STORES - September 2010 - (Page 52)

NUTS AND BOLTS / VIRTUALIZATION Growing Sales, Naturally focuses on the complete package to improve customers’ lives — and the bottom line BY SANDY SMITH with a goal of more cuts in the future. “When I first came on board in 2006, we were a catalog company that happened to have a website,” Moran says. “Now we are an e-commerce company with a greatly reduced catalog distribution. To better align with a core value of being environmentally responsible, it is imperative that we reduce landfill.” Improving customer experience Though many catalog subscribers were ultimately making their purchases online, the company had to “improve the customer experience on the site” as catalogs were eliminated, Moran says. “We needed to make the website work even harder for us. With every site visitor being precious to us, the way we solve that is to have an exceptionally strong focus on conversion rate and obsessively monitor it.” Partnering with MarketLive, a Petaluma, Calif.-based e-commerce software solution provider, has led to a better understanding of what website users were saying through their actions. Using the company’s Intelligent Insights platform, Gaiam has been able to delve more deeply into analytics. “We had looked at the basic metrics on, like unique visitors, where people are abandoning and conversion path, but felt like we weren’t using the analytics package to the fullest extent,” Moran says. “The MarketLive Intelligent Insights group helped us identify actionable data to help improve conversion rates and average order value. What we’ve seen come out of this is some pretty amazing wins.” Gaiam’s most popular product, the BalanceBall Chair, is an inflatable exercise ball on a chair frame. During a typical workday, users can align the spine, tighten the core muscles and receive ergonomic back support. Because very little of this information was readily available on the website, however, the product had a high abandon rate. “Based on recommendations MarketLive identified through the analytics, we worked with our editorial team to identify all the salient points,” Moran WWW.STORES.ORG I t’s only fitting that Gaiam, the multi-faceted company aimed at consumers who value healthy living and environmentally friendly products, offers what might best be described as a Zen experience on its website. Visitors to find eco-travel opportunities, educational offerings, a like-minded dating site, an online yoga studio and a membership-based DVD club. The company sells products too — but in keeping with its nature, Gaiam focuses more on enlightenment than hardcore sales. “We have recently gone back to our roots as a lifestyle brand,” says Bill Moran, e-commerce director for the Louisville, Colo.-based company. “Our new homepage introduces Gaiam and speaks to people who value eco-friendly living and natural health and personal growth. We have stopped making our first handshake one that only sells widgets.” Consequently, the e-commerce portal of is now one page deep from its home page. A companion site,, fea“We have tures articles with stopped making “sidebars” of relatour first handshake ed products that one that only sells drive the user back widgets.” to the e-commerce – Bill Moran, portal. The e-comGaiam merce portal will often link to articles on the Life site as well, so that those shopping for a new yoga mat might find an article on “50 Ways to Reuse Your Yoga Mat.” Bill Moran “We’ve always had trouble displaying the breadth of our products,” Moran says. “How do we merchandise a large product base to a very diverse audience?” The old way was to distribute millions of catalogs annually under numerous banners. But even though the company used the most eco-friendly paper, the massive waste wasn’t in line with its mission. Thus, the decision to slash catalog circulation by one-third, 52 STORES / SEPTEMBER 2010 http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES - September 2010

STORES - September 2010
Table of Contents
Editor's Page
President's Page
Retail People
Favorite 50
Retail Showcase
Customer Retention
Social Shopping
Gift Cards
Business Intelligence
Networking & Communications
Customer Centricity
Payments & Credit
Return Fraud
Green Issues
ARTS Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES - September 2010