Pure play e-Commerce retailers have one major avenue to sell the customer on both their overall shopping experience and the products they offer: the web site. That’s why keeping the web site optimized both visually and functionally at all times is the top priority of retailers.
To address this priority, SHOES.com formally re-launched its e-Commerce site with a new design and an expanded product offering, which now includes more than 450 brands. As part of the design, SHOES.com offers new search and navigation capabilities designed to make the purchasing process easier for the consumer.The eTailer will use a deeper taxonomy structure to include additional levels of sub-categorization.
The new e-Commerce site also includes customer reviews and clearer, more descriptive product images to give the consumer a better understanding of a product’s look and feel. Select products even have videos accompanying them.
“The previous site had a very low conversion rate,” said Roger Hardy, CEO at SHOES.com. “This was a systemic issue and highlights that fact that people were not able to find what they were looking for. We focused on improving navigation and product discovery. You can really consider this to be the first version of our new SHOES.com site”.
The retailer will continue to refine the web site over the next six months, with many adjustments based on A/B testing, according to Hardy. The SHOES.com web site also features responsive design capabilities that adapt the site to the mobile screen.
“With any significant change like this you always plan for the worst,” Hardy said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “In general, conversion rates are supposed to go down initially as customers adapt to the new site design and navigation. We are very happy with what we have seen so far as it contradicts this; conversion rate is up as is average order size. As customers get used to the new site and we continue to make tweaks, we anticipate these metrics to further improve.”
As part of the re-launch, the web site has added more than 90 new brands including Miz Mooz, Easy Spirit, Nine West, Hokka, Naot, Vionic and Under Armour.
“We were able to leverage existing vendor relationships for brands that were previously not merchandized on the SHOES.com site,” Hardy explained. “The process of reaching out to brands and letting them know of the upcoming opportunity to be featured on SHOES.com was fairly quick and very well received.”
Prior to the 2014 holiday season, the company also launched PIKA, its first original line of footwear and accessories. The PIKA product line includes shearling and mukluk boots, as well as backpacks and duffle bags. SHOES.com designed the line with the intent of offering a casual and more affordable footwear option.
The brand expansion fits in line with the major goals Hardy outlined for the company to start the year. SHOEme, the parent company of SHOES.com and OnlineShoes.com, expects to earn a record net revenue of $250 million in 2015, or $50 million more than in 2014. Hardy projects the company to continue growth at more than 30% a year over the next five years.
Hardy has indicated that he will look to take the company public later in 2015 at a major U.S. exchange, the Toronto Stock Exchange, or perhaps both, according to Reuters.