Breaking Down The New Detailed Image

Over on The Detailed Image Blog I wrote a post outlining the features of the new I copied that post below, and then added in some additional thoughts about each feature in italics.

Yesterday we were extremely excited to unveil our new website. Our goal is to provide you with the simplest, fastest, and most secure shopping experience in the industry. Let’s take a look at what’s new:

The Design

We’ve kept the important functionality where it’s familiar – navigation on the left, search box up top, My Account and Cart information in the header – while also introducing elements of modern web design. We hope that this balance allows you to find exactly the products and information you’re looking for quickly and easily.

The old design was, well, old. It was solid for 2009 but it needed a refresh. There’s some stuff we’ve improved already since launch, and there’s still other stuff we’d like to improve upon, but this is much much better than the previous site. It’s a starting point for all of our future plans.

The New Detailed Image - Homepage

One Site – All of Your Devices

We utilized a fairly new web design technique called responsive web design to ensure that the new Detailed Image works great on your large monitor, your laptop, your tablet, your phone, and any other device you use.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, this was the main driving force behind this project. Mobile and tablet usage on our site has skyrocketed, with Safari on iOS becoming our #1 browser/OS combo. It’s a trend that’s only going to continue. We needed to up our game. This will be the topic of my next post where I’ll dive into some of the data. We cut the project down significantly so that we could release ASAP because every day we were without a responsive design we felt like we were losing out on a ton of potential sales.

The New Detailed Image - Responsive Design

Better Search Engines

Now when you search the Detailing Guide or Ask a Pro Blog you’ll get the same fast search that you’ve come to love from our product search, including helpful autocomplete suggestions to help ensure you find what you’re looking for the very first search.

I took the improved product search engine and set out to apply that to the Detailing Guide and Ask-a-Pro Blog (WordPress search engines are just horrendous). The difference was that analyzing text is much more difficult than a product with a few keywords. I started with the code for LockerPulse’s very good search engine, and improved the keyword analysis a bit, to create a pretty good search engine. Much better than what we had before. I also created an autosuggest for each: section headings for the guide, and each post title, author, category, and tag for the AAP.

The New Detailed Image - Search Engines

New Product Photos

We built a new photo booth at our warehouse and re-shot every one of our 800+ products to provide you with better looking product photos. When applicable, we took multiple photos so you can see everything you need to make an informed decision.

We hired Mike’s brother Sam, the artist behind the successful Nesl Kickstarter project, to create our photo process and snap the initial photographs (we’d love to have him take all of our photos in the future, but he’ll be busy with bigger and better things). Now when you look at a brand or category page with dozens of products, the photos all have uniformly white backgrounds. The mishmash of white, off-white, and gray backgrounds on the old site was a huge eyesore.

The New Detailed Image - Photos

Product Labels and Downloads

Many products now have a “From The Label” section that includes information and instructions right from the label so you can feel as comfortable buying online as you would if you picked up the bottle in a store. We also added a “Product Downloads” section where you can download instruction manuals for tools like buffers, vacuums, and flashlights.

I anticipate that this will be huge for conversion rates on our product pages. We got a small portion of the labels from the manufacturers, but most of them our guys typed in one at a time. It was a LOT of not-so-fun work, but with a huge potential payoff.

The New Detailed Image - Product Labels

Verified Product Reviews

With over 4,000 product reviews on our site and growing fast, it can be difficult sometimes to determine which reviews to trust. To help, we added a “DI Verified Purchase” badge to any review where we can verify that the reviewer purchased the product being reviewed directly from Detailed Image. Knowing that someone actually purchased the product adds an extra sense of credibility to their opinion.

Interestingly enough, about 75% of reviews are “verified”. Of those other 25%, we get a small amount of reviews that seem completely ridiculous. Either it sounds like they’ve never used the product before, they’re completely insane, or they have an agenda against the product or against us (i.e. they own a competing product that we don’t want to pick up). Thing is, we can’t definitively say this about some of the negative reviews so it’s hard to have the justification to ban them or delete the review. This will help our customers weed these people out.

The New Detailed Image - Verified Product Reviews

More Free Stuff

If our Weekly Special has taught us anything it’s that you love free stuff! We’ve decided to expand upon the Weekly Special and create an entire Free Stuff page that’s filled with free offers that you can receive every single day. Free offers range from popular products like our All Purpose Towel (free with a coupon on any purchase over $9) to a complete clay bar and lube kit (free over $69).

If there’s been a “best new feature” winner in the first few days, this is it. People are eating up these offers. Certainly something we can do even more of as time goes on.

The New Detailed Image - Free Stuff

No More Weight Limit!

Instead of forcing you to place multiple orders when you have more than 60 lbs in products, our system now intelligently splits your order up into multiple boxes automatically so you can fit as many products as you like into one single order!

I have a love/hate relationship with this feature. It was a bitch to program. I wanted to hold off until after the site launch, but I was convinced otherwise by Greg and Reece. Our wholesale program has grown by leaps and bounds to the point where this was becoming a real problem for people. We were hearing it regularly from our wholesalers. We want to continue to aggressively grow wholesale, and we certainly don’t want to turn away gigantic purchases, so it was worth pushing up the priority list and slipping it into this launch.

The New Detailed Image - Weight Limit

And More…

  • Speed improvements – we’ve optimized the new DI to be blazing fast no matter what device you’re using. I’m planning a before/after speed comparison post as well. We’re only about 80% of the way there though – it can still get faster.
  • Newsletter available to everyone – even if you’re not a registered user, you can still sign up for our newsletter to be alerted of our sales by filling out the form at the bottom of any page. Another bitch to program, but a necessity for obvious reasons.
  • A more streamlined checkout process – we’ve redesigned our checkout process to make it simpler and faster to checkout without missing any critical information about your order. A sleeper candidate for the “best new feature” award. Checkout is much cleaner, smoother, more logical, and has much better copy.
  • All Deals – we’ve created an “All Deals” page found at that lists out all of the current site-wide promotions we’re running. A great resource to bookmark and visit regularly! This is just a combination of our Sale page, Free Stuff page, any sale we’re running, and our Ship & Save. From a marketing standpoint, we want to be able to say “go to for all of our latest deals.”

16 comments on Breaking Down The New Detailed Image

  1. Joshua Holt says:

    Congratulations Adam! The site looks great. Sounds like you did a lot of “under the hood” work which will only pay you more dividends as time goes on.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Thanks Joshua! Yes, the hope is that all of the “under the hood” improvements are an enabler for a lot of our future projects. We view this launch as the beginning of the next few years of improvements.

  2. Rob says:

    Looks great!

    What’s the rationale behind doing this as a big release rather than doing smaller iterations? For example why not add the photos and label descriptions to the old site as you went along?

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Thanks! And good question. We did roll out some stuff as it was done (like what I wrote about in this post).

      The photo project was started in late 2012 but it took a while to build the booth, buy the SLR, research the set up, etc. We were actually rolling those out as the pictures were taken, but we didn’t get the last batch up until a few days prior to launch. The label description project started in January, and we figured we’d finish up right around launch so it was one more simple thing we could add in to the announcement. If we finished it a month earlier we would have released it on the old site, and if it was going to take us a month longer we would have launched without it.

      We did pair back quite a few launch features to focus on primarily just the responsive design. For the rest it just sort of made more sense to do some restructuring as we were reworking the design on specific sections of the site.

      We also wanted a little more to launch with besides “check out our responsive design.” As big of a deal as it is to us as business owners, I’m not sure it means as much to our customers as “check out our new design and some new features too.”

      • Rob says:

        I know this is an old post, but I’ve been trying to work out the most relevant place to ask this… figured this would do!

        We’re currently in the process of rewriting thousands of product descriptions. Some for products that have no descriptions, some for products with supplier descriptions that need changing so as to avoid the issue of duplicate content with our competitors etc.

        What’s your process for writing good descriptions? I figure they need to work for SEO, for being appealing to the customer and for negating any questions the buyer might have. Anything I’m missing? Do you just start with a blank page, do you have a customer avatar in mind, do you have a bulleted list of things to cover….? It’s such a tedious task but I think ultimately worthwhile.

        Any pointers would be much appreciated.

        • Adam McFarland says:

          It is a very tedious task! A few years back we created a separate section for product bullets. Those appear at the top of the page. We pick the 3 – 5 most important selling points of the product and put them in there. I think most people utilize those more than the actual description, although that’s just a guess. If you can’t/don’t create a separate section like we did, I think it’s still worth leading off the description with those few critical selling points.

          I think you nailed the most important reasons to write your own unique descriptions. I never actually write the descriptions myself, but I believe our guys start out by reading the manufacturer website, competitors websites, and anything that pops up with a Google search. That at least helps identify any key selling points not on the label, as well as learn about frequently asked questions.

          Over time customers contact us with questions we never thought of so we adjust the description accordingly so hopefully the next customer doesn’t run into the same issue.

          One other thought about the supplier product descriptions. I still think they’re very valuable to have on the page somewhere below your description. Whenever I’m buying something I want as much info as possible so we try to provide that to our customers. That’s why we added the “From the label” section I talked about in this post. We also just added a video section. Assuming you have the most important stuff at the top for people who want to buy quickly, I think you cannot have too much info below for shoppers who want to know more. If they can’t get it from your site they’ll go elsewhere looking for it and they may not return.

          • Rob says:

            Thanks for your help. I know it’s super cheeky, but would you mind asking the guys who do write the descriptions if they have any further advice/checklists/templates/ways of doing it so you don’t go crazy please?

            How much time is spent on keyword research for descriptions/do you have a process for that? Do you actively monitor the positions of your products for various searches? Do you A/B test descriptions for conversion?

          • Adam McFarland says:

            Sure thing. I’m at the warehouse today so he happens to be sitting right next to me. I picked up a few other tips from him.

            He said Amazon reviews and forums are great places to read about real user experiences with the product.

            He also said that he tends to follow a formula for most products. He’ll lead off with what the product does in a sentence, sort of what you’d put in a bullet. Then he gets into the features that make it different/better, instructions on how to use it, the expected results, and then summarizes the key selling point(s) again to end.

            How much time is spent on keyword research for descriptions/do you have a process for that?

            We generally don’t unless the product is referenced differently in different places. Sometimes the manufacturer’s official name isn’t what people reference it by. Then we’ll do some quick KW research to see which is searched most and use that in the title. The title is most important for us because that’s what goes into the title tag, gets the H1 tag, gets prioritized on our internal search engine, and is shown on our invoices. We will try to use both ways of referencing the product within the description & bullets. Otherwise we just try to write naturally and hit on all of the important points.

            Do you actively monitor the positions of your products for various searches? Do you A/B test descriptions for conversion?

            Not at the moment, but we probably should 🙂

          • Rob says:

            Amazing – thank you & thanks to Greg (?). I think I’m getting a plan together for how to structure writing these descriptions!

            Interesting about the KW research – do you have an SEO strategy for brands/product categories/individual products etc. or does the majority of your organic traffic come through how-tos & your ask-a-pro type content?

          • Adam McFarland says:

            Wow you know our roles & responsibilities pretty well! Greg has actually handed off descriptions to our customer service employee Reece who I was chatting with. Greg still reviews them all but Reece does most of the writing now.

            As an aside, having two people drafting up descriptions has created a need for us to improve our back-end content management system so it has drafts, revision history, a preview tool, etc. We hope to get to that in 2014 at some point. The programming to-do list grows so fast!

            Our organic search traffic is pretty evenly spread out among brand pages, product pages, our guide, and our AAP blog. Most products have one name and that’s it, so there’s not a whole lot in the way of manipulation that we can do to help improve our rankings. The site structure is such that the title tags, description tags, and headings are pretty well optimized so if someone writes a good readable description the whole page is in pretty good shape.

            I do have our numbers guy Bobby doing a project right now where he’s looking at similar sized industries and studying sites that rank high to see if there are on-site SEO changes we can make. I’m specifically curious about our title tags. Right now they go “Brand Product Size | Free Shipping Available – Detailed Image” which seems to make logical sense but maybe there’s a better way. We then use the first bullet for the description tag. My guess is that those are pretty close to optimal, but I still wanted to have him do the project just in case we’re missing out on something. I’ll certainly let you know if we learn anything of value.

            Glad to hear you’re getting your plan together! It will be one heck of a project but should be well worth the effort.

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