Petco’s John Lazarchic On Web Site Improvement
In the Darwinian world of the Web site, you either adapt, or die. Strike that. Perhaps you don’t die, and hopefully your company doesn’t either, but you can certainly lose ground to your competitors within a few dozen mouse clicks.
John Lazarchic, vice president of e-commerce for Petco, a multichannel marketer of pet food, supplies and services, was determined to avoid such a fate for Petco.com, which was originally launched in July 1999 under the name Petopia.com. With Endeca’s site search tool and Bazaarvoice’s customer review program, Lazarchic found the applications that have helped turn Petco.com into an industry leader by sorting products by customer ratings or reviews.
Target Marketing discussed with Lazarchic—who will be presenting “Implementing and Leveraging Ratings and Reviews to Drive Conversion, AOV and Traffic” at the upcoming eTail 2007 conference in August—the ways to continually enhance a Web site.
Target Marketing: How often do you attempt to improve your Web site?
John Lazarchic: Improving the Web site is an ongoing process. We’re constantly making changes based on customer feedback, things that we find, and this is continuous. There are two buckets: developers or usability managers constantly making small tweaks, and big technical development projects, such as a cart redesign or a shopping navigation redesign, which tend to be longer term.
On a weekly basis, we’re launching new content, landing pages and splash pages to support the store; for new products, we’re [updating] on a daily basis. You never stop that process of continually trying to tweak and improve the Web site. For new functionality, we probably do two to three larger launches a year; these are big, very noticeable projects that people see when they launch the Web site.
TM: How closely do you track online visitors, in terms of what they’re clicking on?
JL: We track that very closely. We use core metrics and review where people are at and what they’re using on the Web site. Weekly, we focus on immediate projects, [such as] marketing. Monthly, we look at the broader usage of the Web site over that period in terms of total users and what they’re doing. Redesign [requires] a deeper analysis of user activity over a longer time period.