Who are the key influencers in user experience, customer engagement, site design and conversion? As merchandising leaders gather this week for Shop.org’s Merchandising Workshop, I’d like to share five digital experiences that have caught my eye recently. These brands are rethinking user experience and are challenging the status quo. Here are a few of my favorites at the moment:
First up, one company that I think has changed the tablet experience exponentially is One Kings Lane. This home décor site doubled their revenue to $200 million in 2012, and they are expecting 36 percent of sales to be generated by an unmatched iPhone and iPad mobile app in 2013. One Kings Lane is making it easier for their taste-maker audience to quickly find curated products using custom sales filtered by experience and one of the best product zoom features available.
If you haven’t kept tabs on this home improvement giant, HomeDepot.com has really become THE hyper-localized online big box. With location recognition, customized in-store deals and events and in-store pickup options, HomeDepot.com is leveraging technology and innovative site design to the max. In 2012, approximately 50 percent of the company’s sales involved online research at some point in the shopping process, and almost one in every four in-store shoppers had been on HomeDepot.com before purchasing. At Home Depot, the motto “more saving, more doing” also means more localized. This multichannel operation is saving their customers time and allowing shoppers to find exactly what they want, when they want and how they want it.
This summer’s wedding season has certainly been an advantage for Target’s Wedding Catalog microsite – which I would call the “Best Digital Engagement for the Betrothed.” This site is so well made it’s almost too easy to fill up an entire registry. Since launch, this new digital catalog has increased the number and size of wedding registries on Target.com. With beautiful imagery, relevant editorial, simple navigation and startup-like curation, purchasing all the necessities for a new life together is made easiest here. Now, if only planning the wedding was this easy.
This next brand is certainly one I know many of you have been watching: NastyGal.com – the want-it-now registry for fashionistas. The coolest girls in the room are going ga-ga for this fast-fashion brand. Why wait for special occasions to send around a wish list to family and friends? Nixing the classic wish list, Nasty Gal is leveraging everyday wants by creating sharable and searchable shopper want-list registries. Providing forums for its consumers to interact with Nasty Gal and each other on social platforms such as Facebook helped the retailer achieve the highest average monthly traffic growth rate among online-only retailers ranked in Internet Retailer’s 2013 Top 500 Guide. Nasty Gal’s traffic grew by 1,000 percent in 2012. That traffic leap helped Nasty Gal reach 2012 web sales of $128 million, up from $28 million in 2011 by Internet Retailer’s estimate.
Lastly, I’d like to give props to Poppin.com and their fantastic site design dictated by color sorting. Poppin.com is the new kid in office supply products and it’s no surprise that they’re quickly gaining a growing fan base with their vibrant, sleek and affordable work accessories. The brand experience? Simple. By creating hundreds of original designs from a palette of just over 20 hues, their site’s outstanding color-sorted chart makes all product offerings easy to see, coordinate and style – effortlessly. Poppin has become the Uniqlo of chic workplace professionals.
What brands and site experiences have I missed? Share your thoughts in the comments below.