January 20, 2010, 12:00 AM

Shoplet`s redesigned site focuses on the environment

Shoplet.com has redesigned its web site to make it easier for shoppers to find environmentally friendly items, as well as to speed up shopping visits.

Lead Photo

Tony Ellison, CEO, Shoplet

Online-only discount office supplies retailer Shoplet.com has redesigned its web site to help shoppers find environmentally friendly items, as well as to speeds up shopping visits.

The redesign, which launched Dec. 22, is the first full overhaul of the site in three years. “We wanted to build a more powerful, efficient site that was also much more customer-centric,” says Keith Baumwald, the retailer’s interactive marketing analyst. Shoplet based many of its changes on feedback gathered through e-mail surveys, e-mail comments and customer calls.

The site now has more than 8,000 environmentally friendly products. However, Shoplet’s customers asked for more green products, says Baumwald. That led the retailer to build a pop-up window that allows shoppers to replace conventional items in their carts with more environmentally-friendly options, such as products made of recycled material or that are more energy-efficient. When a shopper adds an item to her cart a green logo notes “Green Replacement Available.” If the shopper clicks on the logo, a pop-up window shows images, product details and prices for both the item currently in the cart and the environmentally friendly alternative.

“People don’t always select the eco-friendly alternative because they don’t know it exists or they can’t find it,” says Leslie Scharf, senior vice president of business development. The offering required the company to build an internal mapping function that automatically identifies the products that have close eco-friendly matches. “It might be a spot-on match, or it might be pretty close,” says Scharf. “We want to present the shopper with options.” Scharf notes that the project took several months from development to launch, but declined to disclose its cost.

Shoplet also rebuilt its search engine to improve its speed andadded an autofill function that offers both keyword and category matches. For instance, typing in “paper” brings up keywords such as “Paper Mate” as well as categories such as “paper bags.”

For repeat customers that know exactly what they need, Shoplet added a quick-order feature that allows a shopper to log in to her account and type in a product’s SKU rather than having to search through the site. “Generally people end up buying the same item repeatedly, like paper or toner cartridges,” says Scharf. “This allows those shoppers to complete those orders as quickly as possible.” The quick-order feature is a key point that Shoplet’s customer service agents highlight when they call to follow up on orders. “We try to turn every customer into a repeat customer,” says Scharf. “Making it easier for customers to get what they need is a good way to do that.”

Shoplet’s in-house staff of developers and designers carried out the redesign.

Tony Ellison, founder and CEO, Shoplet will be speaking at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibit, June 8-11 in Chicago, in a session entitled Finding opportunity in tough times-How one online retailer takes on the category`s giants.

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