January 6, 2010, 12:00 AM

Regular design reviews help Onlineshoes.com design better video pages

Flexibility and a regular usability review have helped Onlineshoes.com to develop a more balanced approach to video production and page design. The result: sharply higher conversion rates on pages with video.

A regular usability review and a willingness to remain flexible have helped Onlineshoes.com to develop a more balanced approach to video production and page design. In late 2008, Onlineshoes.com created OnlineshoesTV.com as a separate web site to showcase its growing inventory of more than 200 product and education videos. But site usability reviews and a detailed analysis of web site traffic revealed that Onlineshoes.com was missing out on sales by housing videos on a dedicated site.

On OnlineshoesTV.com, shoppers could watch a video and then click on a buy button to make a purchase. But they had to leave OnlineshoesTV.com and return to Onlineshoes.com if they wanted to shop for other items, research additional products, access their account information or contact customer service. “We were disconnected in our approach to designing video pages,” says Onlineshoes.com chief marketing officer Peter Leech. “We had invested a considerable amount of time and resources in a new site to showcase our videos, but our analysis showed us that we had to be more diverse in where we featured them.” Onlineshoes.com is No. 134 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).

To do a better job of locating videos on heavily used areas of the main site, Onlineshoes.com created a new blog-“Get in Gear”-that’s featured on its home page, and made the blog a forum for displaying new film snippets. It also redesigned the pages on OnlineshoesTV.com with a new top navigation bar that featured key merchandising categories, a more prominent site search box and labels that shoppers could click to access their accounts, track orders or contact customer service. “We didn’t reinvent the wheel, but we did balance out where we placed videos on each site and then made sure we supported the video with the other elements and features that customers would naturally expect to find on our major shopping pages,” says Leech.

By designing a blog and making video a key component of its content, Onlineshoes.com has created bigger interest in its latest productions. “The video creates an interactive dialogue with the shopper and involves them in a way static content can’t,” says Leech. With a better approach to design and video location, Onlineshoes.com is finding shoppers interested in a particular brand and closing more sales, says Leech. About 5% of visitors to its new blog click to view videos. The conversion rate on sales made after a customer watches a product video is about 45% higher than the site’s average conversion rate. “Because of a different approach to design, we are finding true commercial gains and a better return on our investment in online video,” says Leech.

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