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Pruneyard Website Case Study Feb09

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PlanetMagpie Case Study:
How a Retail Shopping Center Doubled Its Web Traffic in 1 Month

January 2009

Download the PDF of this case study here.

THE PROBLEM

An Out-of-Date Website

The Pruneyard Shopping Center had a problem with its website: it was very out of date. Customers mentioned the brand-new websites of their competitor shopping centers in the San Jose area—but not theirs. And to make things worse, the Pruneyard had somehow been saddled with the (incorrect) perception that there wasn't enough parking for customers!

The Pruneyard's property managers realized they needed to do something to correct this. Their site didn't have the credibility that a major retail outlet with over 40 shops deserved. They needed an update—a big one. It was time for help. It was time to call PlanetMagpie.

PlanetMagpie took a look at their existing site. It did the job adequately, but it had some issues:
  1. The site's SEO rankings had been declining for a while.
  2. The navigation focused on several large tenants, without much attention paid to many others.
  3. The design had no interaction built into it, and it didn’t have the same look-and-feel as the shopping center.
  4. The Tenant Directory was a small list down the right side of the page, with no descriptions of what each tenant sold.
  5. There was no mailing list sign-up for visitors—no way to communicate with their target audience!
  6. There was no news or event information. Nothing to draw shoppers to the shopping center.
When it came to updating the site, PlanetMagpie agreed that it was a very good idea. And we pointed out several benefits a new website would have in our current economy:
  1. Websites are a low-cost but powerful method of self-promotion. You can make a stronger marketing "push" with a new site than you could with an old one.
  2. The newer a website is, the safer it is from hacking attempts or information theft.
  3. Websites become valuable resources for your customer base – places they'll return to over and over – IF you keep them up-to-date.
  4. The website would be a benefit to their tenants. With a page dedicated to each tenant and linked to tenants' websites, SEO would improve and every tenant would have another advertising venue.

THE SOLUTION

Build a Completely New Website

The Pruneyard wanted to achieve several prominent goals:
  1. A rise in overall traffic to their site through stronger SEO
  2. Raise customers' awareness about all the parking available in the center
  3. Improve the site's quality, so more visitors would see it as a valuable resource and come back
  4. Capture their customer’s email addresses for future news, event, and sales marketing
  5. Provide their tenants with individual webpages, so everyone would see the value of shopping at The Pruneyard.
Once the Pruneyard's property managers gave the go-ahead, PlanetMagpie started at the beginning, designing the site architecture and content requirements. New text for every webpage, tripling the amount of information about the Pruneyard's many products and its unique nightlife. New photos of the tenants, shoppers, and the shopping center came next. We worked with the Pruneyards’s property managers to divide the Pruneyard's tenants (from movie theaters to restaurants to bookstores) into logical categories to make them easy for visitors to find.

Over a hundred changes were made in the redesign in all, including:
  • 50+ webpages created, including 1 for every tenant in the Pruneyard Shopping Center.
    • Every tenant webpage also included links to the tenant's own website.
  • A Flash-based map to show the exact locations of every tenant in the center.
  • Another Flash-based map, showing the best parking available for each tenant.
  • 6 category-based navigation menus identifying what each tenant provides in detail, making it easy for customers to find what they need.
  • Brand-new SEO information for the entire site.
  • Development of a Content Management System (CMS), so the Pruneyard's property managers could update news, events, and promotions on the fly. As well as create new tenant pages themselves.

THE RESULT

An Explosion of Attention

The new Pruneyard website went "live" on November 25, 2008. Before that, traffic to the site had begun a slow climb due to the holiday season.

But after the new site was up and running, traffic leaped from an average of 1,800 visits/month to over 4,000 visits/month!

These are ThePruneyard.com's December 2008 website statistics:
  • Number of Visits: 4,293
  • Number of Pages Viewed: 16,198
  • Pages Viewed Per Visit: 3.77
  • What % of These Were New Visits: 89.66%
  • Visitors' Average Time on Site: 2 minutes, 13 seconds
  • Bounce Rate: 22.06%
(This last statistic, the bounce rate, is the percentage of visitors who arrived, didn't see what they wanted and left the website. Bounce rates average between 30-60% for good websites. The Pruneyard's site was below average for bounce rate – an extremely good result!)

As proof their new SEO worked: 80% of their visitors came from search engines finding ThePruneyard.com in their searches.

The Pruneyard is very happy with the results. "Our customers love it. The tenants are getting listed in the search engines now."

CONCLUSION

This was an amazing result. In less than a month, ThePruneyard.com doubled its traffic and jumped to the top of the search engines. They had plenty of information for visitors, menus that were much easier to use, and a vibrant new layout that gave customers a reason to visit and come back.

Says Mark, the Pruneyard's Property Manager, "There's a positive response, and positive receptions. I didn't expect it to be that popular!"

All of the Pruneyard Shopping Center's goals were achieved by a brand-new website. Now they're able to make their own website updates and keep their visitors coming back again and again. And if their visitors are too busy to visit, then the site can come to them via their monthly email newsletter, with all the latest news, events, and promotions posted recently on their new website.

The Pruneyard Shopping Center: http://www.thepruneyard.com

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