Internet Retailer December 2, 2009

Smooth Fitness discovers shopper aspirations go beyond price

Home fitness equipment manufacturer Smooth Fitness redesigned its web site after learning its shoppers wanted to spend more time on the site and develop a relationship with the company. New content includes articles on fitness and buying guides that help engage online customers.

“We understand that when you’re buying this equipment, you’re buying it to transform your life,” says Bill Olson, CEO at Smooth Fitness. “The site before was driven on price, price and price. So there was a disconnect between what our site communicated—it was over the top about price, but there was not enough about aspiration.”

Smooth Fitness, No. 307 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, (a PDF version of the company’s financial and operating profile can be ordered by clicking on its name) worked with consulting agency K Street Partners Inc. on a usability study that found customers wanted to spend more time on the site and develop a relationship.

The new site incorporates aspirational images, articles, content about fitness and a new tag line: Defy your limits. “The new site tested dramatically better on quality and trustworthiness,” says Olson.

Smooth Fitness also worked with marketing agency Star Group on the redesign.

Olson declined to provide specific numbers, but noted that since relaunching Nov. 11, the average time shoppers spend on the site is up 25% and traffic has increased 20%.

The redesigned site includes graphical navigation that lets customers hover a mouse on the categories on the top navigation bar and see images of the products in the different categories. For example, hovering over the treadmills category produces images of folding treadmills and non-folding treadmills.

In addition, new buying guides enable shoppers to fill in answers to questions about budget, fitness experience level, weight and number of users for the equipment and receive lists of recommended models.

Future plans included adding a blog from fitness expert Jim Bompensa to the site.

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