Staying Fresh with eCommerce: A Review of

Staying Fresh with eCommerce – Episode 2  –

Last month we kicked off the Staying Fresh with eCommerce series with a look at the powerhouse eCommerce site  We learned that subtle design iterations seemingly keep customers comfortable with your site while updating aesthetics.  But we also learned by their Amazon Prime offering that if you have a feature that works, play it up and make it easy to find!  That’s one of the things I also found interesting about this month’s analysis: - February 15th, 2012 – February 15th, 2012 - February 15th, 2013 – February 15th, 2013

It’s not hard to see what’s on TigerDirect’s mind this season – the President’s Day Sale.  Clearly more planning and development time has gone into the sale this year judging purely by the emphasis of the President’s Day Sale banner.  That’s a good indicator that President’s Day is becoming a hot online shopping day for more and more websites.

Now let’s compare the approach used last year with this year’s approach.  Looking at the snapshot from 2012, we see a small aside mention of the sale that’s using very little homepage real estate.  Many messages are being squeezed into a space much too small.  I’m skeptical that many visitors would actually examine the President’s Day Sale banner long enough to pick out everything it’s trying to convey.  We have four laptop deals, four HDTV deals and forty-one unnamed deals being presented.  My assumption is that a visitor would grasp at most one of those before moving on.  It also severely narrows the scope of the sale as a consequence.  If the visitor isn’t shopping for laptops or HDTV’s, maybe this sale doesn’t concern them so they don’t dig deeper to see what the other forty-one offers are.

Now if we contrast the old banner with this year’s President’s Day Sale banner, we have quite the difference.  The new banner uses roughly 3-4 times the amount of space, but at the same time it actually says LESS about the deals being offered.  The only message about deals is that there are “thousands” of them while not indicating what kinds of deals to expect.  This is great because it appeals to all shoppers instead of a small subset.

The other main element of this banner that is absent from the old banner is the urgency.  We see a large timer blazing through the milliseconds that screams “we have awesome deals and they’re going to be gone fast!”  Creating that sense of urgency is a great way to get shoppers to place an order today.

Though the sale banner is our main topic, I feel that the revised global header deserves an honorable mention.  The main navigation has been trimmed up so that the links are a little bit more to the point.  For example, “Cameras & Surveillance” has changed to simply “Cameras”.  Although I have no idea what’s going on with the big “I <3 Tech” link that sticks out like a sore thumb (and what’s funny is that they removed the link from their site while I was writing this blog, so we may never know).

Another item changed is the shopping cart button.  The big green button that you can’t miss was swapped out in favor of a friendlier and trendier shopping cart icon.  I’m undecided whether or not this is a good change.  I suppose aesthetically it is more modern but their analytics will tell if it’s ultimately more effective.  I am a fan of placing the sign in / new customer links right next to the cart button.  This is a very natural grouping of links because a shopper who is in the mindset of checking out will also be concerned about logging in or creating an account.

The last header item worth mentioning is the addition of a live help button.  I’m not sure if they had live help before this change, but placing the link in the header is a good move.  Live help is becoming more and more popular on eCommerce sites these days and TigerDirect is definitely on board.

Overall, TigerDirect has implemented many good changes to the style and usability of the site.  It’s nice to see them investing in their already successful site because only 2 short years ago, the site looked like this! (yikes) - February  2011 – February 2011


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