Tech e-retailer Newegg plans a new showcase for gaming products

February 11, 2014 02:47 PM

Consumers used to expect a specialty retailer would have answers, said Soren Mills, chief marketing officer at e-retailer Newegg North America. Someone at the hardware store would know how to fix a sink, for example, or the pet store could provide answers about a dog.

Newegg Inc., No. 14 in the Internet Retailer 2013 Top 500 Guide, is attempting to replicate those types of interactions on its e-commerce sites for consumers who love computers, video games and other technology products, Mills said today in a featured presentation, “Designing for Customer Context” at the IRCE Focus: Web Design + Mobile Commerce conference in Orlando, FL. How it designs its e-commerce sites is crucial to that process, he said.

A case in point is a new section of set to launch next week. Called GameBase, it will bring together the kind of content and conversation about video games a gamer might expect on a game-focused content site, while also providing consumers an opportunity to buy gaming products, Mills said.

A big part of the site will highlight content from the suppliers of video games and consoles. “Those brands are iconic for customers,” Mills said. “If you’re a gamer you’re into the brands in the gaming world. You love those products and want to be with the partners who deliver that. We’re bringing brands forward and highlighting their road map and technology and the innovation they’re bringing to the category.”

A service from Second Funnel will provide live feeds of game-related content and videos from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in an image-rich, Pinterest-like format, Mills said. Newegg will track the content a consumer clicks on, and present similar content as the shopper scrolls down the page. Some of the content will come from Twitch, a video-streaming site that lets gamers watch and comment on games other online enthusiasts are playing around the world.

GameBase also will incorporate technology supplied by ChatID that lets consumers engage in text chat with technology suppliers such as Samsung and Intel. It will also offer the TurnTo system that lets a consumer ask a question about a product and receive answers from other consumers who own it.

GameBase is just one example of how Newegg aims to address customer needs through web design, Mills said. He pointed to Newegg employing responsive design techniques—which tailor a single web site to the screen of the consumer—on its site, which offers the kind of limited-time sales that consumers frequently shop via smartphones. With responsive design, any change to the site—such as adding a new product—is immediately visible to consumers, regardless of the devices they’re using.

Another example is the way was reconfigured to address the recent launch of Newegg Premier, which offers free shipping for a year and other perks for $49.99 a year, to compete with the Prime free-shipping program from Inc., No. 1 in the Top 500 Guide. When a Premier customer signs into the site acknowledges his Premier status. “We want to make it special when the customer signs in,” he said. “We want to show we understand that you’re a Premier customer.”

Another innovation last year is the addition of a QR code a shopper can scan to see a lower price on products when manufacturers set minimum prices. Those minimum advertised price, or MAP rules, often let a web retailer show a lower price once the shopper puts an item in a shopping cart, but many consumers consider that a hassle. The QR code, he said, is designed to make it easier for the consumer to see the discount.

Newegg also is attempting to replicate the specialty retail experience by opening a handful of bricks-and-mortar stores, which it calls “hybrid centers” in locations where it operates distribution centers. One such store opened last year at its Southern California headquarters and another will open this year in Edison, NJ. Similar stores are planned for Memphis, TN and Indianapolis where Newegg operates fulfillment centers.

“We want to get our great brands in front of customers and give them a chance see the product, to touch and feel it,” Mills said. Shoppers will be able to buy at those bricks-and-mortar stores or order the products online.

Mills said Newegg can develop and implement innovations like these quickly because it holds a daily meeting for executives from across the company’s divisions. They get reports on what customers are saying on, on social networks and in interactions with customer service agents. The executives discuss ideas and hammer them out together, rather than one department at a time.

“We find this lets us move faster,” Mills said. “There’s no single decision-maker. We emphasize collaboration and transparency between departments. To get the kind of speed we need you have to do it this way.”







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