Live From Internet Retailer: Picking the Right Web Design Partner

Miami — How does a merchant select a company to redesign its Website? Very carefully — especially in this economy.

But for 1-800-Matress.com, what sealed the deal was how a potential design partner took the steps to really learn its business and its challenges before delivering the final presentation.

Systems consultant Bill Kane, who was until recently a vice president with 1-800-Mattress.com, shared with attendees at the Internet Retailer Web Design conference on Jan. 21 why the mattress merchant selected Tellus to redesign its Website last year.

For one, the company had a strong track record in retail and a lot of referrals. “We related well with its past projects,” Kane said.

Tellus demonstrated the proper integration of best practices and a customized approach, he said. It visited 1-800-Mattress.com’s stores and call centers and personalized the presentation.

Another important consideration: Tellus was flexible with its contract, Kane said. From the get-go, he noted, the vendor “was willing to work with us on meeting our payment needs at the time.” This was key, since the economy kept getting worse as merchant was in discussions with potential Web design partners.

How can you assess a potential Web design partner? Kane — who was a New York City policeman in the mid 1970s before spending 22 years in IT with AT&T — offered a few key steps, drawn from his years as a cop:

– Investigate their background
– Measure their success and failures
– Ask questions pertinent to your needs
– Remember: They will always focus on their strengths. “You need to uncover their weaknesses,” Kane said.

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