Retailers have teased and rolled out online deals for days, even weeks, but the real Black Friday is here.
Small, regular site updates are better than full redesigns, says an IRCE speaker.
Web site design should be a continuous process of small adjustments, lest the site become outdated as soon as a major redesign is completed, says Daniel Cotlar, chief marketing officer at window treatments and accessories retailer Blinds.com. Cotlar will talk about how to make incremental upgrades to e-commerce sites at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in a session entitled “When—and how—do you redesign?”
“Retailers can develop a process for improving key areas of a web site, prioritizing the most important parts of a site and then continuing to improve them part by part so you’re never betting the farm on a huge redesign,” Cotlar says. “Complete redesigns are characterized by long development cycles, sometimes 12 to 18 months. By then you are at a competitive disadvantage because your changes are outdated.”
Pages that are essential to the shopping process include home, category and product pages; one function to focus on is site navigation. At Blinds.com, No. 215 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, evaluating key pages and functions, among many others, is a daily activity, Cotlar says. “Every time a customer places an order with us we ask what we could have done better, and that gives us a treasure-trove of information. We also use random surveys of browsers’—non-customers’—opinions,” he says.
Internet Retailer’s editors asked Cotlar to speak because he has 15 years of experience in e-commerce. Prior to Blinds.com, he managed online marketing for Reliant Energy and served in leadership roles at several startups. He has experience in online marketing, analytics and testing, and is a guest professor at the University of Houston. Blinds.com won last year's AMA Marketer of the Year Award and Houston's 2011 #1 best place to work.