Ashford.com’s CEO Eli Katz on Web Site Redesign
The online shopping experience is all about engagement. Behind the scenes, marketers are perpetually tweaking and redesigning Web sites to include more interactive features and to make every transaction a seamless and satisfying experience for consumers. To meet this challenge, a myriad of meetings and site tests to determine company goals and customer needs are essential. In this issue of TM Tipline, Eli Katz, president and CEO of New York-based watch and jewelry e-tailer Ashford.com, discusses the stepping stones for creating an effective Web site redesign strategy.
Target Marketing: What research needs to be conducted before delving into site redesign?
Eli Katz: The amount of research is really going to depend on how large your budget is and how much time you have. Every project and initiative can be analyzed in a hundred different ways. If you have an existing Web site, a focus group of site users can give you some good feedback. There are also sophisticated research groups out in the marketplace that can provide heat maps of eye and mouse movements of the site user’s session. However, all this research can get expensive very quickly, so determining the value of the data you are trying to discern in advance can help you focus on key issues to address. In many instances I have found it more effective to do A/B testing of various pages and elements. There is nothing like real-world testing to hit the nail on the head.
TM: How do you determine Web site redesign goals?
EK: With e-commerce, the objective is very specific—our primary goal is to drive revenue. We are about commerce, and commerce is about selling. The second goal is to make the “after-sale” customer service experience a satisfying transaction for the customer and an efficient, low-cost transaction for us.
TM: When creating redesign goals, how do you determine which goals have priority?
EK: Every Web site element has a potential ROI. [Marketers need to ask,] how many people will use this? How will it increase our conversion rate? Will it save us customer service dollars and time? How many of our visitors/customers will this functionality apply to? The other side of the equation is: How easy or hard will it be to implement this? How much will it cost? How long will it take? How many technical resources will need to be involved?