When is it Time for a Redesign?

When do you know it’s time to redesign your e-commerce site? That question was posed to a panel of three merchants during a session at eTail in Baltimore last week, and no one person had the same answer.

But all three answers did have one common theme: If enough customers tell you that parts of your Website are affecting the shopping experience, then a redesign may be in order.

If customers are telling you some aspect of your site is not user-friendly, or your site is not scalable, or your site is not searchable, then you need to look into it, said Bill Pryor, chief operating officer of online shoes merchant Shoebuy.com.

“When customers are asking you for something that can also increase your top line and bottom line, then it’s worth looking into,” Pryor said. “The customer is at the center of everything we do, so if it’s something that is bothering the customer, it is probably something that needs fixing.”

Shelly Nandkeolyar, CEO of apparel merchant Blair Corp., said keeping up with site technologies is key because you can make little changes as you go as oppose to rolling out a complete relaunch.

But Blair’s site needed to be redesigned last year to conform with the platforms used by parent company Golden Gate Capital, which bought the apparel and home goods merchant in January 2007.

Blair did listen to its customers, and also took a page from another retailer with an older customer base, Sears, and included a font-size change option. This allows consumers to increase the size of the font to allow for easier reading.

And sometimes your Website needs a redesign because it’s been neglected. Jay Greenberg, director of e-commerce for Spencer Gifts, said his site became old and stale because it hadn’t seen a change in about four years.

“Over the years we had added different technologies to the site, but the site itself had not changed,” Greenberg said. “You need to survey and ask your customers what they like and dislike about the site, and also read the logs to see what customers are doing on your site.”

Web designer Stratton Cherouny, creative director of Gorilla Commerce, advised the audience to think across channels. If there has been a rebranding across other channels, that needs to be reflected online as well.

“Branding is more than just the sum of colors and logos and shapes,” Cherouny said. “Behavior is a part of the brand is well, and to create that sort of cohesive environment, that experience has to be the same in store and the catalog as it is online.”

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