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Savvy Merchant Challenge Round 4- Vaughan Safety

Give us your best suggestion and you could win an iPad.

Today’s Hot Seat Merchant: Vaughan Safety
Click here to open the Hot Seat Product Page in a new window.

We are giving away an iPad twice a week. Play along every Monday and Thursday for more chances to win.

How to Play:

  1. Take a look at the featured page.
  2. Think about what would make you more likely to purchase from this page.
  3. Submit your best suggestion as a comment at the bottom of this post.
  4. Take a look at what others are saying and feel free to discuss.

Picture this: You’re managing a division of the Department of Transportation and recently began working on some desperatley needed road work in the middle of downtown. The traffic is so bad during the day that much of the work must be done during the night hours. You know how important it is to increase the visibility of vehicles, machinery and processes going on in the streets. You need to get some Revolving Bullseye Beacon Lights, stat!

You have just landed on the page and what do you see? Are you immediately engaged?

Submit your ONE BEST suggestion using the comments below. If the Hot Seat Merchant thinks it’s the best, you’ll win an iPad!

This challenge ends Friday, April 27th at 5 PM (PST).


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Posted in Contests, The Challenges | 41 Comments

41 Responses to Savvy Merchant Challenge Round 4- Vaughan Safety

  1. Jordan says:

    Quick and simple… make your ADD TO CART button BIG and a different color. It’s the very most important thing on your site, and should be styled accordingly.

  2. Alec says:

    I’d suggest taking the price out of the drop-down (considering all the colors are the same price) and making it clearly visible and large on the product page. Also, I don’t think the customer really cares about the part # in the options, they just want to see a price, pick a color, and add it to their cart.

    Ideally, you’d not be taken to a separate page after adding it to the cart either… 1/2 the point of having a minicart visible on all pages is that it updates dynamically without leaving the page.

  3. Randi says:

    I think you should play around with your layout and colors a bit.

    I like that your sidebar navigation is in a standard location and easy to use. It’s good that the color is dim so as not to distract from the product page. The bright red headers and the huge support button are really focus-grabbing though.

    I would:
    - put more space between the sidebar and the product page
    - tone down all the colors in the side bar
    - focus on sizing and color for the important things: title, description, and add to cart.

  4. Lee Newell says:

    Change the drop down for the options to a table format. Like yourselves many of the products on our store have many options and making this change greatly improved the user experience. We incorporated the product image of each option into the table (as you could for this products) and this made the buying selection process much better as the user has to think less.

  5. Candace Kahn says:

    I am always suspicious of websites that do not have a telephone number. For me Live Chat is not enough. I want to know that you are a viable business that I can call and the telephone number should be easy for me to find on every page. I would leave the site and look elsewhere.

  6. Ken Gharibian says:

    I like the site. It is simple and has all the information. I would only make sure the visitor stays on the same page after they click on “Add to cart” in case they want to buy another color, instead of going to a shoping cart.

  7. fooster says:

    The quick win here is to move your addtocart and price section up to above the description. Increase the size of your add to cart button utilising a nice looking colourful button. It sounds odd on a product page but this really lets people know that you can actually buy this item and how much it costs.

  8. Scott Squire says:

    At first I was confused by the navigation arrows to the right of your product name. I understand the up arrow taking you to the category, but this functionality is already present in your breadcrumb and that’s where most people would expect to find it. Are the forward and back arrows used much by your customers? I personally wouldn’t shop that way, it’s almost like a random product button as you don’t know what product you’ll see next.

    If you want to keep the arrows maybe you could add a thumbnail or something that would show you what you’d be looking at if you clicked it.

    Great site though, couldn’t see a lot I would change!

  9. Neha D says:

    It is a clean site, the only thing that I find oddly placed is the “blog” tab – it is squished between “categories” and “customer service”. Maybe move “blog” over and bring up your social media icons since they are all in the same category.

  10. Scott Shulman says:

    The page seems to have too much white space. With only 8 catagories, i’d suggest making them part of the nave bar prominately. I’d also tighten up the side bar by eliminating it and having it all fit onto 1 page without scrolling. i’d get more information in the dead center of the page about the product, and use pull downs with mouseover of images to flip the image by color selection. i’d also have more specific dimension and maybe animation of the product in action (e.g. flashing, rotating, or strobing). I’d also make the put in cart big and obvious.

    lastly the site uses many default aspdotnetstorefron features (arrows) which could be customized to support the “mantra” of the site (like stopsigns, arrow signs, etc.). Also the proportion of the footer seems too much larger than i’d fine typical and popped out as uncomfortable.

    but mostly, i’d suggest keeping the page to a size to avoid scrolling, so my eye doesnt loose focus of the products within the category i’ve selected.

  11. Angela says:

    I would use a Grid Layout for the variants rather than a drop down to encourage the customer to order more than one color. The more times they have to select/click from a list the less likely they are to order additional products. However, having all the choices in a grid where they can pick 2 Yellow, 1 blue and 3 red in one pass makes the likelihood of a larger order that much more. You want to make it easy for them to buy ALL the colors.

  12. Brad says:

    I think the quickest and easiest thing that you could do would be to edit the style sheet and increase the font across all product pages.

    You chose the larger font for the nav, so you could read it and that is precious space. It would only make sense that you would want to have the information on the page where the customer is making the purchase decision, also easily legible.

    It’s quick, It’s easy, it’s cheap….. and most importantly, it’s effective.

  13. If you have the photography available to you, it is pretty easy to set up AspDotNetstorefront so that as the customer selects a color from the drop down list of options, the corresponding color image is displayed in the product window (http://manual.aspdotnetstorefront.com/p-963-swatch-images.aspx). I think it would be nice to see a nice big image of the red light as I’m selecting “red” from the drop down menu, so I’m sure I’m getting the right product.

  14. BFG 9000 says:

    Install this : http://www.aspdotnetstorefront.com/p-187-smart-mini-cart.aspx.

    I installed it last year & saw an immediate improvement in customer satisfaction & conversion.

    If you don’t want to spend any money – At the very least – set appconfig AddToCartAction to ‘STAY’.

  15. Casey Govero says:

    I recommend using jQuery or javascript to make your “shopping” Arrows in the top right work more fluent. Instead of refreshing the page, you could do this by using javascript, allowing multiple products to load and be seen in a “Carousel” style of viewer. You could also apply this same plugin to the “recommended” tabs. What this accomplishes is more interactivity and more products being displayed quickly.

  16. Jason Hollis says:

    Try adding a “buy now” button so that your customers can check out faster.

    The “Recommended Additions” and “Customers Who Bought This Product Also Bought” sections maybe taking away from the main product due to their size. Consider shrinking those sections slightly, you may be happy with the result.

  17. Kyle says:

    -I think just having the price, and then the different colors below to check or even add quantities.
    -Having the PDF for the data sheet could possibly be added as a tab next to the “recommended additions”. That way you aren’t leaving your page necessarily.
    -More “recommended additions” if applicable
    -Combine the “recommended additions” and add the “customers who bought this also bought” tab, so the consumer isn’t scrolling away from the POP.
    -If there are different inches or Voltages perhaps incorporate that into this page as an option to select, as well as the color and quantity.
    -I like the “live help” option on this page, but maybe bring the image on the left up more, then you can take the one at the top menu bar down and add other information ie warranty info.

  18. Byron Holderman says:

    A simple addition to the page could a video that shows the the light in use. Gives the customer the idea of how visible it is in daylight situations, shows durability, and how they work. Just be careful that the addition of a video doesn’t push the add to cart button down the page any further.

  19. I would suggest increasing the size of the add to cart cta, add in a “buy now” to lay alongside.
    Move this section right to the top of the product info.
    Move the colours option section again to the top, change to grid style to ease purchasing.
    Also space out the Categories, mailing list and live chat areas on the left, looks bunched up.
    : )

  20. Nancy Burban says:

    I would like to see a tab (like on Amazon) with specs instead of downloading a pdf.

    It would also be great if the light actually revolved so I could see the functionality or at least see it in 3D.

    It seems that safety is an issue & I would want to make sure that I purchased the best product for the job.

  21. I’d provide more visual guidance on the components of your site. Sections 1-4 all blend together so it is visually challenging to differentiate product from navigation, from recommended products. Make the sidebar background darker, the header could be segmented with a gradient or move your grey horizontal bar components into the horizontal navigation bar which is red.

    Increase the font size of the product title by a few more pixels to draw more attention to it.

    Change the text on the mailing list button to Signup, you already have a Go button in the search field.

    The arrow buttons next to the product title are distracting and not intuitive, I would remove them.

    The line-spacing and font size used in the product description could be improved. I would look at increasing the size and line space for easier reading. The comments in this section are nicely sized and spaced, making the information more appealing to read.

    The important content is above the fold so good job with placement.

  22. Partha says:

    There are grammar mistakes which should be corrected

    Shop by Categories should be “Shop by Category”

    Those arrows are also distracting and it’s not very clear what they do at first sight.

    You could also add videos showing the revolving beacon.

  23. Ryan Stutzman says:

    I would have multiple suggestions, but to follow the rules of submiting my best suggestion I would have to say get rid of the left navigation on product pages.

    The left navigation takes too much focus away from the product that the customer is trying to look at. It would be alright to have the left navigation on category pages or landing pages, but on a product page you want to draw as much of the customer’s attention as possible to the product that they are currently looking at and its “Add to Cart” button and not to what other categories they can view. You would be able to put the content in the left navigation elsewhere on the page like in the header and footer.

  24. Javier Perez says:

    I think the left navigation menu needs work. There seems to be too much white space on the site and having the links on the left in Gray color does not help. I see there is a mouse over that highlights in red following the site color scheme. Also change in the top nav menu the link “Categories” to “All Products” instead and fix the drop down menu. It just have a white background, at least put a border around it to tell that is a drop down to the current tab. Use your space in the footer to put all links maybe in a single line and put your phone in there, even your address. I usually look for that when looking for products to find out if they are a true business.

    On the category pages, remove the underlines to the product names, I find with the small font you are using hard to read the name of the product. The price should have a bit more padding below the name its hard to read too.

    On the product details perhaps inform the customer how soon will they get it or the estimated shipping cost etc.

    Ideally I think if you want to stand out from the competition and you are serious about your business, you should hire a designer to come up with a much better design. I briefly check your competition to see if any of your competitors have a better website and I was not impressed at all, this means that you still have an advantage.

    Lastly I recommend working on your SEO so that you can have higher rankings. Several product pages have very poor meta description tags.

    Thanks for reading my comment. I wish the best and hopefully these comments will help your business.

  25. Nancy Bruton says:

    The lights not on…put a little sparkle, glow, or flair on it….if I’m buying a beacon light I want that thing to light up!

  26. Jon Knigin says:

    You need to increase the focus of this page. Once you have someone to your product detail page, you need to focus the page to get the customer to add the item to their cart. There are a couple of things I would consider modifying on this page and in general:

    1 – Image, Product Title, Price, Buy/Add to Cart Button. This is how your focus should be on the product detail page, in that order. Right now for me, it’s Image, Recommended Additions, confusion…

    2 – Focus on the product at hand – recommended additions, and customers who bought this also bought are good, but not on this page. Move it to the next page, the basket / cart page. Keep the focus on the product you are selling – right now my eye is moving more to “recommended additions” section then to buying the product.

    3 – Make the title of your product larger – should be more of a focus.

    4 – Make the price of the product more apparent and in line with the Add to Cart Button.

    5 – Make your Add To Cart button larger and more apparent – this is a big one. Based on your color scheme, it should be red or green in color and larger – it needs to stick out.

    6 – Make your Add to Cart button “work” with the checkout flow – right now when you click on Add to Cart, it appears that nothing is happening. I actually thought your site wasn’t working until after clicking the add to cart button 3 times, I realized it was getting added to the little basket box in the top right. Customers are fickle and can easily “google” again and find another site if they think your site isn’t working. When you click on “Add to Cart” you should be immediately brought to the basket page (where you can then list your recommended additions and customers who bought x also bought y info) – you need to keep customers moving along the checkout process.

    7 – You’re paying for McAfee secure, so put it to good use up in the header next to the cart box – this will immediately make people feel more secure about buying from your site. Right now it’s lost on the bottom left nav.

    8 – phone number should be apparent on the page, and you should also have an address listed – people want to know you’re a real business.

  27. Gus says:

    I like your shop by Category FIlter results in the left pane that allow me to refine my search as I see products, , but as I click on the filters, the breadcrumb does not come with me – keep the breadcrumb updated as I drill-in. If I want to backup, I have to do so via the browser back button or the “Remove and Start Over” which may frustrate the user.

    Add outlines/borders to the menus to make them a bit more polished, apply spacing to the top bar – the top read beacon next to the logo is a bit crowded. “Recommended Additions” and “Customers Who Bought….” have different header styles, change one to the other and ensure consistency across the entire site.

    Content – work on polishing some of the content by adding some images or font spacing. For instnace, the Security page has a para of text, but does not mentioned the McAfee secure designation or your certificate authority.


  28. Sheri says:

    Instead of having all available light colors pictured with a drop down to choose the color, I would incorporate logic that identifies the main color featured in the large image as the color identified for purchase.

    To illustrate: when I arrive on page and see the amber light featured, I make an assumption that is what I am choosing when I add to cart. Since I am in a hurry and that’s what I want, I click the add to cart button. If I’m not reading the details I miss that I’ve actually ordered a red light. It’s not exactly clear in the cart either, where there is no graphic showing what I am purchasing. If I’m not paying attention, I totally miss the “red” at the end of the product identifier. When I click the link to double check, I see the amber light again, falsely verifying that I have chosen the right item and can proceed with my purchase.

    If you could somehow enable a feature that clicking one of the smaller graphics would switch the color of the main graphic and make that the default product added to cart, it would eliminate the need for the drop-down and make your site more intuitive for the visual shopper. (I want the green light, I click the green light, the main image changes to green, add to cart.) It seems a simpler way to handle the multiple colors of a single item. It would also be great if a graphic of the item being purchased could be featured in the cart alongside the verbal description as a sort of double-check, or if the link back to the page featured the color being purchased.

    As an example you could refer to . Though the prices are hidden from the public due to the nature of our business, it still illustrates the way in which the colorways can be switched out. Whichever color is prominent on the page is the one the customer is taking action on. In the cart, the link back to the selected item displays the appropriate colorway prominently.

    Best of luck with your site updates.

  29. Sheri says:

    That tag didn’t work exactly as I planned. Sorry about that. It does still take you to the page I intended to share. I hope the ideas are at least helpful. Admittedly, html is not my strongest skill.

    The reference page is http://www.calvinfabrics.com/search.aspx?SearchTerm=labyrinth.

    I won’t even attempt the coding this time.

  30. There are some good suggestions here! Since I’m late to the party so here’s a different direction.

    Content is King! Be the expert. I’ve read the specs but I want more. Show me photos (or even better video) of these lights in action. What big names already use this product? In what situations is this product suitable for – give me specific examples? Who would be most suited to this product and why – again specific examples? How many do I need for my project? How about case studies of before/after and the key benefits. How about testimonials from other customers? Leave me with no doubt that I’m making a “no risk” purchase. Is there need for a “how to” e.g. how to setup, install, position etc. — how do I make sure I’m following safety best practices. Make it a no brainer to use the product correctly. How long do the bulbs last? How long should the product last? What if I drop it, kick it, a car runs over it? How do I prevent the power cables from being a trip hazard? What else do I need to know here – don’t make me think – be the expert – tell me what I need to do it right and to be safe? What about a do it yourself video – doesn’t have to be fancy – demonstrate the product and talk about the benefits – if it’s truly the best out there compare it with the competition. Be careful with this one, but content could include accident statistics and horror stories and why safety comes first and this product saves the day.

    Make replacement lamps a required additional product (maybe a minimum of three). You don’t want to be out late at night working and have a lamp fail and not have replacements handy.

    Put all this information under customers also bought (this is how amazon does it). Clean up the recommended and also bought items to reduce height.

    Structure the content so that you’re using relevant keyword phrases. No need to overthink it if there’s no SEO budget – just be specific and relevant and create the content yourself. Google will love this content if it’s unique and relevant.

  31. 1 header
    Phone nr and chat bouton should be up on the right side of the header
    the way it is now looks like the company has a poor customer service or does’t want to engage in the hat with the costumers
    costumer service, shipping policy,all tohether with faq from second line should go on the footer
    2.the detail product
    no Sku nr.All the costumer call and order with sku nr,all the missing facebook, tweeter,pi int,g+1 missing by then name of the products
    look to this product page
    the add to the cart bouton mae it red big( huge) to be easy to find
    recomandet items ,and also costumers….. need to have pictures smaler then the image on detail pages.this is the primary item to sell on this page
    At least 4 items in the this recomadet, and costumerr also…with pricing

    Now In: Beacons → Revolving Bullseye Beacon Light, 7.75 inch, 120V AC
    need to be on ht right obeve the picture not on the left thats browse by categoty section
    need to be in the body align to left and be sure will span on multiple lines if the cat/subcategory/name it is to long

    The red safety light on the logo makit .gif with turning motion costumers will remeber the website, better with motion images then static,
    Also i will add someting showing an accident( remeber sex, food, and danger, it is part of our DNA)make them to understand why they should by and should by NOW and from you.

    design wise, use yellow (under construction ) “tape”, orange color,make it “live”
    No mater what the people purchase online ( remeber you sell first pictures, design and energy), th more they feel your energy and you create the “atmosfere they will easily buy anithing
    checkout bouton (begin checkout) need to be also red to be easy find
    also by your 1800-safety light phone nr
    go to att business and take a nr easy to remeber
    on the left side footer your maccafe and Better Bus… logo
    the name of the products need to be diferent color the “shop by category”
    Also your market it is people over 40, make the description 1-2 size of the font bigger
    put a note under join our mailing list why they should do so(coupons, etc),for free nobody will subscriebe
    on the pictures, try use photoshop, to accent a little the pictures the quality it is not the greatest

    Sorry for my gramar

  32. Tom Cox says:

    I didn’t have time to read all the other comments so these have most probably been made but the Add to Cart button should be bigger and colorful. I like green for “go”. Also I think it’s best to have the add to cart button as the right most button (but I’m right handed) as long as it’s not far to the right. We disable the wishlist button on our site. I don’t think your site is really a wishlist type of site. We also disable those naviagation arrows.

    Does your Options box default to red? You might want it to default to a choice that forces a choice.

    I don’t see much indication that anything has been added to the shopping cart after pressing add to cart.

    You should have a phone number in the upper right corner somewhere obvious.

    I like the general layout and use of white space, bullets, add to mailing list and other components on the page.

  33. Kendra Kuhlman says:

    I really liked your site. The one suggestion I could give to list your shipping price before you have to enter your address information. I always want to know the shipping amount before I go any further so I am not wasting my time if it’s too expensive. I looked in your shipping policy and all around the pages I was on and never saw any calculated amount. Many sites use flat rate shipping, or weighted shipping, or order total to estimate shipping. As a shopper, it would be helpful to know before I have to checkout or I may just leave the site.

  34. Fernando Santos says:

    Content before chrome! What makes you prefer a store over the other? Product information! I recommend you focus first on your 10 best selling products and greatly improve the information available to them.

    1 – Include photos of product being used on the most typical situations. If most people buy your lights to signal construction, use a picture showing it. If people use it for parties, use a picture showing it.

    2 – Include videos. Instruction videos, examples of product being used, testemonials.

    Remember, start with your best selling products and move to the others as you start to see results. After seeing results, you may want to fine tune product descriptions to include the keyworkds needed to rank as high as possible within searches and then, with all the additional make you will be making on sales, you will be able to afford a website theme makeover.

    I hope this helps!

  35. All the comments and focuses is how the detail page should look like. I think as a customer, I will try to find your website(your product) and If I land on this page or find this product, the rest is simple. You need to add social buttons. Social networks are the fastest and cheapest way to market your product. Try to spread the words by adding social buttons. I just implemented a pinterest for a site and you won’t believe the increase in traffic. Consider social buttons below:

    Example: Click here

  36. Ann Thariani says:

    Nice clean page. Do people really use the wish list button? Always seems unnecessary to me.

    Anyway, I was confused by the format of the Option button. If the price is the same for all colors – why call that out? It was confusing for me. Unless you sometimes put one color on sale or something like that – it seems unnecessary to me.

    Instead, why not just use the attribute to list the colors and then list the price on the main page?

  37. Get a Extended Validation SSL certificate.

    I’ll second several of the other suggestions;
    Make the Add to Cart AND Checkout Now and the rest of the buttons to complete the order a bright color not used elsewhere in the site design, such as green.

    Move the Add to Cart button above the description

    Make the description text larger

    Ditch the arrows

  38. Dwayne Degler says:

    I have a few comments:

    1. Remove the Home from the Nav bar, just make your logo the Home function, that is standard.
    2. Change the Arrows to be what you are saying, they are just confusing. Just say Next Previous, Up.
    3. Move the Live Chat box up to the top right, where people can see it and bring attention to it. That adds a level of comfort that there is support.
    4. Put your phone number in the header, you offer live chat, but if I want to call you about what I am looking at I don’t want to leave the page and try to find a number to call you.


  39. Michael says:

    I read through some of the comments and hopefully won’t cross suggest. From what I see on the current page I noticed the following:
    1. The images are not consistent for “Those who also bought” and “Recommended Additions”. That loses credibility with me.
    2. Standard “add to cart” buttons are lost in the page. Change them to an eye catching image or use CSS to apply some nice styles to the images.
    3. Font is small, bump it up another two or three px, pt, or em.
    4. Side menu gray blends in too much with the white background. Go a shade or two darker grey to keep it soothing but also easier to read. The rollovers are great though and very nice.

    Good items:
    1. Live chat is in three places makes it look like you are very interested in communication if that is desired.
    2. Layout is clean and neat and that is excellent on the eyes.

    I hope those help out in some small way for you.

  40. Tammy says:

    Thanks to everyone who commented. This challenge is now closed to new entries. Stay tuned for the winner!

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