IRWD 2012 proved to be a meeting of the minds for the top leaders of successful eCommerce-based businesses. Among them was Shannon Wu-Lebron, Director of eCommerce Searchandising at OfficeDepot.

Learning from the Best

Wu-Lebron spent the past 10 years of her career contributing to OfficeDepot’s eCommerce ascent. Her previous roles within the company spanned from Senior Manager of IT Compliance to Head of Operations and Marketing for a pure play online venture.

She attributes OfficeDepot’s  success to a keen awareness of search technology and consumer behavior.

“We are constantly evaluating our site,” stated Wu-Lebron. “We’ve become very conscientious of how Google works. Once we get the visitors to our site, we want to assure we’re presenting the most customer-friendly content to help them find and purchase the products they’re looking for.”

But, Wu-Lebron wasn’t only referring to text-based content.

Cater to the Shopper

Wu-Lebron delivered an IRWD presentation entitled, “Revving Up Your Retail Website with Online Video.” Partnering with Invodo’s CEO, Craig Wax, Wu-Lebron discussed both the strategies and benefits of using video content on eCommerce websites.

Wu-Lebron and Wax emphasized the importance of catering to onsite visitors and consistently finding ways to improve shoppers’ experience.

“Customers want to get in and get out,” said Wu-Lebron. “They really want things that will grab their attention. Technology holds the key to this.

Show. Don’t Tell

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Wax suggests catering to people’s reliance upon visual learning by utilizing video to aid shoppers’ understanding of a product. He used the example of explaining the laws of gravity via a complex formula vs demonstrating its effects with a video of a watermelon falling from a roof. Obviously, the latter is something everyone can comprehend.’s recent introduction of video to product pages returned higher conversions. Now, they intend to roll video content out to more product pages.

“It’s an emerging technology,” said Wu-Lebron. “With the increase of bandwidth and the popularity of smart phones and tablets, video content is becoming more and more important.”

Respect Shoppers’ Personal Space

While video integration is a solid move, if executed incorrectly it can quickly morph into a nightmare. Shoppers loathe pop-up ads disrupting their shopping experience; pop-up videos are perceived no better.

Many online business owners struggle with the choice of pop-up videos vs user-prompted videos. But, Wu-Lebron and Wax both agree, denying shoppers control of the video disrupts the shopping experience and can be perceived as invasive.

Product Content is Still Important

In addition to video, Wu-Lebron believes high-quality content is essential to the success of an eCommerce site.

“Office Supplies are very commoditized products. So, displaying useful information with the attributes and the value is important. Also, from an SEO perspective, text-based content is imperative to eCommerce sites.” said Wu-Lebron.

Remain Customer-Centric

While Wu-Lebron’s decade of technology and marketing experience at OfficeDepot has uniquely prepared her to confidently lead the Searchandising team, she stressed the importance of not losing sight of the shopper.

“In the eCommerce world we tend to think a lot about the rules, the marketing aspects, and the online content,” said Wu-Lebron. “All of that is important. But, at the end of the day, the customer wants to submit an order and get the product. For me, it’s important to understand some of the non-sexy aspects of eCommerce and really focus on the customer-facing elements.”