Totally Promotional’s Confusing Ecommerce Strategy

Today we have another B2B ecommerce review coming your way. This time we’re looking at Totally Promotional, a retailer of promotional items for businesses and trade shows. There is a B2C component as well, since they also offer products for weddings and party favors, but the main element here are the products branded for a business or company. Now, we know that B2B sites have different strategies than those that are strictly B2C, but the guidelines for good usability and user experience should still be in play. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Mostly I just felt confused.

Take a look at the Totally Promotional home page. There is a pretty big white space at the top, where you might expect to find a navigation menu. Instead, the product categories are listed below the main image and featured products. This is not very intuitive for shoppers, as they will tend to look toward the top for those options. I recommend creating a top navigation menu with drop-downs, rather than this current arrangement. Not only would it be easier for shoppers to find, it would also free up more space on the home page to feature products, sales, or special offers.

totally1 copy

I clicked on the banner image for custom can coolers. The page I landed on next had a very different feel, and when I looked at the URL, I saw why. I was now on a different website: How weird! In fact, it seems like any product you click on from Totally Promotional leads to it’s own product-specific domain. I honestly don’t know if this is a good or bad strategy, but what I do know is that the design is still lacking no matter which site I landed on. Take Totally Koozies. Where the other home page was bare, this ┬ápage is busy busy busy. Interestingly, this page has a top navigation component, in addition to some more options on the left. This makes navigation easier than on the main site, but all the other crowded elements make it a bit overwhelming.

totally2 copy

Well, I decided to try out the “easy online design tool” to customize a koozie for my business. As I went through the process though, I found that it wasn’t quite so easy as this ecommerce site would like it to seem. I selected the Business category and landed on a page with some design options to choose from. Many of them are very specific, but I figured maybe I could change the name on the design to make it personal. This would be a nice way to offer shoppers some inspiration, so they don’t have to start from scratch.

totally3 copy

However, when I got to the product page, I realized that the customization process is pretty confusing. Take a look at all the text going on here. It’s a lot to take in, and I’m not sure what to do first!

totally4 copy

Plus, when I began to click on these customizing options, I came to a dead end. It seems like I can’t change the name in the design after all, I can only change the colors. Look what happened when I clicked on Customize Side 1:

totally5 copy

This whole page could use a redesign to make the process easier. First of all, I would suggest making the customizing options the first step, and the shipping and quantity selection second. The price chart could be made into a drop-down so it can be hidden away until the shopper needs it, rather than taking up space. And of course, every customize option should be editable, not a confusing error page. Improving on the overall design, and streamlining the customization process, will really help toward a better user experience on this family of ecommerce sites.




  1. Posted February 19, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    They did this presumably for SEO reasons. It won’t work. This was tried for awhile by CSN/Hayneedle. They consolidated their domain equity because it stopped working.

    • ECOTTAdmin ECOTTAdmin
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Ah, thanks for the insight Jaimie. Can you explain why this isn’t a good strategy for SEO? If other businesses are considering this tactic, it would be good for them to know why to avoid it!

  2. Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    To answer the question of why it isn’t good SEO, there are a couple of reasons.
    Their PR (Page Rank) gets diluted by sending out to multiple domains,
    The domains they send to are all the same owner, so Google discounts the links, and they come from the same IP class which Google also sees.
    With multiple domains offering similar services you run the risk of duplicate content.

  3. KM Designs
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Check out their website now … seems that they must be going through a ‘Re Branding’ and creation of a new user experience.

    • ECOTTAdmin ECOTTAdmin
      Posted August 21, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Wow, it’s definitely looking a lot better these days. Thanks for the tip!

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