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DHL redoes Web site

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Challenge: DHL, an online shipping company, wanted to design an improved Web site that would simplify its business customers’ online shipping experience. The main objectives were to make the online shipping and tracking tools easier to use and to improve the site navigation.

"Our customers wanted the site to be much more functional and transaction-based instead of marketing-based," said Mike Heilman, VP-eCommerce and customer technologies at DHL.

DHL conducted extensive research with its customers to determine which features and functions to add to the site. Customers were closely involved in the redesign, including live tests on prototype sites and functionality. "We listened to customers of all sizes, but particularly to small- and medium-sized business owners," said John Pearson, exec VP-commercial at DHL.

Solution: For the redesign, DHL worked with Sapient, a Cambridge, Mass., technology consulting firm. The new site was launched May 9, featuring improved navigation such as being able to ship directly from the home page. Customers can create online profiles that are used to deliver personalized information, such as a customized home page and an online address book. To help save customers time, DHL created a "Get a Quote" feature, which provides an instant shipping quote, based on package and service requirements. The site also features an updated shipment preparation screen, including a new drop box locator and the ability to schedule a pickup. The site differentiates between business and residential shipments, providing customers with more accurate rate estimates. Also new to the site is a Small Business Resource Center, which provides tips, best practices and special offers for small businesses. Each month, the small business center focuses on a different best practices area, with information on issues that are most important to small businesses in the U.S.

Results: In the first few weeks following the relaunch, page views doubled, DHL said. Online scheduling has picked up between 30% to 35%, and DHL has also seen a significant increase in registration for online billing. "We’ve had to increase our server size tenfold to be sure we could handle the additional volume," Heilman said.

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