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“Trading is one of the fundamentals, and we wanted to add it because that is what is fun about the hobby,” says Shawn Schietroma, senior manager of e-commerce. “By buying our pricing guides, it narrows down the trade to where you can get a one-for-one value. And if a customer can’t find a card to trade, he can go to our Marketplace and Shop sections to buy it.”
Customers also can read the latest trading card news and views in the vast Learn section, and chat about the subject and sports in the e-retailer’s extensive social section, Discuss. It’s all designed to create the one-stop online destination for trading card enthusiasts, Schietroma says.
“This site is exciting,” comments Maris Daugherty, a senior consultant at retail consulting firm J.C. Williams Group Ltd. “The Beckett team has really turned web technology into the friend of an online collector.” Back to top
Mom’s online helper
The philosophy of 1800Diapers Inc. has been to give busy parents easy and quick access to diapers, wipes, formula and other consumable baby products. So when the company began adding thousands of new products to its online store, Diapers.com, it redesigned the site to ensure that it didn’t sacrifice customer convenience as it added such products as baby clothing and shoes, car seats, and strollers.
“The web site before really didn’t allow for easy navigation of the breadth of products, so as we added products, we needed to change the structure of the site so the customer can find these products much easier,” says chief operating officer Vinit Bharara.
On the original site, customers scrolled down a navigation bar on the left side of the home page, which listed every product sold on the site, Bharara says. “As we added hundreds of products, we couldn’t have a scroll-down function that goes down basically miles,” he says.
On the redesigned site, customers can search for items by brands, by essentials (such as diapering or baby-proofing) or by top ratings. A bar across the top of the home page offers drop-down menus under broad categories such as Diapering, Feeding & Nursing, Playtime & Books, and Clothing & Shoes.
Under the essentials category, customers find not only a checklist for items, a feature found on other sites, but also recommended products, such as the top-rated diaper bags and creams. “Diapers.com is showcasing the product. It’s integrated,” says Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group inc.
Shoppers also can search by the baby’s age or due date, or use a quick-shop function for repeat purchases, such as of formula or diapers.
The redesigned site also features scrolling merchandising zones, pop-up shopping pages and carts, and zoom. “We wanted to refresh the site and give it a look and feel which was reflective of our audience and what we were trying to do,” Bharara says.
Diapers.com also allows customers to navigate by brand in each product category. “That’s very smart,” Freedman says. “People in this category relate to the brand.” Back to top
Helping pet parents
Pet owners can be nervous about giving their dogs and cats shots, and written instructions rarely help soothe nerves. This is why Drs. Foster and Smith Inc. produced an online video of a pet parent administering an injection, showing how to do it in a way that causes a pet no discomfort. The customer is comforted, and more likely to buy pet supplies from the retailer and be more loyal to the brand, says Gordon Magee, Internet marketing and analysis manager.
Drs. Foster and Smith is showing other retailers the power of online video and educational content. It also is pioneering mobile commerce.
The retailer set up a studio in house and shoots videos in high definition. This year, the retailer added almost 150 videos to its library, including everything from the antics of cats playing with toys it sells to instructional clips on how to set up dog crates to a daily dog-walking forecast it co-sponsors with AccuWeather.
And it redesigned its sister site, PetEducation.com, enabling readers to search through more than 3,000 articles. Another feature puts links to the e-commerce site alongside articles in which experts recommend solutions to pet-related problems.
“It’s not screaming in your face; we’ve added this in a low-key way,” Magee explains. “Readers can click through over to DrsFosterSmith.com so PetEducation.com remains a non-commercial site.”
DrsFosterSmith.com boasts good design features, though in general the type size may be a bit too small, says Craig Smith, founder and managing director of consulting firm Trinity Insight LLC. A feature alongside the central image on the home page lets the visitor click on a dozen categories, bringing up a new image for each category, “something you don’t often see,” Smith says. “And the product pages are well designed.”
The retailer also is leading the way in m-commerce, putting the final touches on a downloadable application for iPhones. The application, for which a patent has been applied, offers an interface to the Drs. Foster and Smith catalog of products, Magee explains, providing a rich, custom experience that’s easier than browsing the full site on the smartphone. Back to top
EBags’ mission is to never leave consumers feeling they lack the information they need to make a purchase. From pictures of every handbag, laptop case and backpack in every hue available, to more than 1.5 million customer-generated reviews (there are 4,000 reviews for one product alone) to a range of videos, the site is ablaze with content.