Pool site ups sales 60%

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During the June 24 broadcast of the EnjoyPool.com 9-Ball Championships on ESPN, sponsor PoolDawg.com racked up a single-day 60 percent increase in sales compared to last year's championship thanks, in part, to having a more robust e-commerce platform.

PoolDawg, which offers pool cues and billiards accessories through its Web site and an annual catalog, has sponsored the Billiard Congress of America's annual championships for several years. However, until this year the firm was afraid to take full advantage of the promotional opportunity by advertising on ESPN during its broadcast of the championships. This was because the old PoolDawg Web site, which was built on a plug-and-play platform, tended to crash and present other usability issues when a significant amount of traffic was present.

"Usability is hugely important for conversion," said Mike Feiman, director of marketing at PoolDawg, Lafayette, CO.

Once he didn't have stability issues anymore, he was free to run ads on ESPN ads on ESPN during its broadcast of the recent 9-ball championships and generating a 60 percent increase in sales as a result.

Since launching the new site built on NetConcepts' GravityMarket platform in October, PoolDawg's Web site has experienced a 27 percent increase in conversion rates overall and a 15 percent increase in the average order size. This is primarily due to the fact that the site is easier to use and has better search tools, according to Feiman.

And recently, PoolDawg became the No. 1 result on Google for the term "pool cues," the company's most important term.

PoolDawg's natural search results have improved through a variety of means, including the fact that the new site includes significantly more content that the previous one.

"Pool is one of those games that can be really intimidating to players - there's a lot of lingo and people don't know how to take care of their cues," Feiman said.

While the content is primarily created with PoolDawg's billiards hobbyists and aficionados in mind, "we do see more traffic coming in from those articles," Fineman said.

Of course, it wasn't just content that enabled PoolDawg to move from not even being in the top 20 on Google to hitting the No. 1 spot. GravityMarket also automatically reorganizes product and site pages to eliminate any indexing problems they might have.

A new three-step checkout process has also helped PoolDawg decrease its shopping cart- abandonment rate. It involves three separate pages rather than a single-page checkout.

"When there's just one page, there are so many required fields and if you miss just one field, it can be hard to figure out what you did wrong, " Feiman said. n

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