In my first review of Woot.com, I talked about the cool and engaging features that made Woot.com a successful yet nontraditional eCommerce store. Now that we have the background information on what Woot is and how it works, we have the context to understand the changes the they’ve undergone over the past year. Let’s use the Way Back Machine to compare Woot from April 15th, 2012 with Woot from April 15th 2013 and see what’s new.
[insert 60’s sci-fi effects]
Right off the bat we can tell that Woot has been very busy. An entire main navigation element has been added which is beefing up the header quite a bit. Each new link in the main navigation is a specific product category with it’s own daily deal. Let’s not be hasty though, those aren’t a new feature but simply an easier way to access. If you look closely at the bottom right side of the 2012 snapshot you can see a listing of the separate categories there. It would appear that those additional categories are gaining ground in the profits department for Woot so they’ve been elevated by emphasis on the site.
The main focus of the page is still the deal of the day product with it’s large image, some details, pricing and the staple “I Want One” button. Something has changed though. Back in 2012, the product story was located directly below the product image area but now in 2013, there’s a short snippet of the story off to the right with a “continue reading” link to see the full story. What has taken the place of that story and filled all that homepage real estate? That would be the Woot Plus section.
The Woot Plus section is actually taking Woot a step closer to a traditional eCommerce store by introducing categories containing multiple products, but with a twist. Woot Plus is a line of products offering in the neighborhood of 6-10 products but the whole category is offered for a limited time, staying true to Woot’s style. You’re sure to find many great deals in this section as well.
But this brings us to perhaps the biggest change to Woot’s site over the past year. Back in 2012, the homepage of the site was actually just a glorified product detail page for today’s deal. Not much for other features, no categories, very limited navigation. Just the product and the product information with the ability to purchase. But now Woot has pulled a fast one on us. The homepage is really a homepage offering deeper navigation, featured categories and other aids to draw the user deeper into the website. Isn’t that what traditional homepages are all about? Of course the top half of the page is devoted to the deal of the day, but only a fraction of the homepage real estate features this product compared to Woot 2012. But don’t fret, by clicking the product name heading or the continue reading link you’ll arrive at the old and familiar product detail page with the whole product story, sales stats, comments and the like.
So it seems that Woot has inserted another layer to the page hierarchy almost seamlessly. It’s that kind of clever iterative approach that is necessary to build out an ecommerce website without jarring your repeat customers by transplanting them into a new web interface.
If you’re an ecommerce store owner, one of the most important things you can do is keep your website fresh and continuously add features to make purchasing easier without sacrificing the experience for repeat customers.