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Overhauling Online Strategy

By Wylie Wong  |  Posted 2009-08-03 Print this article Print

Retailers and distributors use technology to improve customer service, optimize inventory and maximize profits.

Overhauling Online Strategy

To succeed, online retailers must take their cue from Amazon.com, says Andrew Knight, director of e-commerce at Case-Mate, a Tucker, Ga.-based company that specializes in smartphone and laptop cases. That means creating fast-loading Web pages and offering customer-friendly features like “1-Click” checkouts, customer product reviews, and recommendation engines that analyze purchases and give recommendations to cross-sell and up-sell products.

“People are familiar and comfortable with ordering on Amazon,” says Knight. “If you don’t do it as well or better than Amazon, they will just go there.”

Knight joined Case-Mate this spring and immediately overhauled the company’s Website and online marketing strategy to increase sales. The big players in e-commerce applications are IBM and ATG, but Knight chose startup ShopVisible because it met the company’s needs, including good search engine optimization (SEO) features, at a fraction of the cost.

The e-commerce software gives Knight full control of HTML tags and descriptions, allowing him to fully optimize the site for search and drive traffic. The result is higher placement in search engines when people search for cases.

“So much of our traffic comes from searches,” he explains. “Paid search is expensive, so any traffic we can get naturally is a huge bonus.”

Case-Mate’s new Website, launched in April, features customer product reviews, which help shoppers make purchasing decisions. Knight also sped up the checkout process, reducing a multiple-step process to one page. Customer credit card information and shipping addresses are stored, so repeat customers don’t have to rekey the data each time.

The company previously lost sales as customers abandoned their shopping carts with each additional step in the checkout process. “By simplifying the process, we hope to improve the conversion rates,” he says.

Knight is also taking advantage of social networks, including Twitter and Facebook, to market products, communicate with customers and offer promotional giveaways. He also posts YouTube videos to showcase the company’s products.

With the new Website, Knight is optimistic about the company’s online prospects. While retail sales are still Case-Mate’s bread and butter, he expects to rake in between $1 million and $3 million in online sales this year. “We have a large opportunity to grow the online business,” he says.

Wylie Wong is a freelance writer for Baseline magazine.
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