Tripled Sales in 10 Months
Client: ShoppingStand. Targeted online stores selling personalized gifts for men and women, custom special-occasion toasts and personalized baby gifts.
Client since: 2/2004
“We need to scrap it and start over.”
Ian Lurie, CEO of Portent Interactive, held his breath after giving what he thought was bad news.
“OK, let’s do it.” ShoppingStand president Ramin Ramhormozi didn’t even hesitate. The online store system they were using for the ShoppingStand range of sites was at best an anchor. Dropped orders, constant site crashes and missing features were just the tip of the iceberg.
Ian didn’t experience those errors every day. He did, however, know that the current system was a marketing disaster, for three reasons:
- It made search engine optimization impossible. The store system generated messy code and long web addresses. Even worse, it duplicated product descriptions across each site, so that search engines were penalizing ShoppingStand for content duplication.
- Customers had a very hard time with personalization, the key feature of all ShoppingStand stores.
- Pages lacked a clear call to action. Even product pages were less-than-clear about how to buy.
Portent Interactive got to work. First, some strategic decisions: Portent recommended shutting down stores that weren’t performing. These included a wide variety of ‘partner’ stores that were diluting online marketing efforts.
ShoppingStand and the Portent marketing team developed a wish list:
- A far easier, more flexible personalization process.
- A search engine-friendly site.
- Unique product descriptions on every site, even if products are duplicated. This would end penalties from major search engines.
- Usable, simple checkout.
- A templating system that makes launching new stores easy.
- A unified administrative ‘back end’ for handling orders, drop shipping and partner payment for all stores in single place.
At the same time, Portent refined the existing keyword lists for each store. The main targets: “Groomsmen Gifts” for Groomstand.com and “Bridesmaid Gifts” for WeddingStand.com. Both companies agreed that these two sites were the highest priority, marketing-wise.
Next, the development team, led by Portent’s Senior Developer, Branden Root, built the framework. The ColdFusion-based application Portent built formed a flexible, fast base for ShoppingStand stores. The new templating system used XHTML and CSS 2 for clean, fast-loading, search-friendly pages.
At the same time, the creative team built a mockup of the administrative back end and the personalization process. Working with ShoppingStand, the Portent team made sure everyone knew how the final product should look.
Finally, the creative and production team pulled it all together. Portent didn’t redesign the sites. But the incremental changes they made resulted in a faster, more usable system that offered a viable marketing platform.
Within 3 months of site launch, ShoppingStand held the #1 spot on Google for ‘groomsmen gifts’. Within five WeddingStand.com was top 10 for ‘bridesmaid gifts’. More important, both sites rose to top-5 positions for hundreds of phrases related to specific products as well as wedding-related and personalization-related concepts.
Better back-end tools made processing orders far easier, and reduced errors.
The smoother personalization and checkout process reduced bailout and increased average order size by 25%.
ShoppingStand sales have increased 300% since site re-launch.
To find out how Portent can help your business, visit our Contact Us page.