Whiteflash Inc. is catching up to its customers.
The jewelry e-retailer, No. 683 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Second 500 Guide, has overhauled its website to format to mobile device screens. The new site went live last week.
As traffic to its website via mobile devices continually increased, the retailer realized it needed a better mobile-optimized site, says Eliezer Eber, chief operating officer at Whiteflash. “In three years, for traffic from mobile device to go from 20% to 60% is beyond ridiculous, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down,” Eber says.
In conjunction with increasing mobile traffic, Whiteflash noticed that the No. 1 piece of feedback it received from customers via email or survey was a lack of mobile web functionality, Eber says. Whiteflash had a separate mobile site, however, it wasn’t very mobile friendly, says Bryan Boyne, vice president at Whiteflash.
The retailer updated its website to responsive design, meaning a single website adjusts to the size of the screen the visitor is viewing. Whiteflash also updated the site’s content and colors. The project took a year and a half to complete and it was one of the largest and most robust projects the retailer has undertaken in its 16 years of operation, Boyne says.
Responsive design is the method many leading e-retailers are gravitating to: 357 of the e-retailers ranked in the 2017 Internet Retailer Mobile 500 use responsive design, up from 127 a year earlier.
The retailer selected 30 customers who had previously given feedback to work with Whiteflash throughout development. Those shoppers tested versions of the site, gave feedback and suggested improvements, Eber says. For example, customer input prompted the retailer to include a drop-down menu that allows shoppers to select their form of currency.
Previously, Whiteflash wanted to put as much information as possible on its website, which does not translate well to the small screens of mobile devices, Eber says. The website now does more linking to information instead of putting it all in front of the consumer at once, he says.
Whiteflash’s key improvement was to its checkout page, Eber says. Previously, the website had three pages as part of the checkout process—shopping cart, payment information and confirmation. The retailer merged those steps into one page with the goal of decreasing cart abandonment and keeping shoppers from hitting the back button and losing information they already entered, Eber says.
The checkout page also updates the input fields as needed. For example, a shopper can choose to pay via a wire transfer or credit card, and Whiteflash will not show inputs for credit card information if the shopper has selected wire transfer.
After just one weekend of having the new site, sales are up 40% week over week. However, because Whiteflash sells expensive products—its average sale price is more than $6,000—sales are often volatile week to week, Boyne says. The retailer’s annual sales are $10-30 million, Eber says
“We’re not high-fiving too much and popping champagne yet, but the early indications are certainly encouraging that the launch has gone very well,” Boyne says.
Whiteflash also has noticed that many of the transactions are not assisted, such as via live chat or a phone call. This comes as a surprise because shoppers typically do not “click and buy” a $6,000 engagement ring; often they seek assistance, Boyne says. The retailer isn’t sure why few customers have sought help, but it’s encouraged by the trend because it indicates the site offers a clear path to purchase , Boyne says.
The retailer built the website all in house. About five of the retailer’s 35 employees worked on the project full time and another five employees were heavily involved, Eber says. Whiteflash invested several million dollars in the project, with payroll as the biggest expense, Eber says. The retailer did not tie a specific sales growth goal on the redesign, as it invested in the project to improve customer satisfaction, he says.