February 17, 2010, 12:00 AM

A web site redesign is an ongoing process, Performance Bicycle says

The merchant began the process of launching a redesign last May. It had big goals, like improving the experience, asserting itself as a destination site and building its brand across channels. But it has found meeting these goals is an ongoing process.

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When multichannel retailer Performance Bicycle began the process of launching a redesign last May, it had big goals, like improving its overall shopping experience, asserting itself as a destination site and building its brand across each of its channels.

Meeting those goals is part of an ongoing process, said Lynnette Montgomery, Performance Bicycle and Nashbar vice president, direct marketing, at the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability 2010 Conference, in a featured address titled Performance Bicycle: An end-to-end redesign shifts its web site into high gear. That’s why Performance Bicycle is gradually introducing changes, such as a redesigned checkout and 120-page catalog in April and more changes in May.

Before it began the redesign it started with several key initiatives, such as implementing IBM WebSphere and adding BillMeLater. It then looked to its top-15 competitors to examine how they presented their customer service features, prices, selection, brands and value offerings, such as free shipping or guaranteed low prices. “We wanted to see what they were doing that we weren’t,” said Montgomery. She and her colleagues also looked at other verticals, such as hotels, for other ideas.

That analysis-as well as the retailer’s own knowledge about its customer bases in its various channels-informed the retailer in terms of what technology and functional aspects to add.

“Customers act differently in different channels at different times of the year,” she said. “Our online shoppers are different from our in-store shoppers. They’re enthusiastic cyclists doing research. Our in-store customer is more casual. They want to be informed and educated and they want to buy a bike.” The best way to gauge such insights is to measure customer behaviors in two months-one in-season and one off-season year over year, she said.

Using that information, it introduced product reviews, personalization, live chat and a simplified shopping cart. The shopping cart alone featured more than 60 changes. Those changes are already having an impact, she said. Two weeks after launching, the shopping cart-which now highlights its offer of free shipping for orders of at least $150, cross-sells above the fold and features an increasingly prominent promotion code box-has increased the site’s average order value.

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