March 1, 2013, 12:00 PM

Connecting with consumers, by design

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Another test removed the top navigation bar from the checkout page—eliminating the temptation for the shopper to resume shopping before completing the purchase while also bringing the total price up above the fold—produced only a modest lift on the well-established site. But the same test on the retailer's sister site resulted in a 15% lift in conversion and 10% in average revenue per visit, King said. "Once there was less on the page they started down the checkout funnel more often," she said.

King spoke with Optimizely's founder, Dan Siroker, who developed the tool after finding he needed an easy way to test Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign web site as head of analytics. Testing produced big results for the Obama campaign, he said. For example, combining two elements of the home page that tested the best—the central image and the call to action—boosted sign-ups for e-mail messages from 8.3% to 11.6%, resulting in 2.9 million new e-mail addresses and an additional $57 million in contributions.

Testing in that case may have altered the course of a presidential election—and history. Applied to an e-commerce site at a time of rapidly evolving shopper behavior, testing can mean the difference between a retailer identifying how its customers want to shop online and falling behind competitors that do.


Record attendance at IRWD 2013

The sixth annual edition of the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability Conference drew record attendance of 966, up 5.3% from 917 in 2012.

There was also a record number of companies displaying their products and services in the Exhibit Hall—55 versus 51 in 2012.

Next year's IRWD will take place Feb. 10-12, 2014, at the Peabody Orlando hotel. That event will be held alongside the Internet Retailer Mobile Marketing & Commerce Forum, allowing participants to attend sessions from both conferences and visit a common Exhibit Hall.

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