September 9, 2009, 12:00 AM

Drs. Foster & Smith redesign plays up the veterinarian connection

Pet supplies e-retailer Drs. Foster & Smith redesigned its web site to get the message out: We are veterinarians. Product category tabs were moved to the left side to make room atop web pages for messages playing up expertise and customer service.

Pet supplies e-retailer and direct marketer Drs. Foster & Smith Inc. redesigned its web site to get the message out that co-CEOs Race Foster and Marty Smith are veterinarians. To make room for messages atop web pages and play up the company’s expertise and customer service, product category tabs were moved to the left side.

At the same time, an expanded “hero” shot, the central image on a web page, now includes six tabs across the top to identify offers and featured products, such as “Summer Sale” and “Halloween Hats” for cats. Moving the product category tabs to the left side opened the top of the page, and also made the category tabs more accessible, says Gordon Magee, Internet marketing and media manager.

The enlarged hero shot area has room for images of animals in each of the e-retailer’s product categories and the space below includes a combination of pharmacy and sale information boxes. It also includes a link to Drs. Foster & Smith’s new pet blog and The Doctors’ Information Center, which lists pet care videos, articles and other related information.

Since the relaunched site went live two weeks ago the company has seen an increase of about 20% in shoppers clicking on the hero shot area, compared with the previous version, Magee says. The prior hero shot was smaller and housed some product tabs.

The previous web site design, which was deployed about 18 months ago, included a stack of product tabs to the left of the hero shot, which added to a slightly cluttered look, Magee says. And there wasn’t much room for displaying a message in the earlier version.

Opening space at the top of the web site also enabled Drs. Foster & Smith to position access to a new feature that gives shoppers a place to create their own list of favorite places within the site. After creating an account, shoppers can bookmark favorite product pages or pet care articles and refer to them on future visits.

“A weakness of all web sites is that, apart from bookmarks, there are only two main ways to get to a product page: either by navigation tools or search,” Magee says. My Pages enables consumers to place favored locations in a list accessible on the left side of each page, Magee says, without cluttering their browser. “It’s a bookmark function that’s unique to the site,” he says.

Drs. Foster &, No. 100 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, did the redesign work internally.


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