At Downtown Ecommerce we focus on both increasing demand for our Clients coupled with improving on-site conversion – the rate at which browsers become buyers. The two really go hand in hand and a healthy conversion rate is a distinct competitive advantage that has compounding benefits for the ecommerce company. Marketing spends get more efficient, technology resource (time/money/bandwidth) allocation gets better, bosses get happier – all things about an ecommerce business get better.
That is why we don’t stray to far from watching new website designs across industries. The new Southwest.com website which we noticed for the first time this week is a terrific improvement. Southwest has always taken the lead online in air travel and does a great job integrating their online and offline marketing campaigns. From not typically syndicating their ticket purchases (you can only fly on Southwest by ordering direct from them) not via an aggregator like Orbitz to their downloadable software application “Ding” that you will see marketed in their TV commercials.
We give the new site design the thumbs up for a few reasons:
– Large bold type articulating clear navigation with the verbs “Book”, “Check In”, “Check” and “View”.
– Simplified tab navigation menu at top.
– Clear call to actions with Pricing front and center.
– 80 % of the content on the homepage is above the fold.
One very important thing to note is the allocation of page real estate to customer activities, in particular Email Sign Up. The Email Sign Up for Weekly Specials is below the fold on a large screen and a large browser resolution. While the “log In” button is big bright and orange in the lower left. Orange is the action color for sure on this site iteration. Emails will not be going away soon, but email is definitely becoming out-moded with new and alternative ways to work on retention marketing.
Southwest is clearly emphasizing MySouthwest account creation. This is a super important move. Southwest – via MySouthwest and the downloadable Ding software – is taking control of the relationship with the customer – owning their own destiny. Email delivery (not to mention getting it opened and clicked on) is not always a definite science with many opportunities for the customer to leave the interaction with the brand. Establishing a more permanent relationship is a slower process but will pay off over the long term with a more dedicated and engaged customer who has either set up an account (including storing credit cards and frequent travel itineraries) or has downloaded the software onto their machine.
Downloadable applications were really given a bad name over the past few years in the affiliate marketing (particularly in online retail) world due to nefarious implementations. I think Southwest.com onto something with their approach and new design. Hats off to Herb and the crew.
Ding! You are now free to move around the new and beautiful Southwest.com website.
Categorised in: Online
This post was written by DEP Ecommerce Consultants