Crutchfield's Revised Web Site Cranks Up Visitors, Sales

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Months after Crutchfield Corp. revamped its Web site to provide more detailed product information and enhanced visibility of existing features, the site is pulling in 100,000 daily visitors, resulting in increased online sales.

Lawrence Becker, Crutchfield's director of Internet publishing, would not provide specific information regarding the percentage increases of sales or visitors to the enhanced site that contains 3,400 electronic products. The site also provides advice regarding various accessories designed to complement a customer's purchase.

It was after last year's holiday shopping season that Crutchfield, Charlottesville, VA, began to rethink the presentation of its online product data, Becker said. After conducting a site measurement -- which consisted of random customer interviews -- the company realized that visitors wanted more information on the variety of products offered as well as links to items that could enhance the products.

"We are a company with a tremendous amount of information assets, but we weren't making that apparent to the user," Becker said. "We had it in the core product database that we've been working on for 26 years that our sales advisers use all the time. We needed to put more of that information on the Web site for our consumers."

Crutchfield hired cPulse, New York -- which measures and analyzes Internet customer satisfaction -- to conduct online interviews. After interviewing 7,267 consumers, cPulse found that consumers wanted an easier way to locate products as well as instructions on using them and a security indicator of transactions.

"It's very easy to get caught up in the mind-set of, 'I know what's best for my consumers,' " said Jody Dodson, cPulse executive vice president. "What [a company] thinks the problem areas are, and what a consumer thinks the problem areas are, don't always match up."

Visitors were previously unaware of features geared to help make their shopping easier. These features include Nitty Gritty, which describes the product; What's in the Box, which allows customers to view the manufacturer's box; and All Accessories/Suggested Accessories, which provides customers with product suggestions that can complement their original purchases.

The features had been on the site, but customers had to search for them before being linked to them, Becker said.

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