December 29, 2008, 12:00 AM

Survey: More than a pretty face

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To incorporate video, customer reviews and other advanced features in ways that drive more business, retailers need to position the content or application on the product page in a way that motivates the visitor to take a specific action, says Betsy Emery, CEO of retail web site design firm Tellus.

“The customer review or video can’t be placed haphazardly,” Emery says. “Customer reviews and product videos need to be grouped along with the other text and images on a page in a way that gives the shopper all the information they need to make an informed buying decision. Some retailers think the review or the video by itself will generate a bigger sale, but that’s a misconception. These elements have to be part of a well-balanced design that pulls shoppers in, gives them multiple ways to see and explore merchandise and then makes it easy to complete the purchase.”

Many retailers are making videos and customer reviews a permanent fixture on their web sites. But merchants also are taking a wait-and-see approach to designing and launching mobile commerce sites or digital communities. The survey finds that only 32% of retailers plan to launch an online community within the next year and only 17% will design a mobile commerce site.

But even if they stick with a basic new design, more designers and programmers are sitting down with their marketing and management counterpart and developing redesign plans that meet specific business requirements. “All of the retailers we are working with these days are doing their redesign with a keen eye toward how this new look will improve the bottom line,” says Emery. “Even if it’s just remaking the home page or building in new functionality, they want that design to generate more business.”


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