January 6, 2010, 12:00 AM

FootSmart.com heads down the path to a better web site design

Having grown annual web sales by about 10% in 2009, Benchmark Brands will spend this year making its web site more user-friendly for its chief customers: shoe shoppers over age 50. That includes a complete site redesign.

Having grown annual web sales by about 10% to $66.2 million in 2009, Benchmark Brands Inc. will spend this year making its e-commerce site more user-friendly for its chief customers: shoe shoppers over age 50.

In 2009, Benchmark Brands, No. 175 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, (a PDF version of the company’s financial and operating profile can be ordered by clicking on its name) updated its older, internally designed e-commerce platform with new applications from Mercent Corp. and later in the year began installing a new site search application from Endeca Technologies Inc., says CEO Alan Beychok.

With an expanded e-commerce platform and advanced site search in place, Benchmark Brands will spend the next six months redesigning FootSmart.com and introducing new features such as three-dimensional product images, product recommendations and video. “Our customers are a little older and they shop differently online,” Beychok says. “The new design will make FootSmart.com more user-friendly and easier to navigate.”

Benchmark Brands, which carries an online inventory of about 64,000 SKUs, will also look at new ways to segment its marketing program, especially e-mail, and reach out to customers with more targeted campaigns. “We operate in a very competitive online retailing space, but in 2010 Benchmark Brands will benefit from the continued channel shift from stores to the web and the fact that the first of the Baby Boomer generation turns 65,” Beychok says. “Everything we are doing with the redesign will focus on making our shopping experience easier and more consistent for our target customers.”

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