Plumbworld is the UK's largest independent online retailer of bathroom, plumbing and heating products, with annual sales approaching £12 million.
Having traded online since 1999, Plumbworld was in the process of applying some updates to its website but was ultimately looking for a total redesign of the site. The main objectives of the project were to:
· Increase sales by optimising conversion rates
· Improve the search engine optimisation of product and category pages
· Ensure the site offers the highest possible levels of accessibility
· Improve the site’s usability, calls-to-action and cross-selling
· Give the site a more professional look and feel
· Provide a print-friendly version of all pages
· Allow the site to operate on PDA's and mobile phones
What we did
We carried out a comprehensive user-centered design project to ensure a redesigned site that was focused around the needs of the user. This involved:
· Expert evaluation and competitor analysis to appraise the usability of the existing site and learn from competitors’ sites
· Wireframe design to show how the site’s pages should be laid out to maximise users’ ability to find and buy products
· Usability testing on the wireframes to evaluate and optimise their sales effectiveness
· Graphic design to apply graphical elements to the wireframes in order to give the site a more professional look and feel
· HTML coding to create the final web pages, making them fully accessible, XHTML/CSS compliant and optimised for search engines
This research and design process ensured that the redesigned site pages had the following characteristics:
· Fully focused around maximising online sales and conversions
· Optimised for search engines due to the highly efficient HTML structure and ordering
· Conformance to the highest accessibility standards, above and beyond AA-compliance
· Print-friendly so pages automatically fit on to A4 pages
· Lightening fast-loading pages due to the advanced CSS layout
· Fully cross-browser compatible
Since the launch of the redesigned website, Plumbworld has seen significant gains in conversion rates. The new website now converts nearly 50% more visitors into customers and customer service issues related to site navigation have fallen by over 70%.
The usability lab was an eye opener for Plumbworld and watching real users attempting to locate products and place orders offered a valuable insight which had not previously been available.
“The results of Webcredible's work have been outstanding - our new site now converts 50% more visitors into customers and customer service issues have fallen by over 70%,” says James Hickman, managing director, Plumbworld.
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