When upgrading legacy websites it’s very common that an extreme makeover is required to bring the customer’s presentation and function up to contemporary standards — implementing big, highly noticeable, changes.Less often, however, even very effective sites already boasting a current look, feel, and function can require improvements. In these cases, the task for website developers is more difficult in many ways; taking already good sites to a much higher level pushes developers to attain great functional refinement.
This is what happened in recent months as Adrecom’s development team took on the challenge of X Bat’s eCommerce website upgrade — with the object of attaining even higher levels of ordering efficiency and customer interaction. X Bat is one of the world’s leading suppliers and manufacturers of custom-made wood baseball bats and related products for professionals and amateurs alike. Its bats are all made to customers’ many different specifications, from color to wood type to dimensions to personalization.
For X Bat, enabling the customer to readily understand the many design and feature options available in building the perfect baseball bat, helping them make the right choices, and then making the whole process easy, is essential to converting shoppers into buyers. Moreover, because X Bat’s volume of online sales / ordering activity is significant, improving control over eCommerce management processes, and ensuring that every order is perfectly handled without error, was also essential.
While X-Bat’s existing website got the job done and made a professional presentation, and even served up some solid graphics, room for improvement remained, especially in the areas of user experience and eCommerce-management simplification. The foundation of the new X Bat website is Adrecom’s e-commerce back end, which provides complete e-commerce operation management capabilities such as a product catalog, and customer-relationship, merchandizing and promotion management.
Most importantly, the new X Bat site allows customers entering bat-design specifications to visually see the bat they’re creating change as they enter each specification. Before adding the bat to their cart, they can see exactly what their choices look like. This improves conversion rates and engages the customer in the buying process. It also reduces returns, ordering inefficiencies, and abandoned carts.
But, even a great “configurator” won’t always deliver highly reliable incoming orders if customers aren’t well-informed on bat selection. To ensure that X Bat’s customers are knowledgeable enough to select the right bat for their individual purposes, and to simplify bat selection and minimize ordering mistakes (and maximize customer satisfaction), Adrecom added a customer-interaction page allowing customers to submit hitter details and preferences. With those usage details X Bat is now able to capably and quickly offer advice and recommendations to buyers on which bat model is right for that particular use profile. Moreover, the “choosing your X Bat” page (basically a guide to bat selection with text instructions) was made much more readable and visually appealing, which enhances its use and customer understanding. With these two improvements, the X Bat site offers better tools, enabling customers to better select the right bat.
Merchandising management was also improved in a number of ways. For example, the old site was much darker in its color scheme, which tended to bury details, features and headlines. Adrecom brightened color contrasts in attention-getting ways. In addition, a “weekly specials” link was added and prominently featured– highlighting promotions, and engaging customer interest. On X Bat’s old site, promotions were extended only to members-only loyal customers. Also, rotating-image slides on the home page now contain a visual callout to induce the click. This “shop now” on-page link has been prominently placed on the home page main slide show, and links to the bat configurator and other specialty bat-shopping pages, according to the rotating slide.
Significantly, an “order hotline” call out with a telephone dial in was added to main page drop down menus so customers don’t have to search the site for a number to call if they want to order by phone. This is a great convenience, and is very effectively placed in an unexpected but “high-visibility” position.
Finally, the “fungo/training” category of bats was changed up from a hard-to-find subcategory of baseball to a more prominent stand-alone category included in the main bat selection menu bar. By adding the “fungo” drop-down menu its many subcategories are now easy to see and instantly allow customers to understand the offering for that category without having to go to the page first.
For X Bat, the new Adrecom eCommerce back end empowers order management and customer interaction, while improvements in merchandising features attract and retain customer attention and interest in an engaging, order-inducing way. Together, these improvements represent real eCommerce management simplification.