A redesign of Office Depot's Web site has resulted in an online sales bump and an improved customer experience, says an executive at the office supplies retailer.
Since the site's launch April 19, initial results include an increase of 6% in shopping cart conversion, an increase of over 2% in average order values and a 17% reduction in the bounce rate, according to Monica Luechtefeld, executive vice president, e-commerce and direct marketing.
Miami-based BGT Partners joined with the Delray Beach, Fla.-based OfficeDepot.com team to develop and design the site, which is aimed at both B2B and B2C customers.
Like many retailers, Office Depot has suffered as recession-hit businesses cut back on buying computers and other big-ticket items as well as general office supplies. The retailer has seen its same-store sales decline over the past year. In July, the company's second-quarter earnings loss widened, missing analyst expectations as its sales fell steeply and the company shuttered stores and worked on a turnaround plan.
"This has been a pretty eventful year for Office Depot, really, after quite a run," said Goldman Sachs Analyst Matt Fassler at a conference earlier this month. "The office superstore sector was really caught in the throes of the economic downturn. I think the retail business across this sector showed ... that most of us really didn't understand what was embedded in that business. And the delivery piece of the business and the international piece of the business soon followed."
The site updates, which include improved search functionality for items such as ink and paper, appear to be working.
Compete's Lindsay Steinbach analyzed the traffic on office supply Web sites in July around the time that parents shopped for back-to-school supplies. Steinbach found that Staples saw a 95% increase in weekly ad views, while Office Depot only increased by 18%.
However, Office Depot saw the largest spike in engagement with the store locator, increasing from 2% of visits in 2008 to 7.1% of visits in 2009 -- nearly a 250% increase. And the highly coveted purchase rate? Office Depot's purchase rate grew 47%, whereas Staples experienced a 30% drop compared to last year.
"Our objective was to fundamentally improve the customer's experience," Luechtefeld tells Marketing Daily. "We wanted to make it faster, simpler and more intuitive." Post-redesign clickstream analysis and customer surveys indicate that the site is easier to move around, she says.
There's also more information on the site to educate users, including customer reviews and comparison grids. "We've tried to put it all on one page, instead of having to scroll or click to expand various parts of the page so you don't get lost," she says.
Even with the major overhaul, there's still tweaking to be done, Luechtefeld says. One thing the company plans to add is more pictures of old printers to make it easier for customers to find supplies for them in case they don't know the model number off the top of their head.
Improvements on the store locator part of the site are also in the works, she says, as well as how to make it easier to shop on the site and pick up merchandise in the store. "There's a high degree of likelihood if you are shopping with us online, you're likely shopping with us in the store," Luechtefeld says.